Kevin and Genia Allen-Schmid are Bellingham newcomers and Ski to Sea race rookies, but they are already No. 1.
“That’s right!” team captain Kevin said with a laugh. “Our family team, the Allen8tors, was given No. 1 because we were the first to register for this year’s Ski to Sea.”
If you get the idea that the Allen8tors are enthusiastic about their first Ski to Sea, you would be right.
“We’ve gone from GUF (Glacier Unitarian Fellowship) to BUF,“ Kevin said. “In Montana, we had friends in GUF — Judy and Don Spivey — who told us at a farewell picnic how much fun it is to participate in Ski to Sea, so we knew we wanted to do the race. Judy planted the seed.”
The Allen8tors are a complete family team. They consist of two related families, including Kevin, Genia, daughter Katy Allen-Schmid, Kevin’s brother Dar, cousin Liz Melville and daughters Kelly, Tracy and 16-year-old Rosie Melville, the team’s youngest.
“We have a good backup for everyone, Katy’s boyfriend Bobby Deming,” Kevin said. “We will really need Bobby if Tracy Melville qualifies for the NCAA (Division II) track championships (with Western Washington University) the same weekend as Ski to Sea.”
Not that Bobby would be a bad “ringer.” He’s a 26-year-old firefighter and Army Reserve member.
Kevin, the team’s oldest member at 57, says the family couldn’t be prouder of 19-year-old Tracy.
“Tracy is our star,” he said of the team’s downhill runner. “She’s on scholarship at Western and ran in the NCAA cross country championships as a freshman. She won the Washington state Class B state championship at Sprague.”
The Allen8tors will line up this way: Liz Melville in the cross-country skiing leg, Kevin Allen-Schmid in the downhill skiing leg, Tracy Melville in the running leg, Genia Allen-Schmid in the road biking leg, Katy Allen-Schmid and Rosie Melville in the canoeing leg, Dar Allen-Schmid in the cyclocross leg and Kelly Melville in the kayaking leg.
“I’m the one who talked them into this,” chuckled Kevin, a Pacific Lutheran University graduate. He took up running marathons in middle age and now has run eight, including the Kilimanjaro Marathon in Tanzania and the Bellingham Bay Marathon last September, only a few weeks after buying a home in Bellingham.
“We absolutely love it here,” said Kevin, who spent 21 years in the Flathead Valley of Montana. “The people in Flathead Valley, which is beautiful, call Bellingham Flathead Valley West.”
There is another Allen-Schmid who may someday become a great asset for the Allen8tors but can’t participate this year because of work obligations — 24-year-old son Caleb.
“Caleb was a state wrestling champion in Montana for Flathead High School,” Kevin said. “Last year, he became the nation’s youngest smoke jumper (he is based in Missoula) at age 23. He’s getting married in July.”