They say participating is the first step
to winning. Deter-mined to win, thousands gathered at the Gachibowli Stadium to participate in the 9th edition of the Hyderabad Triathlon — 2018, on Sunday. The event was conducted by the Great Hyderabad Adventure Club (GHAC) and was held across two locations in the twin cities — the GMC Balyogi Gachibowli Stadium and ICFAI Foundation of Higher Education, Shankarpally.
The much-awaited annual event is India’s largest open category triathlon. It kick-started at 5.30 am as participants of the tough Half Iron and Olympic categories swam in the 50-metre swimming pools at GMC Balyogi and ICFAI.
The cycling and running course on the ISB Road was challenging, with some good climbs and quick descents. But despite it being sunny and warm, the participants pushed themselves towards the finish line. To support the participants, the GHAC had set up aid points at every km throughout the route (for hydration and refreshments).
Over 1,300 participated this year, with 400 athletes from metros like Mumbai, Pune, Bengaluru, Chennai and Delhi. It was delightful to see the confidence and determination of the children who took part in various triathlon and duathlon categories. In fact, many attendees had trained for months on end while others had participated in marathons earlier.
Be it the longest run of ½ iron triathlon or the smallest mini aquathlon, touching the finishing line is a matter of prestige. And keeping this in mind, the organisers arranged for some dhol walas who greeted every participant approaching the finish line with enthusiasm. The well-organised event was managed by a passionate team of around 400 GHAC volunteers.
Fitness is of prime importance
While most people don’t pay attention to their health after a certain age, Neelima Gudaru insists that one should always be active and fit. The 40-year-old was one of the first to finish the Olympic-distance triathlon. “This is my fifth year at the Hyderabad triathlon,” Neelima said, adding, “It feels good to touch the finish line. I like doing Olympic-distance triathlons. They are the perfect distance; not less, not more.” Neelima finished the triathlon in three hours and 24 minutes — her best so far.
Mother of the two teenagers, Neelima feels that fitness should be everyone’s priority. “Fitness has helped me in every sphere of life — be it personal and professional. I run regularly. It rejuvenates my happy hormones. In fact, being a mother, staying fit inspires my children too,” she said.
Adding the Aussie flavour
A very enthusiastic, 65-year-old Tony Cheshire, from Australia has turned retirement on its head with his latest feat. “This is my first triathlon. I am from Australia, but have been working in Hyderabad for the past three years,” says Tony, who was a sprint-distance triathlon participant. He adds, “When I heard about the Hyderabad Triathlon, I thought ‘why not?’ I have been preparing for about six weeks — running, swimming and cycling three to four times a week.” Interestingly, the sport enthusiast used to surf in Australia, and has run the 5K in the city earlier.
Age no bar
Gone are the days when children would get up late on Sunday, and spend the entire day playing or watching cartoons. Today, they are focussed and high achievers. For 13-year-old Shreya Sriram and her sister, nine-year-old Shrika, who participated in the novice duathlon, it was all about focus. “We have run 10 km marathons three-four times earlier. It feels nice to touch the finish line; it’s tiring but very satisfying,” a visibly-excited Shreya said.
Interestingly, Shreya is a dancer and Shrika is a football player. Talking about their training, Shreya adds, “We started training a week ahead, and being a dancer and football player helped with flexibility. We are planning to participate in the upcoming Hyderabad 10k marathon.”
Of discipline and grit
An Army personnel’s life is one of great discipline. So it was of no surprise that Dr Prasad Chitra, an orthodontist and Army officer completed the sprint-distance triathlon in just around two hours. Dr Prasad has always given ample time to sports. “I love long-distance running and cycling. I have taken part in more than 20 marathons, and I enjoyed taking part in today’s triathlon as well,” Dr Prasad shared. Interestingly, Dr Prasad has his marathon schedule blocked till January 2019 (in Chennai and Mumbai).
Why should youngsters have all the fun?
A group of six senior citizens from Nagpur (all buddies) came for the triathlon as well. “We love swimming and cycling, our only problem is running. We have come down from Nagpur to Hyderabad to take part,” Ravindra Darare, a group member shared.
Seasoned marathoners, they all are training for a marathon in Bangkok next. “We can swim 40 km and cycle 100 km. But running is our only challenge. We have been preparing for the past two months for today, and this is a great platform to improve further,” another member Abhay Duraker added.
Inspiring their parents
Cliches were also busted at the event! Elders usually guide children and motivate them, yet three children — six-year-old Sanvi Manocha, seven-year-old Aarav Bhatnakar and eight Shivanchi Patidar, not only successfully completed the mini duathlon but inspired their parents too. Shivanchi’s mother Jigisha quipped, “She is the one inspiring us to get out of the house. Now that she has completed the marathon, I also feel like taking part in it. I shall participate next time.”