Katie Kehoe is Director of Sales at the Holiday Inn Resort on Pensacola Beach.
Millie the Gulf Coast Triathlete
“For me personally, it’s not about having a podium finish. I’m out there to enjoy the energy, to celebrate where we live and to watch others accomplish something great.” These wise words were spoken by a dynamic and charming Pensacola based triathlete named Millie Rice.
Millie’s a young mother of three, who moved to Pensacola four years ago when her Navy husband was transferred to Naval Air Station from Hawaii. She enjoyed her active outdoor island lifestyle of surfing, hiking, running and swimming and wanted to sustain it here on the Gulf Coast. A local friend introduced her to triathlon training and she immediately loved it. Millie says, “The training happens outside. It keeps you in touch with the elements. I knew right away that it was for me.”
Millie is one of a thousand competitors participating in the sold out Santa Rosa Island Triathlon on October 1st. It will be the third time she participates in this yearly Pensacola Beach event. Her first time, in 2008, was her first triathlon. Now she completes six to eight a year, including recently, a 1/2 iron man in Augusta Georgia. However, this event is still her favorite. She gives credit to local organizers. Millie says, “Race Director Charles Gheen and his team put on a very well organized, highly attended event and the scenery is hard to match.”
In 2011, the Santa Rosa Island Triathlon will be a family affair for Millie. She’s registered for the relay event with her mother, who is in her sixties, and her sister. Her mom will run just over three miles, Millie will bike eighteen and her sister will swim six hundred yards in the Gulf of Mexico. Millie hopes that success will inspire her team mates to compete solo next year.
No matter the outcome there will be little time to rest as Millie’s eleven year old daughter is registered for the Sea Turtle kids triathlon the following day. The Kids Triathlon is organized by a local organization called the Multisport Performance Institute. MPI is a passionate advocate for family health and fitness, and believes introducing children to multi sport events such as triathlons and duathlons is a great means to that end.
Most people think of triathlon’s as the ultimate test of athletic endurance. However, Millie’s approach is much more grassroots. She says, “My thought is that anyone can do it. If you can swim, bike and jog or walk you can do a triathlon. It’s not about winning. The goal is to finish. The best part of this sport is watching people overcome their doubts and succeed at something they put their mind to.”
Millie doesn’t have a individual coach but trains with a group called the Mere Mortals which is organized by Tri Gulf Coast. The group includes a wide range of athletes ranging from from beginners to Iron Man contenders. They meet once a week in the months leading up to the race to work on techniques and strategies for success on race day.
For Millie the sport enabled her to quickly integrate into her new Gulf Coast community. She claims the local climate makes Pensacola Beach a perfect place to train. Other then the occasional big wind there are few obstacles to being outside. Millie’s dedication to her sport is evident when she says, “I have seen, first hand how a Triathlon changes people’s lives. When you cross the finish line, you don’t just become a triathlete, you redefined your capabilities.”
The Hilton Pensacola Beach Gulf Front Hotel is proud to offer the special rate of $129/night for participants and spectators of the Santa Rosa Island Triathlon. For information and bookings please email email@example.com or call the hotel at 850-916-2999 and ask for the Santa Rosa Island Triathlon special code SIT.
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