Team Member Spotlight

May 2021

Ben Castillo

Meet this month’s featured Beef Team member, Ben Castillo from Katy, Texas. He’s an invaluable member of the health care community, working as a registered nurse, and in his time off he further serves the community as a member of the Texas State Guard.

An active lifestyle comes naturally to Ben who has been participating in some type of sport, including endurance events, the majority of his life and, to date, “has completed too many races to count.” “I started running track in high school and enjoyed the physical and mental aspect of endurance sports,” Ben elaborates. “It continued when I joined the Army. When I got out of the service, I missed the camaraderie and physical training but found it again on the local running, cycling, and swimming scene.”

“As health care professional I understand the importance of a healthy lifestyle,” says Ben. “Running, swimming, and cycling keep me healthy physically and mentally – working toward optimal health is a great motivator.” This healthy outlook and lifelong commitment to staying fit has made Ben a mentor to his family and others. Two of his three children, Isabella and Michael, are on Beef Team Kids, participating in runs and triathlons.

Fun Facts: 1) I practice yoga; 2) I am originally from New York City, 3) I enjoy cooking with my family.

Favorite Beef Team Memories: During the CapTex Triathlon I was tired, hot and wanted to quit. Then I saw the Beef Team cheering and handing out water which gave me energy to finish strong. I also have enjoyed the team dinners (great food and conversation) before the Houston Marathon.

Favorite Races: For a Beef Team sponsored race, I’d say the Houston Marathon because it starts with the formal gala, a team dinner, and then amazing finish line energy. Another race I’ve enjoyed has been the Shadow Creek Triathlon – for the race and also the cold beer and beef tacos at the finish line.

Favorite Beef Meals: I enjoy learning new recipes from the website. Filet mignon and pre-race carbo load of spaghetti and meatballs are favorites. Also, beef fajitas!! Being on the team has taught me how to properly cook beef.

Beef Team Love: I meet Beef Team members at all the events. It’s an instant community. Also, it feels great to hear people tell me that they see the Beef Team and our beef shirts at every endurance event they attend.

Inspired By:  One of my friends is a below-the-knee amputee and she has done multiple endurance events. As a guide for Team Catapult (which assists visual and physical impaired athletes), I have guided her in a few marathons/triathlons and I love the feeling of crossing the finish line together.

Personal Record: It would be 5 hours 45 minutes in a Half Ironman (70.3).

Overcoming Injuries: I am on the medical team for the MS 150 cycling event. We provide medical support on the course. Two years ago, I became the patient when I fell and fractured my clavicle. Now, I do most of my rides on the indoor trainer. But I’m definitely getting back on the bike and riding MS 150 again (just going be more careful).

Dealing with the Pandemic: My outlet from the COVID-19 outbreak was training. Unlike other professions, as a healthcare provider, I could not work from home. I was in the frontline taking care of COVID-19 cases. So, when I got home, I needed an outlet. Training was one thing that I could do outside without any restrictions.

Post-race Rewards: Breakfast with family at a nice restaurant.

Other Sports: Outside of running, cycling and swimming, I do yoga to prevent injuries and stand-up paddle boarding to clear the mind.

Favorite Type of Run: I enjoy being out in nature, doing a trail run or mountain bike event.

Favorite Mantra / Quote: “Enjoy the process.” I might not have a good race, the weather may be bad, and so on. But I just enjoy being with friends and being able to participate.

“Celebrity” Running Partner: I would run with my daughter who is on Beef Team Kids. At just 13 years old, she is already faster than her dad. Looking forward to seeing her development as an athlete.

Pre-Race Breakfast: Oatmeal or toast with peanut butter and bananas.

Favorite Running Gear: Hoka Clifton running shoes and Zoot triathlon gear.

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