An engineer from Aylesbury who was told to stop playing football after a knee injury has staged a Rocky-style comeback by becoming a triathlon star.
Mario Salvador Sutton, 29, who lives in Stocklake, fell in love with triathlons after trying out the RAF Halton course three years ago. He took part after hearing the devastating news that he was unable to continue playing football.
And, last week despite competing against hardened triathletes, he came an amazing 11th out of 1,084 competitors at an event in Stockholm.
The engineer, whose day job is at the Arla megadairy in Aston Clinton says that – like Sylvester Stallone’s characterin the classic films – determination, and organisation is all that you need to succeed, and urged everyone to give the sport go.
He said: “I did loads of preparation, and even though I had a bad knee I still came 11th, and third in my age category.
“I train all over Aylesbury, I do swimming at the Aqua Vale Pool, and use the cycle lanes around town, I also do park runs on Sundays.
“You see people at these big events with £11,000 bikes, and I don’t have anything like that, so it feels like a real achievement to do well.”
Mario’s employers have stepped in provide some equipment for the rising triathlon star, and the rest of the funding comes from Mario and his partner Sandra Fernandez who he says ‘supports me every step of the way’.
But Mario almost gave up on sport entirely, when knee problems lead to doctors advising him to give up playing football – his first sporting passion.
He said: “I always used to play football but suffered knee problems, and eventually the physio said that I need to stop, and find something that didn’t put as much pressure on my knees.
“About triathlon, I always tell people the amazing thing is you don’t have to be particularly fit, you just have to have lots of commitment. I would challenge everyone to do it, it is such a good sport and helps you in all sorts of ways, even in my profession it has helped me because it involves so much planning and commitment.”
Mario’s next race is in Hamburg on Sunday, where he hopes to do even better than before.