Paul TenHaken currently serves as the 32nd Mayor of Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Since taking office in 2018 and being re-elected in 2022, he has led with a focus on public entrepreneurship, innovation, and fiscal responsibility.
Before taking office, Paul established a reputation as a leader in the marketing technology sector. He founded and successfully exited Click Rain, a digital agency in Sioux Falls that is consistently recognized as a leader for innovative product offerings and a unique workplace culture.
Paul is passionate about both physical and mental wellness and the often overlooked connection between the two. An avid obstacle course racer and triathlete, Paul uses his platform as mayor of the largest city in South Dakota to regularly encourage the 200,000+ residents of Sioux Falls to get active and be mindful of their health. During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic and realizing the mental health toll the pandemic was taking on residents, Paul started the “100 Miles in 100 Days” challenge in Sioux Falls to get people outside and moving, leading to thousands of miles logged by people across the state. During his time in office, Paul has also been a champion for mental health awareness programs and services, most recently helping to open The Link – a facility that connects those experiencing addiction and mental health challenges to the appropriate community resources.
“The 437 Project is our way of shining a light on the inseparable connection between physical and mental health and the importance of taking care of the bodies and minds we have been given,” said Paul.
While he has won numerous business, government, and entrepreneurial awards over the years, Paul’s proudest accomplishment is his family—wife, Jill, and their three children.
Allison works as a Relationship Manager for Fiserv, a global provider of payment and financial technology solutions. As a strategic partner, she helps banks with digital needs and maximizing growth and profitability.
Outside of a career with a global fintech, her husband Jon commonly says Allison is the glue that keeps the Weber Family Household together. They are the proud parents of three daughters.
Allison has run 11 marathons, 2 half Ironman triathlons, and several 200+ mile running relay events.
“I am very proud to be a member of The 437 Project. Coming from a long family history of depression, anxiety, and alcoholism, I try to focus on healthy habits and the connection between physical and mental health. Exercise helps me relieve stress, maintain a healthy lifestyle, and connect with others in a positive environment.”
Ryan Flogstad has been in Law Enforcement for over 19 years. He has served in numerous roles professionally but his off duty roles are his most cherished.
Ryan and his wife support their two children in many school and 4H activities. They are active in horse, cow and goat showing and Ryan’s role is “Show Dad”. This means he has little animal care responsibility and does what his wife and daughter tell him to. Ryan is an avid pheasant hunter, camper, hiker and runner.
Running has been a part of Ryan’s life since middle school. He ran middle distance races in track during high school and college. Ryan did not run long distances until his mid-twenties, when the challenge of a marathon peaked his interest. Even though running is an individual effort, running marathons and relays is a family event. Running has provided experiences for Ryan his family throughout the country. The family has learned the highs of successful runs and the life lessons from the physically and mentally tough runs.
“There was no question I wanted to be a part of The 437 Project. As a born and raised South Dakotan, I couldn’t be more proud to be a part of a project which focuses on physical and mental health throughout the state.”
Born and raised in Kenya, Benson migrated to the United States in 2009 to pursue his undergraduate and graduate studies at Butler College and the University of South Dakota. He was also a track and cross country team member representing both colleges. Currently, Benson works as a therapist at Family Service, Inc. in Sioux Falls, SD. He is a Level I & II Certified Running Coach and Certified Coaching Instructor for the Road Runners Club of America (RRCA). He is also the Director of Private Coaching at 605 Running Company in Sioux Falls, SD.
Benson is a competitive distance runner specializing in 5k - Marathon distances, representing Skechers Performance, Coros Wearables, Maurten Official, UP2U, and 605 Running Company. He was named the 2020 Boston Marathon Honorary Member and placed 17th overall at the 2020 Boston Marathon.
As a professional in this field, I know that physical activity can play an essential role in mental well-being and relieve symptoms of mental health conditions like depression and anxiety. While the physical health benefits of exercise are frequently discussed, the link between exercise and mental health is often overlooked. Studies suggest that physical exercise may help ward off mental health symptoms before they start. The 437 Project is a way of bringing awareness to Mental Health.
In conjunction with her omnipresent role as Marshall Household Manager, Kelly is an Account Risk Manager for Risk Administration Services (RAS), the largest provider of workers’ compensation insurance in the state of South Dakota. In all these roles, she enjoys connecting with others and helping craft a meaningful story.
Kelly has run 10 marathons and several relay-style races with her all-female team, Great Faces, Great Paces. Her proudest running accomplishments include her team’s 3rd place finish at the storied Hood to Coast Relay and qualifying for the Boston Marathon.
“Being part of The 437 Project has tremendous meaning for me: a chance to be part of creating something lasting, to connect with communities across my home state about the importance of mental and physical health, and to journey along with this impressive group of runners is such an amazing opportunity.”
A graduate of Sioux Falls Washington High School and the University of Sioux Falls, Greg Koch is proud to call South Dakota home. Greg spent the first part of his career developing a strong passion for health and wellness, the great outdoors and youth development working for the Sioux Falls Family YMCA, eventually becoming the Director of Camping Services. As a member of a great entrepreneurial family, Greg has witnessed first-hand, over nineteen years, the incredible resurgence of Downtown Sioux Falls.
In 2014 Greg joined the 605 Running Company. In 2018 Greg founded the Sioux Falls Skedaddle Half Marathon. With an estimated economic impact of $500,000 annually this event has become a destination for the region’s best athletes to compete at the highest level of post-collegiate distance running. Combining his passion for adventure, sport and philanthropy Greg hasn’t just built a successful business, he has helped to grow a healthy community.
In 2019 Greg earned 3rd place honors at The Big Pitch, a national contest hosted by The Running Event in Austin, Texas. Under Greg’s guidance 605 Running Company is a 7 (2015-2022) time nominee for Footwear Insights, 50 Best Running Stores in the United States. Greg was nominated in 2021 for the, 4 Under 40 Award, presented by the Young Professionals Network of the Greater Sioux Falls Chamber of Commerce. Finally, in 2022 605 Running Company was a Corporate Humanitarian Honoree, from the Helpline Center, Spirit of Volunteerism Awards.
In 2022, 605 Running Company worked to outfit the South Dakota Chapter of the Special Olympics athletes with footwear to compete in the USA Games (June 2022) in Orlando, Florida. The Sioux Falls Skedaddle recently helped raise over $18,000 for Bryan Boy’s for Hope.
Greg has competed across the country and cannot wait to The 437 Project in September!
Matt Smith is the Market President for Dacotah Bank in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. In his role he seeks to build relationships with others, listen to their stories and work together to help them achieve success.
In 2012 Matt and his wife Yvonne fell in love with running. Over the past 10+ years they have discovered the benefits of running are just as much, if not more, for their mental health as physical health. Running provides Matt with much needed time to reflect, think and learn. It has also presented opportunities to meet great people from many different backgrounds and abilities with the common goal of pushing yourself to be your best. Matt has completed 13 marathons and has discovered that it takes a combination of goal setting, training, and determination to become a successful marathoner. Among Matt’s most cherished accomplishments is being a two-time qualifier for and participant in the Boston Marathon.
The 437 Project is exciting to Matt as it brings together a group of South Dakotans to committed to raising awareness about the connection of physical health and mental health. This project will benefit people in need across South Dakota connecting them to mental health resources.
Hebrews 12:1, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.”
Being a nurse by training, I see firsthand the increasing levels of despair, loneliness, anxiety, and depression in our society. I also know from personal experience the feeling of isolation, which depression and anxiety can lead one toward. I wanted to be a part of The 437 Project to bring awareness to mental issues across our entire state. This is an issue that affects our rural and populated areas. It also affects people across all socioeconomic levels.
Activity, exercise, and competition have been a saving grace for me in combating anxiety and depression. Also, the camaraderie I have experienced through training and race events have helped me to connect with others and feel a part of a larger purpose. Some of my best friendships have been developed through my time training.
My hope with The 437 Project is twofold; to bring awareness of the need for better mental health services in our region and to show activity of any kind, movement of any nature is one of the most important things we can do to help combat the devil’s desire to bring us under. My most treasured times are spent with my husband and three children: Garrett Jackson and Gabrielle. I love watching them shine in their various extracurricular activities, spending quality time with them at home and traveling to experience Gods glorious world.
Wendy is the Director of Client Services at Electric Pulp, a digital marketing agency in Sioux Falls. As a full time employee, wife and mother of three active kids, she recognizes the importance of personal health both mental and physical.
When some neighbors asked her to run her first half marathon nearly 12 years ago she started down the running path and hasn’t looked back. Several full marathons, half marathons and 200+ mile relay events later, running has become more than just a hobby. Running has been a place for physical fitness, strong friendships, mental toughness and personal reflection.
“Being part of The 437 Project is a small way to help support the mental well-being throughout our state. I’m happy to be part of a group that will continue to find ways to improve our community and each other.”
Kristen De Berg
Kristen is a cardiovascular genetic counselor at Sanford Health. She helps patients and families identify hereditary cardiac conditions with the hope of improving their cardiac care and identifying family members who may benefit from cardiac surveillance due to inherited risk. In addition to her clinical role, she also is a course instructor for the genetic counseling program at Augustana University.
Kristen and her husband, Chris, have completed many endurance events together. They have three children who are also active in athletics and music. Some of the events Kristen has completed include 7 marathons, 2 Ironmans, an ultramarathon and several long distance relay events.
"I enjoy endurance sports, when the physical gets difficult and the mental component needs to take over. Endurance sports have a finish line, where you can stop and catch your breath. But for those who struggle with mental health daily, there is no clear finish line and the endurance to carry on continues. I hope through The 437 Project, continued program development and awareness can help individuals who are in need of a mental “breather”."
Alex Pool started as the Integration Manager at the Helpline Center one month before the COVID pandemic. As the Helpline Center responded to the pandemic, Alex became an integral piece to building innovative technology solutions to meet increasing social service and mental health needs. Today, Alex continues to expand the behind the scenes technology infrastructure that powers the 24/7 services of the Helpline Center and outside agency collaborations. Specific projects that Alex is involved in includes maintaining and customizing technology platforms for several mental health programs including Helpline Center Network of Care, 988 (National Suicide Prevention Lifeline) and a free counseling voucher program. He enjoys tackling new ways to integrate technology building systems to more efficiently serve individuals in need.
Alex’s running journey started during his five-year service in the US Marine Corps. Since exiting the military, he continues to run to stay active, meet new people and clear his mind of the day’s events. His most memorable running moment was finishing first in the 15k Halloween Trick or Treat Trail Run in a full wizard costume including a robe, long beard and staff.
He believes in the strong impact mental health services can have on all members of the community and the impact that running can have on an individual’s overall mental health.
“I am honored to be selected to be part of The 437 Project representing the Helpline Center and highlighting the critical work that my amazing co-workers do 24/7 in supporting and connecting individuals across South Dakota.”
Whitney Lucas Molitor
Whitney is an occupational therapist and faculty member at the University of South Dakota. Her work focuses on health and wellness promotion, chronic disease prevention, and the social determinants of health. Whitney enjoys spending time with her family, reading, and traveling.
Whitney grew up running, a spark that was ignited by her Dad’s passion for running and coaching. Throughout her life running has had a steady presence so much so that most family events, celebrations, and holidays involve running. Whitney believes that running promotes life balance and mental clarity, and offers benefits beyond improved physical health.
“When the opportunity to run on The 437 Project team came up, I was immediately drawn to the purpose and mission of the project. My training in occupational therapy was a perfect fit for understanding the link between mental and physical well-being. I knew this was something I wanted to do and am incredibly honored to be a member of the team.”