Behind every World Championship competitor lies the story that led them to the starting line. This series serves to share the stories, messages, and motivations of those set to compete in the biggest race of them all when the XTERRA World Championship returns to the Dolomite mountains in Trentino, Italy this September.
Carlos Castillo Faundez is a resilient truck driver hailing from the town of Constitución in Chile. For 13 years, he navigated the rugged roads of his country, but life had more in store for him than hauling goods for long hours behind the wheel. In 2010, a spine problem cast a shadow over his dreams, but Carlos refused to be defeated.
"The spine problem was detected in 2009, due to the heavy work that consisted of manually excavating and moving earth, later with truck driving, it worsened, reaching a point of immobility and the impossibility of practising sports."
Fast forward to 2018, where Carlos embarked on his journey into the world of triathlon, defying the odds and conquering challenges that came his way. The spine problem didn't break him; it fueled his determination.
His qualification to the 2019 XTERRA World Championship in Maui was a huge milestone in his journey, showcasing his relentless determination. Now, he has his eyes locked on the XTERRA World Championship in Molveno, Italy, where he's determined to carve out a legacy from his story.
Carlos speaks of his passion for triathlon and what inspired him to start, "Since I was a child, I liked cycling and even more Triathlon, but I didn't know how to swim and I was terrified of deep waters (I'm still terrified) so I never tried it. After the spinal operation in 2015, I decided to return to sport and pursue my dreams."
"After the spinal operation in 2015, I decided to return to sport and pursue my dreams."
Getting there wasn't an easy road. In XTERRA Chile, Carlos qualified for the XTERRA World Championship in the fiercely competitive M35-39 age group category. He explains, "XTERRA Chile was an excellent experience, in a place close to my town where I achieved a great result, obtaining 1st place in my category and 4th overall.”
The upcoming World Championship experience evokes a whirlwind of nerves for Carlos. "There are many emotions that are mixed: competing in Europe, making new friends, getting to know other cultures and countries, but above all, growing day-by-day as a person with the sum of new adventures and experiences."
“It's never too late to chase your dreams, and once you achieve them, savor every moment.”
Forming bonds and immersing himself in a melting pot of cultures, Molveno promises to be a metamorphic journey filled with raw growth and life-altering lessons to share with his community upon return because Carlos's quest doesn't end at the finish line. His true passion lies in inspiring others, especially the youth and adults of Constitución, Chile, to embrace the sport of triathlon. His message echoes loud and clear, “It's never too late to chase your dreams, and once you achieve them, savor every moment.”
From a truck driver to a triumphant triathlon champion, Carlos Castillo Faundez embodies the spirit of tenacity and persistence. In a relentless world filled with boundless dreams, Carlos hammers home the truth: with unyielding grit, fiery passion, and unwavering support, greatness awaits.
In the heart of France, amidst the rolling landscapes, a tale of determination and devotion prevailed. Manon Grégis is a committed triathlete whose journey to the XTERRA World Championship is interwoven with that of her boyfriend, Guillaume Gauthier, as they embark on a shared dream that transcends challenges and celebrates victories.
"That was a dream for my boyfriend Guillaume Gauthier and I," Manon shared, as the goal was not only to qualify for the XTERRA World Championship but to experience the journey together, side-by-side.
Their qualification story began in the town of Golegã, Portugal. "We travelled to Portugal in order to race our first XTERRA of the year," Manon recalled. It was in this location where Manon found her first foothold. Through grit and determination, she emerged victorious in her 30-34 age group, punching her ticket to Molveno in September.
As the competition grew fierce, Guillaume faced an increasingly formidable challenge. "For Guillaume, it was harder," Manon's voice resonated with empathy. He finished 5th in his category, a testament to his dedication, but his slot remained unreachable.
Disappointment was met with resilience, and Guillaume's spirit remained unbroken. "No worries, he would have another chance in XTERRA France and then Super-Besse if needed," Manon recounted.
XTERRA France became the canvas for Guillaume's perseverance. "He raced pretty well, but missed the podium.” Manon's words painted a picture of his relentless effort.
Then came a twist of fate, a cancellation that cast a shadow of uncertainty. "We heard that Super-Besse would be cancelled," Manon recalled, a hint of disappointment in her voice. It seemed that Guillaume's chances were slipping away.
But love and dedication can bend the course of fate. "Finally, because there were more than 75 athletes in his category in XTERRA France, they added new slots and he had achieved his qualification!" Manon's voice was laced with joy as she recounted the turning point.
"That was a dream for my boyfriend Guillaume Gauthier and I, to qualify the same year and live the World Championship together."
Their shared dream of qualifying for the XTERRA World Championship has become a reality. "We're really happy to be able to live our dream as a couple just a few months before our wedding!”
Their journey to the World Championship isn't just about races and victories. It’s a mission to fulfill shared dreams, offer mutual support, and unwavering devotion. As the XTERRA World Championship is clearly in view off the horizon, Manon and Guillaume stand united, ready to conquer new challenges, celebrate victories, and weave their story of love and triumph into the fabric of the XTERRA community.
XTERRA Worlds: A Celebration of the Human Spirit is an ongoing series, with more stories to come from those currently preparing for the XTERRA World Championship.
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