On top of the world

Sidharth Madhav, grandson of the well-known Malayalam writer Mali and A. K. Sheshadri, first mayor of Kochi, and son of the corporate mentor V.K. Madhav Mohan and Radha, has won the prestigious An Ironman Triathlon title. He won it representing India in one of the most difficult sporting events in the world. Sidharth finished the triathlon held in Cambridge, Maryland, USA, on September 28 in 13 hours and 11 minutes. Sidharth was born and brought up in Kochi and is now a young manager with PriceWaterhouseCoopers in New York.

Widely known as the most difficult sporting event in the world, An Ironman Triathlon is one of the long-distance triathlon race series organised by the World Triathlon Corporation (WTC), consisting of a 2.4-mile (3.86 km) swim, a 112-mile (180.25 km) bicycle ride and a marathon 26.22-mile (42.20 km) run, raced in that order. The important point to note is that the swim, bike and marathon are all back-to-back with no gaps whatsoever. It’s a continuous, non-stop test of physical and mental endurance.

When asked about how he ended up participating in this mega event, he said, “I've been involved in sports throughout my life. I was a national level roller skater and played tennis, state-level cricket, and martial arts but lost touch after a few years. I was always aqua phobic and couldn’t bring myself to learn swimming, but one day I decided to get over it and signed up for scuba diving classes, travelled to Costa Rica and got certified in open water scuba diving. I was still very scared of the ocean, as I had never been in the ocean. But I still couldn’t swim. That’s when I decided to do triathlons. I came across an Ironman race on TV years ago and dreamed of doing it one day. After becoming a certified scuba diver; I decided to conquer my fear. Initially, I couldn’t do even one lap without panicking. I went to a coach for a few days, but still something wasn’t right. I did a small triathlon in Miami and I was the last one to finish. After that my competitive nature took over and I started spending most of my time swimming and eventually I got real comfortable in it. Now, I even coach a few people.”

When asked about his motivation behind achieving this big feat, he said, “I wanted to stick to a plan and be disciplined so I am mostly self–motivated. But I had a lot of support from my parents, wife, sister, coach and my teammates and friends. You can’t do a race like this without support, so it’s because of them.”

He underwent hard-core training for the past two years for the event. So far, he has swum around 113km in the pool and ocean, biked around 4000km and run around 650km for training i.e. around 15-20hours per week, six days a week.

Physical therapy, acupuncture, massages and Cryotherapy were incorporated for recovery and injury prevention.

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