Mumbai, Aug 15 (IANS) Achieving a major feat, a 42-year-old executive Yogesh Patil, suffering from Autosomal Disorder successfully conquered the gruelling Ironman triathlon in Germany, recently.
Working with Schneider Electrics (India), Patil cracked the tough challenge along with two others from Maharashtra — Nagesh Utekar of Mumbai and Sharda Kulkarni of Pune — organised as the European Challenge in Hamburg this year.
The Ironman triathlon first became famous in India after Bollywood actor Milind Soman completed it in 2015, and till date barely an estimated 200 Indians have earned laurels for the country.
Patil was formerly suffering from very high blood pressure in 2006-2007, making him off-bounds for such high-paced, racy adventures events, but he steeled himself to overcome the disease and barely 18 years later, emerged as a strong ‘Ironman’.
The Ironman, conducted by the World Triathlon Corporation (WTC) is one of the most grueling challenges on the planet — comprising a 3.8-km long swim, a 180-kms long cycling and a 42.2-km long Marathon — all to be completed within 15 hrs-30 minutes.
“This is not really for normal swimmers, cyclists or sprinters, but only for those with nerves and muscles of steel… and all the more challenging for someone with the Autosomal Disorder,” remarked his friend Pradeep Menon, who goaded him to go for it…
Surprising many, including himself, Patil clocked just 13 hrs-48 minutes, well under the 15 hrs-30 minutes deadline and became an ‘Ironman’, with the Indian Tricolour shown on all the display screens and announcements.
However, the honour didn’t come easily and involved years of hard work, training sessions, practice, concentration, diet and other disciplines, smiled Patil.
For this, the family members — his mom Shakuntala, wife Samidha and their daughter Mriga — encouraged, supported and kept an eye on him, while his team comprising Chaitanya Velhal, Kevin Michael, Satish Gujaran, Imran Shaikh, Shankar Thapa of #Tritrooper, Dr. Pradnya Padhye of Balcal Nutrefy, #Powerpeak, Powai Pedal Cycling Team for their contributions in his conquest.
“It was my dream to enter and crack the Ironman feat this year… Normally, the race has a cut-off time of 17 hrs, but this being the European Championship, it was just 15 hrs-30 minutes. Over 2,000 athletes from more than 80 countries took part, including four from India (one was from New Delhi), making it quite an ‘exclusive’ event,” gushed Patil.
He recalled with a shudder how he stepped into the freezing Alster Lake for the bone-chilling swim, then cycling onto a very scenic but quite flat stretch with lot of headwinds and some crosswinds adding to the woes, and then running across a lake-side route with massive cheering crowds that lifted up the sagging spirits.
“Since this was my maiden full Ironman attempt, I took it very easy in swimming and cycling. That kept me fresh and strong for the Marathon and I went past the finishing line in 828 minutes against the cut-off of 930 minutes,” said Patil with a tinge of pride.
After Patil beat the high-blood pressure which struck at a relatively young age in his late-20s, he got down to a strict regimen of diet, physical activities, exercises, then training for professional events like several Half-Marathons and a Full Marathon in Mumbai, Thane, Palghar and other places.
There were bizarre hours of cycling and running on the Mumbai-Agra Highway, learning competitive swimming under a specialist coach, and keeping himself mentally fit and alert despite the disorder.
Today, his family and friends and those who inspired him are thrilled that he managed to carve a niche for himself in such a short time.
To a query, whether he would consider something like ‘Fear Factor’ or ‘Khatron Ke Khiladi’, Patil laughed and said: “Not my cup of tea..!”
(Quaid Najmi can be contacted at: [email protected])
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