‘Mission of care’: Barbara Schmidt Millar Triathlon set for Sept. 19, registration open | TheUnion.com

‘Mission of care’: Barbara Schmidt Millar Triathlon set for Sept. 19, registration open

Triathletes trudge up Lake Lane after finishing the swimming portion of the 2019 Barbara Schmidt Millar Triathlon. The 2021 event is set for Sept. 19 and will be a duathlon due to projected low water levels at Scotts Flat Lake.
Photo: Elias Funez

The Barbara Schmidt Millar Women’s Triathlon and 5K is back on the Nevada County sports calendar and is open for registration.

“When I think about the triathlon, I think about how it’s a mission of care,” said Event Director Danielle Scallin. “It comes down to something that simple. It’s about personal care for the athletes who are participating and training. It’s about the history, which is one of care. It’s about the proceeds and money that go into the community with scholarships, and to the Imaging Center at Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital for women who can’t afford mammograms. It’s a whole lot of care.”

For more than a quarter century the Barbara Schmidt Millar Women’s Triathlon and 5K has been bringing people together, inspiring healthy living and empowering women. After having to cancel the triathlon in 2020 due to COVID-19, the 2021 event is set for Sept. 19 in Cascade Shores.

This year’s installation will be a duathlon due to projected low water levels at Scotts Flat Lake. The duathlon will feature a 2.6-mile run to start things off. Athletes will then endure a 10.5 mile bike ride before finishing the event with a 1.4 mile run to the finish line.

“I think it’s important for people to reconnect with the event or maybe try it for the first time,” said Scallin, who competed in her first BSM triathlon in 2011. “It’s still going to be challenging, still going to be exciting, the effort is still very much worth it and the payoff to the athlete and the community at large is still huge.”

Registration for this year’s duathlon is currently open and will run through Sept. 18. Registration can be completed at https://bsmtri.org.

Women run the 5K course during the 2019 Barbara Schmidt Millar event at Cascade Shores.
Photo: Elias Funez

Funds raised by the event go the Women’s Imaging Center of Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital for women who cannot afford mammograms, and to the Barbara Schmidt Millar Memorial Scholarship, which is awarded to female high school graduates of Nevada Union High School pursuing an education in health care.

“It’s a really great event to support because it reaches a lot of people in our community,” said former Event Director Vanessa Hale. “It’s really all about women’s health. With the training that goes into it all summer, it’s obviously a really good thing for our bodies and for our mental health. It gives ladies a chance to get away from their daily routines, and get some healthy exercise in, and then on the day-of it’s really about camaraderie, competitive spirit for some, and for others it’s about being with friends.”

Barbara Schmidt Millar was a 1971 Nevada Union graduate who went on to get a nursing degree from Fresno State. She worked as a nurse in San Luis Obispo and Petaluma before returning to Grass Valley. She was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1987, which she overcame and survived. In 1992, Schmidt Millar was diagnosed with sarcoma of the brachial plexus and after a three-year battle, died at the age of 42, according to the event website.

The first ever BSM triathlon took place just one day after Schmidt Millar’s memorial service as 13 of Schmidt Millar’s friends ran, biked and swam in her honor. Twenty-six years later the event has become one of the most popular and highly regarded sporting events in Nevada County.

“There’s nothing else like it,” said Scallin of the event. “It gives me goosebumps just to think about it. It’s a really amazing thing in itself, the energy the event creates.”

Hale added, “I imagine there will be some emotions from a lot of people, myself included (on the day of). I’m just grateful that we will be able to be back together and celebrating our healthy bodies and celebrating the memories of those who can’t be with us.”

To contact Sports Editor Walter Ford, email wford@theunion.com


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