From Argentina, with more than 14 finished Ironman Triathlons ( Australia, Germany, USA, Brazil. ..), a father, a husband and professional, is an example of someone who did not let a setback in his life keep him from moving forward with discipline and courage. Alejandro Ithurriague with 47 year-old , from la Plata, Buenos Aires, Argentina has qualified for the prestigious Ironman World Championship in Hawaii “KONA” by finishing strong at the Ironman Fortaleza in Brazil.
Alejandro was a soccer player until he broke the cruciate ligament of his knee three times. He had been a soccer fan all of his life and he loved playing the sport. The day he broke his knee, he cried all night. He was 35 years old and he knew that he would not be able to play again. Although his passion will always be soccer, it has been more than five years that he has not played that sport. Today, he is a full time triathlete.
To prepare to compete in triathlons, Alejandro first began to focus on cycling and he also started to swim to help his knee recover. Gradually, he became hooked with the duathlon and eventually to the triathlon.
It was painful for him whenever he went riding on his bicycle and he saw people playing soccer; he looked away since it was like a stab in his heart. Nevertheless, he eventually began to love triathlons as much as he did soccer.
“I train with friends and I try to enjoy most of the training sessions. I try not to lose my focus and I know that I do this because I like it and I enjoy it. Otherwise, it becomes another job. I do four water workouts, three bike workouts, three jogging workouts, and two at the gym.”
When we asked which of the three disciplines he is best at, Alejandro said that he is evenly matched in all of them. He rarely changes his position in a race from the time he leaves the water until he finishes. At the Ironman Fortaleza, he left the water in first place in his category, when he got off the bike he was in fifth place, and he finished in fourth place overall. This was also his most difficult race so far due to having to deal with some work-related issues and thus he arrived on Friday night in Fortaleza, Brazil, after a 9-hour plane ride. Then he had to deal with the intense heat and humidity, and to not being able to easily adjust well to this climate.
We asked him what it requires to be a good competitor in these events.
“Calm, tranquility, patience, perseverance, be mentally strong, have fun and never give up”, responded Alejandro.
For those thinking about competing in triathlons his advice is to start doing it slowly, and to enjoy it and make it your goal to last in time. He said it is a very competitive sport and sometimes you lose track and forget that you are an amateur.
His main reason to keep competing in triathlons is just to endure, to enjoy, to share with friends, to get to know new places and people, and to keep him in good physical and mental state.
He thoroughly enjoys the triathlons in Fort Lauderdale and Miami Beach, Florida since he goes with friends to have fun and train for a few days.
He is also very appreciative of the support that his wife, Marisa Bonfiglio, has given him because without her none of his accomplishments would have been possible.
His final advice for triathletes:
“My advice would be to enjoy what you do. Each one of us has different work and family obligations, and triathlon demands a lot of time and dedication. Don’t become anxious about trying to participate in an Ironman and then going crazy trying to qualify for Ironman Hawaii. A triathlete is one who participates in triathlons, whether it is a half or an Ironman. I compete in Ironman because I enjoy training, and at that distance I feel more competitive. But I also enjoy and participate in other distances as well. I am lucky to compete in Ironman Hawaii this year after having completed fourteen Ironman events. What matters to me is to endure.”