lifestyle, travel This is Cozumel

Cozumel's second Ironman endurance competition takes place this Sunday, with some 2,300 competitors from 53 countries preparing to take part.

The athletes will swim, cycle and run past thousands of cheering islanders and tourists, all around Cozumel.


Around 18 locals will be taking part, including Mostro Puuk, a scuba instructor and cave diving expert from the island.

Mostro, 39, has never taken part in an Ironman before, but has been training hard since December and hopes that his previous experience running 2 marathons in Cancun will help him past the pain barrier.

Cozumel Ironman 2010 next.
Mostroc Puuk training.

Athletes' motivations vary greatly, but for Mostro it's about encouraging others.

"I want to prove to others that with dedication anything is possible", he told This is Cozumel in an interview last week.

But he doesn't underestimate the size of the challenge ahead and -- although he has trained mainly alone -- he has taken lots of advice, including tips from a Mexican national triathlon champion.

The advice will be invaluable as Mostro takes on the 2.4 mile (3.8 km) swim, 112 mile (180 km) bike ride and 26.2 mile (42.2 km) run, around the island.

For fellow competitor, Jon Herring, from Tampa, Florida, it's also about building personal strength, both physically and mentally.

Having done triathlons on and off for about 10 years, this will be his second Ironman distance event.

Jon, 34, told This is Cozumel, "The personal fortitude [from training] carries over into everything else in your life, and helps you to see the obstacles that you face as opportunities for improvement".


Cozumel endurance contest.
Jon Herring from Tampa.

He said he is expecting a lot of excitement and great support from the people in Cozumel, which can be a tremendous lift during the toughest moments of the marathon.

Ironman 2010
Cheryl Iseberg from Tacoma.


Competitors with greatly varying backgrounds will be taking part and also include Cheryl Iseberg, from Tacoma, Washington.

Despite being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) just seven months ago, Cheryl, 40, will still be competing in her first Ironman on Sunday

The event, she said, allows her the gift of doing something extraordinary, regardless of her challenge, and shows people with MS and other diseases that your dreams don't have to end after a medical diagnosis.

The island has been buzzing with anticipation all week and many hotels are full, so Cheryl and the others athletes can rest assured that they will receive massive support from crowds lining the circuit.

Of course, entries for this year's event are now closed, but if you're feeling inspired why not start training now for Ironman 2011?

Read our report of Ironman 2009, see the 2009 event photos, or visit the Ironman Cozumel website for more information.