Model-actor Milind Soman, who turns 50 in November this year, has won the Ironman title at a triathlon held in Zurich in Switzerland on July 19 in which over 2,000 participants this year included seven Indians.
The triathlon, organised by World Triathalon Corporation, includes a 3.8-km swim, 180.2-km cycle ride and 42.2-km run and is widely regarded as the world’s toughest race, which has to be completed in 16 hours by participants for an Ironman title.
Milind Soman, who took part in the race for the first time, took 15 hours and 19 minutes to finish it.
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“If you are sufficiently aware and monitor your body’s response at every stage in terms of nutrition and pace, it will all come together. I wanted to gift myself something special in my 50th year and I am glad I could do this,” Soman told The Indian Express on phone from Zurich. “I prepared really well and it was a great experience.” he said.
“The challenge was to complete the cycling segment in less than eight hours since it is a new activity for me and there was a cut-off time to adhere to. The swim in Lake Zurich was great and the 42-km run is something that I have been doing for years,” Soman said.
Of the seven Indians who participated in the race this year, five completed the race. Successfully leading the contingent was 11-time winner of Ironman title, Pune’s Dr Kaustubh Radkar, who completed the race in 12 hours and 32 minutes. This is Dr Radkar’s 12th Ironman title which now qualifies him for the Hawaii Ironman World Championship to be held in 2017.
The event saw seven-time reigning champion Ronnie Schildknect taking his eighth title and declared the overall winner.
Radkar, who is still in Zurich, told The Indian Express that it was a tough day for all the athletes.
“The weather kept changing. Early morning, it rained and then it was very hot,” said Radkar, who refuses to call it a day and is now busy preparing for Ironman Boulder to be held on August 2 at Colorado.
Twenty-seven-year old Hiren Patel, who works at Infosys and was sponsored by the firm for the event, will surely not forget the “most crucial 16 hours of his life” which he has now displayed as a message under his profile picture on Facebook.
“I learnt swimming just a year ago for this event,” says Patel, who did the entire 3.8-km swim with breast strokes instead of freestyle. Patel completed the event in 15 hours and 14 minutes.
Prithviraj Patil, another participant from Pune, said he was under tremendous pressure to complete the race.
“The course in Zurich is challenging, especially on a cycle, but it was tough due to the hot weather and head winds with a speed of 15-20 kms per hour,” says Patil, who completed the event in 15 hours 52 minutes. Anand Patil, another contestant, completed the event in 15 hours and 53 minutes.