Judith Corachan Vacquero
The start of 2020 provided one of the highlight moments so far in the career of Judith Corachan Vacquero.
Qualifying for Kona had been a dream since stepping up to the full distance, one she fulfilled at IRONMAN New Zealand with a new personal best time of 9:03:21. That put her in third place behind Teresa Adam and 'Queen of Taupo' Meredith Kessler. The emotion Judith felt was evident.
She said: "I've never had a race squeeze so much out of me, both physically and mentally. But it was worth suffering so much. It was worth fighting for a dream because finally, it's come true."
Tough challenges are just what the Spaniard has thrived on since trying out her first triathlon more than 10 years earlier. She had a swimming background, but when her studies became the priority, she reduced the number of hours she could devote to her sporting passions.
Judith transitioned first into duathlon, explaining: "It was by chance. I signed up for a mountain duathlon with some friends to try something new, and I liked it”.
Next came triathlon, and by 2015 she was the Spanish Long Distance Champion.
That year also saw Judith’s first IRONMAN 70.3 podium (in Budapest), and the following year she was third again (at Lanzarote) while notching a win at Challenge Peguera.
Continuing to progress, she qualified for the 2017 70.3 World Championship at Chattanooga, where she made the top 20.
In May 2018 she won her second Challenge race, with a dominant display at Salou seeing her prevail by more than four minutes.
By now Judith had also stepped up in distance, finishing third at Embrunman and fourth at IRONMAN Taiwan.
But it was 2019 which proved her best season to date, with a win at the mythical Embrunman, a successful defence of her Challenge Salou crown, podiums at both 70.3 (second at Marrakech) and IRONMAN (third at Vitoria-Gasteiz) as well as 15th in the 70.3 World Championship in Nice.
Those results indicated that the hillier the bike course, the better for Judith. That is certainly the case at Embrunman, regarded as one of the toughest triathlons in the world.
Judith put her swimming strength to good use and was first out of the water, and though she started the marathon in second place, she timed her run to perfection, regaining the lead with 10km to go and crossing the line in 10:54:07.