By ASHLEY MATHEW
Special to the NEWS
A daunting task lies ahead: First, one must swim 2.4 miles in Lake Woodlands, ride 112 miles on bike, and finally, run 26.2 miles to the finish line. Participants from all over the world train for months to compete in this day-long race.
Chris Hernandez, Fabian Rico, and Emmanuel Ramos were three of the 3,000 competitors at the Memorial Hermann IRONMAN Texas North American Championship. The trio make up one percent of the people in the country who are IRONMAN.
Interestingly, the three only recently became known for their endeavors in running. They are more known around town for their expertise as barbers for King Kuts Barbershop.
Chris Hernandez is the oldest of the group at 43 years old. He is married with 6 children and has two grandchildren. For the past 5 years, he has been working at the barbershop.
“I used to get my hair cut here; that inspired me to become a barber. It planted the seed and I went to school for it,” Hernandez explained.
About two years ago, Hernandez began to take his love for running more seriously by getting into local triathlons. In due time, he recruited Rico and Ramos to join him along a couple of half marathons. The thirst for achievement did not stop there: he wanted to keep going.
Deciding to run the IRONMAN was not a choice Hernandez could make alone but with his family.
“Training was really difficult. It took a toll on our lives and the people around us,” said Hernandez. “I would wake up on Sunday morning to do a long workout and skip out on church. Crossing the finish line and seeing how proud my family was made it all worth it in the end.”
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