IT WAS two years ago that Pune boy Shubham Kajale got to know about the Ironman Triathlon, a series of long-distance triathlon races, which is regarded as one of the toughest one-day sport events across the globe. Just after his Standard10 Board exams, which got over on March 25, 2014, Shubham embarked upon a strict schedule, which went on for a year. Even when he was preparing for his Standard 12 Boards, he didn’t stop his running, swimming and cycling sessions. Shubham is recently back from Australia after successfully completing the Triathlon and bagging the Ironman title. Apparently, he is the youngest Indian to have completed the race.
Organised by the World Triathlon Corporation (WTC), the Ironman Triathlon involves 3.86 km swimming, 180.25 km bicycle ride and a full marathon of 42.2 km run – to be finished in that order without a break in 17 hours. Shubham completed the Triathlon in 14 hours and 17 minutes. “I was able to do 3.8 km swimming in one hour 5 minutes; 180.25 km cycling in seven hours and full marathon in five hours 59 minutes,” said Shubham.
The event, which was held on May 1, took place at Port Macquarie, Australia. Last year, actor and model Milind Soman had completed the triathlon in 15 hours and 19 minutes. Other than Soman, who bagged the title at the age of 50, in the past 11 Indians — aged between 24 and 42 — have won the Ironman title. Shubham was into sports since childhood, especially cycling and swimming, and hence, he said he didn’t find it difficult preparing for the race.
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About his training schedule, he said, “In the first year of my training, I would do two hours of swimming and two hours of cycling. With my college and studies, I could manage to practise only in the evenings. As far as possible, I made sure not to break the routine. After my 12th Board exams got over on March 4 this year, I started putting in six hours of training. While I practised for the marathon and cycling on my own, I took swimming coaching from Kalpana Agashe.”
A student of SP College, Shubham is awaiting his 12th results. While his father is a businessman, his mother is a housewife. Practising for the triathlon is very different from participating in the actual event, cites Shubham. “It wasn’t easy for various reasons. The route and road for cycling wasn’t good and caused backpain. After I finished my first lap of cycling, it started raining heavily, which made things difficult. Even when I was in the marathon, it started raining. My shoes got filled with water and became heavy, reducing my speed. If all these challenges were not there, I think I would have finished it in 13 hours instead of 14 hours,” he said.
As far as his career plans are concerned, Shubham aims to be a chartered accountant. As of now, he says he is happy to have achieved his target. “I was very happy to hear the announcement that I am the ‘Youngest Indian’ to have bagged the title. Now when I look back, I feel that it is all about mental strength, although physical strength is also a prerequisite,” he said.