#BeYourOwnIcon: Raymond Botelho
Follow your passion and success will follow you. Sometimes following your passion will mean walking on a lonely and uncertain path. Few people may understand your passion while many will expect you to become ‘normal.' Some may even discourage you from going after your passion. In moments such as these, you have to stand strong for what you believe in. To get to the place he is at right now, Raymond Botelho had to practice the act of self-belief. He made a choice to pursue his passion despite being misunderstood by his family.
Raymond is a professional Ironman Triathlete, a PRO Lifeguard-Ocean Rescue and a Coaching and Fitness Trainer. Not only is he the only Professional Ironman living on Cape Cod, he is also the top coach and fitness trainer. Too many titles for a single individual, you might think, but considering the amount of effort he has put to get to where he is, Raymond is deserving of these titles. He has, since 1994, participated in 200 Triathlons and is a 22x Ironman Finisher and 2x Ironman Champion.
Raymond was born and raised in Newport, Rhodes Island. He describes his hometown as a “super fun resort town with lots to do". He developed a passion for triathlons in 1994. While in his senior years at Rogers High School in Newport, he began working out with his own training regimen and pushing some of his friends at the local health club and YMCA to join him.
During his high school years, Raymond describes himself as a "rebel without a cause." He lived in a no man's land, doing his own thing and hanging out with the nerds. By the time he was 19 years old, Raymond was already decided on what to pursue as a career. He proceeded to participate in his first Triathlon competition at 20 years old.
His first triathlon participation resulted from a dare from a high school friend. He developed an obsession for triathlons soon after. He was inspired by professional athletes like his mentors Jimmy and David. More than anything in the world, he says, "I was determined to become PRO. "
HARDWORK AND DETERMINATION
From a young age, Raymond had to learn to be strong for himself. He believes that everyone has the capacity to work hard and get things done on their own. By the time he was 20 years old, he was working two jobs, had limited sponsorship and resources. He made ends meet by working hard towards his dreams and depending solely on himself.
Raymond understood that for him to become the PRO he dreamt of becoming, discipline and tenacity were mandatory attributes. He attests that these two attributes have contributed the most to his success as a triathlete.
One interesting thing about Raymond is the fact that despite being a physical exercise nut, his favorite foods are glazed chocolate doughnuts and French fries! Yes! So don't be too hard on yourself.
THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN TRIATHLON AND IRONMAN TRIATHLON
Most of us are used to watching the Olympic Triathlon. This is the standard Triathlon distance of a 0.93-mile swim, 25-mile bike, and a 6.2-mile run. This competition is a true test of each athlete's dedication to training and will to win These are people who absolutely live by the statement from Vincent Lombardi..."The good Lord gave you a body that can stand most anything. It’s your mind you have to convince."
ANNNND..then comes the Ironman race. This phenomenal display of physical stamina and endurance consists of a 2.4-mile swim, 112.0-mile bike, and a 26.2-mile run. That's a quite a swim and a ride of the century only to be followed by a full marathon!!! And EACH SECTION IS TIMED! In other words, if you don't complete the swimming portion under 2 hrs and 20 minutes, the cycling in under another 8 hrs and 10 minutes and then less than 7 hours for the Marathon you will be considered as having not completed the race - even though you did!!! That is 17 hours for almost 141 miles - with most PRO Males doing it under 9 1/2 hours while PRO Women average under 10 1/2 hrs!!!...Does my car even go that fast?
So heartbreaking to see all DNF numbers after working so hard to get there. While, on the other hand, to see so many people who DO finish is simply an amazing testament to what the body can accomplish with training and will.
ADVICE TO MILLENIALS
His favorite part of being a triathlon PRO is the competition and winning. He advises people who want to become triathletes to "hire a coach with real experience." Raymond takes pride in the fact that he is one of the fastest 40+ ironman triathletes in the world PRO or amateur alike.
When asked about his current inspiration, he answers "Social Media and all the people who think I'm washed up at 44 years old." His advice to millennials is never to let anyone tell you what you can or cannot do and to "be ready to do what's involved. "
Throughout his career, Raymond has been determined to become a success and overcome all obstacles to get to where he is at today.