To swim 2.9 km, cycle 135 km and run 31 km within 12 hours is no small feat. At 50, Shankar Karajagi will be the only person in all of Hyderabad to attempt the 3/4 Iron Triathlon come Sunday. This is the toughest category on offer at the 2017 Hyderabad Triathlon.
Talking about his passion for keeping fit, he asks, “If you leave your home without brushing, you’ll feel a little strange, no? Same goes with me and exercise! The day I don’t work out, my energy levels are low and the whole day is a drab. I wake up at 4 am, study till 5.45 am, then go for a run of about 10 to 12 km. I cycle 50 to 60 km on Saturdays but I don’t swim much as I don’t feel like it exerts me enough. Since the past three weeks, I have been doing a combination of the two activities to train for the triathlon. My aim is to finish it in 10.5 hours. I’ve been running marathons since almost a decade , but last year was the first time that I took part in a triathlon. I did the 1/2 Iron last time, and the most challenging part was Hyderabad’s elevation and the scorching sun. I hope the weather is more forgiving this time.”
Shankar is the head of marketing of a reputed petroleum company for their Telangana and Andhra operations. He got into the armed forces when he was 40 and soon secured the post of a major. The engineer who graduated from RET Suratkal, has an MBA degree, has done a certificate course in solar energy and is currently studying for a PG diploma course in technology management in agriculture. And, if that wasn’t enough, he is such an avid reader that he invites you to indulge yourself in what he calls his ‘treasury of books’.
Major Shankar comes from a small town in Karnataka called Sankeshwar, where he grew up learning to swim in wells. He was an athlete in school and college, and got selected in the Airforce, the Army and the petroleum company once he graduated. “But the joining date of the petroleum company was early and my father said I should take it up, and I did.”
However, Shankar never let go of his dream to wear the uniform, which he finally achieved when he was 40. And it wasn’t easy. “There are 10 levels in the selection process of the Army. I passed nine of them but in the very last one, I got rejected because I was overweight by 10 kg. They gave me one month’s time to reduce that weight and then try again. That’s when the war with my own body began. In 30 days, with a rigorous work out regime and a strict diet and abundant help from my wife, I managed to shed 10 kg. I reappeared for the medical test, and earned my uniform,” says Shankar, who is one of the 28 officers in the country to be part of the Territorial Army that takes care of fuel emergencies. “Nothing can come close to the feeling I get when I wear the uniform. I was there helping out during the earthquake in Kutch and the cyclone in Odisha. Even in the case of war, we are called. We train for a month each year even now,” he explains.
With such a busy lifestyle, what does he do to relax? “I play golf. It’s a sport that keeps even the mind fit,” says the bundle of inspiration. “My friend Romeo James, a Dronacharya Awardee and an Olympic hockey player introduced me to Golf. Since then, I got addicted to it,” he adds.
- Shankar has three degrees and is studying for a fourth
- He hasn’t had dinner since the past decade, saying his body doesn’t need it
- He’s one of the 28 officers in the Territorial Army, who take care of fuel emergencies. He helped during the earthquake in Kutch (2001) and the cyclone in Odisha (1999)