Female Triathlete of the Year

Presented by Annie Bowman

Good evening.

It’s my pleasure to share with you all about our 2014 Female Triathlete of the Year.

  • When this athlete was growing up, you could not keep her out of the backyard kiddy pool yet, she never “swam a lap” in a pool. 
  • At age 4, she got her first bike with training wheels but she preferred riding a rocking horse and later real horses.
  • She was never a runner until her freshman year at FSU when she ran her first half-marathon, and 6 weeks later she ran her 1st full marathon.
  • Two half marathons and two full marathons later including the Goofy Challenge, she was ready for a different trial.
  • In May of 2012 she secured a spot in Ironman Florida through the winning bid at a fundraising auction.
  • Imagine it; this athlete had little less than 6 months before this 140.6 mile triathlon, where she would have to swim 2 ½ miles in the ocean, 112 miles on the bike and a marathon (this was the only part she was familiar with). She began her training on a beach cruiser and a stationary trainer in her garage.  Shortly thereafter she purchased a tri-bike.  The first time she rode it, not really knowing where the brakes were, she put her feet down to stop, and promptly crashed.
  • Her swim training began in small backyard pool, swimming 160 laps. 

This athlete is a relative newcomer to the sport, 2014 being only her 3rd year. In her short triathlon career, she has attained highlights and accolades that veterans of this sport only dream about. In fact, in only her 2nd Triathlon, Ironman Florida 2012, she won her age group and qualified for the prestigious Ironman World Championship held in Kona, Hawaii. The following year she competed in Kona and at the same time raised over $13,000 benefiting the TMH Cancer Center through the Kona4Cancer initiative. This resulted in her receiving the 2014 Hero for Hope Award given to a member of the community having done the most for cancer patients.

2014 was a banner year. She won several races outright, ran a Boston Qualifying time at the Tallahassee Marathon and then an outstanding time at the Boston Marathon.  She capped off 2014 by winning the Gulf Winds Triathletes Overall Grand Prix Competition and winning her Age Group at the Great Floridian – One of America’s toughest Ironman Distance events. All this while applying to medical school (and being accepted), and working on another fundraiser to benefit the Children’s Tumor Foundation.

The definition of Triathlete of the Year is:  
This award will be given to both a male and female GulfWindsTrackClub Triathlete, active in the club, whose love of triathlon is demonstrated not only in competition, but also in commitment, service & inspiration.

While her triathlon performances and honors are at the top of the club, it is really her record of service, commitment and inspiration to others that set her apart. Her Big Hearted and Charitable spirit shone through the countless hours fundraising, volunteering, and giving back to the community. This is where this young lady truly shines.

So whether it was qualifying for Kona, running a Boston Marathon Qualifying time, winning the 2014 Gulf Winds Triathletes Grand Prix, mentoring our young triathletes, OR raising thousands of dollars for the TMH Cancer center; her competitive achievements, inspiration to others, and commitment to service; are a model for us to all follow.

Ladies and Gentlemen, if you haven’t already figured it out,

Our 2014 Female Triathlete of the Year is Kate Harrison!