MANSFIELD — Fitness has a way of bringing people together — at least, that’s what three teachers at Mansfield Spanish Immersion Elementary School have found.
Alex Gil, Angel Sanchez and Gorka Ramos share an affinity for all things active, so, naturally, exercise became one of their go-to pastimes.
“It’s like mixing a sport and mixing friendship,” Gil said.
Gil, who’s now in his fourth year at Spanish Immersion School and is originally from Madrid, Spain, started working out last year with Sanchez, a second-year Spanish Immersion teacher and native of Valencia, Spain.
“Last year we worked out almost every day,” Sanchez said.
They frequented the Mansfield Area YMCA and partook in other athletic activities around town like soccer, running and skiing/snowboarding at Snow Trails.
“It’s (fitness) our way of life,” said Sanchez, who has a number of triathlons under his belt.
While living in Spain, Sanchez competed in several triathlons over a 10-year span, including one Ironman, which consists of a 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile bicycle ride and a marathon (26.2 miles).
Sanchez said his favorite distance is a half Ironman, but he’s currently sticking to sprint triathlons, which are shorter in distance.
“But that’s because of us,” Ramos said with a laugh, “because we are not able to do a longer one.”
“Me neither,” Sanchez interjected, smiling. “I’m not in shape to do a half Ironman right now.”
After moving to the area from Bilbao, Spain, it didn’t take long for Ramos, a first-year Spanish Immersion School teacher, to link up with Gil and Sanchez.
“When I came here they told me they were going to do a triathlon, and I said, ‘OK, I’ve never done one, but OK,’” Ramos said.
Ramos felt confident in his swimming abilities, having served as a lifeguard for eight years, “like Mitch Buchannon,” Ramos joked. Buchannon is a fictional character portrayed by David Hasselhoff in the television series “Baywatch.”
Gil, who is also new to triathlons, said both and he Ramos have looked to Sanchez for tips.
“We say he’s our coach,” Gil said. “He’s really good at everything.”
The trio hopes to get back into triathlon racing in the spring, but in the meantime, they plan to continue exercising together on a regular basis.
“Coming so far to such a small city like Mansfield and finding these guys to work out with and share hobbies, that’s nice,” Ramos said.
“I think we are super lucky because we found people who like the same things,” Sanchez added.