There are days I consider myself a die-hard runner. That is, until I witness the weather extremes that so often seem to fall in line with the Living History Farms Off-Road Race each year on the Saturday before Thanksgiving. Last year was a perfect example, when temperatures were in the single digits. Fortunately, this year, temperatures were much more runner-friendly, with highs in the mid-50s.
Even with these more favorable running conditions, the high-quality protein beef provides is an excellent source of recovery after a seven-mile run. Over 65 Iowa beef industry volunteers served hot beef stew to thousands of runners in the 36th annual Living History Farms Off-Road Race on Saturday, November 22. Runners from across the country enjoyed the mild weather to run the seven-mile route, complete with several creek crossings and other obstacles, on the museum's grounds in Urbandale. Proceeds from the race support the Living History Farms Museums.
Representing TEAM BEEF
"This year, more than 15 TEAM BEEF runners sported shirts with the message 'Beef. Fuel for the Finish,'" said Nancy Degner, Executive Director of the Iowa Beef Industry Council. "TEAM BEEF is composed of Iowa State University faculty and students with majors in animal science, as well as other cattle farmers and friends of the beef industry who are passionate about beef," she added.
Kristy Pellett, cattle farmer from Atlantic, said "I am proud to wear the TEAM BEEF shirt and hear all the support along the race from runners and by-standers who shouted 'Go Beef' and 'Where's the Beef?' We answered 'at the end of the race in the beef stew!' I was proud to have cattle farmers serving the beef stew at the end of the race."
Degner said the beef checkoff became involved to carry a message to the athletes. "Our message to the runners was two-fold," said Degner. "First, that beef provides high-quality protein needed to build, maintain and repair muscle, and is a great recovery food after endurance exercise. Second, we wanted to give runners the chance to meet local cattle farmers as they served the beef stew."
High-quality source of protein
Protein helps build and preserve muscle. A three-ounce serving of lean beef provides 48% of the Daily Value for protein. Lean beef is also a source of readily-absorbable iron and zinc. Iron helps the body use oxygen – which runners' muscles rely on during endurance exercises. Meanwhile, zinc helps maintain a healthy immune system – critical during the colder months of winter.
The beef checkoff provided the 2,000 pounds of beef used in the stew prepared by the Iowa Machine Shed. Serving was completed in less than two hours by volunteers that included cattle producer families, Iowa State University animal science students, Dallas County 4-H club, Madison County Youth Beef Team members, and friends of the beef industry. Beef certificates were awarded as prizes for the race, replacing the traditional frozen turkeys and chickens.
For more information about TEAM BEEF, visit Iowa Beef Industry Council website or call 515-296-2305.