It’s about that moment when i shook myself and snatched freedom from the confinement of comfort.
In the dawn of the dark i took a shivering start, ventured on an unknown trail…all alone surrounded with high prospects to fail.
I set out an ambitious goal for thyself, an awakening of a champion is assured to arise holding an enormous vision in my eyes.
A ambitious title i never had dreamt to achieve, now is the time to give a shot carrying a much stronger belief.
Break the limits, challenge the norms… as there is no stopping now until the finish line is crossed.
Practice Practice Practice hard because to be a winner there is no compromise…no matter what, i shall give a tough fight.
Ran, dived, swam and pedaled for miles… sacrificed, injured, weaken i slept in pain each night.
Closer to the race day the nerves had set-in, the presence of Pro’s around…injected many fears.
Stay Focused! Be Disciplined! Don’t Succumb… was the top command for thyself.
And with a little hope to earn the title of the ‘Nation’s Pride’ i propelled ahead.
On the judgement day, the ‘determined me’, performed an exceptional feat like an accomplished athlete.
And finally That Moment! of jubilation arrived – i had crossed the finish line.
What an amazing feeling it is to be an ‘IRON MAN’.
(The scrolling sequence of my past efforts kept rolling in – refreshing the sacrifices, occasions of pain and the extreme feelings of mental and physical discomfort… it was all worth it!)
This is not a story, it’s Reality. On 17th November 2018, Shankar Uthale became the first police constable of India to earn the ‘Iron Man’ title held at Langkawi, Malaysia. The thirty nine year cop competed against some of the best swimmers, runners and cyclists from across the world and went on to complete the gruelling challenge. (The Iron man triathlete challenge is a tough test of physical endurance and mental toughness in which the participants are required to complete the race within a time limit – seventeen hours precisely)
I met with this humble gentleman from vasai at pedal power cycling cafe and had a candid chat over a coffee.
Excerpts of my conversation with the Iron Man –
The Trigger: Shankar was weighing ninety two kgs and started to feel about his sedentary lifestyle and that’s when he decided to start running last year. And after witnessing a gradual change he added cycling and swimming to his work-out schedule.
Training: The determined cop toiled hard and practiced for four hours daily from 5 am to 9 am and reported to work thereafter. He surrendered his careless food habits and moved towards a strict diet regime.
Support: Shankar had to gather support from his family and his department about his decision to participate in the Iron Man challenge. Even during his younger days, he was never into active sports hence to aim for such a competition was a bold move. And for his good, his family encouraged and motivated him to give a try.
The critical part of support was also to train with right set of people and with right equipment and facilities. ‘IRONFIT’ helped Shankar with cycling shoes, running support came from the ‘Spartan Pacers’ group while his swimming needs and training was taken care by the ‘Kalam Sea’ swimmers group. ‘Pedal Power Cafe’ took care of his merchandise and provided a professional bicycle using which he could cover the road distance of one hundred and eighty kms in eight hours and nineteen minutes.
Results: Shankar finished the entire triathlete race in sixteen hours and fifteen minutes, comfortably inside the cut-off time.
A Role Model: Looking at his achievement, more cops from the police department has now decided to start practicing for competitive events and move towards a healthier lifestyle.
Shankar has shown us the right way to mental fitness and how to be an achiever in life. With a strong will power, one can turn things around. He is truly the Pride of Mumbai Police Force and an inspiration for other aspiring athletes.
When i asked him – What if you had failed?
He replied ‘I am not afraid of failure. I would have taken responsibility and trained even harder to make another attempt’
Shankar is a ‘HERO’ for all of us and ‘A HERO IS NEVER AFRAID TO FAIL’
Author: Vijay Malhotra, Mumbai