Marbella native conquers Ironman challenge in Lanzarote

Javier Merida regularly competes despite his disability.

MARBELLA native Javier Merida returned to participate in the Ironman Lanzarote Challenge for the third time.

The disabled athlete conquered the course on 20 May with a prosthesis, as he tragically lost his right leg in a car accident involving a drunk driver in 2008. Since then, Merida has dedicated his life to sport and demonstrating that strength doesn’t just come from the body, but also from within.

The athlete regularly plays football and goes skiing and running, and in 2009 became a member of the Triathlon Club in Marbella; he has persevered with the gruelling discipline ever since.

The Ironman races are known throughout the world for being brutal and tough, both physically and mentally. The Lanzarote race involved swimming 3.86 km, cycling for 180.2 km and running a 42.20 km marathon; the Marbella athlete confirmed that he reached the finishing line in 17 hours and 20 minutes.

Merida had aimed to complete the distance in less than 16 hours and 40 minutes, beating his previous Ironman record in 2014, however a malfunction with his prosthesis on the second kilometre of the marathon meant that Merida had to slow down significantly. 

The problem came when the air extraction valve on his prosthesis broke, making it impossible to run, therefore the athlete had to complete the course walking at a fast pace.

Although disappointed with his final time, the athlete remained positive about the race and commented that it is “a constant battle against oneself.”

As a member of the Spanish Triathlon Federation and a renowned athlete, Merida’s next project is to develop and found a paddle tennis school adapted for physically and mentally disabled individuals. In the meantime, Merida will continue to participate in athletic events, such as the GoTRI race in Marbella on 5 June and 25 km race in Menorca on 12 June.

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