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Support for cause runs deep

The Union StaffA record nearly 350 women participated in the Barbara Schmidt Millar Celebration of Life women's triathlon Sunday, which also included team and walk/run events.
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Michelle Falvey had heard plenty about the Barbara Schmidt Millar Celebration of Life women’s triathlon.

From some who hoped she would participate, she even heard it was very low-key.

“That is not how I’d describe it,” said the Grass Valley resident, who not only took part this year but won the charity event. “The focus is not on the competition. You are racing yourself. The day is about the camaraderie and the support, which is absolutely incredible.”



The event, held annually at Cascade Shores to raise money to provide services in the fight against breast cancer, had nearly 350 women participate and another 100 people volunteer, not to mention the dozens who went to support the event. The athletes included 150 triathletes, a leap from last year’s event which had 116.

Though the Celebration of Life is promoted in Nevada County, some participants Sunday came from Napa, Stockton, Chico, Los Angeles and places in between to compete in the three-woman team events, the triathlon, or the walk/run.




It is not hard to understand the tremendous pull the event has on people whose lives have been challenged directly or indirectly by breast cancer. As much as the event is for charity, it was once again a positive way for women to reach out and share their stories and support one another.

Perhaps no better way was this community illustrated Sunday than when the athletes formed a unity circle, stood shoulder to shoulder, only to blindly seat themselves upon the legs of the woman who once stood behind them in the circle.

The event, which also included the Pledge of Allegiance and a rendition of “God Bless America,” was filled with support in ways that took Falvey, a former collegiate distance runner, by surprise.

“Everybody was cheering on everybody through the whole race,” Falvey said. “It was really exhilarating, and at one point brought me to tears. I was really amazed.”

Evans Phelps, who has participated for four years, was given a special award at the event in part because she mentored and brought seven women to the event.

“It is all about a community of women and a community of all ages doing their best,” Phelps said.

Phelps brought her daughter, Megan Michelson, to participate in the Celebration of Life for the first time. Patty Egge participated with four sisters and her mother. Luella Altman, whose team, the Hammer of the Gods, came together the night before, managed to get her daughter Danielle, who lives near Los Angeles, to participate.

Bobbie Heard of Grass Valley was given the most inspirational award. Viki Brake of Nevada City was honored with the most spirit.

“The Cascade Shores people are awesome about the event. Everybody said, and all we heard, was that the day went so smoothly,” said organizer Cathy Anderson-Meyers. “We try to keep the number of participants around 300 to 350, because physically and emotionally, that is what we can handle. Today, when you see it all happen …”

Anderson-Meyers’ voice trailed off. Like many of the sights and emotions of the day, the fitting words or phrases were often not easily articulated.

Celebration of Life Results – Teams

Dana Hawkins, 1:11:13

Stephanie Bacon, 1:18:24

The Fams, 1:27:03

Las Tres Estrellas, 1:30:24

Team 27, 1:31:52

Babe-athon, 1:32:02

Tri-Fire, 1:33:26

Debbie Wagner, 1:33:36

Banner Mountain Babes, 1:33:40

Pushin 40, 1:34:08

Total Damage, 1:34:11

Mountain Recreation II, 1:34:22

Road Kill, 1:34:53

Judy Hickman, 1:36:20

Pengy N’ Moo, 1:36:22

Le Mountain Mamas, 1:36:50

Kneierly Perfect, 1:38:11

Faith, 1:38:49

Three Friends, 1:39:50

Mountain Mamas, 1:40:43

The B Team, 1:41:12

Grammy Bears, 1:41:26

The Turtles, 1:41:26

Trio Grand, 1:42:01

Two Gals and a Girl, 1:43:39

Mamas for Mammos, 1:44:11

Ageless, 1:45:26

For Marilyn, 1:45:45

PT Mamas, 1:46:08

Sissensation, 1:46:51

Tres Amigas, 1:47:33

True Irish Spirit, 1:47:36

Who Nose?, 1:48:40

Team Trathen, 1:51:43

Mountain Recreation I, 1:52:29

Sierra Belles, 1:53:51

Team Try, 1:53:47

Health and P.E. Peppers, 1:54:28

Snix Chix, 1:54:44

Bosom Buddies, 1:54:47

So Nifty Old Broads (SNOBS), 1:55:41

49er Rotary Powered, 1:56:29

T.C.T., 1:57:01

Short and Sassy, 1:58:37

Team Tadpole, 2:00:11

Sisters of Perpetual Spunk, 2:01:01

Kris’s Hard Working Girls, 2:01:09

Troop 156, 2:02:59

Save Our Sisters (S.O.S.), 2:03:10

Family Affair, 2:04:49


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