Call it luck or gri
t, but this city-based IT professional deserves every inch of the title he’s won
Forty-year-old Sravan Kumar, even as early as January 2017, had no idea that he was going to go on to become the
“It was pure bliss when I heard the announcement ‘Sravan Kumar Vashista from India, you are an Ironman’,” he tells Mirror.
Kumar decided to take part in the triathlon in February 2017, and began by participating in marathons to test his endurance. He did face the initial dilemma of hiring a coach, but eventually decided to self-train.
His confidence increased when he completed a 10-km run in 48 minutes, and a half-marathon in one-hour-and-fifty-minutes. “In September 2017, I participated in my first event in Thonnur, Karnataka. It involved a 1.9km-swim, a 90km-cycling and a 21-km run. I had trained well for it, but by the middle of it, I was completely drained and on the ground. It took me 8.5 hours to finish half the distance. This gave me an insight on how tough the Iron Man Triathlon would be,” Kumar adds.
After he collapsed during the Thonnur triathlon, his wife and friends panicked but he did not lose hope, and instead worked harder, and got a new regime and diet plan in place. In October 2017, he went and signed up for a similar triathlon in Kolhapur, Maharashtra. “It is not an easy task to keep going for 16 straight hours. I was totally fatigued during the Thonnur event. So, I started a structured training of 12-16 hours a week. Plus I had a full time job. However, I completed the Kolhapur half Iron Man in 6 hours and 16 minutes, and then stood second in India in the Chennai full Iron Man event which requires one to do a 4-km swim, cycle for 180 km, and a 42-km run,” he says.
But this victory promised nothing, and did not assure that he was ready for the big one – the Iron Man Triathlon. Upon research, he found out that other winners had been training for at least two or three years before they went on to win the title. And he had been training only for 14 months. However, he decided to work harder for the remaining period, and give it his best.
For a triathlete, diet is one of the most important things. As a south Indian, Kumar depended heavily on rice. He says, “I followed what my grandparents used to have. I belong to the rice belt region of this country, so I simply went back to my staple diet. I dranks lots of water, worked out in the morning, had dates and raisins during my workouts. I avoided chapattis, oil and sugar. During long workouts, I had
Kumar is now taking a break before he gets back to train for the Iron Man triathlon that will take place mid-2019. And he has no intentions of quitting his job either. “I will keep participating for short distance events to keep my body fit and maintain my endurance. I love my job as much as I love sports. Sports gives me a break from work and keeps me fit,” he says. Till now, around 11 other Indians have won the title of Ironman before Sravan Kumar.