Trixie Smith is taking on the Marjorie Harris Carr Cross Florida Greenway’s Ride Run Roll Relay for the second year in a row—as a one-person team.
Named after his great-grandfather and father, Trixie Smith is always on the lookout for an adventure as unique as his name.
“I was 16 when I watched my first Iron Man triathlon event on TV,” says Smith, 43, who grew up in a small town south of Tallahassee. “I was amazed by the athletes who pushed themselves to the extreme, running, biking and swimming. I thought those are the kinds of people I want to be around; people who push themselves and don’t give up.”
Smith’s triathlon dream was deferred when he joined the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) right out of high school, but he began to develop the athletic skills to apply to that goal.
“We did a lot of swimming and running to stay fit,” notes Smith. “I’m not a particularly fast runner, but I can cover long distances. I’m most comfortable in the water, so swimming always felt very natural to me.”
When Smith was sent to the USCG Training Center in Petaluma, California, he acquired another key athletic skill.
“Petaluma is in Sonoma County and it borders Marin County, which is considered the birthplace of mountain biking,” says Smith. “I connected with some mountain bikers and that’s when I started mountain biking. So now I was running, swimming and mountain biking.”
After his USCG service ended, Smith joined the U.S. Army and served a year in Iraq. Following his discharge, he returned to the Tallahassee area and became involved with forest fire management.
“Now that I was more settled, I began pursuing that triathlon dream again,” shares Smith, who is a U.S. Forest Service wildland firefighter and the helicopter manager for the Apalachicola National Forest. “I competed in my first triathlon in 2007 and I just loved it. It was difficult and a great challenge, but I loved it.”
Just to put things in perspective, Ironman Triathlon participants must swim 2.4 miles, bike 112 miles and run 26.2 miles. After that 2007 triathlon, Smith competed in the 2009 Great Floridian Triathlon in Clermont. That was followed by the 2010 Keys 100 Ultramarathon, where he finished the 100-mile run in 28 hours, 27 minutes and 53 seconds.
“As I said before, I’m not a fast runner, but I am a steady runner and can go long distances,” says Smith. “I was 31 then and actually won my men’s age group of 30-34, which was kind of a surprise to me.”
Every year, Smith signs up for a triathlon, ultramarathon or adventure forest race to continually challenge himself. He points out that he “trains most days, running or mountain biking, and I have a whole forest to do that in.” On rainy days, he can jump on his office treadmill, which is set up like a stand-up desk.
Smith was content with his athletic endeavors and wasn’t looking to add to his skills but ended up becoming an equestrian too. Married with three daughters, it was Smith’s oldest daughter Brigette who helped make that happen.
“Brigette decided she wanted a horse and a friend ended up giving her one,” shares Smith, who, with wife, Misty, owns a 7-acre farm. “Then Misty got a horse and so I decided I might as well get a horse, too so we could all ride together. That first horse was not a good experience at all. I got kicked in the face and decided to get rid of that horse.”
As luck would have it, Smith’s mother had also gotten into horses and had just weaned a black and white paint filly from her dam.
“My mother and I traded horses. And I decided if I was going to have a horse, then I was going to train it to be the kind of horse that I wanted. I worked with that filly every day and we definitely bonded,” says Smith. “Her name is Annie; she’s 10 years old now and we are a good team. She’s a great trail horse and I’ll ride her on forest fire breaks to check on prescribed burns.”
One day while Misty was doing some research for a new adventure for her husband, she came across the 2022 Cross Florida Greenway’s Ride Run Roll Relay. A team consisting of a runner, horseback rider and mountain biker go out one at a time on designated trails, tagging their teammate when they return.
“When Misty told me about the RRR Relay, I was interested right away,” recalls Smith.
“And then I had the idea that it would be more of a challenge if I did all three legs. I checked with Bre Ximenes, the Greenway Trails and Volunteer Coordinator, to see if that was possible. She said as long as I had someone to handle my horse while I was out running and biking, that was fine.”
And so, Smith did indeed compete under the one-person team name of, appropriately enough, Firewalker.
“Overall, it was a great experience. I enjoyed it and Annie did great,” recalls Smith, who finished the 5-mile horseback ride, the 8-mile mountain bike leg and 3.1 run in a total of 2 hours and 32 minutes. “And I learned some things that I can tweak for this year’s event. I rode Annie with a western saddle in running shorts; don’t think I’ll do that again. I also got turned around a bit on the mountain biking leg, so the plan is to come a day early and check out all the trails.”
Smith’s 16-year-old daughter Skyler also competed as an equestrian on a team last year and plans to do the same this year. Misty will be there to support both her husband and daughter as needed.
“I’m not a very competitive person against other people,” says Smith. “I prefer to take on these athletic events to challenge myself. And the RRR Relay is a great way to do that and have some fun, too.” OS
Ride Run Roll Relay Unites Greenway Users
By JoAnn Guidry
Every day, individual equestrians, runners and mountain bikers are out on the 350 miles of trails in the Marjorie Harris Carr Cross Florida Greenway. But on the day of the Ride Run Roll Relay, they come together as teams.
“We are so fortunate to have the Greenway trails, with designated ones for horseback riders, runners/hikers and mountain/paved trail bikers,” says Bre Ximenes, the Cross Florida Greenway Trails and Volunteer Coordinator. “And while there is some interaction between the multiple users on a daily basis, the Ride Run Roll Relay fosters camaraderie among these diverse people. And the event raises funds that go toward trail maintenance.”
The RRR Relay began in 2007 and ran through 2011. An outbreak of the equine herpes virus in 2012 prevented the event from taking place and it remained dormant until 2022.
Teams comprised of an equestrian, runner and mountain biker complete a relay-styled race. The equestrian leg is 5 miles, the mountain biker navigates 8 miles and the runner covers 3.1 miles. There is a special category for Hero teams, consisting of at least two first responders. If a person wants to participate, but has no team members, he or she can be matched with others to form a team. A participant can also be a one-person team, such as Trixie Smith was in 2022 and plans to be in 2023.
“I was approached by former participants interested in reviving the RRR Relay,” Ximenes explains of resuming the event. “There seemed to be enough interest and the 2022 event proved to be our best ever. We had 109 participants and 41 teams. Through registration fees, sponsorships and raffles, we raised $8,558 for trails maintenance.”
In addition to awards to the Top 3 teams, prizes are also handed out to fastest teams, middle-of-the-pack team, turtle (slowest) team, best team name and best dressed team. There is a fair atmosphere with food and merchandise vendors, music and information booths about the Greenway.
“The RRR Relay is a great family event that promotes health through physical activity in a natural setting,” offers Ximenes. “It also brings awareness to our community about how fortunate we are to have the Cross Florida Greenway, a state park, in our backyard. We are grateful to all the community sponsors and volunteers who help make this event possible.”
The RRR Relay is a collaboration between the Florida Park Service and the Florida Horse Park, where the event is staged. This year’s event begins at 8am on Saturday, April 1. Registration is online only at runsignup.com/triple-r-relay OS
For more information, contact Bre Ximenes at (352) 758-1000 or firstname.lastname@example.org