Rilwan Sanusi / Reporter
Imagine swimming almost a mile, biking 25 miles and running another 6.2 miles — all on the same day. This feat, known as a triathlon, can intimidate even the most athletic among us. But one Del Mar College student isn’t afraid to test himself.
Jeff Gutierrez, who hopes to become a firefighter, returned to school to earn his associate degree and improve his chances of landing a job. His work in the Kinesiology Department led to his discovering triathlons, and he competed in his first in 2012. His goal was simple: “To keep track of the time in each race and to also improve on my confidence,” he said.
“At first, I took firefighting so seriously in order to help save lives and to be helpful to the community as a whole,” Gutierrez said. “But lately I realized that life is so short and anything could happen. That is why I would take every opportunity to take part in the event to achieve success and believe in what I do to get on with my journey.”
Gutierrez’s finished his first amateur triathlon race in the top of his age group but was not among the top ten of the event. But that didn’t deter him — in fact, it motivated him.
“The people … who won the competition are those that influence me and this set my goal — to find a way to defeat them in the event,” he said.
Gutierrez has also attended a U.S. Open triathlon tournament in Dallas, where he placed second. He also attended the Nationals United States Triathlon Tournament in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The Kinesiology Department help sponsored him.
In Milwaukee, he met many people from all walks of life, but was astounded to see some people in their 80s participating in the tournament.
Aside from finishing his degree, Gutierrez plans to compete in another triathlon in January or February. It’s all part of his mission to better himself.
“Be positive to test yourself and learn new things and experience different places that you have been through,” he said of those interested in competing in triathlons.