Move over marathoners, here comes the big daddy of endurance sports — The Hyderabad Triathlon
A triathlon is one of the toughest endurance tests and come this Sunday, 1,500 Hyderabadis will take part in Great Hyderabad Adventure Club’s Hyderabad triathlon — which combines swimming, cycling and running all in one event.
How the city triathlon began
From an event that was held at Bowenpally with 30 participants in 2011, the Hyderabad Triathlon has come a long way. Talking about how it started, the man behind the idea of starting the triathlon here, Deepam Morparia, a chemical engineer from IIT Bombay, says, “I was always a sportsperson, a swimmer.
When I moved to Hyderabad, I realised that there was the Hyderabad Runners Club and the Hyderabad Bicycling Club, but just the two sports. I thought why not have something which would encompass three sports? That’s how the idea of starting the triathlon here came into place.”
The first edition had 30 participants, and another triathlon in 2011 itself, had 70, the 2012 edition had 350, 2013 had 650, 2014 had 1,000 and this year’s they have received 1,500 registrations.
The organisers and the enthusiasts: Deepam adds, “While anybody can take part in the mini and novice levels, the sprint level needs at least a month of training, Olympics level needs two months, half Iron Man needs more than 6 months, and 3/4th needs over a year of training. We always suggest only hardcore marathon runners or cycling brevet participants to take part in the higher levels.”
The Iron Man: While Milind Soman made international news for completing the Iron Man earlier this year, closer home, 42-year-old Sunil Menon had completed the Iron Man in South Africa in 2014. For the senior software engineer at Microsoft, the triathlon story started as a casual conversation with a colleague from the US. “We had few expats who were here in the city for work. They were all into biking and talking to them, I too got into cycling. During our conversation, he spoke about the Iron Man,” says Sunil.
A curious Sunil started running and taking part in marathons. Determined to take part in a triathlon, he even learnt swimming. And while his first half Iron Man was in Sri Lanka in 2012, today, he has done three full Iron distances. Sunil has also been a part of the prestigious Boston Marathon.
Talking about how taking part in triathlons has helped him, Sunil says, “It needs a great amount of commitment so you get to learn how to manage your time. It also helps build a lot of self-confidence. One thing people should remember is that it’s not about excelling in all three. Instead, it’s about finishing the triathlon with a lot of fun.”
Sunil has learnt to do the balancing act well. “I have a training plan for the whole week. I train in two sports for 3-3.5 hours every day,” he says.
A triathlon addict: Senior HR manager K. Sai Harsha laughs while admitting, “I have sort of a compulsive obsession with triathlons now.” Two years ago, Sai Harsha started with the Hyderabad triathlon at the Olympic level and now he’s gearing up to take part in an international full triathlon next year.
“I was always into swimming. In fact, my family has always been into swimming so the sport came to me naturally. Yet, I wasn’t a professional swimmer. When I turned 30, three years ago, I realised it was high time I did something about my health. And I started running. A few months down the line I heard about the Iron Man. I didn’t have much knowledge but I knew all I had to do was take up biking. So that’s how it started,” he says.
He took part in the half Iron Man in Chennai and missed the third position by seven seconds. And he says being a triathlon athlete means a complete lifestyle change. Sai Harsha says. “It’s 33 per cent a sport, 33 per cent about nutrition and the rest about proper sleep. Right now, my life revolves around the triathlon,” he says.
At 15, already an expert: For Harsha Morparia, her dad being the organiser was an inspiration. When she was 11, she took part in the first- ever triathlon held in the city. “I have been taking part every year. I started off with the novice level and now I’m taking part in the sprint level. I’m in my school’s swimming team and my dad and I used to go for bike rides on the old airport road, so the interest has always been there,” says the Class IX student at Indus Universal School.
“It’s really interesting because you do three different activities one after the other. And an added bonus for me is to get a certificate with my dad’s signature,” says Harsha, with a smile. With an experience of five years, Harsha gives a few tips, “At first, you will obviously need practice. You will get cramps but slowly your body will build the stamina. As you go on to higher levels, you will feel really good about yourself.”
Harsha along with her friends in school is also organising a flash mob.
Type of events
Full Iron Man — 3.8 km swimming, 180 km cycling, 42 km running within 17 hours.
3/4th Iron Man — 2.9 km swimming, 135 km cycling, 31 km running within 12.5 hours.
Half Iron Man — 1.9 km swimming, 90 km cycling, 21 km running within 10 hours Minimum requirement Olympic level marathon
Olympic level — 1.5 km swimming, 40 km cycling, 10 km running
Sprint level — 20 km cycling, 5 km running, 750 m swimming
Novice — 8 km cycling, 2 km running, 300 m swimming
For elderly and kids
Aquathlon — 1 km running, 50 m swimming
Duathlon — 4 km cycling and 1 km running
Triathlon — 4 km cycling, 1 km running, 50 m swimming
Cycling and running only
Power Duathlon — 21 km running, 90 km cycling, 10 km running
Olympic — 10 km running, 40 km cycling, 5 km run
Sprint — 5 km run, 20 km cycling and a 3 km run again
Tips for participants
- Keep yourself hydrated
- Do warm-up before the event, the organisers have a zumba session planned
- Remember it’s not about winning
- Stretch and try to calm yourself down for 15 minutes once you complete the event