Hua Hin triathletes gear up for 2023 Ironman 70.3 World Championship in Finland

Andrea De Caprio

Three Hua Hin based triathletes are ramping up their preparations as they set their sights on the 2023 Ironman 70.3 World Championship in Lahti, Finland, scheduled for August 27.

Andrea De Caprio, who spearheads the FZTS Coaching fitness group in Hua Hin, is amongst the locally based athletes who will be competing at the world championship. He may be relatively new to the world of triathlons, but Andrea’s story is anything but ordinary.

“It all started during a surgery,” he said, recalling his transition from martial arts to triathlons following a knee injury. Through sheer determination, Andrea told Hua Hin Today how he went from a non-swimmer and a rookie cyclist to completing his first full-distance Ironman. Now, not only is he training for peak athletic performance, but he’s also coaching others to reach their full potential.

On his training regime in Hua Hin, Andrea says, “[Hua Hin] is amazing; I consider it a natural gym!” From swimming in Khao Takiab Bay to running intervals opposite the Rajabhakti park, Andrea leverages the diverse landscape of Hua Hin to refine his triathlon skills.

While running comes naturally to him, thanks to his background in combat sports, swimming and cycling presented new challenges. But, Andrea’s philosophy emphasizes viewing the triathlon as one sport, not three. His strategy revolves around mastering techniques suited for triathlons rather than focusing on each discipline separately.

Asked about the most memorable moment in his triathlon journey, Andrea cited his second-place finish at Ironman 70.3 in Lombok in 2022 and completing the full-distance Ironman in Italy during the tumultuous Covid-affected years of 2021.

The conditions in Lahti present a unique challenge due to the colder climate. Andrea emphasized mental preparation and strength training, especially given the anticipated turbulent swim in the lake and the rolling terrains for cycling and running.

Following the Ironman 70.3 World Championship, Andrea has his sights set on the 2024 Full Distance Ironman World Championship in Kona, Hawaii.

Recovery after the race is paramount. “The period immediately following a race is crucial for facilitating recovery,” he highlighted, recommending light activities and proper nutrition for optimum recuperation.

68 year old Bill Lilley will also be competing at 2023 Ironman.

Meanwhile Andrea showed gratitude to the members of FZTS Triathlon squad members who he credited with playing a pivotal role in his journey.

“I want to extend my heartfelt appreciation to all the squad members who have provided invaluable support. They are the driving force behind my motivation and the force that propels me to achieve greater heights”.

He also praised the coaches who’ve shared their wisdom with him over the years.

“Their guidance and assistance have been crucial in enhancing every facet of my performance in triathlon. Thank you for this opportunity to share my triathlon journey and philosophy with your readers,” he said.

“I hope my story can inspire others to believe in themselves and pursue their own goals, no matter where they start or how old they are,” Andrea added.

But Andrea isn’t the only Hua Hin representative with a remarkable story.

Bill Lilley, at the age of 68, stands out as one of the most accomplished athletes in his age group. Training under the guidance of Andrea and FZTS, Bill’s commitment challenges the traditional perceptions of age and physical performance. In May, Bill finished first in the M65-69 age group at the Ironman 70.3 in Vietnam.

Samut Jokela has trained with Hua Hin Roadies

Similarly, 20-year-old Samut Jokela, who has a substantial part of his training rooted in Hua Hin, will also be competing. The young athlete honed his swimming techniques in the local condo pool and the sea while partnering with the Hua Hin Roadies for bike sessions.

For those unfamiliar, the Ironman 70.3 consists of a 1.2-mile swim, a 56-mile bike ride, followed by a 13.1-mile run.

All eyes will now be on these Hua Hin athletes as they strive to make their mark on the world stage in Finland.

Hua Hin Today wishes Andrea, Bill and Samut the best of luck in Finland.