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Dedication and Discipline: The Journey of Claudio Navas

With dedication and discipline, Claudio Navas moves forward.
Claudio Navas
Year started: 2012
Favorite gear:

Blue Seventy Swim Gear, Zoot Tri Suit, and Brooks Running Shoes

Claudio Navas’s life took an unexpected turn that led him down a path of incredible physical and mental fortitude. Once consumed by the nightlife scene, Claudio found a new purpose through running, swimming, and cycling – ultimately becoming an Ironman triathlete while working as a firefighter. His transition and accomplishments are a testament to the power of dedication and discipline. 

A Health Crisis 

It was a health crisis that initially derailed, but then rerouted, Claudio’s journey. At just 23 years old and about a year after joining the fire department, he was diagnosed with a tapeworm cyst. The diagnosis felt like a life-altering bombshell at first. “I was home sleeping when it happened. I remember waking up, and the police were at the house, and they told me that I had a seizure,” Claudio recounts of that fateful day. “I was completely out of it. I didn’t know who I was. I didn’t know where I was.”

A Tapeworm in Your Brain

After being rushed to the hospital, doctors determined the shocking cause was cysticercosis, likely contracted from consuming undercooked pork contaminated with tapeworm eggs. A tapeworm larva had migrated into Claudio’s brain, causing seizures. “They told me, oh, you have the number one cause of epilepsy in the world. It’s a tapeworm in your brain.”

A Dark Chapter

The diagnosis rocked Claudio’s world. “It was very hard. I was in a dark chapter. I was overweight. I was depressed. I couldn’t sleep at night.” Facing such a bizarre and daunting health obstacle took an enormous mental and emotional toll. However, his resilience eventually kicked in, and he used the challenge as motivation to completely overhaul his lifestyle through exercise and better habits.


Rewrite his Story 

Claudio saw this challenge in his life as an opportunity to rewrite his story. “Because of that tapeworm, I got into many healthy habits that keep me going in life,” Claudio says. “It was probably the best thing that ever happened to me in my life.” His perspective shifted from viewing it as a curse to a catalyst for positive change. That mindset adjustment led him to connect with runners who inspired him to take on longer distances and multisport events like triathlons. “I was like, whoa, what is that? Oh, you swim, you bike, and you run. I was like, “But I don’t know how to swim.” Undeterred, he sought out help to learn swimming techniques.

His First Triathlon 

At 32 years old, Claudio learned to swim from a former competitive swimmer. He completed his first triathlon and was instantly hooked on the unique thrill and sense of accomplishment. Then, watching the iconic Ironman World Championship in Kona raised the bar further. “I was like, man, I want to do that…it took it to the next level of insane.” Claudio has now completed three full Ironman races, the epic Escape from Alcatraz triathlon, and countless other endurance events over the past decade. He’s fueled by the incredible atmosphere and energy of the events. 

Firefighter and Father 

His passion provides the discipline that extends to other areas of his life as a firefighter and father. Balancing the demands of work, family, and his endurance pursuits is a constant effort. “I always remember, you got to be a dad first…At the end, being a firefighter goes first over anything else. When it comes to racing, if I have to work, my job goes first because that’s my commitment.” Balancing it all is a constant effort, like training through the night to spend days with his kids. 

Another Ironman

Braving both literal and figurative storms, Claudio’s journey symbolizes how life can take unexpected twists and turns. But with steadfast commitment, a positive mindset, and sheer determination, anyone can overcome adversity and achieve remarkable feats of physical and mental stamina. Claudio loves introducing new people to the sport. “You’re raising the awareness of how doing stuff outside is important for your mental health. At the end of the day, that’s what matters.” His powerful story of dedication and discipline. Next, Claudio eagerly sets his sights on another Ironman in the near future, then plans to spend more time with his family.