Sioux Falls Marathon and Half Marathon :: Why Will You #runsiouxfalls?

Why Will You #runsiouxfalls?


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Candace_Three.jpg   Candace_One.jpg

Name: Candace Gustafson

Running for Team BEEF 

When Candace Gustafson toes the starting line for the 2017 Sioux Falls Marathon, she knows she has Team BEEF South Dakota on her side. 2017 will mark her second year as a member of Team BEEF South Dakota, a community of runners and cyclists who recognize the nutritional benefits of beef.

Candace started her running adventures in 2005, participating in the Mickelson Trail Half Marathon. After walking the event in 2004, she set a goal to run it in 2005 and spent the entire winter training for the event. She went into the “bucket list” event just wanting to finish, and after crossing the finish line, walked away with a desire to accomplish more as a runner.

Having caught the running bug, Candace participated in at least one race over the next four years before becoming dedicated to the sport in 2010. Candace set a goal to run 50 half marathons by the time she turns 50 years old and is well on her way to reaching that goal. Her love of running has grown over the years and she describes the time she spends out on the trail as her “me” time.

As a member of Team BEEF, Candace is part of a group who believes in the vital role of high-quality protein that beef plays in training to run. Team BEEF South Dakota is open to all South Dakotans who want to promote beef, be physically active and showcase eating beef in a healthy lifestyle.

“This is my second year as a member of Team BEEF South Dakota,” Candace said. “I love being a part of the team and representing the beef industry. Team BEEF is a great organization because if you are running a race in South Dakota, you are assured to be running with a teammate and I can’t think of better motivation.”

To become a member of Team BEEF, you are required to eat beef and believe the nutritional benefits it provides, participate in educational webinars and participate in at least two races wearing a Team BEEF jersey. Runners or cyclists are also encouraged to be a positive role model for lean beef, actively spread the word about lean beef through social media and share your experiences.

Candace grew up on a ranch in Nisland, South Dakota with a custom feed lot, raising beef cattle.

“That was the start of my love affair with beef,” Candace said. “However, my love of running didn’t come into the picture until later in life. “Team BEEF and my new-found passion for running has allowed me to combine two areas of my life that I am passionate about. What could be better?”

The 2017 Sioux Falls Marathon, Half Marathon and Miracle 5K is set for Sunday, Sept. 10. Candace will run the Sioux Falls Half Marathon for the third time this year. She is looking forward to the beautiful views and says that her favorite stretch of the race is running the historical district. In closing, Candace said, “running past Falls Park is hard to beat as well.”

Candace was the winner of the Team BEEF South Dakota Prime Cuts program in 2016. The program creates incentives for their most active, loyal and passionate Team BEEF South Dakota members for going above and beyond the team requirements by sharing their passion and striving to learn more about beef.

For more information Team BEEF South Dakota, click HERE.


Name: Ole J Holck

Hometown: Hamar, Norway

Running for me started the summer of 2012. It had been 20+ years since I quit badminton and after that I basically didn't do much training beside the occasional run just to be sure that I was in as bad shape as I thought. Finally I found the willpower to turn things around. While on vacation I passed a shop that sold running gear and half an hour later I came out with new shoes, a watch and a strong wish to get started. I had no idea of where to start so I just ran as far and as fast as I could, setting new “records” all the time. A year later a friend suggested we register for a half marathon. It was a big deal and standing at the start I loved being part of it but also scared of what I had in front of me. We entered the same race the next two years and slowly a dream of running a marathon had started to emerge. In September 2015 I called a great friend and asked if he was up for a challenge. We entered the 2016 Stockholm marathon (picture) together and I had one of my greatest experiences ever. We got through it. We survived! Together! I crossed the finish line high on me! I needed more so I entered the Oslo marathon that fall. I was hooked. When I saw that there was a marathon in Sioux Falls I had one more good reason for going back. I graduated from Augustana in 1996 and had the best of times. It is about time to see the falls that I for some reason didn’t see last time. Old and new Sioux Falls friends are welcoming me back for a short September break. Why not run the marathon while I am there?

Why I run? Because I can and it makes me happy. I do it for fun and I enjoy the restless feeling I get when 2-3 days pass without running. As far as I know I am the only Norwegian who has registered. I will be way back in the field wearing a big smile and hoping for high-fives and lots of cheers. See you all soon!


Name: Chris Riley

Hometown: Spearfish, SD (Originally from Sioux Falls)

I started running in middle school and high school and competed in track and cross country through college. While finishing college I moved into longer distances (half marathons and marathons) to help fill the competitive void. Since moving to the Black Hills in 2013 I have been active in trial running/racing as well as continuing to do some racing on the roads as well. We have some great races in Western South Dakota but not many flat fast courses so coming back to run Sioux Falls is an attempt at a flatter and faster course than I've raced on much in the past few years. Not to mention the route goes only about a block from my childhood home around mile 13 and follows many miles of bike trial that I grew up training on! [I have run the Sioux Falls] 2011 Miracle 5K, 2012 Half Marathon, 2014 Half Marathon, and the 2015 Full Marathon (the 2014 & 2015 races I competed in together with my friend Karl Madsen by pushing him in a wheelchair so he could experience the race as well).

Name: Lea

Hometown: Grand Island, Nebraska (Currently lives in Sioux Falls)

I have always enjoyed sports and athletic activities, but I was never a fan of running longer distances. I was a sprinter/hurdler in high school and college, so the longest I liked to run was 200 meters. Longer distances used to seem like torture to me!  In 2008, I was 22 years old and heading into my first year of graduate school for my clinical doctorate. I had just finished my bachelor’s degree and I was moving to a new city. My father passed away at a time in my life where I was going through so many transitions and needed an outlet. I started running shortly after my father passed away, as a way to clear my mind and reflect. I used running as my therapy and as my time to grieve. Running helped me feel like myself in a time when everything around me was changing. Soon, I started setting goals for myself and began entering 5k races. I started to enjoy running with a crowd of people and loved having another purpose to run. In 2010, I ran my first half marathon and 3 more after that. In 2013, I registered for the Sioux Falls Half Marathon; however my husband and I found out we were expecting our first daughter and decided it would be better if I didn’t run. Here I am, 4 years and 2 daughters later, and I am excited to be running again. I am registered for the 2017 Sioux Falls Half Marathon and it will be my 5th half marathon, which I think is a huge accomplishment for someone who used to hate running more than 200 meters! 



Name: Lena Abourezk

Hometown: Rapid City, SD

17 years ago, my son was born 3 months premature. He was diagnosed with cerebral palsy.  He had 13 orthopedic and muscle surgeries from ages 5 through 14 to get him to where he is today. (no assitive devices at all!) Not once during 9 years of surgery recovery and rehab did he ever complain or quit. During a really difficult surgery at the age of 5, I told him I was proud of him and so happy he pushes so hard during recovery. He said, in his tiny little voice, "Of course, Mama. I have to. No one else can do this for me." total inspiration for everything I do. I run for him. I am running the half marathon this yea and ran the 5k last year. Amazingly, he has challenged himself to run the Sioux Falls 5K this year.


Name: Sheila Beerman

Hometown: Elk Point, South Dakota

I love running. I love the running community, I love to challenge myself. I love to travel and I absolutely love meeting other runners. The running community is like a family! I have completed a marathon in each of the 50 states.  I have completed all the marathons in South Dakota except for Crazy Horse, which is on my radar.  I have completed all 6 of the major marathons and have completed 6 of the continents and will complete Africa in July 2017. I have run 116 marathons and 55 half marathons.  It has been a journey and an adventure, a blessing beyond words! I have done the [Sioux Falls Half Marathon] in 2010 and 2011, and I’ve done the full in 2012 and 2015. Since it is close to home, I often know others running.  I know the area and it is just a pretty run. My husband and I especially love when we can run with one or more of our seven children who are all grown. The first picture is from 9-11-2011, which was a bit of an emotional day but it showed how strong we are as a country. The second picture is from the Sioux Falls Marathon in 2012 as I approach the bridge fairly close to the finish on the old route.  The last is the 2015 Sioux Falls Marathon with a girl scout who put the medal around my neck.  Every run has its special moments!



Name: Devon Bruna

Hometown: Madison, South Dakota

My first ever marathon was done in Sioux Falls. It was the greatest day of my life. The moment I saw the finish line, my emotions took over and I could not hold back the tears. All the hours of training and all the miles logged were finally rewarded with the completion of the marathon. The support and venue of the experience were second to none.There have been many times where giving up would have been the easier option. Giving up on a training run, giving up on a race, giving up on training. As I get older, I am giving up on excuses. There is not enough time to live with regrets. Running has giving me a purpose and helped keep my focus. The mental training that has to happen while training for, and competing in events has helped me in all aspects of life. I will be participating in the marathon for 2017. This will be marathon number three and part of something bigger as it will be part of Ironman training. To think that 3 years ago, I had not run farther than 4 miles. Now, the event that started it all, is part of something even bigger.


Name: Tim Mullican

Hometown: Mitchell, South Dakota

I run for my health and for the sense of satisfaction I get from achieving an awesome goal. I plan on finishing a total of 100 races of marathon length or longer in 2017. The Sioux Falls marathon will be number 98 or 99. [Previously] I ran the full marathon in 2013 and 2016. In 2013, I was recovering from Achilles tendonitis, so I was wearing heal lifts to prevent my tendon from stretching. I got a really large blister on the bottom of my heel, so it was a struggle near the end of the marathon. I had to walk on my tip toes for the next week, but it was worth it. The Sioux Falls marathon in 2016 was much more enjoyable and I liked the loop course. 


Name: Tim Braithwaite

Hometown: Sioux Falls, South Dakota

It is because of my brother that I run.  My brother was an avid runner beginning in high school… though he did not run for school or competitively, it was something he did and enjoyed very much as a casual runner.  Like most, he found joy in running and subsequently participated in the usual array and offer of various road races throughout the year.  It was during running – that he discovered he was struggling and eventually sought medical evaluation.  It was during that evaluation that he discovered he had non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.  Though 12 years and numerous courses of treatment including two bone marrow transplants – running was something he continued to cherish and strive to do again… and again he did.  With each remission and milestone – a celebratory race was his personal reward.  It was during one of these remissions that he got me hooked on running and one of the victories was the two of us running side by side in the 2013 Sioux Falls Half Marathon.  Though he was never able to run the half again, I’ve run it in his honor and memory since that fall day in 2013. With his band around my wrist, and every running memory of his in my mind, I’ve committed myself to running the Sioux Falls Half Marathon as long as the event is held and my physical being allows it. It is indeed an honor and a privilege.  Though there are many other reasons for running – first and foremost, I run to honor and remember my brother.


Name: Ashley and Farzin

Hometown: Orange County, California. Ashley is from Brandon, SD; and Farzin is from Tehran, Iran.

My fiancee Farzin has run the Sioux Falls Marathon two times before (2013 and 2014). A great thing about the Sioux Falls Marathon is that the course is super accessible for spectators. When I was cheering on Farzin, I drove around and parked every 2-3 miles around the course and caught up with Farzin around the course. It was fun and the time in between the start and finish lines flew by! We have run large races in Seattle, Los Angeles and San Diego and will be heading to the New York Marathon in November and in comparison the Sioux Falls Marathon is refreshingly low-key. The race has everything you need (water, Gatorade, pacers and plenty of volunteers) and even has a good sized crowd at the finish line! We are excited for this event because we are kicking off our wedding week with this race! I'll be running the half marathon and Farzin will run the full marathon. We met in Sioux Falls and are coming back to the area to get married in downtown Sioux Falls the following weekend.


Paige is pictured far right. Picture by Sean Walsh.

Name: Paige Wright

College: University of South Dakota

My name is Paige Wright.  I am twenty-one years old and an incoming History Education Senior at the University of South Dakota.  My father was diagnosed with PKD (Polycystic Kidney Disease) when I was no more than four years old.  For seventeen years he monitored his health, managed his diet, and waited for the perfect kidney match.   In honor of my father's fight against PKD, I decided last year to run seventeen half-marathons for him, as well as other organizations and causes that I want to raise awareness and funds for.  Three days before my race last year on May 11, 2016 my father received a call notifying him that he had a kidney match and that he must get the transplant immediately.  Essentially, it was an act of God's perfect timing that on the morning of May 14, 2016 at 7am I was preparing to run for the man who I looked up to the most was also recovering from a lifesaving transplant surgery.  This year, my father will be able to cheer me on from the sidelines and watch me finish the race.The Sioux Falls half-marathon will be my second consecutive race. (Paige is pictured far right. Photo by Sean Walsh)

Name: Tania Blanco

Hometown: Dell Rapids, South Dakota

I have known Michelle for almost 8 years now. She is a great mom and she is very active with her kids. She is very competitive and loves to run. Regardless, she has never criticized my weight or ever made me feel less of a person because I am not in shape. She is part of a running group in Dell Rapids that meets every Saturday morning to run about 3 miles. She introduced me to this group, and together we ran the Hobo Days race last year. It was a 5k. Prior to that race she encouraged me to give it a try and she promised me she was going to stay with me thought the entire race no matter if I walked or ran. So I practiced, but not as much as I should have, and I ran the race. I could not run the entire time, I walked and jogged and regardless of it she was right by my side cheering me on. I have really bad allergies so I had to use my inhaler and I thought I was not going to make it but she coached me all the way to the end and she was by my side and we did it! It felt great and it gave me the motivation to do another race in the future were I will do the whole 5k without walking! A couple of weeks ago Michelle and I were talking and she told me about this race.  She told me if I start training now, by then I should be able to run it all the way, so she encouraged me to sign up right away as motivation and I am in my second week of training. I know it may not be much but at 44 years old and having never been a runner, I managed to run or jog for 20 minutes straight last week. That is huge for me. Michelle checks on me every week and as always, gives me encouragement and never lets me think that I can't do it. She inspires me to be a better runner and someday do a 1/2 marathon with her.


Name: Stephen Mohring

Hometown: Omaha, Nebraska

I run because it keeps me happy. I first took up running 5 years ago as a way to lose weight and show a healthy lifestyle to my patients (I'm a physician). Now I do it because there is nothing like the feeling of finishing a big race and knowing you gave everything you could. Running makes me feel alive, capable of things I never thought possible. Crossing the finish line of my first marathon is one of the most memorable moments of my entire life. I really enjoyed the SF marathon, particularly with the change in course the last couple years. It is really a great course, getting to "run the falls", as well as run on the bike trail - one of the best trail systems throughout the Midwest. There isn't the congestion in huge races, yet there is still crowd support and the city has started to embrace the race.


Name: Kay

Hometown: Hill City, South Dakota

Out of High School in 1971, I worked for the government in Washington, D. C., where I occasionally would run with a couple male co-workers.  I transferred to St .Louis, where I met my husband, we married, and he decided to move us back to Hill City near my family.  My daughter and son were born 20 months apart, and after their father came home from work I would occasionally escape into the outdoors, jogging along our country road a few miles.  Husband moved us back to St. Louis where his family and friends were.  We had so many differences that I left the marriage and went to work full time as my kids moved into the elementary grades.  Single parenting was challenging but I had no regrets.  Some co-workers asked me to join them running at lunch time.  After months of coaxing I joined them.  It took me 6 weeks to be able to run a mile without stopping, and convince myself I would survive the hard breathing.  A year later I ran my first 5-mile race in down-town St. Louis.  I cordially accepted all the ‘propaganda’ papers that were handed me at the end of the race.  At home I glanced at them before throwing them in the trash.  Wait!  They were flyers for other races!  I had no idea until then, 1990, that there was a running community!  While the kids spent the weekends with their father, I ran races nearly every weekend after that.  In 1992, two different co-workers and I went to Chicago and ran our first marathon.  I was hooked.  Soon I started traveling to out-of-town marathons.  At one of these I discovered the 50 and DC Marathon Club.  I had found a goal.  Marathon Guide helped me find marathons in each state from which to choose.  I drove to these races on my own or with running friends.  I started bicycling and met the great love of my life, Terry Simmering.  We ran 10 marathons together, including my 50th state, Alaska, when we brought family and friends with us to Anchorage. 

My new goal was 100 marathons.

When I met Terry he was training for his first Ironman Triathlon competition.  I could not swim so I biked and ran with him while he trained.  When I turned 50, I decided to address my fear of the water and signed up for Terrified of the Water classes at the YMCA, two sessions.  Then I took weekend swimming and triathlon training seminars, and signed up for triathlons.  It took unbelievable mental thought to suppress my fear of the water, but managed to complete several sprint triathlons. Terry and I signed up for Vineman Ironman in California in 2004. I finished second in my age-group!  June 6, 2004 Terry and I married on the family ranch where I grew up.

Terry died suddenly in August of 2009.  Running kept me alive.  That fall my grown kids went with me to the marathons that I had already signed up for.  My daughter, Cyndy, went with me to Chicago where it all began, to run my 100th marathon.  She worked the finish line until I finished and she put my medal on me.

I continued with triathlons, and in 2012 at my 5th Ironman in Lake Placid, New York, I qualified for the Ironman World Championship in Kona, Hawaii!  Cyndy was with me again as we flew several months later to Hawaii.  My company The Boeing Company, had made a documentary of me training for Kona.  My company sent a video camera with us and Cyndy volunteered at the race all day, filming me, and cheering me on to the finish just before midnight.  IronMan Kona makes a video of the event that we often see on TV months after the event.  I was surprised to see me at the end of the 2012 video, jumping high into the air over the finish line, holding up 6 fingers; one for each Ironman I had finished.  With that, I closed my chapter on triathlons.

Continuing my romance with the marathon, I needed a new goal.  I decided I would add my age to the 100 marathons.  And speaking of age, my age bracket had fewer and fewer participants.  Occasionally I was the only woman in my age group.  Recently I am sometimes the oldest woman to finish the marathon!

I retired from The Boeing Company 2 years ago and moved from St. Louis, MO, to Foley, Alabama.  To the beach.  Seventeen miles away from the Gulf to be safe from hurricanes.  I run, kayak, bike, and constantly re-landscape my yard.  My friends at the Senior Center call me “The Kid!”

I am 64 years old.  I have run 7 marathons so far this year.  The most recent was my first international marathon in Limerick, Ireland, April 30, 2017, with a time of 4:44:55.

My plan for this fall is to drive to Shenandoah, Iowa, to run their Wabash Trace marathon September 9 (#156), then drive to Sioux Falls to run your marathon September 10 (#157).  I’ll drive then to Hill City to visit Mom and my siblings, then drive back to Omaha for their marathon, September 17 (#158).

Goals:  My age goal is 110, so 210 marathons is my new marathon goal.