The toughest endurance challenge in the world is about to kick off in less than 48 hours! The Ultraman Endurance Challenge which will be held in Florida will see five runners from India. It comes as no surprise that Ironman triathlete Milind Soman will be leading the way, joined by his training partner Abhishek Mishra who has completed the Ironman challenge in Spain and South Africa. Also joining them will be India’s 13-time Ironman Dr. Kaustubh Radkar, Prithviraj Patil and Manmadh Rebba who are all advanced triathletes.
What is the Ultraman?
The first Ultraman Triathlon was held in 1983 in Hawaii on the Big Island of Hawaii and is now known as the Ultraman World Championship. In 1993 a second Ultraman was organized in Canada and then the third event took place in Wales, United Kingdom in 2011 where it was held for three years. Ultraman launched in the Central Florida region in the year 2014 and in Australia in 2015.
The speciality of the Ultraman Florida is that it is a very difficult challenge to complete given the tough terrain and weather for one and that it is an “invite only” challenge. The athlete’s physical and mental limits are put to test in this 3-day endurance challenge. It strongly adheres to the original principles of the Hawain Ultraman Championship; “aloha” (love), “ohana” (family), and “kokua” (help). So it is more than just a competition and is more about camaraderie that touches you and helps you create lasting memories.
The challenge comes in three stages. The swim, the bike, and the run. Overall the race covers a total distance of 321.6 miles (517.5 kilometers), around central Florida, it requires that each participant complete a 6.2 mile (10 km) open water swim, a 263 mile (423 km) bike ride, and a 52.4 mile (84 km) ultra-marathon run. The first day is the 6.2 mile swim and a 92 mile bike ride, Day 2 is a 171 mile bike, and finally, the Day 3 is reserved for the ultra run.
The record holders
The current record as the Ultraman Champion is held by Rob Gray who won the Ultraman Florida championship in February 2016. The Indians who have completed the Ultraman Challenge are female triathlete Anu Vaidyanathan who was the first Indian to complete the Ultraman and Arunaabh Shah who is the youngest Indian to complete Ultraman Australia in 2016.