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Two Laps 3rd Edition - Looking for New Heights, Brittany Elsasser

Meet Dakota Distance Project's newest team member, Brittany Elsasser

Name: Brittany Kelley Elsasser

Family: Ben (husband), Bailey (cat), Diggs (dog)

Current Home: Sioux Falls, SD

Hometown: Pipestone, MN

Education: South Dakota State University 2010 (Go Jacks!) B.S. in Economics

Career: Director of Investor Relations, Meta Financial Group, Inc. (MetaBank)


5k 20:43 | 10k 45:01

Half Marathon 1:38:10

Marathon 3:21:38

My running journey started in the fall of 2012, after I moved to Sioux Falls. I didn’t want to spend money on a gym membership so I decided to lace up my shoes and explore my new neighborhood. I was enjoying my daily runs and decided to sign up for my first 5k. Once I crossed that finish line, I was hooked. As I kept reaching new milestones, I became motivated to see what else I was capable of.

I ran my first half marathon in 2013 and my first – and what I thought would be my last – marathon in June 2015 at Grandma’s. It was challenging. I wasn’t prepared for ALL the rain, my fueling was adequate at best, and it hurt. It was also tremendously rewarding. I finished in 4:28:09.

After Grandma’s I hit a running rut. I wasn’t getting enjoyment out of it and frankly, it was lonely training solo. Fast forward to July 2016, when I was introduced to Sioux Falls Women Run. My spark for running was reignited! Running with others and finding my best running friends (“BRFs”), was exactly what I needed. It’s what changed running from simply being something I do to a lifestyle.

In 2017, my BRFs twisted my arm and convinced me to run my second marathon. After I ran the Twin Cities Marathon and finished in 3:43:18, I realized a Boston Qualifier (“BQ”) was not out of reach. With consistent training, adding strength, and focusing on recovery and nutrition, I started to see my marathon times continuously improve.

BQ Attempts:

Fargo Marathon, May 2018: DNF/Injury

Wausau Marathon, August 2018: 3:36:22

Chicago Marathon, October 2018: 3:30:37

Huntsville Marathon, September 2019: 3:21:38🎉

After I achieved my BQ, my first thought was, “what’s next?” With the Olympic Marathon Trials in February 2020, there were mass amounts of content sharing the stories of runners who have worked hard to achieve their Olympic Trials Qualifier (“OTQ”). I was extremely inspired by all of the runners chasing their OTQ goals and I wanted to keep digging, keep stacking, to see what I could achieve if I kept putting in the hard work.

Achieving big, scary goals that seem impossible is such an extraordinary feeling and is also what drives me to see what I am capable of. Cue, Dakota Distance Project (“DDP”)! My goal for training with Coach Pooley and the DDP team is to break 3 hours in the marathon.

It’s not going to be easy, but I’m excited for the journey. My advice to those looking to conquer big goals — find your tribe, your support group. Whether that be a coach or BRFs that will hold you accountable (and travel thousands of miles for a “racecation”) and, most importantly, support your big, crazy goals. They will be the ones to help you stay focused and keep you motivated when training gets tough.

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