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By: Tom Durkin
Running for the lives of others
Barbara Millar Triathlon raises funds for hospital, scholarships
Barbara Schmidt Millar, R.N., succumbed to cancer in 1995 at the age of 42 – shortly before the first triathlon was to be held in her honor.

The day after her memorial service, 13 friends from her volleyball league swam, biked and ran in her memory.

Now, 23 years later, the Barbara Schmidt Millar Celebration of Life Triathlon attracts several hundred female athletes. Cheered on by family and friends, they swim in Scott’s Flat Lake and race over the hills of Cascade Shores.

The BSM Triathlon takes place the morning of Sunday, Sept. 17. It consists of a half-mile swim, an 11-mile bike ride and a 3.11-mile footrace to the finish line, according to event director Vanessa Hale.

The popular event raises money for the Women’s Imaging Center of Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital and sets aside money for scholarships for Nevada Union High School graduates who intend to go into the health-care profession.

“Last year, we gave four $2,500 scholarships,” Hale reported. Scholarship winners must be female but do not have to be athletes, she said.

Triathletes can register right up until the time of the event. The individual registration fee is $75 and for a two- or three-woman team is $175. Registration fees jump to $90 for individuals and $200 for teams on Sept. 16, the day before the race.

For the less athletically inclined, there are also two five-kilometer walk/runs. One is for girls 13-17 (must have parental permission) and another is for women 18 and older.

However, the races are simultaneous. “They’ll all run together,” Hale said.

The day before the race, the all-important Event Expo will be held at the Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital Outpatient Center from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

This is where and when athletes pick up their participant packets and event number/bibs. They’re also briefed on transition area “tips and tricks,” not to mention the rules.

Race day starts early at 7 a.m. with registration and body marking. Warmup activities begin at 8:30. and the competitors hit the water at 9 a.m.

Support volunteers track the competitors through every phase of the grueling race, Hale said. “Nobody gets left behind.”

Online registration and more information are available at bsmtri.org.

Tom Durkin is a freelance writer and photographer in Nevada County. Contact him at tdurkin@vfr.net or www.tomdurkin-writer.net.