About Kathy


- Name: Kathy Rakel

- Training Location: San Antonio, TX

- Education: US Air Force Academy, University of Arizona, Middlebury College

- Employer: Director of Finance for US Military Endurance Sports

     Kathy’s first assignment in the Air Force was as a graduate student at Tucson’s University of Arizona and Middlebury College in Vermont where she earned an MA in Near Eastern Studies with an Arabic Language emphasis.  During this time, her interest in triathlon grew.  Hard work landed Kathy 5th overall at the 2008 Collegiate National Championship and the opportunity to turn pro.  With more Arabic and Air Force Intelligence training ahead of her, she decided to pass on the opportunity.  Again, Kathy qualified for her pro card in May of 2009 but waited until 2010 to get her professional triathlon license. 

     Kathy had many interests growing up but spent most of her time playing golf, basketball, or the flute (which she continues to play).  As a cadet at the United States Air Force Academy, Kathy undertook a wide variety of physical challenges.  During her senior year, she unexpectedly set the record for the fastest female cadet Ironman finishing time by completing the April 2007 Ironman Arizona in 11:46:42. 

     Although too inexperienced to make the Air Force Triathlon Team in 2007, Kathy’s persistence paid off 3 years later when she became the first woman in the Air Force to claim the overall women’s title at the Armed Forces Triathlon Championship, an accomplishment she repeated in 2011 and 2012.  After fulfilling her service commitment, Kathy left the military to focus more of her efforts on competing professionally, with an emphasis on longer distance races.