Courtesy photo --
Shown at left is Holly Swee, Director of Nutrition and Consumer Information for the South Dakota Beef Industry Council. She has helped develop the Team BEEF SD running program in the state.
Courtesy photo -- Shown at left is Holly Swee, Director of Nutrition and Consumer Information for the South Dakota Beef Industry Council. She has helped develop the Team BEEF SD running program in the state.

By Colleen Brunner

Team Beef loves runners. At least that’s what South Dakota Beef Industry Council Director of Nutrition and Consumer Information Holly Swee, RD, LN, says. “We developed the Team BEEF SD program in 2012,” says Swee. This program was designed, and continues to strive, to be a community of runners, and several of them are mothers as well.
Since May is Beef month in South Dakota, Swee shared about the large body of scientific evidence that continues to confirm that protein helps to strengthen and sustain our bodies. And beef is a high-quality protein that contains only 170 calories per 3-ounce serving and provides half our daily protein needs.
And Swee, like several other Team Beef members, is a mom and a runner. “When they (my girls) were little they used to ride their bikes when I was running,” says Swee. She says that encouraged her children to stay active as well, and they all built healthy lifestyles.
Several Team Beef runners and mothers share their stories to promote beef and share that mom’s can run too.
Merretta Anderson is mom to two sons, Hank Wayne, age 2, and Augustus Melvin, age 3. She and her husband Chance live just south of Isabel where they have an Angus and F1 baldy cattle operation. They also own Anderson Custom Leather. She is in her fourth year on Team Beef.
“I have grown to crave it (running),” says Anderson. As a teacher and athletic director she understands that an active lifestyle is a good way to get outdoors and catch her breath.
“Beef is the cornerstone of our current ranching operation and is what I was raised on,” says Anderson. “My husband is great about watching the boys and many times a training run will include pushing a stroller or pulling a wagon. You just do your best to make it work.”
Anderson says that by being a part of Team Beef she can help promote the current foundation of their ranch and what their livelihood is based on, but can also honor the legacy that her grandparents and parents built.
Anderson says when meal times don’t always happen on the ranch she can always grab a beef stick and get a real food source of protein. She loves that running is a heart healthy activity she can share with her family, no matter their age.
“I’ve been a Team Beef member since 2016, so this is my third year,” says Katrina Collins who lives with her husband Jon in Faith. “Jon joined me this year to become a member also. It’s very rewarding to promote beef, and to be part of a team that is so supportive to each member.”
Katrina is a busy mom to three children, Jay, age 9, twins Katelyn and Jordan, age 7. She has worked at First National Bank for the past 12 years, serving agriculture people and cattle ranchers. She grew up on a ranch in the Opal area where her parents still ranch.
“Running is my ‘me’ time,” she says. “It’s a stress reliever and also a way to spend time with my husband, (as) we both enjoy training and doing races together.” The couple plans weekend get-aways around races.
“Beef is a large part of my diet and training fuel,” she says. “I am running anyway, so why not promote something I love.” Collins says beef is nutritious and safe for her family and also helps with the anemia she gets occasionally. “Beef is rich in iron which helps me with this.”
Collins says running is good for the heart, both literally and figuratively. She says it boosts her mood and gets her heart pumping, and gives her some shapely legs to boot!
Like most of these women, Collins runs several Team Beef races, including the February Freeze 5k, the Michelson Trail Half Marathon and the Black Hills Beer Run. She plans to add the Crazy Horse and the Sioux Falls Half Marathon to her list.
“When I’m training for something, I stay well motivated,” she says. “Team BEEF has given me so much encouragement and motivation,” says this busy mom. “I am so thankful to Holly Swee for all that she does for the team; she is a great encourager and organizer. I love the support that we give each other, at races and via social media. I’ve met new friends through the team as well. It’s a wonderful thing to be a part of.”
Candace Gustafson lives in Spearfish with her husband Alex and two children, Audrina who is 9 and Ellis who is four.
“This is my third season with Team Beef,” she says. “I’m not directly involved in agriculture, but I grew up on a farm in rural western South Dakota.” She says when she first started running it was for the fitness aspect.
“But now it’s for so many other reasons,” she says. “I do it now because I truly love it deep down and I miss it when I don’t do it.” She said having the alone time at this point in her life is rare.
“As the daughter of a former feedlot owner/farmer I know how much work goes into each animal that is raised,” shares this busy wife and mom, who also works full time as an executive assistant. “I show my support (of agriculture) by promoting beef through running for this organization.
“Running and beef-it’s the perfect marriage,” says Gustafson. “We need protein to fuel our workouts, so choosing lean protein provides the fuel needed for endurance running. When we exercise, we tear down our muscle, and protein is needed for recovery and repair of those muscles. If you’re watching your waistline, beef is the better choice as it contains more protein with fewer calories than things such as peanut butter.”
This busy gal has run local and state races such as the February Freeze 5k, Michelson Trail Half and Sioux Falls Half, but has also traveled to Minnesota, Arizona and even Canada to race, running anywhere from four to six half marathons a year. Her goal is 50 by age 50.
Like the other Team Beef mothers Gustafson says cardio vascular health is very important, but that running does more than fend off a heart attack. “Running can help with weight loss, which in turn can help those who suffer from high blood pressure and diabetes,” she shares. “Running produces hormones that can help boost your mood and get you ready to take on your day.”
“My husband is always willing to hang with our kids, drop me off and pick me up for runs, and of course (he understands) there is the cost of the races, shoes and gear every year,” she laughs. “My parents have always been proud of me as well. The time I ran the Mickelson trail full marathon, my mom was so supportive that she drove me up to the starting point and met me at various points the whole way down. She even made signs with encouraging phrases and was aware at that point in my race when I was done and still had 3.5 miles to go, and I wanted to be done, no sign to encourage, she just told me ‘to suck it up and finish’, which I did.”
Tina Scott, who lives in Owanka with husband Davie and children Alyssa, 10, Emmalee, 8, and Reed, 5, grew up on a dairy and registered Simmental farm near Garretson. The couple raises registered Angus cattle.
“Running is my escape away, so I find it as a calming agent,” says Scott. “Finding time is tough, but if you truly want to do something, you do it.”
Scott works full time an hour away from her home, she maintains the house, kids and hubby, and finds it challenging. So she runs early mornings or late nights, any time she can fit it in.
Scott says she supports the beef industry because she knows the benefits of repairing weak muscles more quickly by maintaining a healthy diet of lean protein.
“You are able to train better and smarter,” says Scott. “I have health concerns that are maintained by running, so I do not have to take medications. Happy mom-happy family. It’s a win, win, all around.”
Scott has been with Team Beef since their second year and has run many of the same races as others, adding the Colorado Marathon, Brookings Marathon and the Leading Ladies Half/Marathon.
Scott works as a radiation therapist at the John T. Vucurevich Cancer Care Institute in Rapid City, with her two oldest children in school at New Underwood and her youngest in daycare.
“David is pretty active on the ranch but supports my personal time of going out for a run the best possible way he can,” says Scott. “He knows that in order for me to reach my goals I have to train, and have the time to train. My kids go with me to most of the trail races and love cheering the runners on; it is an awesome environment for kids to watch and grow up in.” Her kids even help out at the water stops and also run the last 100 yards to the finish with mom.