By Sarah Gunter Canez
On Saturday, 16 of September, two Cuencano expats, Daniel Canez & Bob Cox, competed in the 60+ age division of the 23rd Aeroman Sprint Triathlon in Manta.
With lovely and cool overcast skies, the race began at 07:00 at Playa Murciélago. Organized and hosted by the Ecuadorian Air Force, participants began the competition by swimming 750 meters in the ocean in four separate groupings. Swimmers then transitioned to their bicycles riding towards the Air Force base in Manta for a total of 20 kilometers, bicycling on roads and on the airport runways near the base. Participants finished the race by running five kilometers with the sun beginning to break through the clouds back to the base.
Both Bob and Daniel have raced over the last few years in Cuenca, Guayaquil, Salinas, Crucita, and Manta, competing in Half Ironman triathlon races, GFNY bicycle competitions, and various bicycle or running only races. Daniel and Bob, both 69 years old, are veterans of numerous running marathons, triathlons and bicycle competitions in Texas and Arizona as well as other states and Canada, before moving to Cuenca 11 years ago (Bob) and 9 years ago (Daniel).
Bob and Dan train in and around Cuenca and along the coast roads before competing. The high altitude in Cuenca helps to increase heart and lung capacity, while bicycling along the Ruta Spondylus with minimal traffic allows for faster cycling.
As the Aeroman Sprint Triathlon was organized by the Ecuadorian Air Force, the majority of the competitors were young members of the military, both men and women, although no less than 5 men over 60 participated. The full race winner, a 21 year old young man, finished the race at 56 minutes 15 seconds. Nevertheless, Daniel and Bob enjoyed the pre-race training and the competition itself, coming in with excellent race times on Saturday with an 1 hour 50 minutes for Bob and 1 hour 59 minutes for Daniel.