Taking swift action: Participant finds way into triathlon after move to the RGV

HARLINGEN — Stranger in a strange land?

Not Amber Thackeray. She’d only been here two weeks when she walked into Bicycle World RGV and asked about the Tri Girl Sprint Triathlon.

That was Wednesday and the event sponsored by Bicycle World would take place Saturday. Manager Ana Adame, however, took swift action. She made a series of rapid-fire phone calls. She networked urgently until she located someone who’d signed up for the event — but wouldn’t be there Saturday.

Thackery, 29, now had a spot in the triathlon.

“Everybody was so kind,” said Thackeray, who has just moved here from Boston.

The move came after her husband accepted a job with the federal government. She is working on her doctorate in organizational behavior at Pepperdine University in California.

“I have to travel back and forth,” she said.

Thackeray and her husband, Mike Liddell, 34, are well-versed at traveling “back and forth” and living in many places.

“We’ve lived all over the world,” Thackeray said. “I’ve raced all over the country. I’m originally from Utah. I lived in Utah and Arizona.”

Thackeray’s family tree stretches all the way to England and even India. If her name sounds familiar, it’s because she’s a direct descendant of the English author William Makepeace Thackeray. The 19th-century author is known for the work “Vanity Fair” as well as other writings.

The word “direct” can be a little deceiving. Although technically correct, she says the relationship is very distant.

“He’s my grandpa’s grandpa’s grandpa,” she said.

A few stories about the family’s relationship to the author have passed down through the generations, but she knows very little about him. However, she takes pride in people so often making the connection when they hear her name.

“I think it’s pretty cool,” she said.

Her primary concern now is settling into her new home with her husband. When he was offered the government job here, the name “Harlingen” drew a blank.

“I didn’t know where it was,” she said. “But we came down to the Valley. We were prepared for anything. We’d lived in the Southwest before. We were just excited to be coming here.”

What was one of the big things she was excited about?

Moving to the Valley appears to have been an easy choice. Thackeray quickly went about the business of networking with others. She joined the “iTRy Team RGV” running club at Foot Works and quickly made friends.

Saturday she gathered with fellow runners at Victor Park, and the momentum of her interactions with others suggested she was chatting with friends she’d known for years. She obviously has the gift of gab and the talent to connect with people she’s known only a short while.