WHILE THE WHOLE COUNTRY was going ecstatic after celebrity running enthusiast Milind Soman successfully completed the Ultraman Florida 2017 race, there was an unsung Indian hero who didn't quite receive the attention he deserved. Dr. Kaustubh Radkar, a cardiovascular medicine specialist hailing from Pune, lead the Indian contingent of five runners and was the fastest Indian to complete the run, finishing in 3 hours and 17 minutes ahead of Milind Soman and placing 34th on the overall chart.
Now we're not taking away anything from the tremendously fit Pinkathon ambassador. One can imagine how arduous such an ultra-endurance triathlon can be for a 51-year-old. The Ultraman Florida is a 36-hour challenge spread over 3 days, consisting of a 10 km open-water swim, a 423 km cycle ride and an 84.5 km ultra-marathon rounding up to a total of 517.5 km which pushes the physical and mental boundaries of an individual.
The 34-year-old avid runner is the CEO of Radrx, a company which specialises in sports medicine, cardiac and pulmonary rehabilitation and healthcare consulting. Apart from completing his Sports Administration while working at the John Hopkins hospital in the United States, the running aficionado has won the prestigious title of "Ironman" 16 times in the last 8 years.
After having a dream debut in Arizona in 2008 where he became the first amateur to finish the swim in 47.30 mins, he has never looked back and became the only Indian to have conquered the Ironman triathlon on 6 different continents. Kaustubh is also a certified Ironman coach since October 2015 and is the only Indian to do so.
Well, it's mind boggling that someone who's working full-time as a doctor has the time, energy to train and participate in such strenuous events on a regular basis. The disciplined doctor limits his calorie intake to 2000 per day and ensures he gets 6 hours of sleep in order to do his workout. Kaustubh also runs a triathlete training facility called "Train with Kau" that provides coaching for athletes of all categories from amateur to elite. When asked how he was able to pull all this off in an interview with GQIndia, he answered with aplomb saying,
"To be honest, anyone can sign up for Ironman. It’s as simple as going online and signing up like you’d do for the Mumbai marathon. I help these men achieve the fitness levels required to complete Ironman that is usually part of my personal training anyway. Besides, I’d really like to see more Indian men take up this challenge”
With this being said, there are plenty of unrecognised athletes who have accomplished the Ironman and more after sacrificing so much but have somehow missed out on the limelight. This shouldn't deter anybody's focus as Kaustubh has relentlessly pushed himself beyond all boundaries and has inspired the younger generations of this country to take on challenges in life with commitment and persistence.