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Da-Ko-Tah! Da-Ko-Tah! Da-Ko-Tah!

Updated: May 14

Where were you when Minnesota’s Dakotah Lindwurm made the U.S. Olympic Team? Today we share voices from a chorus of Minnesota running community members to hear how they witnessed and experienced the Olympic run of Dakotah Lindwurm of Minnesota Distance Elite.

Where were you on race morning? 

I was at the Mill City Running cheer zone, which was on the course loop at mile 2, 10, 18, and 26. – Lindsay Bacher, TCM Board Member.

The Running USA Cheer Zone on the corner of Magnolia and East Washington. – Virginia Brophy Achman, former Twin Cities In Motion Executive Director

I streamed the trials on Peacock right from my kitchen while enjoying coffee and breakfast. – Lindsey Altermatt, former TCM staffer.

I was doing the announcing for the race on the start and finish line. – 2004 Olympian Carrie Tollefson

At the Run Minnesota watch party at Dual Citizen Brewing. -– Sarah Ahlers McInerney, Run Minnesota Executive Director

I was watching raw race feeds in the media tent, monitoring the mile-by-mile trackers, and popping out for an eyewitness view when the runners passed by. – Charlie Mahler, TCM Media and Comms. Manager

I just went around and biked the course. I was mostly out on the eastern side where I figured there were fewer people out there. – Chris Lundstrom, Minnesota Distance Elite Coach

What were you thinking when Dakotah took the lead mid-race?

I did not see that, which was probably good. That wasn’t the plan. But you also go, well, clearly she’s feeling good. – Chris Lundstrom

 My partner texted me from back home at the same time we saw it on TV. I just hoped she could hold on. – Lindsay Bacher

I got a short glimpse of her in the lead with that darling smile on her face! – Julie McDaniel, Minnesota Distance Elite board member who was onsite.

In my head I was saying “Slow down, slow down”  The Olympic trials have seen so many runners take the lead too early and fail to make the team. – Austin Budlong, former Minnesota Distance Elite President who was onsite.

That smile! -- Virginia Brophy Achman

I was so excited when I saw she was in the top 10, and then when she surged ahead I was even more excited, but also nervous because there was still so much race to be run, and there were some BIG names behind her. – Lindsey Altermatt

And when eventual winner Fiona O’Keeffe broke apart the lead group and Dakotah fell off the pace for the win and maybe the Olympics?

I was worried the race was getting away from her. At Mile 19 she was 12 seconds out of third place, in seventh overall, but she never let the rubber band break. – Charlie Mahler

When I saw her drop back, I thought maybe she shouldn't have surged ahead at mile 11. I sat there nervously just saying, "Come on Dakotah, come on..." as if she could hear me. – Lindsey Altermatt

I remember telling someone next to me that I hoped this was a strategic move on her part. – Julie McDaniel

I knew she had tucked back in, but with the heat I felt it was going to be one of those days where things could shift. She was smart, calculated, and focused! – Carrie Tollefson

She was still running the pace she wanted to be running and … not everybody who goes with the move should be going with the move. – Chris Lundstrom

And when she was clearly back in the running for a spot on the Olympic team?

 We had our eye on her from the stage and could tell some of the ladies were not getting away from her and then she started picking people off. Her composure was amazing! – Carrie Tollefson

I was pretty calm until about 23 miles. At that point she was in third, but she had Caroline Rotich sitting on her and [Dakotah is] looking like she’s hurting. – Chris Lundstrom

This was the most tense part of the race.  She was toe to toe with Caroline Rotich who has some great 10K speed. Like in a heavyweight bout, they battled. – Austin Budlong

She passed our cheer zone (about mile 25.9) comfortably in third but digging deep and not leaving anything to chance. We were chanting Da-Ko-Tah Da-Ko-Tah Da-Ko-Tah and losing our collective minds. – Jeff Metzdorff, Mill City Running Co-Owner

It was electric. It was like a buzz went through the cheer zone. We all knew she works hard and is a tough racer so she could do it. – Lindsay Bacher

And when it was clear that Minnesota’s Dakotah Lindwurm would be a member of the 2024 United States Olympic Team.

Pure joy and excitement both for her and for Coach Lundo. I know how hard these athletes work, and all the blood, sweat and tears that go into even qualifying for this race. – Julie McDaniel

I'll be honest I cried! I was so excited! – Lindsey Altermatt


I am used to watching running by myself so it was amazing to be in a room full of people cheering and screaming.  It was awesome seeing Dakotah cross the line and being surrounded by people who were as excited as I was.   Sarah Ahlers McInerney

Couldn’t believe it was real.  Our team has been grinding for so long to help athletes make the Olympic team. It made all the time and work worth it. – Austin Budlong

I was crying and dancing and yelling her name, and hugging her boyfriend, and pacing on stage, and just doing all the things! It was really hard in that moment to be a neutral person of media. – Carrie Tollefson

I had a big smile on my face … and not just because I knew what the focus of the next Connection feature would be. – Charlie Mahler

We'll give Coach Lundstrom the final word with his race day message about Dakota that is true for all runners:

Not everybody is going to be an Olympian, but people have a lot more potential than they generally understand. – Chris Lundstrom, coach of Olympian Dakotah Lindwurm

This article originally appeared in the The Connection, TCM's weekly e-newsletter. Subscribe here.


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