On October 8, 1,600 triathletes will run, swim, and bike 113 kilometers in Goa.
Ironman (third edition in India), the world’s toughest one-day sporting event, will draw nearly 1,600 triathletes from 30 countries to Goa.
Calculate the distance in kilometers. In the vicinity of London and Stonehenge. Sacramento to San Francisco. Moet & Chandon in Paris. Aligarh to New Delhi. From Mumbai to Alibaug. Take a deep breath and visualize yourself running, swimming, and cycling 70.3 miles (113 kilometers). No, you cannot be the snail because there is a time limit of 8 hours and 30 minutes. Wait, you should expect to lose 1-2 kilograms during a 70.3-mile race. Have you lost a breath and a lot of sweat? On October 8, nearly 1,600 triathletes from 30 countries will compete in Ironman, the iconic global triathlon widely regarded as one of the most difficult one-day sporting events in the world.
The Ironman 70.3 (the full Ironman race is 140.6 miles or 226.3 kilometers) will begin with a 1.9 km swim off Miramar Beach, followed by a 90 km bicycle ride, and conclude with a 21.1 km run from Miramar Circle in Panaji, the state’s capital.
While most triathletes begin training a year or two before the race, Ironman 70.3 is a logistical nightmare for the organizers. On that day, nearly 1,200 people, including 700 volunteers, will man the streets and assist the crowd. There will be 21 tons of ice and 23,000 litres of portable water ready for use. There are eight hydration and nutrition stations along the route. Although a couple of bike mechanics will be on hand in case of an emergency, participants are responsible for their own bikes. If something minor happens, such as a flat tire, they must fix it themselves and continue driving. That is how triathlons operate. Roads will be closed, and traffic will be chaotic in the state’s heart.
Goa is the home of Ironman India. Why go to Goa? “We chose Goa because it is a popular tourist destination that appeals to both locals and international participants.” Goa provides a beautiful backdrop for the race as well as convenience with a variety of accommodation options and easy airport access. The marketability of the event was critical in attracting brands and participants. Another critical factor was ensuring the safety and quality of the beach waters. According to Deepak Raj, Chief Executive Officer of Yoska and franchise owner of the Ironman brand in India, “government support for road closures was critical, and after evaluating different cities, Goa emerged as the best choice due to its suitability and strong government backing.”
Every triathlete is not a professional. There will be 75+ participants from the Armed Forces, as well as a few CEOs, CFOs, and management personnel who will put their skills to the test outside of the boardroom. Several 18-year-olds waited in line to register. So did Mumbai’s Aries Kharas, 70, and Pervin Batliwala, 66, the Ironman 70.3’s oldest man and woman. And Bishworjit Saikhom, the previous Ironman 70.3 India men’s category winner. The states with the highest number of participants are Maharashtra, Karnataka, and Haryana.
What is a typical race-day meal? How does one get ready for a long day? “Athletes frequently focus on eating more carbohydrates the day before the race.” Carbohydrates are important because they provide energy, and you don’t want to start the race exhausted. A little salt and electrolytes are also necessary to keep the body balanced. It’s all about recovery with the first meal after the race. Athletes may prefer something easy on the stomach, such as rice. “It’s critical to replenish lost nutrients and stay hydrated,” adds Deepak Raj, who has introduced an app-based training model to reach individuals in Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities, allowing triathletes who do not have access to a certified Ironman coach to train remotely.
Though Ironman is commonly thought of as a male sport, the number of female participants in Ironman 70.3 India is steadily increasing. This year, more than 200 of the 1,600 participants are women. To encourage women to participate, Ironman 70,3 India provided coaching discounts and race registration discounts. Meet Susan Hunt Thapar, 66, a swimming coach and former sports tourism marketing professional from Australia who completed a full Ironman 35 years ago, an Ironman 70.3 20 years ago, and a number of triathlons in the past. Six days a week, she trained with 50-90 km bike rides and two days of running and swimming.
Tanvi Kale, 30, of Pune, a certified life coach, spends about one to two hours per day doing a combination of workouts, including brick workouts. “I also incorporate strength training and Yin Yoga into my routine to balance the intensity of Ironman training,” says Kale, who prioritizes training on weekends, including early bedtime, bike maintenance and preparation, and a strict no-socializing policy on Fridays and Saturdays.