Before the alarm could even ring at 5:00 am, I sprang out of bed filled with anticipation. Today was the day! The major sports event in town: the Costa Rica Triathlon Series here in Coco Beach. I was really curious to see all the competitors gathering and preparing for this exciting event. With the break of the dawn, I got myself ready and started walking towards the center.
I consider myself a sports aficionado and occasional practitioner, although I haven’t been very active these days. Nevertheless, I found my own unique way to show support and give back to the vibrant community of athletes. Let’s do this! As I made my way to the main street, I stumbled upon a scene where the production crew and the transit police attempted to organize the chaos. Imagine the challenge of guiding contractors and suppliers through the maze of traffic cones while simultaneously coordinating over 500 athletes and their bikes toward the starting line. It was a whirlwind morning, filled with electrifying energy and an undeniable buzz in the air.
Coco Beach is regarded as one of the most iconic spots for triathlons in the country and the reputation has been upheld for several decades. The series made its debut approximately 40 years ago! It was truly awe-inspiring and humbling to be in the midst of a multitude of dedicated individuals who had devoted months, and even years, to prepare for this very moment—the moment of truth.
I was amazed at the sheer number of “non-competitors” present at the event. It wasn’t just the athletes themselves; there were also families, friends, locals, and tourists strolling down the boulevard. People with their dogs, couples lending a hand to each other, applying sunblock to their backs, and exchanging smiles and positive affirmations. The event felt like a beautiful celebration with live music, sponsor brands, and an overcast morning that provided the athletes with some extra UV protection for what lay ahead.
I’ve been thinking a lot about whether I have what it takes to get to that level of commitment. That singular moment of connection with oneself, standing amidst a sea of individuals who share the same anticipation. The adrenaline of kicking off something for which you’ve been preparing yourself so much, understanding that going into the water is just the beginning of arguably a couple of hours of extreme physical conditions where you’ll need to swim into the ocean, then go take a bike and complete a circuit and lastly, start to run. I hold immense admiration for those individuals who truly test the limits of their bodies.
As the morning progressed, I had the opportunity to speak with fellow locals, exploring their perspectives on the event. I also had the pleasure of meeting business owners and gaining insights into how the triathlon event stimulates economic activity across various industries, such as restaurants, property management companies, and hotels. It was fascinating to witness the ripple effect of the event, contributing to the growth and prosperity of the community. I enjoyed a delightful breakfast with friends, cherishing the joyous atmosphere surrounding us. To my surprise, I even crossed paths with a former director from my previous job who was participating in the competition! Truly it was a delightful experience.
The day unfolded perfectly. After allowing a few hours to pass, I made my way to the finish line to witness the experiences of those who had been competing. It was a sight to behold. I had the privilege of witnessing the victorious individual in one of the categories, their elation palpable. Alongside them were others, visibly exhausted and on the brink of collapse as they crossed the finish line. There was a participant who had decided to withdraw from the competition, inquiring about the location to return their electronic reader, the device that certifies their race time. That particular moment struck a chord within me: it provided a profound sense of enlightenment, reminding me that it is perfectly acceptable to step back when you feel you cannot continue. It’s crucial to maintain perspective and understand that there are instances where failure is simply not an option, but a sports competition does not fall into that category.
For the closing ceremony, there were awards for the participants, a rock band playing, and many tired yet excited faces around. I loved that Sunday and I wish I can live many more of these! Congrats again to all participants who believed in themselves and succeeded. Ultimately, that is what truly matters — the unwavering spirit to keep trying and pushing forward.
DelCocoBlog Contributing Author:
Santiago (Santi) Vega is a Costa Rican wonderer and entrepreneur living in Coco Beach, Guanacaste, Costa Rica since 2021. Santi lived in various countries across Europe and Central/North America and worked in the fields of international cooperation, project management, and management consulting. His current interests derive from his travels and learning experiences as well as his multicultural upbringing. He currently serves as the Executive Director of the Carrillo Chamber of Commerce and is the Co-Founder and Growth Strategist of Primario Enterprises.