Sweatt Cheaha Alabama Backroads FacebookKat Sweatt, Top 100-miler Cheaha ChallengeKat Sweatt, a student in the Nutrition Sciences PhD program, made history as the first female to finish the Cheaha Challenge as the top overall 100-miler. The UAB graduate student finished the mountain bike ride in five hours, 15 minutes and 55 seconds – nearly 45 seconds ahead of the top male 100-miler.

When asked by a reporter with the Anniston Star about the historic finish, Sweatt said with a shrug, “It’s pretty cool.”

Today, she has this to say about the accomplishment.

“It was a tough but memorable ride.  Over 600 cyclists participated, the event staff was great, and we couldn’t have asked for a prettier day,” said Sweatt who is scheduled to finish the UAB PhD program in 2017. “I also have to mention that I rode the first 87 miles with a group of guys who went on to do the 124-mile Ultra.  Many of who would have finished well ahead of me if they had just done the 100 mile option – so kudos to them!”

The director of the Cheaha Challenge, Brooke Nelson, had this to say about Sweatt’s ride to the Star, “What a role model for young ladies that are just starting out cycling to have someone finish the Cheaha challenge century ride first. That is amazing.”

Sweatt, whose research interests at UAB involve ethnic disparities in the etiology of obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease, reiterated the message for others to get outdoors and get moving.

“Cycling is a passion of mine and I encourage others to give it a try whether it be five miles or 100 miles,” said Sweatt who took up cycling around 2010.

She has had other strong finishes this year in what is known as the Alabama Backroads Series – a 13-ride series that includes the Cheaha event – including another Century finish at the Old Howard 100 held in Marion last month. Sweatt is now preparing for her next major cycling event, the Tulsa Tough.

The PhD program is in the Department of Nutrition Sciences in the UAB School of Health Professions.