SEYMOUR JOHNSON AIR FORCE BASE, N.C. -- Her heart beats faster and faster and beads of sweat drip down her face, as she sprints toward the finish line just seconds ahead of several other competitors. This race earned her the title of fastest woman triathlete in the Department of Defense.
At the age of 15, 2nd Lt. Samantha Morrison, recent graduate of the Air Force Academy, saw an ad in the newspaper for a half marathon and was determined to give it a try.
She is now a competitive triathlete representing the Air Force.
Morrison recently competed and won the Armed Forces National Championships in her first race as an active duty Air Force officer. She finished this race, which involved a 1k swim, 40k bike and 10k run in 2:07.39, making her the fastest woman triathlete in the DoD and the third fastest in the world.
"My siblings and I spent over 20 hours per week training with our local club swim team," Morrison said. "My parents pushed us to be our best, stay fit and get into the habit of an active lifestyle. I hated my dad every Saturday morning at 5 a.m. when he would wake me up to go to practice, but I thank him for it now."
According to her resume, Morrison is in her seventh year of competing in triathlons. She was recruited to run Division I cross country and track at the Academy. After only one season, she decided that triathlon racing was her true passion.
With the support of her friends and family, she continues to thrive as a competitor and an officer in the Air Force.
"It is hard for me to balance my family and friends with my training schedule," Morrison stated. "I end up spending all of my friend time working out with them, then we are too exhausted to do other fun things. My family has started to get into the sport, so my dad will bike with me and my sisters run alongside as well. This helps with being able to balance both."
A 10k run, 40k bike and a 1k swim, seems like an exhausting task, add competing and fighting for a top 3 position among hundreds of other participants to that task and it seems rather daunting, however, Morrison trains for nearly 25 hours a week in order to triumph in these triathlons.
She says that her typical workout routine involves swimming for about an hour in the morning and then a two-hour run or bike. She also incorporates crossfit and weight training in order to avoid injury and stay strong, but getting into this routine wasn't the easiest thing to do.
"I think that starting the routine is the hardest part, but once you suck it up for a week or two, you'll feel like you are missing a part of your life if you miss a workout," she said. "Just give the active lifestyle a 7-day shot, and you'll get addicted, in a good way."
Morrison is slated to arrive at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, in August. While on station, Morrison will be part of the public affairs team and live the motto of "4th but First" by being the fastest person in the DoD.
In October, she will race in the Ironman World Championships for the second time. However, this year she competes representing the entire Air Force, as their chosen women's representative.
"I hope that [competing in triathlons] helps me in my public affairs career by showing people that I am dedicated to whatever I do in life," Morrison said. "I want to make the Air Force a career, but by competing in triathlons on the side I hope it helps me stay active and busy. When I am busy it makes me do a better job at everything in life."