February 21, 2017 9:00:57 pm
It was the first time five Indians took part in the world’s toughest endurance challenge – Ultraman Florida – and all finished well in time. While model and actor Milind Soman added another feather in his cap with the Ultraman title (racing 514 km barefoot), Kaustubh Radkar from Pune was the fastest among the lot.
Ultraman is a three-day event that comprises of 10 km swimming, 149 km cycling on the first day, 273 km cycling on the second day and 84.4 km run on the third day. Each day there is a cut off of 12 hours and participants who do not make the cut are not allowed to start the next day. The event was held from February 17 to 19 and five Indians took part for the first time.
Since the Ultraman marathon is an ‘invite only’ competition considering it is extremely difficult due to the rough terrain and weather, all Indian participants finished within the time limit set for each day. The participants finished in the order – with Pune’s Kaustubh Radkar leading. He completed the event in 31 hrs 29 mins (fastest Indian so far). Again Pune’s Prithivraj Patil completed the event in 31 hrs 32 mins followed by Manmad Rebba who finished in 31 hrs 43 mins. Milind Soman finished in 34 hrs 49 mins followed by Abhishek Mishra 34 hrs 51 mins.
“For all of us this was challenge beyond Ironman and hence why we undertook it,” says Dr Kaustubh Radkar, who is a 16-time Ironman finisher! He said this was something that fell into his lap. He had a strong second day, but his first and last days were humbling where lots of things went wrong. “The key of this race is that it is self supported which means anything from water, to food to bike help has to be done by the support crew each athlete has,” Radkar said. Meanwhile, Milind Soman did all the three day events barefoot.
Prithviraj Patil, the youngest of the lot from Pune, who completed the event was happy but not too thrilled with his performance. “However I have learnt a lot about myself during the three days,” he said. Ultramarathoner Abhishek finished the third day of the event singing songs with his crew. For Abhishek, there was an immense need to compete the event as only 160 odd people get invited to participate each year . “So this is an unique honour for me” he said.
Manmad Rebba, a resident of San Diego, did his first Ironman a couple years back in Maryland and for him this was the next step. He was particularly pleased with his 84 km run on the last day that he did in 10 hrs 02 mins. All the participants echoed that they got tremendous support from the Indian community here encouraging them to finish each day of the event.
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