Eneko Llanos Burguera, was born in Vitoria-Gasteiz on November 30th, 1976. During his childhood he practiced many and varied sports. When he was just three years old he started hiking on the mountains near Vitoria-Gasteiz in the company of his parents, Jose Maria and Rosa Maria and his brothers Hugo and Hektor, and he soon began to play Basque pelota and swimming. At that time he practiced Judo for a few years, while on weekends due to family tradition Eneko was still mountain hiking. His summer holidays were spent climbing the two and three thousand meters high mountains of the Pyrenées. Multisport was almost routine for Eneko since he was a child.
Seeing that he wasn’t made for swimming he left the sport when he was thirteen years old and continued playing Basque pelota. Around this time he also practiced a lot of free rock climbing and with his savings got to buy one of the first mountain bikes seen in Vitoria-Gasteiz.
His first contact with triathlon was thanks to his brother Hektor, who started practicing the sport in 1991; after cheering for his brother at a few triathlon races, Eneko at last took part in his first Duathlon at the end of 1992. In 1993 he competed in both the Basque circuit of Duatlhon and Triathlon.
His first important results came in 1995. As a junior he won the Spanish Championships and as an elite he took part in various ITU World Cups (10th place in Gerardmer, France). That year he became a full-time professional triathlete, started to put aside his studies of Physichal Education and Sports Sciences, of which he completed three years, and dedicated his time to training and traveling around the world participating in European Cups, World Cups, and in European and World Championships in the Olympic distance. Several Spanish Championships victories are among his achievements in those years, in addition to good international results.
His main goal was to qualify for the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, so thanks to various top ten finishes at World Cups and good regularity, he got the ranking position that gave him access to the desired Olympic team. The 23rd place obtained in Sydney was not what he expected, but the simple fact of being there was an unforgettable experience.
After Sydney 2000 a new Olympic cycle began. Since his beginnings Eneko had trained with Pedro Garrido, but in 2002 after a tough decision, he opted for a change of scenery and tried something new and different to recover the lost motivation, and so Eneko started to train with his current coach Iñigo Mujika. Things between the two worked very well from the beginning, and in the following years Eneko achieved his best results in ITU World Cup racing with several top ten finishes, mainly due to the improvement achieved in the running segment.
2003 was a particularly good year: Eneko devoted the start of the season to prepare the ITU Long Distance World Championships in Ibiza. Although it was his first long distance triathlon and he bonked very severely on the last five kilometers of the run, he became World Champion, leaving behind him a lot of well-known long distance and Ironman triathletes. That same year he won the Olympic distance Spanish Championships after a solo break on the bike, and in October he won the Xterra World Championships in Maui. In 2004 he obtained good results at the beginning of the year that put him in a good position to get the ticket for the Olympic Games in Athens. But the big day came in Valencia, where after one of the best competitions Eneko has ever done, he got the runner-up spot at the Olympic distance European Championships and virtually ensured his passage to Athens. In Athens he enjoyed the Olympic atmosphere a lot, but just like four years before in Sydney Eneko was not satisfied with his race and with his result, 20th.
Athens 2004 marked a turning point in Eneko Llanos’ career of. From there he fully engaged in what was his early motivation in the world of triathlon, the Ironman.
His Ironman beginnings were not very promising, between May and August 2005 he participated in three Ironman races and failed to finish either one of them, but the lessons learned led him to second place in Ironman Western Australia, and a slot for Hawaii 2006. The beginning of 2006 was nearly the same: his first two Ironman events (Lanzarote and Roth) ended in DNFs. The next Ironman in Austria, was somewhat better, as he finished 3rd right behind his brother Hektor who was 2nd. It was nice to see the two brothers on the podium. In October he finished 5th at his first participation in Hawaii, and Eneko himself was surprised with such a result. He had at last mastered the Ironman distance, so in 2007 all went well from the start, and in May he won Ironman Lanzarote, one of his best memories from the sport. In July, he got second place at Challenge Roth, flat tire included, and in October in the great Hawaii Ironman he finished 7th, perhaps a little worse than expected after the 5th of the previous year.
2008 was a very good year for Eneko: 2nd at Wildflower, second at Ironman European Championships in Frankfurt, and Runner Up at Ironman World Championships in Hawaii. Eneko only failed to step up to the top of the podium in those major events, but he saves that for 2009: his motivation is far greater than ever.
Present and Future
Eneko still lives in Vitoria-Gasteiz, where he has everything he needs for training: varied roads without traffic and miles and miles of tracks and paths to run and run until exhaustion… it is not in vain that Vitoria-Gasteiz is called the city of sport. In winter when the cold arrives he flies to Lanzarote in search of the good Conejero weather.
In his spare time, he is still hooked to sport because he loves surfing and outdoor activities in the mountains.
Eneko is extremely passionate about his sport, so without losing sight of its annual goal, the Ironman World Championships in Kona, you can find him taking part in any kind of triathlon competition: Winter triathlon, Olympic distance, Xterra, Half Ironman … To Eneko, each competition represents a personal challenge, where facing his competitors and adversity he exceeds his limits, but above all and foremost, Eneko tries to have as much fun as possible.