Anju Khosla - Oldest Indian woman to complete Ironman Triathlon
At an age when most people begin to plan for retirement, Anju Khosla is revving up life chasing fresh adventures.
At 52, she has just become the oldest Indian woman to complete an Ironman Triathlon – one of the toughest one-day sporting events. The New Delhi resident completed her first full Ironman Triathlon, in Carinthia, Austria, in 15 hours, 54 minutes and 54 seconds.
It comprises 3.86 km swimming leg, 180.25 km bike leg followed by a marathon (42.2 km), to be completed without a break.
“My family is very fitness oriented; it is a vital part of our lives. It has been a gradual process through the last 10 years that has brought me to this point. Not many women take up the sport, especially in India. I was checking the records and found I am only the fifth Indian woman to complete it, and by virtue of my age, I am the oldest Indian woman to have done it,” said Anju, who runs a financial services company.
“Age brings you experience but is also a limiting factor as my body can’t train like a 30-year-old. The average age for a triathlete is 30-35 when they peak. At 52, you can’t be doing the same so I had to break up my training sessions. But I guess I always had that athletic streak in me since childhood,” said the daughter of an army officer.
Anju said she took up cycling around a decade ago and slowly progressed into the other two disciplines when she decided to take up triathlon.
“I took to casual cycling about 10 years back. Then I got into endurance cycling. I did a non-stop ‘500 km in 24 hours’ event from Jodhpur to Jaisalmer and back. I followed it up with other long distance cycling races of 200 km, 300 km or 400 km slowly over the years. I built up my endurance. Then running is something we have done all our lives. I have taken part in the Airtel Delhi Half-Marathon,” said Anju.
“Then in 2013, a local club organised a small triathlon near Talkatora and I thought of trying it out. That was my first triathlon. Every year since then, the first year I did short distance and then Olympic distance. Then I did the half Ironman distance in Colombo in February to do a formal half Ironman. That is how I got into triathlon.”
In Austria, out of the 2,761 competitors, 2,315 crossed the finish line with Anju 38th out of 41 in her age category (W50). Among women, she was 319th out of 336 athletes and overall 2,257th.
“I give full credit to my Pune-based coach Kaustubh Radkar for the scientific training because of which I could complete the Ironman Triathlon,” said Anju, who now wants to do more triathlons, but this time with her husband, who is also her training partner.