Female Triathlete of the Year AwardPresented by Charlie Johnson
Cool….Calm….Collected….and Dedicated. These are all words that describe tonight’s recipient ofthe Female Triathlete of the Year. This not only applies in the sport of triathlon, but also in life. Anyone who knows her will attest to that.
She worked her way into the world of triathlon in the same order the individual sports are raced: swim, bike, run. As a youth growing up in south Florida, she swam competitively. Fast forward toadult life, and she was given a red steel Trek 660 by her father. It probably weighed as much as her car. She had to build up to be able to ride the length of the St. Marks Trail. But she worked hard and by 2008 she completed the Six Gap Century ride which includes over 11,000 feet of elevation gain. She regularly rides 100 miles these days. Running was the last sport she picked up starting with neighborhood runs under one mile in 2009. By 2010, she had completed her firsthalf marathon. She now has the Lookout Mountain 50 mile race to her credit.>I think the first time I met this individual, I was treading water in the Trousdell Pool at 5:30 am wondering what the heck I was doing out of bed at that time of the day. I was new to the sport of triathlon back then, so my basic thought was that triathletes are nuts…….And I still think that.That was in April of 2009. Since then, she has advanced by leaps and bounds. The following is a short list of her many achievements:
Three Time Ironman Florida Finisher in 2011, 2013 and 2015 (and signed up for Ironman Chattanooga this fall)4 Time Augusta Half Ironman Finisher (in 2010, she completed in 6hr 11 min and in 2013, she completed in 5hr 21 min – almost an hour faster!)In 2015, the culmination of her dedication, she had a breakout season including:1st Female Overall at the Swamp Trail Marathon 1st in Age Group at Red Hills Triathlon (5th Overall Female)3rd Age Group at Gulf Coast Triathlon (a very competitive 70.3 mile race)13th Age Group at Ironman Florida (another very competitive 140.6 mile race and her highestfinish in three times racing it)And to top it off, she was the Overall Grand Prix points winner for the Gulf Winds Triathlon Club. In addition to competing in sports, she gives her time as a volunteer. She has volunteered at many of the YTS kids triathlon series along with various Gulf Winds Track and Tri Club events. Aside from being an inspiration in the world of triathlon, she is also a hero in real life. This getsback to the aforementioned cool, calm and collected traits she holds… On June 4, 2012, she and Mike Boll stopped by Lisa Cox’s house. They had never been toLisa’s house, but thought it would be nice to see if they could find it. Lisa happened to be heading out to run by herself as she did just the night before but decided to join them. The three made it to Robert and Linda McNeal’s house who always put out water for the runners. Lisa bent down topet the McNeal’s dog and passed out. She had gone into Sudden Cardiac Arrest -her heart had completely stopped beating. She was clinically dead.
With Sudden Cardiac Arrest, you only have about 5 minutes before you lose someone completely and only about 5% of people survive. This evening’s award recipient immediately started CPR on Lisa while Robert called 9-1-1. Due to her quick actions, she saved Lisa’s life. We are here toaward this individual for the special achievements she had in 2015. But that special year is simplya result of a lifetime of coolness, calmness, collectedness and dedication.
Ladies and gentlemen, please join me in congratulating the 2015 Female Triathlete of the Year – Jamie Harris!