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Running on highways, hills in scorching heat was difficult, says Pune’s 20-year-old Ultraman

City’s Shubham Kajale successfully completed one of the toughest endurance races, Ultraman, in Australia last week

pune Updated: May 29, 2018 16:47 IST
Hindustan Times, Pune
Pune,railway,Ultraman
Shubham Kajale , who is a second year bachelor of commerce student of Sir Parashurambhau college, spoke about his experience of finishing the gruelling race, conquering the heat, steep climbs and strong crosswinds.(HT PHOTO)

City’s Shubham Kajale successfully completed one of the toughest endurance races, Ultraman, in Australia last week. The 20-year-old, who is a second year bachelor of commerce student of Sir Parashurambhau college, spoke about his experience of finishing the gruelling race, conquering the heat, steep climbs and strong crosswinds. Excerpts from his interview with Hindustan Times.

What inspired you to take up the challenge?

Two years ago, I successfully finished the Ironman event in Australia. I finished the race when I was just 18-years old and it turned out that I was the youngest Indian to do so. Then I started looking at the Ultraman event and the challenges it posed. After careful analysis, I decided to participate in the event at the age of 20.

What were differences between the Ironman and Ultraman?

The Ultraman competition is organised on a bigger scale and the distance is almost twice that of Ironman. The participant is required to finish the 515.4km race, which includes 10km of open water swimming on day 1; 421.1km cycling on the second day and 84.3km of running on the third. At Ironman, all these events are held continuously and a cumulative timing is calculated. So, if you are good at swimming, you get more time for the two other events. In Ultraman, every event timing is calculated separately, so despite doing well in swimming and cycling, I only just managed to finish the running event. This makes Ultraman more challenging.Secondly, Ironman is an open event and anyone can participate. For Ultraman, you need to clear a certain set criteria and get an invite to participate in the event.

What was the toughest challenge in Ultraman?

Every part of the event had different challenges. While swimming in open water, the strong waves were draining our energies and while cycling, the route had plenty of steep climbs and rolling terrain. I found the running quite difficult. We started early in the morning at 5.30 am and finished the event in the evening. During 11 to 1pm, running on highways, hills and downhill in scorching heat was difficult. I was totally tired when I was nearer to the finish line.

Which is the toughest Ultraman event in the World?

The Kona Hawaii world championship is considered the toughest. With lots of crosswinds and its proximity to active volcanoes, the Kona event is the most challenging. The weather is uncertain and organisers are usually forced to change the route at the last minute, so it’s very unpredictable.

How did you prepare for the event?

I have been swimming for the past 10 years under the guidance of coach Kalpana Agashe. In Pune, we don’t have open water bodies to train, but I undertook some training sessions at the Pawana dam. Then I noticed that the cycling route had plenty of climbs, so I trained at almost every steep climbs near Pune on weekends. To improve muscle power and lung stamina, I worked more on strength and endurance training. I also avoided bakery items and had only home-cooked food.

First Published: May 28, 2018 17:11 IST