When more is not enough, it’s not always a crisis, for some it’s an opportunity to test their limits, especially true in case of many of our new age extreme-endurance athletes from India who are rocking the International endurance race scene with a bang. There has been a steady increase in the number of participants from India and marquee extreme endurance evens.
You can see that being manifested by the number of Indians at The PBP (Paris–Brest–Paris) one of the oldest endurance bicycling events of the world. From 15 Indian Participants in 2011 to 56 in 2015 and from 2 finishers in 2011 to 20 in 2015 the numbers speak for themselves
In this edition, CRANK caught up with a few of the turbocharged Indian athletes and who are making all of us proud in International events and are proving to be an inspiration for many. We bring to you profiles and stories of gut an determination of a few stars who have already participated and of those who are straining their muscles in preparing for events to come
The Ultraman Florida
The recently concluded Ultraman Florida 2017, an invite only elite endurance event is designed to test the ultimate endurance limit of an athlete. The event saw saw some phenomenal performances by 5 Indians. ULTRAMAN is the highest and toughest title to be earned in an endurance sports after an IRONMAN. It’s an event that has a challenge of completing a 10 KM swim; 421.1KM cycling and 84.3KM run to be completed in 3 consecutive days with a 12-hour cut-off time on each day in various categories. Arunaabh Shah in 2016 was the first Indian man to finish this challenge and Dr. Anu Vaidyanathan our country’s first lady full ironman has also successfully completed the Ultraman
This year five Indians attempted and finished the ultraman and we bring you their story
Prithviraj Patil a young management consultant from Maharashtra was yearning to do the extra post his successful Ironman. He chose the Ultraman and went all out to not only get picked but to also successfully finish it. He focused on his training, mostly on swim and run as cycling is his strong point. “As I had raced both my ironman races with injuries. I made sure I would go easy on myself this time. Training started 3-4 months prior the race and I eased into it. I would keep all the three disciplines in race sequence of extreme endurance cycling once or twice a month for my body to get used to it I.e. long swim was followed by long bike very next day and long run day after”
As per Prithviraj, the strength of the athlete depends largely on his crew and the event is a great platform for interacting with not only the athlete but also the crew who have much experience to share
Dr. Kaustubh Radkar is an acknowledged star already. A 16 time Ironman finisher across all 6 continents, an achievement only a handful across the world can boast of. He is also the Ironman certified coach and founder & Coach at RadStrong
and also the founder of RadRx, a healthcare management services that include sports medicine, cardiac and cancer rehab. For Kaustabh, Ultraman was definitely the next step and wouldn’t have been difficult considering his experience and the fact that he completed Ironman & 2 full marathons as part of his training. But life had different plans for him and it seems wanted to test him further. It increased his difficulty rating by adding an injury, a dose of fever before the race and a fire ant bite during the run forcing him to run with a swollen feet. But always the winner the mind took over the body and he achieved a successful finish. Another feather in a crowded cap !
Abhishek Mishra, is a man with a passion to test his limits. He sets a goal each year, that seems unrealistic in the beginning and then he systematically works on it to achieve it. He has finished 45 half and 20 full marathons and about 12 Ultra runs with the longest being the Delhi to Lucknow run a distance of 505kms. He is also a motivational speaker and now a ULTRAMAN. Abhishek approaches his training in an unconventional manner. It’s not about fixing a schedule for him. He integrates it in his day-to-day life. He followed a similar approach even for his Ultraman schedule. “i finished the Ultraman because of the basic endurance i have built in past 4 years. The incorporation of all three sports in your schedule is important” Abhishek feels that his journey of the event has touched his soul and has given him memories to last a lifetime. Holding the tri-color at the finish line makes him ‘Ultra’-proud and he now aims to summit the Mt. Everest !
Manmadh Rebba an Architect by profession had self-coached, self-trained and self-funded himself for the event. It took him 13 years to recover from a life threatening drowning experience to even get close to the water, then with a little push from a friend in 2013 he could for the first time swim from one end of the pool to the other and there started a memorable journey that turned his years of fear and doubt, into a victory. In preparation of the event, Manmadh completed 2 Ironman events and also had a strict regimen, his entire life revolved around the training. He is currently working on a project for San Diego International Airport leaving him with limited window to train. So he customized his 60 hrs training plan. He would wake up at 4:30-5:00AM and train for 1-2 hours on his trainer and follow it up with a short run or yoga before fixing his breakfast, then rushed to work by 7:30 am. He squeezed in short runs at lunch time and swims at 6pm. While weekends were for long rides followed by short runs 30 min -45 min. He cooked his own food and kept a track of everything that his body required to be in the right condition for the race. Manmadh plans to round off the year with Ironman 70.3 Oceanside, Ironman Lake Placid, one more full distance Ironman and a bunch of biking events and hiking for strengthening different muscle groups.
Milind Soman, A man who needs no introduction. In fact the man who made extreme endurance popular in the country. A well known face in the lifestyle, sports and fitness world with a huge fan following. For all his achievements, Milind displays his characteristic humility when he says “It was very thrilling I feel anyone interested in extreme sport must experience the Ultraman. It teaches a lot physically, mentally and spiritually. It was amazing to have my mother accompanying me who has been an inspiration always. I had two Indians crewing for me and they did a fantastic job. It is after all a team effort. We grappled with some cut off related technical issues that the crew overcame despite their relatively less experience. Ever the team man, Milind thanked the Merida India team which supported him.“I have a busy travel schedule connected with my engagements and they ensured I got the same model in every city I travelled to during my preparation months. It made a huge difference on race day” he said. ”In the future if there is nothing more challenging to undertake, I may even create an event” Now that would be something. A signature Milind Soman extreme event!
CRANK congratulates all of them for the grit they have showcased and now we bring to you other stars who are preparing for the LEL, the London Edinburgh London.