Athlete Partners

Michael Strickland

Triathlon / Marathon

Hometown:  Moultrie, GA

Michael has enjoyed participating in endurance sports for over twelve years, and has been treating with members of the Vereen Team before the Vereen Center was formed.  In 2006, competing in his third race of any distance, he ran a 3:10 26.2-mile marathon to qualify for the Boston Marathon- a catalyst which lead to participation in numerous road races and triathlons. A member of the Vereen Team helped him with a chronic back injury for that race and he has been injury-free for that condition since.

Michael has been a top 3 finisher in excess of twenty races at the Sprint and Olympic distance triathlons, and earned podium spots in the top 10 overall at the Ironman 70.3 distance, including a 4th overall finish and a 7th overall finish where he was the winner of the Master’s Division.  Michael is an Ironman triathlete and was named an Ironman All World Athlete by World Triathlon Corporation and has qualified for the USA Triathlon National Championships.

Recently, Michael began to focus on run-only events again.  In March of 2017 he ran a 1:26 half-marathon which earned him a top 10 overall finish, winner of the Master’s Division, and qualified him for the 2018 New York Marathon.  Michael credits the care he received at The Vereen Center for this race result, as he received extensive cryotherapy for month leading into the race, enabling him to recover from workouts much faster than without the treatment.  As a 45-year-old athlete, his current goal is to beat his best marathon time he ran as a 34-year-old.

Michael is married to his law school sweetheart, Elizabeth, who is an avid participant in CrossFit, whose support he credits for his success in athletics.  His children are both very active as Sara is involved in ballet and dance, and Andrew plays soccer. His entire family has utilized the care of the Vereen Center and the Vereen Team.

Michael is an attorney who travels all over Georgia representing agriculture businesses.  His law firm was founded in 1904 and has been a fixture in South Georgia for over a century.   He has achieved the highest possible AV rating from Martindale-Hubbell® Peer Review Ratings™, the gold standard in attorney ratings since 1868.  Locally, Michael is active in his church, having served three terms as a Deacon at the First Presbyterian Church of Moultrie.  He serves on the Board of Directors of the Moultrie/ Colquitt County Sports Hall of Fame, and has served on the Board of Directors of the Moultrie YMCA and Colquitt County Arts Center.

Melissa Thompson


Hometown:  Thomasville, GAMelissa Thompson has been competing in triathlons for over 4 years. She has no prior background to the sport other than a few years of running some local races but feels the sport comes naturally.  In triathlon competition, Melissa has earned numerous “Overall” and “Top 5 Female” finishes.  She has also completed the Hy-Vee US Championships and placed top 10 and placed 4th in 70.3-mile distances. This year with the help of her coach Stephanie and the Vereen Rehabilitation Center she plans to race IM70.3 distances to qualify for the Australia event in 2016.

She shares the love of her sport with several teams – including Triattic, Gulf Winds, and Rose City Tri Club – in which she considers herself among family. Melissa never gives up and loves to push herself to her limits which are never ending. She is a proactive advocate of her sport and preventing injuries. She is excited about being a 2nd year member of the Big Sexy Racing Elite team and wants to use this opportunity to compete with the best and show the world what she and her team are made of!  When she is not training or racing, Melissa is chasing her two daughters McKenna and Kayla.