Marga Rico and the sport of triathlon

by Courtney Akrigg on 23 Sep, 2019 10:58 • Español

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World Triathletes take a tour of Lausanne and enjoy the best that the Olympic Capital has to offer, prior to the 2019 ITU World Championships.

In 2009 Marga Rico, a Spaniard living in the USA, retired from her career in tennis. Rico decided to sign up for a triathlon relay team, with her roommate at the time who was an ambitious cyclist, in Ormond Beach, USA. The pair registered under the amateur age-group category “my first triathlon”. Ten years on and Marga Rico is lining up at the World Championships to represent Spain and honour the years of hard work and dedication to the sport of triathlon.

For me success is finding your passions and working hard for them. Setting clear objectives and taking decisions so that everyday I get closer to the lifestyle that I want to have. Making more of what I like (in business, at work, your hobbies, with people) giving my best to become every day a bit better as a person, professional and athlete.

How did you get into the sport of triathlon?
“I did the swimming, water is my element and at that point I was surfing daily. I showed up literally with my surf bikini and surf rash guard, there were waves that day, and I loved it. We performed quite well as a team and the atmosphere in the race was great. A month after more or less I bought my first road bike and two moths after I was doing my first sprint triathlon in Orlando, US under the category ‘my first triathlon’.”

In 2009 I finished my tennis career and I was still living in the US. My flatmate loved cycling and together with my yoga instructor we decided to sign up for a triathlon relay happening where we lived in Ormond Beach, US. I did the swimming, water is my element and at that point I was surfing daily. I showed up literally with my surf bikini and surf rash guard, there were waves that day, and I loved it. We performed quite well as a team and the atmosphere in the race was great. A month after more or less I bought my first road bike and two moths after I was doing my first sprint triathlon in Orlando, US under the category “My First Triathlon”.

I loved it as well, place first in that category and it was at that point when I decided to start investing in terms of equipment (I raced my first trip without automatic pedals) and the price was a pair of triathlon running shoes!) but most important investing in a coach and a team.

What have been your greatest achievements, in triathlon, to date?
World Triathlon Promaster (Madrid - ESP) – June 2013 = 2:41:55 - 3rd Place (Age Group): special because I raced at home, great public cheering, and really no expectations for podium. When I was picking up my bike one of my teammates came to look for me to let me know I had placed 3rd on my Age Group,  it felt great! Also I was satisfied with my performance in the race. This race happened a few hours before that the ITU World Triathlon Series with the same format, course and podium :) than the international elite and it was special to share same scenario and then being able to watch them. It was my first time watching in live ITU WTS and I loved it.

IV Triatlón Ciudad de Mérida - Campeonato de Extremadura (Mérida - ESP) –  June 2013 - 3rd Place (Overall): special because part of my family comes and lives in Mérida. The history of this city, running trough el “Puente Romano” (a Roman bridge), where I used to walk with my grandpa when I was little, and give my medal to my family supporting there, felt special.

Triatlón International Donosti (San Sebastián - ESP) – June 2013 = 2:44:53 - 15th Place (Overall): special because my debut in Olympic distance was this race in 2012. Some of my experienced teammates recommended to race this triathlon because of the beautiful scenario but also the atmosphere. If not mistaken, together with the “Triatlón de Guadalajara”,  this triathlon is one of the oldest is Spain and yes, it has personality, amazing atmosphere from spectators and good participants level since it is international one. So 15th place overall was for me a good result.

XXIX Triatlón de Guadalajara (Guadalajara - ESP)– August 2014 = 5:09:43 - 14th Place (Elite Category): special since it was my first “almost 1/2 distance” triathlon (almost because the bike is 82km and the run 20km) .I had two bike accidents the week before but felt good and registered the race as age group but finished within elite times. This was amazing reward and encouraging to have as objective racing elite category in 1/2 distance.
 
Are you in a triathlon club, squad and team?
No at this point in Lausanne. However, in my mind and heart remains my Club in Madrid (FST, Fitness Sports Triatlón - Pozuelo de Alarcón), which I am really missing specially in terms of teammates, coaches and daily trainings. However, I do have a coach in Lausanne, and very important for age-group triathletes, a personal supporting team at home (key to balance all the areas: work, business, personal and social to be able to enjoy the ride).

What are your expectations for the World Triathlon Championships in Lausanne?
Give the best performance that I can for the Spanish team in Olympic Distance and in this kind of course. As well, enjoy this triathlon “party” supporting the rest of the races, especially the elite races on Saturday since I follow as a fan WTS! I work next to the race course and it has been already exciting this pre-week seeing the streets full of triathletes from all the different categories and nationalities. I cannot wait to compete and enjoy all the athletes under the different countries uniforms representing internationally in the Olympic Capital. Apart from my performance, this is also what it really moves me inside, all the good energy that this sport and sports in general generate around this kind of events allowing to showcase and experience the magic of sports.

How would you describe the triathlon landscape where you live?
The location to train is unique. Riding your road bike in Lausanne, or in Switzerland in general is a gift. Specially after a hard day or week of work is rewarding. I do not only enjoy the views, but also roads without many cars and definitely clean air. Swimming in Lake Geneva with view to the Alps on one side and Unesco Lavaux Vineyards on the other makes me feel pretty lucky as well. And running, you can find a combination of forest and asphalt with different profiles that allows to vary my training. It is true that all the above gets more challenging in winter due to the weather. Exactly where I live we get snow from December to May more or less and it is true as well that we lack indoor pools for the amount of winter swimmers that we meet here in Lausanne. Finally the number of triathlon clubs is growing little by little since I arrived here in 2015 so that is great to find training partners and grow triathlon locally.

Have you raced at a World Championships before? 
No I have not, 2019 is my first time. And even if I played tennis at international level it is also my first time representing the “Spanish ” colours officially in an international competition, so imagine my smile when I think about pulling on the Spanish uniform. On top, my debut will be on my birthday, September 1st and in the city where I live, Lausanne, with family and friend supporting. Therefore, what a special birthday representing my country in the sport that has become my passion, at international level at this later stage of my life and supported by some of my people!

Who has been your greatest influence on your triathlon pathway?
I consider myself lucky since in many of the objectives that I have pursued in my life, as triathlon, I have met great people that has guided and supported me. However, if I have to pick the greatest influence on my triathlon pathway would be definitely “Nati Gómez”, a pro of this sport, a real one, but specially she is one of those “special people”. A natural leader simply because she was able as a friend and teammate to get the most out of me. She encouraged and helped me to take triathlon to the next level of competition and to get a bit better everyday by sharing all her knowledge and pushing me with truly authenticity. Gracias amiga!

Is there an elite triathlete you look up to and why?
Javier Gómez Noya and Mario Mola are probably from the men elite my two to look up. Not only because they are top in terms of performance but because I am huge fan of well rounded athletes and individuals. And I do not know them personally but I believe they represent values to look up to as hard workers, humble, honesty, fighters and team players. I appreciate the way the have competed against each other in some races giving the maximum but supporting each other until the end. From the women side, Sara (Groff) True and Lucy Charles from the point of view of how they engage with their fans, sponsors, media and in general the business side of their athletes careers. Finally I am huge fan as well of triathletes that might not be getting so many podiums (yet) at that level but what they are doing is already a podium itself and sometimes they do not get so much visibility. In this group, I follow Miriam Casillas and Sara Pérez Sala, and again not only because of their performance but because of the kind of individuals, down to earth attitude and how they balance other aspects of their lives and still keep at that level.

Why triathlon?
I really like the combination of this 3 disciplines. Mentally feels good to change and practice three different sports and at the same time having to perform as one. As well it offers a lot of flexibility in terms of training for example when I am traveling for work and I cannot swim or bike, I can still run and it will add to the equation. I like as well because regarding time management it makes you to really become efficient and I am one of those convinced that many of the skills that I learnt by sports are transfer after to other areas of your life. In my case to the professional side and personal side becoming more efficient, having objectives, analytical thinking to keep improving, team player attitude, not quitting, balancing, still performing those days that you do not feel 100%, learning to lose but keep on going, etc.

Favourite quote?
“A ship is safe in harbor, but that’s not what ships are for.” (Willian G.T. She’d) - I feel that this quote defines me.
” Inspiring without Inspiring” or ” Inspirar sin Inspirar” (Mine) - this quote goes with my way of doing things.

How do you define success?
For me success is finding your passions and working hard for them. Setting clear objectives and taking decisions so that everyday I get closer to the lifestyle that I want to have. Making more of what I like (in business, at work, your hobbies, with people) giving my best to become every day a bit better as a person, professional and athlete.


Article gallery
Related Event: 2019 ITU World Triathlon Grand Final Lausanne
29 - 01 Sep, 2019 • event pageall results
Results: Elite Men
1. Kristian Blummenfelt NOR 01:50:47
2. Mario Mola ESP 01:51:03
3. Fernando Alarza ESP 01:51:18
4. Gustav Iden NOR 01:51:34
5. Vincent Luis FRA 01:51:53
Results: Elite Women
1. Katie Zaferes USA 02:02:45
2. Jessica Learmonth GBR 02:02:49
3. Georgia Taylor-Brown GBR 02:03:03
4. Rachel Klamer NED 02:03:44
5. Flora Duffy BER 02:04:26
Results: U23 Men
1. Roberto Sanchez Mantecon ESP 01:50:20
2. Csongor Lehmann HUN 01:50:36
3. Ran Sagiv ISR 01:50:50
4. Vasco Vilaca POR 01:51:07
5. Brandon Copeland AUS 01:51:12
Results: U23 Women
1. Emilie Morier FRA 02:04:01
2. Olivia Mathias GBR 02:04:08
3. Lisa Tertsch GER 02:04:32
4. Kate Waugh GBR 02:04:53
5. Kira Hedgeland AUS 02:05:22
Results: Junior Men
1. Ricardo Batista POR 00:55:05
2. Lorcan Redmond AUS 00:55:12
3. Sergio Baxter Cabrera ESP 00:55:16
4. Boris Pierre FRA 00:55:18
5. Paul Georgenthum FRA 00:55:23
Results: Junior Women
1. Beatrice Mallozzi ITA 01:00:41
2. Costanza Arpinelli ITA 01:00:42
3. Jessica Fullagar FRA 01:00:53
4. Hannah Knighton NZL 01:01:26
5. Erin Wallace GBR 01:01:47
Results: PTWC Men
1. Jetze Plat H2 NED 01:02:56
2. Geert Schipper H2 NED 01:08:30
3. Giovanni Achenza H1 ITA 01:10:10
4. Joseph Townsend H2 GBR 01:10:39
5. Ahmed Andaloussi H1 FRA 01:13:22
Results: PTWC Women
1. Lauren Parker H1 AUS 01:18:41
2. Kendall Gretsch H2 USA 01:21:30
3. Christiane Reppe H2 GER 01:24:52
4. Jade Hall H2 GBR 01:25:40
5. Eva María Moral Pedrero H1 ESP 01:27:15
Results: PTS2 Men
1. Jules Ribstein FRA 01:11:40
2. Andrew Lewis GBR 01:13:51
3. Maurits Morsink NED 01:14:36
4. Allan Armstrong USA 01:25:59
5. Adam Popp USA 01:27:03
Results: PTS2 Women
1. Fran Brown GBR 01:24:23
2. Allysa Seely USA 01:25:18
3. Hailey Danz USA 01:26:26
4. Veronica Yoko Plebani ITA 01:29:46
5. Liisa Lilja FIN 01:30:32
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