42-yr-old lawyer first Indian, fastest ever to finish Enduroman triathlon
Late last month, Vaid finished one of the toughest endurance events in the world – the Enduroman triathlon – in a world record time of 50 hours, 24 minutes.Updated: Sep 16, 2019 11:01 IST
Mayank Vaid, a 42-year-old Indian legal executive based in Hong Kong, has laid a fresh marker for the world as well as his country, which is still a long way from catching up when it comes to participation in extreme sports.
Late last month, Vaid finished one of the toughest endurance events in the world – the Enduroman triathlon – in a world record time of 50 hours, 24 minutes. Dubbed the ‘Arch 2 Arc’ race, the Enduroman starts with a run from London’s Marble Arch to Dover, followed by a swim across the English Channel. Once the athlete emerges at Calais in France, it is a long cycling leg to finish at the Arc de Triomphe in Paris.
The previous record was 52 hour and 30 minute, set by Belgium’s Julien Deneyer on August 20, but Vaid slashed the mark by almost a whopping two hours on August 25. Vaid was only the 44th person in the world, and the first from Asia, to complete the race.
From Bilaspur in Himachal Pradesh, Vaid, who moved to Hong Kong 10 years ago, is a legal executive with Louis Vuitton, and looks after the company’s interests in China and the Asia-Pacific. He says his motivation was to test his capabilities in withstanding extreme challenge. “It was an amazing thing that I could dream of in my life,” he said over the phone from Hong Kong.
The London-to-Paris Enduroman connects two of the world’s iconic cities, but it tests athletes to the extreme. The clock starts ticking the moment the athlete leaves Marble Arch and stops only when he or she finishes.
The race is regarded among the toughest in the world with a reason. The initial running leg is 140km, which Vaid took 16 hours, 35 minutes to complete. After a five-hour break, he jumped into the English Channel. The basic criterion to qualify for the Enduroman is to have completed six hours of open-water swimming in temperatures less than 16 degrees Celsius. “Since I participated in the Hong Kong Challenge last year, I was eligible for the Enduroman event,” he said.
Though the shortest stretch across the Channel is 21 miles (33.79km), the tide will invariably force the swimmer into a longer course. Vaid ended up covering 42.5km in 12 hours, 48 minutes – including a break for nourishment in the water. He took a break of 2 hours, 20 minutes before getting on the cycle to pedal 290km to the central district of Paris. “From Calais, the route follows the rolling coast road. It gives the participant a chance to ride alongside the channel, before turning inland. Numerous times the route descends into villages and climbs back out before finally flattening just outside of Paris,” he explained. Until five years ago, Vaid said he was overweight but was inspired by friends to start a fitness regimen. ‘I’m 5ft 11inches tall, but I was obese. I had put on more than 20kg extra; it was terrible but couldn’t be avoided due to lot of travelling and eating out,” he said. “...inspired by friends I quit the late night social gatherings and became an early riser,” he said. “I started with open-water swimming, and then started ultra races and long-distance cycling. The more I practised, the more ambitious I grew and wanted to do something more challenging. It was then that I thought of doing something different and set my goal of breaking the record of ‘Arch 2 Arc’.”