Nacho Chico Fuentes Athlete Ambassador
Nacho was overweight as a child but after running to lose weight, he soon found a passion for sport and racing. He talks to Sundried about life as an athlete.
Have you always been into sport?
My story starts with a kid constantly dealing with being overweight and all the issues it carried such as very low self-esteem, schoolmate's comments and their behavior towards me. When I was10, I started running as an obligation not as a way of having fun.
One day I decided to join a 5km race with my father, and when I finished it, I felt exhausted, but at the same time, I experienced a self-satisfaction feeling that I got hooked on. At that point I decided to start doing a wider range of sports with more steadiness and finally, few years later, triathlon captivated me. The more I practice this combination of three disciplines, the more they call me. I found such a complete and demanding sport.
How did you first get into triathlon?
When I finished my first marathon (it went horribly wrong, I had to walk the last 10km), I decided to run a half marathon to get rid of the thorn from the marathon. Far from beating my personal best in 21k, I injured my knee to the point of not being able to run or ride a bike, so I started swimming. The first time I could barely hold 50 meters distance without taking a rest.
It took a lot of determination, perseverance and discipline to keep into swimming (I didn´t like it at all), but after all the effort I made, I started falling in love with it. As a result, I signed up for my first Olympic distance triathlon.
What has been your favourite race to date and why?
My favourite race, the most special, and the one in which I have suffered the most has been “Full Ican Gandia” which was held the past October (2020).
The reason why it is my favourite, apart from being first in my category and sixteenth overall in my Ironman debut, is because of all the hard work, discipline, and suffering behind it. Seeing how my whole environment has supported me during the process and during the race day, it has meant everything to me, and I am and will eternally be grateful to them. I have never ever felt so wrapped up.
What is your proudest achievement?
This question goes a bit hand to hand with the last one. I think the most time-consuming, tough and sacrifice moments were during the preparation of an Ironman. So, to conclude with this question, I would say that the achievement so far that I am most proud of is the total time of 10:06:22 that I did in last Ironman, because it reflected and meant to me, that all the efforts made were more than worth it.
Have you ever had any racing disasters?
I am a very methodical person and in general, before a race I usually prepare everything and review the material, the food, the route etc. But there are always things that you cannot control 100%, or even if you get injured or dehydrated there is nothing the athlete can do.
I have had some punctures in races, my swimming googles got broken before a triathlon..., during the Ironman, some hours before starting, by mistake I left the water bottles on top of the glass ceramic that had been used just five minutes before so it was still hot, and the result was that I ended up having a newly designed water bottles (the base got completely deformed).
How do you overcome setbacks?
Every athlete has to be able to overcome problems, and even though at the moment of the misadventure you may feel annoyed or you can easily lose your race due to a simple puncture, I believe that sportsmanship and competitive spirit flourish, and far from abandoning you overcome that problem and still on the run.
I am very young and when I started racing my head failed me and I pressed the pace too much, sometimes it turned out well and other times badly, but I have been educated to know how to lose as well as how to win. I have never abandoned a race (luckily, I have had few injuries) because afterwards I would be eaten up, so I face the problem and continue. Right now, I know my body and my limits better, and if there are races that cannot be disputed in the first places due to other people's problems, nothing happens, the next one will be THE race for me.
What advice do you wish you'd been given when you first started out?
TO TAKE IT EASY. Every process has its stages, and you cannot expect to start any sport by the top of the pyramid; by this I mean that you need to set up realistic objectives and challenges because, otherwise, it can all lead into frustration and giving up. I was one of those who thought that if I was prepared, why not doing an Ironman or a half Ironman?, but thanks to my father who has always been there to temper my stubbornness, I started from the lowest to learn.
What are your goals?
This 2021 I have three big sportive goals. The first one is to go below 3 hours in a full marathon (that was my challenge for 2020, my best time is 3:04 hours, but due to COVID-19 the marathon could not be held).
My second big challenge is to do “El Camino de Santiago Frances” in just 15 days in collaboration with CRIS CONTRA EL CANCER (an organization based in Spain that is responsible for helping patients with cancer and promoting the study and research of cures among other many aspects) to give visibility to cancer.
And finally, my third great challenge is the IRONMAN CASCAIS in which I am determined to finish first in my category and get that slot to go to the world championship in Kona 2022, which is my big dream.
Who inspires you?
I certainly have several references in my life. My father has instilled in me all the values of sport, self-discipline, and hard work without excuses, which has made me the athlete I am today. Both my grandmother and my mother have taught me what it is to fight for what you want, and both are an example of fighters. If we focus on famous athletes, my reference is Javier Gomez Noya. He was able to stand up to all those who told him that he would not be able to compete due to a heart problem, and he has turned out to be the triathlon world champion on several occasions, as well as many other titles and achievements.
Why work with Sundried?
I first heard of Sundried by a friend of mine. By scrolling along your website, I found really interesting your concept and what you wanted to transmit, your ethics and your environmental compromise. I truly felt identified with your brand and consider myself a good carrier of your message throughout the Spanish young athletes.