José "Joseíto" Rivera made history in March 2023 when he became the first Special Olympics Puerto Rico athlete to complete an IRONMAN 70.3 triathlon. The race was made up of a 1.2-mile swim followed by a 56-mile bike ride and finished with a 13.1-mile run. Joseíto finished the course in just under 7 hours and 45 minutes (7:44.31).
The race took place at the coastline of San Juan at El Escambron Beach where Joseíto navigated each leg of the triathlon with his coach Randy Soler. The duo made their IRONMAN 70.3 debut together and will be pursuing a triathlon in Slovakia in May with a handful of other Special Olympics athletes.
Joseíto started the competition fatigued but powered through to the finish line. His seven day-a-week training preparation over the last few months set him up well to prepare his body and mind for the physical and mental battles he would face throughout the race.
The IRONMAN competitor will now focus on the second annual Special Olympics European Triathlon Open Competition as part of the Challenge Family Triathlon Series in Samorin, Slovakia from 18-22 May. Joseíto is one of three Special Olympics Puerto Rico triathletes competing in the race and one of the 33 athletes representing 11 different Special Olympics delegations in Slovakia including: Estonia (1), Finland (4), Germany (4), Guatemala (3), Israel (1), Italy (3), Monaco (3), Netherlands (3), Puerto Rico (3), Slovakia (2) and USA (6).