Carolyn Mather is a long-time running journalist. For decades, she wrote for Running Journal, the wonderful magazine helmed by the late Bruce Morrison, and for RunBlogRun for over a decade. This is her homage to Dakota Lindwurm. And yes, we know Carolyn loves Grandma’s Marathon! 

Dakotah Lindwurm made all of Minnesota’s running community very happy! Somewhere in runner’s heaven and Ron Daws (1968 Olympian) and Steve Hoag (1975 Boston top five) are smiling! 

Thanks, Carolyn Mather! 

The Road To Paris Goes Through Duluth

by Carolyn Mather

As I prepared to watch the 2024 Olympic Marathon Trials, I knew that one of the elites from Grandma’s Marathon would be going to Paris. After all, sixty of the qualifiers got their qualifier at Grandma’s, and 147 have competed there. As a side note, most readers know that Grandma’s Marathon is the best in the world and my favorite for many reasons.

So, going into the trials, I figured one Team USA member would come from the women’s field. Kellyn Taylor, Nell Rojas, and Lauren Hagens have won the race, while Dakotah Lindwurm has won twice. Also, Jessica Tonn McClain, Annie Frisbee, and Gabby Rooker had incredible races there. I believed one of these women would make the podium to Paris.  All of these fantastic ladies started the race, and the one I knew was ready-made for the team, finishing third.

Dakotah Lindwurm and Fiona O’Keeffe, U.S. Olympic Team Marathon Trials
Orlando, Florida
February 3, 2024, photo by Kevin Morris

Dakatoh Lindwurm did not three-peat at Grandma’s in 2023. She admits that may have been a blessing in disguise as it motivated her even more to train harder. She told me in June of 2022 that she was going to Paris. She had just missed the course record at Grandma’s but was amazingly confident in achieving that goal of Paris.  At Boston 2023, she fell short of her goal but was still on track for the trials.

Dakota Lindwurm, 126th Boston Marathon
April 18, 2022, photo by Kevin Morris

Sharing her preparation definitely proved her dedication. Each qualifier does everything they can to be as ready as possible for the trials. But Dakotah took this to a new level. After Thanksgiving, she left her home, friends, family, and partner, Montana, in Minnesota and drove south with her dog, August, to Florida.  She stayed in the Daytona Beach area, training alone in a different environment. It was warm but very windy, and at 5 foot 1 inch tall, this bundle of energy put in 130-mile weeks and dealt with the strong winds. When we connected in Daytona Beach, she was tired of the strong winds and did not know anyone, but she was sticking to her plan. She had a new fitness level. She continued working every day at her job as a paralegal. As we discussed who we thought, besides herself, was going to make the team, she told me to put Fiona O” Keefe at the top of my list as she was in phenomenal shape and a fellow PUMA athlete. Dakotah moved to Kissimmee in mid-December, and Annie Frisbee joined her, and they immediately shared a long run. They had a nice B&B and were joined by their partners three weeks before the race.

Dreams do come true! Dakotah Lindwurm takes third at the U.S. Olympic Team Marathon Trials.
Orlando, Florida
February 3, 2024, photo by Kevin Morris

For two or more months, she acclimated to mid-Florida, the changes in temperature, and the flat lands’ terrain. As other runners arrived a few weeks before the race, she even got to have some fun, especially when Des Linden had a dog party attended by runners who had their dogs with them. Des, Emily Sisson, Annie, and Dakotah had a great time at the dog party.

Dakotah’s dad and two of her aunts arrived Thursday before the race and were there to cheer for her. The race started in relatively good conditions. Dakotah stated that the first 2.2 miles were relatively quiet and gave everyone a chance to settle into a rhythm. The crowds on the three loops were good, and Dakotah got a bit overexcited at the PUMA cheer zone at 10.7 and found herself in the lead. She quickly reassessed that adrenaline rush and returned to the back of the lead pack.

Dakota Lindwurm embracing Emily Sisson, U.S. Olympic Team Marathon Trials
Orlando, Florida
February 3, 2024, photo by Kevin Morris

Dakotah was visible most of the race in her pink and tangerine PUMA kit, although she fell off the dwindling pack of five and was eight seconds back when Fiona made her move to break from the leaders. Dakotah battled with Sara Hall, Betsy Saina, and Caroline Rotich behind the leaders. While Betsy dropped out at mile 21 and Sara Hall dropped back to fifth, 39-year-old Caroline ran stride for stride with Dakotah. Dakatoh said Caroline was offering her encouraging words until Dakatoh took the lead. Her last miles slowed, but she said she definitely had some reserve in the tank in case anyone came up on her. She was true to her dream, with her mom’s spirit cheering her the entire way. Her Dad could not stop crying in joy, and her partner Montana was unfazed as he knew she was going to make the team. If you put in the work and have an unfaltering belief and hope, dreams do come true.

Emily Sisson, Fiona O’Keeffe, Dakotah Lindwurm, U.S. Olympic Team Marathon Trials
Orlando, Florida
February 3, 2024, photo by Kevin Morris

After the race, Dakotah and Montana spent a less-than-relaxing week in the Dominican Republic. Becoming an Olympian and being a relative unknown made her vacation a busy time with nonstop interviews. Dakotah did her first run on February 12th, which went well. She met with her coach, Chris Lundstron, on the 19th, and she plans to continue her 130-mile weeks plus her swimming, plyometrics, weights, and everyday core work. She will continue her work as a paralegal as it keeps her occupied in an area besides running. She will continue to train with Annie as she has for several years.

Dreams do come true! Dakotah Lindwurm takes third at the U.S. Olympic Team Marathon Trials.
Orlando, Florida
February 3, 2024, photo by Kevin Morris

PUMA has been an awesome sponsor for her and quite a few notable women runners, including Annie, Fiona, Molly Seidel, and the great Edna Kiplagat. Their support has paid great dividends, with two ladies going to Paris. They plan to take Dakotah and Fiona to Paris in April to preview the marathon course. Dakotah cannot run Grandma’s this June, but she plans to be there with her big smile, running the Gary Bjorklund Half Marathon. Since she paced Montana in part of his first marathon, I suspect she will be doing so in another one. Dakotah is one of the most engaging athletes I have ever known, and I see her talent continuing to rise. Congratulations, Dakotah, on reminding all of us that dreams do come true!!

Dakotah Lindwurn is going to Paris! U.S. Olympic Team Marathon Trials
Orlando, Florida
February 3, 2024,photo by Kevin Morris

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