Eneas Freyre won his third straight age group title in last month's Duathlon National Championships. Now, the 34-year-old Norwalk resident hopes for better fortune at the world championships in September.
Freyre, a Greenwich native who helped open and runs the Fitness programs at Targetraining in Westport, won the 35-39 age group title last month in Arizona. He covered the distance in 1:27:03 and finished third overall in a field of 473 contestants. The race consisted of a 5K run, a 35K bike ride and a 5K run. (Freyre turns 35 in the summer, putting him in the 35-39 age group).
The victory gives Freyre a berth in the Duathlon World Championships on Sept. 24 in Gijon, Spain. Two years ago, he finished third in the worlds when he ran the final few miles with a broken foot. Last year, he never reached the starting line for worlds after breaking his hip a month before and had to scratch.
"I think the goal this year is to get there in one piece,'' said Freyre, who won the overall title in the Boston Buildup winter running series. "If I'm going to take the time to train, the goal is to win."
Freyre punched his latest ticket to the world championships with a courageous performance in Arizona. After running the Boston Buildup series, he incurred a foot injury that he thought was a stress fracture. He ran sparingly before nationals. "I only ran three or four times in the four weeks or so before the race,'' Freyre said. "I just figured I'd go and give it a shot."
He opened with a 16:55 leg in the 5K and was in sixth place. He took the lead on the bike with the best time in the field, 49:37, and ran 19:19 for the final 5K. "I was winning the overall race when I came off the bike, and then they caught me in the last half mile or so,'' Freyre said. "Because of the injury I was not really trained well for the run."
Freyre’s sports background in high school included football and wrestling at Brunswick. He won the 135-pound championship in 1995 in the Western New England Independent School tournament. He picked up cycling in college and rode as a professional for several years before helping to open Targetraining in 2004. He started running three years ago with help from staff there.
The natural progression would seem to be triathlons for Freyre. "I only compete in them to have fun,'' he said. "I'm completely non-competitive in the swim."
Like a lot of fitness athletes, Freyre struggles to achieve life balance. "It doesn't come easy,'' he said. "The hard part is the balance between family, work and play."
Freyre will now turn his attention to the world championship race in September. If he can stay healthy, he just might earn his first international title on his native soil. “I’d really like to win a world championship. I was born in Spain, so to go there and compete for a world championship is going to be a lot of fun.”
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