IT WAS his last lap. His body had been through enough. At that precise moment, Indian Police Service officer Krishna Prakash spotted his wife waving the tricolour. He instantly took it from her and sprinted faster. Overwhelmed by the moment, Prakash ran an additional two kilometres only to be redirected to the finish line. He had completed the task and become an ‘iron man’. Meet Prakash, the first serving Indian civil servant to complete the iron man challenge in France. While model and actor Milind Soman popularised the sport in India, IPS officer Prakash has made it a topic of discussions amongst civil servants.
Speaking to The Indian Express at his office in Dadar in suburban Mumbai, Prakash says he is overwhelmed but people ask him to share fitness tips. “Post the iron man triathlon, I have been called at many events to speak on issues concerning health and fitness. A year ago, triathlon was not on my mind but things changed after I learnt about a friend of mine, who I thought had comparatively poor endurance levels, who completed the acclaimed Boston marathon. I decided to challenge myself and today I am proud that I did,” the 1998 batch officer who is currently serving as Inspector General, VIP Securities, Maharashtra Police, confided. The race begins with an open ocean swim of 3.86 km followed by a cycling segment of 180 kilometres, followed by 42 km of running. For Prakash, while the run was most challenging owing to the heat, his near-fatal encounter was when his cycle fell into a ditch. For over 10 minutes, Prakash remained unattended.
“According to the rule, one cannot ride behind a particular participant for more than 12 minutes in a stretch and therefore I was trying to overtake a group of cyclists from the right side. There was a massive green patch on the right side, so I decided to ride on the green patch. However, there was a ditch and I fell headfirst. I was knocked out for over 10 minutes. When I regained consciousness, there were a few fellow participants who had stopped by and were sprinkling water on my face. I thanked them and requested them to continue with the race and I started to gather myself,” Prakash recalled.
“For a brief moment, I thought I won’t be able to make it but then I remembered how not just me but also my family had toiled to make this dream of mine come true. My wife used to religiously wake me up around 4 am everyday. Miraculously, when I inspected myself, except for a few cuts and bruises, I had not broken a single bone. My cycle was also more or less intact. I decided to continue with the race,” Prakash added. Prakash missed his finish line and ran an additional two kilometers only to be veered back to the finish line. “In the last round, I ran with a tricolour fluttering over my shoulder. I missed the finish line and was redirected to it. In the confusion I ran an additional two kilometers and that added an extra ten minutes to my finishing time,” Prakash adds with a smile.
Next in line for the marathon man is to participate in many more iron man challenges hosted by different countries and also participate in the Boston marathon.