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Youngster follows mother’s footsteps, participates in Publix Escape to Miami Triathlon

Nicolas “Nico” Raffinengo is just 10 years old, and he isn’t the youngest to compete in a triathlon. But he was the youngest out of the 1,750 participants in the Publix Escape to Miami Triathlon this past weekend.

He participated in the Sprint course and finished faster than a majority of his much older competitors.

With a time of 1:22:12, he placed 45th out of 664 entrants who ran the event.

One of the middle-aged participants whom came in after Nico told him: “Man, you passed me out there, and that’s not cool.”

Nico is still pretty new to the world of triathlons, but he is showing a great amount of natural talent.

“It is hard to believe he started all of this just over a year ago,” Marcelo Raffinengo said. “I am really proud.”

While a lot of kids these days look up to athletes like LeBron James or Dwyane Wade, Nico idolizes a different kind of athlete, and as a triathlete it is easy to understand why he chose the one he did. His hero is Craig Alexander, a multiple Ironman world champion.

He got his start nearly two years ago when his mother, Anabel Raffinengo, decided to participate in the Miami Half Marathon. He saw his mother training and became interested. So much so that he asked if he could start running with her.

“I was training for a half marathon, and he asked me if he could run with me,” his mother said. “I decided to let him come with me, and he ran for a whole 2 1/2 miles.”

Added Nico: “I started out diving when I was little. So when I heard mom talking about wanting to do a triathlon — I wanted to it.”

From that point he ran in a couple of 5Ks and then went on to do his first triathlon in 2012, the Miami Kids Triathlon.

Nico wasted no time in finding the front of the pack and finished in second place. From there he found himself participating in the regional round of the Ironkids Triathlon where he placed third, but went on to later become the USAT National Champion in just a matter of a few months.

There is no doubt that there are kids younger than 10 competing in triathlons, but Nico shows a great deal of character and a true desire to compete.


Carlos Dolabella, of Miami, and Holly Cross, of Wellington, were the top finishers in the Sprint distance in the Escape to Miami Triathlon on Sunday.

Dolabella finished with a total time of 1:07:10, and Cross finished in 1:16:27.

Men’s Sprint Division: 1.Carlos Dolabella, Miami,1:07:10; 2.Marcel Jane, Miami,1:09:23; 3.Damian Jane, Miami,1:10:05; 4.Rudy Robaina, Jupiter,1:11:08; 5.Santiago Pazos, Miami Beach,1:11:51. Women’s Sprint Division: 1.Holly Cross, Wellington,1:16:27; 2.Rachelle Ginsberg, Miami Beach,1:19:18; 3.Becky Garcia, Hollywood,1:22:09; 4.Karla Acosta, Miami Beach,1:23:24; 5.H.Bracken-Grissom, Pembroke Pines,1:23:56. Men’s Olympic Division top 10: 1. Alexander Gomes, Curitiba, Brazil, 1:58:13; 2. Frederico Monteiro, Curitiba, Brazil, 2:05:09; 3. Rodrigo Dos Santos, Curitiba, Brazil, 2:06:40; 4. Cobi Morales, Miami,2:06:50. 5. Andrew Hibbitt, Clermont,2:09:42. Women’s Olympic Division: 1.Isabel Olivas, Kendall,2:21:07; 2.Sandra Forero, Sunny Isles,2:25:39; 3.Daniella Draughon; Plantation,2:26:38. 4.Evelyn Salama, Pembroke Pines,2:27:08. 5.Ola Besser, Miami Beach,2:27:13.