The Costa Rican triathletes, Ernesto Espinoza and Valeria Zamora, made history in the full Ironman Cozumel 2021. Espinoza got the best national mark made by any Costa Rican in this event and Zamora now has the best female mark of a national.
“The effort is a lot, I have more than 30 years of doing triathlons and 10 years of doing long distance. This result speaks very well of my participation because the first three in my category entered a range of one minute and a half, which means that the level is very high,”Espinoza said.
In addition to taking the best time of a Costa Rican in this event, with 8 hours and 24 minutes, Ernesto managed to finish first place in his category and the 5 in the general of the age groups.
The Mexican Caribbean
Cozumel is an island in the Mexican Caribbean, characterized by its warm climate and crystalline sea. Every year it receives thousands of athletes eager to show their potential and get one of the spaces for the Ironman World Cup that takes place in Kona, Hawaii. Triathlete Ernesto Espinoza now has the best mark registered by a Costa Rican in a full Ironman.
“I was going with three clear objectives: the first, to finish, which although it sounds conformist it is not, this is a very tough competition that just finishing it is already a big merit. The second, trying to achieve a podium to qualify for the World Cup in Hawaii and third, setting one of the best times for a Costa Rican. And thanks to all the effort, the three objectives were met”, explained the 41-year-old triathlete.Espinoza was accompanied by several members of his family and his coach Dennis Vargas, who assures that they are an “indispensable part of his support team.”
For her part, Valeria Zamora, made her long-distance debut. Although she has been practicing triathlon for several years and has participated in different events, she assures that this one had her quite nervous.
“I had never run a marathon, it was the most challenging thing. And it’s like everyone says: pure mind. You see everyone walking, everyone starts out happy and then they are killed. And I was telling myself in my head – you can slow down but don’t walk, just don’t walk. Even my dad had told me to be calm that if I needed to walk to do it but no, I wanted to contradict him”, Zamora said.
Triathlete Valeria Zamora now has the best registered mark for a Tica in a full Ironman.Valeria, 28, managed to position herself second in her age group, just 14 seconds behind first place, with a time of 10 hours and 11 minutes, thus surpassing the best female timemade by a national in this type of event. She is part of the Coopenae team and is trained by Carolina Mora.
“When I passed the goal I started crying and everything, I really didn’t expect it. This year I had a knee injury and weeks before the competition one on my foot. Nobody expected this result, neither me nor my coach. It was a very nice surprise, a feeling that everything was worth it and overcome all those moments where you think you no longer want to continue,”added Zamora.
Both athletes assure that the weather helped make it a more bearable competition, since it is common for it to be very sunny at that time, however, on this occasion, thanks to a storm on the Mexican island, the rain largely accompanied them during the competition. In the same way, they agree that these results are only achieved with perseverance and really wanting it.
Zamora is waiting to see if she qualifies for the Kona World Cup in Hawaii, while Espinoza is already classified, for that and for the Half Ironman World Cup, in Saint George, Utah, United States.
The Full Ironman consists of 3,800 m of swimming in the sea, 180 km of cycling and 42 km of running. In Costa Rica the Ironman 70.3 is held, better known as half Ironman for its distances of 1,900 m of swimming in the sea, 90 km of cycling and 21 km of running. Both Espinoza and Zamora have achieved podium in their age group in this event.