Big Spring resident Jino Flores completed the Ironman 70.3 in Austin on October 29th. The event is made up of a 1.2 mile swim, a bike ride of 56 miles, followed by half marathon which is 13.1 miles. This entire course is 70.3 miles that has a time limit of 8 hours.
Flores says that he struggles with the swimming portion during events and he said that 95 percent of his cycling training was done at home on his cycle trainer, but he didn’t let those issues keep him from competing. He didn’t give up and did the best he could.
Flores said that during the Ironman event there were time frames that had to be met for each event in order to continue to the next portion of the race. The time limit for the swimming portion was 1 hour and 10 minutes, and Flores was so excited that he finished in 1 hour and 5 minutes so he could continue his race. He then biked 56 miles, but says there was a point when he was at mile 51 that his legs had cramped up so bad that he couldn’t even walk. Another competitor offered advice to walk backwards and Flores said that the pain went away and he felt so great that he was able to continue and finish the competition at a final time of 8 hours and 9 minutes.
“This is the only sport that you compete in with the professional. You do the same course,” says Flores. “When you [compete] in [the] age group [divisions], everyone’s out there for the same reason and no one’s trying to beat each other or race against you. Everybody’s out there just trying to help.”
Flores has been greatly influenced by his friends and loved ones who have been diagnosed with debilitating diseases or cancer and is inspired to run for those who cannot run for themselves. He says that the majority of the races he competes in are to raise money for MS, or the American Cancer society. In fact, the Fidelity Marathon that he ran in Woodlands, Texas in April 2016 was for his friend David Coffey, who has MS; and this entire Ironman journey is to honor his brother Gary Flores, who passed away in April of last year.
“Every test was thrown at me,” says Flores. “That’s the thing, it just depends on how much you want it. If you want to finish, you’re gonna finish. I’ve got a lot more work and I’ve got 6 months, so I’ve basically got to double everything. The entire race is 17 hours [limit].”
The event that Flores is now training for is the full Ironman, which consists of swimming 2.4 miles, biking 112 miles, and running 26.2 miles. He’s registered to compete in April 2018.
Flores says that his interest in running was sparked by running enthusiasts Melanie and Melissa Zapata, also from Big Spring, after he got out of the army. In 2010 he completed his first half-marathon in Las Vegas and was so enthralled with the support from the crowd that he was hooked. Flores says he then began finding other races to compete in and since then, in addition to the Ironman 70.3, he has competed in multiple races— 5 half-marathons, 2 full marathons, 1 Spartan Sprint, and 3 Sprint Triathlons.
“My biggest thing is that, hopefully, I can encourage just one [more] person to start trying this out,” says Flores.
(You can hear Jino's story on KBest Country 95.7 FM -until noon, and throughout the day on 94.3 The FUSE!) #GETCHUNKY!!! ~ Jino Flores