It wasn’t a typical request.
Looking for a summer training race while in college, St. Francis graduate and then Northern St. University runner Dakotah (Bullen) Lindwurm came across a scenic marathon near Duluth.
Despite the potentially taxing nature of the distance, her coach signed off, as Lindwurm found herself able to talk her way into a 26.2-mile race.
A rare request soon revealed a rare talent.
“My first marathon was the Eugene Curnow Trail Marathon,” Lindwurm said. “It was the summer between my freshman and sophomore year of college. My coach wanted us to do a couple summer races to keep summer training fun and to see where our fitness was. When I was looking for races, I stumbled upon the Eugene Curnow Marathon. It looked so beautiful, as it goes from Duluth down to Carlton on the trails.
“I begged my college coach to let me do it as a training run and he let me. But when the race started I immediately started racing it to win it, and I did!”
That natural aptitude for the distance has only become more apparent in recent years. This summer, at age 24, Lindwurm returned to the North Shore and asserted her standing on the national level, placing fourth at Grandma’s Marathon in Duluth in 2:34:02 to earn an automatic spot at the upcoming U.S. Olympic Trials.
“My main goal was to simply qualify for the Olympic Trials, which meant running 2:45:00,” Lindwurm said. “I would have been happy as long as I did that. I had greater goals of running the A standard (2:37:00) and placing top 10, but my main focus was to just qualify.”
Once the race began to unfold, however, it was clear that her greatest time goals weren’t just going to be attained. Lindwurm was going to smash them.
“The race felt all too good,” Lindwurm said. “The sidelines were full of my friends, family and familiar faces, so to hear my name, and see all the people out supporting, gave me such incredible energy.”
Grandma’s marked just the fourth overall marathon for Lindwurm, with the first three all completed at the Eugene Curnow Trail Marathon.
While an All-American runner for Northern St. in cross-country and track and field, Lindwurm has quickly discovered another level in her transition to the marathon.
“It was very natural for me,” Lindwurm said. “In high school and college I always had the most success with the longest distance - in high school the two mile and college the 10k - so when I decided to give professional running a try, I knew I would find the most success in the marathon. It has been my goal since my college graduation to qualify for the Olympics Trials!”
That dream has already been realized, with the U.S. Olympic Team Trials marathon scheduled for Feb. 29, 2020 in Atlanta.
“When I crossed the finish line and saw my watch, tears flooded my eyes,” Lindwurm said. “I was so grateful to God who gave me this amazing ability. I felt so proud of myself and so happy to see all my hard work pay off.
“All the pictures I’ve found of myself from the race I’m smiling ear to ear knowing I’m completing one of my biggest dreams. I couldn’t have asked for a better race. I still feel in awe of what I’ve done.”