Thriathete Hektor Llanos and his coach, Inigo Mujika

With Hektor Llanos at Zarautz Triathlon 2011. (Photo: Amaia Casado)

Ten years ago now Hektor Llanos gave me the opportunity to enter the world of triathlon through the front door by becoming his coach, nothing less, at a time when I barely knew that the sport consisted on swimming, cycling and then running. “It doesn’t matter” he said, “I trust you”. His brother Eneko also decided to place the same confidence in me. After I dedicated a couple of months to study the available scientific literature on various aspects of triathlon, to evaluate their competition results, their qualities and limitations, and to watch videos of both Olympic distance and Ironman races, we started working together in January 2002. Two years later Ainhoa came onboard, and in 2005 Virginia, but Hektor was the one who opened the doors of triathlon wide for me.

If anyone wants to know what it means to be professional in their dedication to sport, observe Hektor. If anyone needs inspiration to give everything in each training session, every day, for more than fifteen years, look at Hektor. Whoever needs a role model to guide them in their quest to live triathlon, choose Hektor. In the past ten years, Hektor has swum close to 7,000 km (from Lisbon to La Habana), cycled 240,000 km (six laps around planet earth), and ran over 25,000 km (from Alasaka to Tierra del Fuego and back). The outcomes of all of this work have been plentiful and very important: scores of victories in all distances and modalities of triathlon, victories in ITU events, podiums in ITU World Cups, Cross triathlon European Championships, Xterra and Ironman races.

How many triathletes out there could brag about such a record? How many can boast about finishing and Ironman in 8:13:43 and running the marathon segment in 2:47:03? Hektor could, but he doesn’t. That’s not his style. His style is working hard day after day, trying to give the best of himself in every session and every race, and quietly enjoying everything that being a triathlon champion involves. His life has been and will remain linked to this sport: training, racing, teaching others how to enjoy triathlon, whatever their performance level may be.

Over the past ten years Hektor and I have suffered the hard times together, we have enjoyed together the victories and successes, but above all we have learned and advanced together. These have been ten years alongside a champion, not only of triathlon, but of life too. I am fortunate to be able to say that Hektor is, besides a great triathlete, a great friend. Eskerrik asko Tsunami!


MUJIKA, I. Diez años junto a un grande. Finisher Triatlon 131: 6, 2011.

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