My Story (the long version)
I was born in Santiago, Chile on October 10th, 1980. Since a very young age, sports have been a major part of my life. I started playing tennis when I was 10 and throughout my teenage years trained and competed with great success in national and international tournaments. I won a scholarship and had the privilege to train next to the best in the world at Nick Bollettieri’s tennis academy in Tampa, Florida.
A couple of years before turning 18, I had to make a decision; pursuing tennis as a professional or going to college. During this time my Father (who was my main fan and sponsor) suffered a life-altering accident, which left him in a coma for several months. He never fully recovered and died a couple of years after. These were difficult years but shaped my life in ways I didn’t imagine at the moment, and influenced significantly the decisions I made in the coming years. I decided to postpone my athletic career to focus on studying and college. I continued playing tennis throughout college, joining the university’s tennis team and becoming national champions 3 years in a row (something at the moment unprecedented).
I studied Industrial Engineering at Pontificia Universidad Católica where I graduated with honors. Upon graduation, I was recruited by J.P. Morgan’s Mergers and Acquisitions group, where I started working first in Chile and later in New York. I spent the better part of the coming years advising companies, shareholders and board of directors all across Latin America on mergers, acquisitions and divestitures while building financial models, participating in negotiations and working very long hours.
In 2011 my Mother was diagnosed with a terminal form of Leukemia. I stood next to her throughout her treatment and watched her suffer and fight cancer with all her strength. This was a very difficult year but turned out to be a major turning point in my life, which made me re-think my priorities and what I was doing.
After 10 years in Wall Street I decided to shift gears and make a change in what I did. In 2013 I decided to quit my job in New York to focus all my energies on social change and making an impact in the world. In the coming months I left New York and travelled to Nepal where I climbed up to Mt Everest base camp. I later travelled to Africa where I spent some time volunteering teaching english and math to elementary school students, travelled the continent giving life-skill presentations to socially vulnerable groups, summited Mt. Kilimanjaro and founded an NGO focused on micro-lending and education. After my time in Africa I moved back to Chile and co-founded Tyndall Group and Preserve in Community.
While in Africa, I came across a 1-hour summary of the Ironman World Championships in Kona Hawaii on YouTube. I was mesmerized by the incredible stories of those people crossing the finish line (from cancer survivors to people who had lost a child) and couldn’t believe how someone could finish a 3.8kms swim then do a 180kms bike and finish with a 42kms marathon, all in the same day and in the most tough conditions imaginable. It was something very inspiring but at the same time scary.
In the coming days I couldn’t stop thinking about Kona and said to myself I had to do his race one day. Over the coming months I wrote a detailed plan on how I would embark this journey and read every single book I could put my hands on regarding triathlon and Ironman. After 2 years of training, on October 10th 2015 and on my 35th birthday, I crossed the finish line of Ironman Kona with a sense of accomplishment I never imagined I could feel. 1 year later I finished the Ironman 70.3 World Championships in 2nd place only 6-seconds short of becoming a World Champion.
In 2017 I decided to make a dramatic change in my life in the direction of my dreams, and focus all my time and energies in Ironman training and racing. I decided to leave my home country and move to Boulder, Colorado, where I’m currently living with my wife and working on a project that concentrates everything I'm passionate about, and that I hope will impact millions of lives around the world. On February 2018 I founded Burn to Give, a platform that converts calories burned exercising into life saving nutrition for children in need; for every tracked calorie burned, a calorie is given to an undernourished child. Our mission at Burn to Give is to is to inspire people to become active & healthy by feeding those in need; exercising for a Hunger-Free World.
My ultimate goal throughout my triathlon journey and endeavors is to show that it’s never too late in life to try something new, to never be afraid of pursuing your dreams and goals despite an unknown outcome, and that when you push past the “comfortable”, physically and mentally you evolve into a better, stronger and more fulfilled person. And that the difference between the impossible and the possible lies in a person’s passion and perseverance when doing something she or he loves. I’m a true believer that when you do the things that inspire you, it inspires others to do the things that inspire them.