Doctor Kaustubh Radkar is ready to put his stamina to good use in the world’s most gruelling event designed to test human endurance in sports, the Ironman Triathlon. The event in South Africa will not be too tough for the man from Pune, who has done it ten times earlier. The eleventh is special for another reason. If he succeeds, he will be the first from Asia and fourth in the world to have completed the event in all the continents (barring Antarctica) where it has been held.
“It’s an emotional one for me,” says 32-year-old Radkar who has finished the tough race 10 times in succession. Radkar sounds confident though he has not practised as hard as he had earlier.
The Ironman Triathlon is organized by the World Triathlon Corporation and is a test of endurance, stamina and skills. A 3.86 km swim, 180.25 km bicycle ride and a 42.2 km marathon in that order, to be completed in less than a day make it one of the most difficult one-day sporting events in the world. “Normally we are expected to complete the swim and bicycle ride within ten-and-a-half hours, and then another six-and-a-half hours for marathon,” says Radkar.
It’s a long and tough journey and Radkar admits it requires a dedicated six-month training. “This time, I just got three months,” says the doctor of health administration and rehabilitation sciences who has his hands full helping patients to combat cardiac problems, lung disease and cancer.
The toughest challenge was during the Ironman event in July 2014 in Frankfurt, Germany. “A week before the event I was diagnosed with dengue and it seemed impossible to compete. But I completed the triathlon,” says Radkar who adds that after he returned he was ill for nearly three months.
A national level swimmer from Pune, Radkar competed in marathons during his 13-year stay in the US. “I completed my studies, MBA and Phd in health administration and rehabilitation sciences. At the age 25, I competed for the first ironman 2008,” Radkar adds. There has been no looking back and he says his personal best timing has been 11 hours and three minutes. “It was during the Iron Man event at Wisconsin, USA in September 2013 that I clocked my best timing,” says Radkar.
After working out a punishing schedule that includes three days of cycling for two hours from 5.30 am to 7.30 am and the next three days of running, Radkar ensures he dedicates some hours for his patients. “Some of my cardiac patients cannot even walk for five minutes and it is important to ensure they get back to their normal lifestyle,” says Radkar whose daily schedule includes a swim and training in the gym.
What keeps him going to take up more challenges? Ironman keeps me honest about discipline, motivation but the important bit is it has given me faith, confidence and humility to keep my eyes on the target and find ways to be positive even in the most challenging situations in life,” Radkar says.
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