Two local dairy farmers are planning to show the world just how quickly milk producers can move.
In between working at their 650-cow operation just 10 miles south of Mandan, Jennifer and Andrew Holle go running as often as they can. Next month, they'll join thousands of other runners who aim to cross the finish line in the 26.2-mile Bank of America Chicago Marathon.
Jennifer and Andre Holle, who have been athletes their entire lives, are avid runners.
"Running has always been a really big part of our life," Jennifer Holle said, adding she, her husband and their four kids — Dawson, 13, Isabelle, 11, Devin, 8, and Drew, 6 — also do various smaller, 5-10K races throughout the year.
The opportunity arose when the Fuel Up to Play 60 program was looking for dairy farmers to run in the Chicago marathon. Jennifer Holle said she has made it her goal to run in the major marathons across the U.S. — including New York City and Boston.
"Chicago is such an amazing marathon; I’ve always wanted to do it," she said.
The Holles aren't exactly new to long-distance running. Jennifer and Andrew Holle ran the Marine Corps Marathon in Washington, D.C., in 2014, along with Jennifer Holle's father and siblings.
Andrew Holle prefers to go for a run at 5 a.m., four to five times a week. Jennifer Holle said she runs three to five times a week, whenever she finds an extra 30 to 45 minutes.
"Just keeping it not a chore is one thing ... Instead of going off by myself, I take (my kids) with me, such as running to the mailbox or doing laps around the practice field," she said.
The Holles will join 25 other runners as part of a national team for the Fuel Up to Play 60 program, which is a collaboration between the National Football League and the National Dairy Council. The program is an in-school health and wellness program that encourages students to play at least 60 minutes a day and make healthy eating choices.
Megan Sheets, an integrated communication program manager at Midwest Dairy Association, said the Chicago race will benefit Fuel Up to Play 60, which is also farmer-funded.
“They’re really supporting the program at a different level," Sheets said.
In addition to running in the marathon, the Holles are also part of a social media campaign for Midwest Dairy from now through October. Sheets said they were selected for the campaign because of their profession and their dedication to a healthy lifestyle through running.
Midwest Dairy plans to post videos on social media of the Holles on their farm to showcase that running a dairy operation requires the same amount of dedication as running a marathon, Sheets said.
Jennifer Holle said she is a huge proponent of running, and says it's something everyone can do.
“I really think running is for everybody, in general," she said. "(Running a marathon) is such a psychological thing; anybody can do it, but it’s the overwhelming thought of how far you’re running that really stands in the way of a lot of people not doing it.”
She encourages anyone interested in running a marathon to go online and find a six- to 20-week training program; her favorites are the programs offered by writer and runner Hal Higdon.
"Just take it one day at a time," Jennifer Holle advises would-be marathoners. "Don’t get overwhelmed with the long runs, and really just give yourself a break and be flexible with your training."
Midwest Dairy will post videos of the Holles and other tips from the family, including a Spotify running playlist, online at www.MidwestDairy.com. Follow the Holles journey and the Oct. 8 marathon in Chicago by searching #HolleMarathonHustle.