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Triple Threat

The top finishers placed as expected Sunday in the 10th Annual Barbara Schmidt Millar Celebration of Life Triathlon.

Michelle Falvey took first place, as she had done the previous two years. In second was 23-year-old Wenn Murphy, the daughter of a breast cancer survivor.

Had they been competing in Athens, Greece, instead of Cascade Shores, Megan Michelson, 22, would have left with the bronze medal.



But the fourth-place finisher, Evans Phelps, likely would not have been favored by on-lookers to place in the top five, if even at all.

Phelps, a 54-year-old Nevada City hotel owner, is Michelson’s mother, and the pair were able to hug moments after they had both crossed the finish line.




And even though it was the daughter who topped the mother, Michelson still feels Phelps has the edge.

“Not many people can say their 54-year-old mother can kick their butts,” she said.

Very little emphasis, however, is put on winning.

Due to the nature of the event, which is a memorial to Grass Valley’s Barbara Schmidt Millar, who lost her life to cancer when she was 42, the thoughts of most participating are not the finish line, but the fight of cancer victims.

Especially for Phelps and Michelson, the race has meaning beyond victory.

Phelps’ mother Peggy – Michelson’s grandmother – fought and beat breast cancer when she was 64.

Now, 15 years later, Phelps hopes next year will feature three generations of her family. Not able to compete in the full triathlon, Peggy Phelps would take part in the walk/run event, but it would mean no less to her daughter and granddaughter.

Of the 400-or-so people who raced Sunday, Phelps played a part in getting a large portion of them there. As her daughter explained, Phelps inspires and encourages her friends to take part in the triathlon.

It all fits with Phelps’ desire for commoradory.

The part she enjoys most, she said, is the training. The Tuesday and Thursday evenings she spends running with masses of women along Scotts Flat Lake is where she said she draws her greatest pleasure – in being with such a large group with the common purpose of enjoyment.

“It’s all women,” she said, “so there’s more talking than training.”


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