A (long) story of Self Belief, Determination and Grit : Ultraman Australia

Around 2 years back,after falling in love with running, like any other runner I was looking around for bigger challenges.

I had done a 50k Ultra, Improved upon my HM time by 58 minutes and was reading up on Ironman triathlon. 

The Ironman distances seemed ridiculous enough to entice me and then I came across this book, "Finding Ultra" by a former Stanford Swimmer, Rich Roll. The book describes his journey from being obese and battling drug abuse to becoming one of the World's fittest Men. And the book had a mention about a race called Ultraman.

Now if Ironman was a river of toughness, Ultraman seemed to be the glacier from which Ironman was melting. 
A 10 km Swim, 421.1 kms of Bike rides and a double Marathon - all in 3 days. 
My eyes and mouth watered. The race went on my bucket list.

In the years that followed, a raced and won a 100k Ultramarathon, Ran a Sub 3 Marathon, Won and placed highly in a number of other races, did my 1st Ironman 70.3 and also my 1st Ironman Triathlon.

Months prior to my Ironman I was toying with the idea of choosing either Norseman Extreme Triathlon or Ultraman Australia as my next race. Norseman was a reject.
I applied to Ultraman, praying I would get selected. 

And then I got the invitation. I was in. That race I had heard of 2 years back was going to be my next race. 

Finances were tough, Bad luck had been prevailing and the Ironman had cost me around 7,50,000 INR. And I was down a lot of money. 

When I was invited, I was torn between having money for the race or to recoup my previous expenditures and save for my future. But my mother told me to go for it. And so I sent my acceptance and was signed for what would be the biggest learning experience of my life.

The preparation: I got the invitation in November for a race to be held in May. 
Riding on the back of the Ironman, I proceeded to do something no other Indian had done before : I did 7 back to back Self Supported Half Iron Distance Traithlons in 7 days. 

The body wasn't recovered yet and with a lack of strength routine and the extreme workouts in Delhi Pollution and changing weather, I fell extremely sick following the event.

I pulled out of the Airtel Delhi Half Marathon due to a Hamstring pull while trying to bounce back too soon. The DNF, being the 1st of my career was demoralising but I moved on and did 29.2k in 1:57 in the Adidas Stadium Run in December.

Feeling good about myself, I continued to train but got a niggle in my knee in January, a week before the Mumbai Marathon. Decided to go to Mumbai, but had to pull out again at 6k not willing to risk the knee at that pace and not willing to finish slower than last year. Walking through the dark streets in Mumbai, crying at the condition I was in, I came home. The flight back home was terrible as I was surrounded by Marathon Finishers and was feeling extremely disgruntled about my DNF. 

I decided to stop training for a while and join a Gym for strength work. With decline in Volume and focus on only strengthening exercises and nothing else, I gained weight. 

This carried on till March when I finally began to run again. Scared of falling back again, i reduced my pace. And I slowly rebuilt the volume. 

It was during this time that my race was 2 months away and I was looking for sponsors. And I got nothing but bad news. 
"Once we feel someone is going to be a model asset, we sign". Yeah, 3 years of hardwork downed by 2 DNFs.
I might sound extremely bitter and arrogant here, but I saw the kind of crowd getting sponsors. 
Lesson#1 : True friends don't see your current status. They look at your potential.

Garmin stood by me. So did Fast&Up.
No monetary sponsors. No Bike sponsors. Nothing at all.

I was rebuilding, with each training session I was learning. I couldn't sleep at night, anxiety was right there. Eating me alive. 
"What if I fail again?" "What if I stop and DNF?" 

Running was emotional purging of my emotions and now I couldn't run. And that was the time I felt and saw depression.
I didn't want to go out. I didn't want to get out of bed. I was extremely sarcastic and mean. 
I needed help. I reached out to friends who weren't there and then there was one who listened. And told me it is going to be okay. Told me write down my emotions. Till date I read those emotions and shiver. Dark and cold and discontent.

One fine day(actually, right before I went to see Batman vs Superman), I had another sponsor reject and my parents who thought I was acting up for some other reason had a disagreement with me. And I began to lash out and then started crying. And I broke down and told them what I was going through. 

I was getting back on track in terms on training but mentally I was stressed and held back and at that moment I just let it go. I felt like the mountain had crumbled and fallen.

Another thing that helped me was having a really positive environment at work. The people who surrounded me, in these few months were truly my friends and all with positive attitudes : Priyanka, Lavy, Pooja, Aniruddha, Kanika and Gaurav. In 3.5 years, it was the 1st time, being at work didn't feel like a drag.
Another form of support came in the form of Tarun Walecha, Hemant Sindhi and the RunXtreme running group, who did a lot of promotional activities to build up my Ultraman Attempt

I was still anxious about my future but I had my support back. I carried on forward.
With Deepak Sir's trainer riding strategy, we kept on building the base for the long rides to come. I got back into running. 20-22 hours a week of training, just 1 week off due to a chest congestion but I was back. 
Mentally and physically.

Just a small problem, there was no swimming pool. Pool closures everywhere and not willing to risk that one dirty openwater and missing another precious session, I wasn't able to swim.
Well, till the last week.
I got 2 swims, finally, 4k swims in less than 80 minutes and then another 1k. (Not even 10k in total, let alone swimming 10k in Ultraman). It wasn't ideal, but it was something. 
I was a little out of shape, above my ideal racing weight, a well, underprepared for the swim. 
I would say 60% of what I was capable of . But I was willing to take the chance.
I boarded the flight to Australia, knowing I have a chance to make history and having full doubt over myself.

The buildup week : Landed in Australia a week before the race. And took a Taxi. Which is the worst thing to do if you are travelling 142 kms, which is beyond the driver's area.
Already in a financial crunch, my heart sank and head spun when I saw the bill : $422. I had $450 in my wallet that I had brought from India.
Paying the amount my head started the survival mode calculations.

I was staying at an AirBnB at Jill Longrove's place.I settled in, got some sleep and went hungry eating just the laddoos my mom had sent with me. I got a local number, and then went for a 10k run in the evening. Running through the dark was scary and I had to use my phone flashlight towards the last 2k.

But the 1st thing I realized was : Damn, no use of winter clothes. I was sweating in the humid air of Noosa. I turned on the fan in my room and went to sleep

Next morning, I had a message on my new number.
From Peter Wheatley, who was another participant. I had no idea how he got my number but I was glad he did.
I fixed up my bike and rode it down to the bike shop where Keith did the bike inspection.

I wandered off looking for Food, hungry from close to 28 hours of not-eating. I found an Indian restaurant : Curry Junction.
The owner was a guy, Narinder Singh Sandu who was a former Punjab Police Volleyball player. I told him about Ultraman and how I came to Australia on my own funds and was trying to become the 1st Indian Male to finish the event.
Angels really appear in all shapes and forms. And this guy was one of them. He offered me free dinner, for everyday I was in Australia and offered 50% off on the lunches that I had at his place.
Above all, the food was Indian and delicious. And just what I ate at home. 10000 kms away, the same food infront of me, I really felt at ease.

Peter picked me for dinner, and he took me down to Cafe Le Mond for dinner. Here I met Matthew(his son) and their entire family, Dayle Jordan(the race organizer), Steve King(the legendary race announcer) and his wife Jean, Christine and Wayne Metacalfe(Bike course captains). The dinner calmed my nerves as I felt like family with these people.
I had a lot of questions in mind and Peter, who had done the race last year, eased my mind.

I went back much more positive. It was here that I learnt that Jill had sensed that I was alone and contacted the race organizers on Day 1 to find me some company and that's how Peter got my number. My heart was full of gratitude. 

The next afternoon, after fighting the Jet lag, I went for a ride and got really, really lost. I climbed cliffs surrounding the sea and wondered if the course would be this hilly(IT

And then I reached this place. (picture below)

What a place to get lost.
I sat down and thought about life. How lucky I was, despite injuries, to just be able to enjoy these views. 
I live a life which others dream of and I decided at this point to stop thinking of what the outcome of the race will be. I decided to just take the race as 3 big training days and try my best to not give up.

Finally over the Jet Lag, i got a small brick in : a 12k run and 20k ride early in the morning. The run was on a a part of the actual course as I learnt later.
In the after Wayne and Christine were kind enough to take us on the Bike Course for Day 1 and show us the markers and turns. I was in Wayne's car with 2 other athletes Steel Addison and John Nelson. John, who was successfully able to decipher the car's Japanese instructions opened the sun roof as I drove along the beautiful (and hilly!) countryside. There were some enlightening conversations, including the training schedules of last year's winners which made me feel very under-prepared.    
I'll admit I got pretty queasy looking at the hills that were on-route and predicted the Mallorca Debacle to do an encore.
Time wasn't an issue, as I planned for finish at the Top from the bottom.
Getting off the cab, Wayne told me "That'll be 400 dollars mate". Taxi Guy joke was born. :P

I was greeted by this sunset on my walk back to my room. 
Even the Aussies were in Awe.
Next Day was the crew briefing, but as coach was busy with a Family emergency, i gathered as much information I could. I got my race number : 72.
We had out Medical checkups, where I told the Doctor I was too nervous and not too sure if I would be able to finish. I met Tony Horton, the race director who told me"You're the guy from India right? Our goal is to get you across the finish line". So much positivity.
The briefing was hilarious, full of questions on the presence of sharks and in which direction to make the swim turns.

Group Photo

Words from Craig Percival, (8 Ironmans in 8 days in 8 Australian States, 2nd in Ultraman Worlds) stayed with me "Just don't give up. Your body is capable of things your mind can't perceive.
I also met the legendary Scott Molina and was just awed by his presence.
Got back to my room and laid out the stuff.

Coach came over on Friday while I was undergoing the most embarrassing experiences of my life : A wetsuit trial.
40 Sweaty Minutes later, after fitting into a Women's Wetsuit, I decided not to buy it because it was way beyond my budget. Keith had a pair of Wetsuit shorts too, but I decided not go for them.
Bad decision in hindsight, but I just couldn't afford them.

I went shopping with Coach. From the moment he stepped in, we were organized. We bought Nutella, Bread, Chips and a ton of food and water from the Supermarket. We headed over to the swim briefing where we would meet our paddlers.
Ryan Stoddart met us and saw that we had just 1 man crew and offered to be on our crew. 
Ohana(Family) showed its true meaning as Ryan joined our team.

                                                                                                                                                                            Team 72

With everything sorted, I went to sleep while coach stayed up, working. Turns out he slept for only 2 hours that night.

The Race :

Day 1 :
 I got up at 4 AM, changed into my tri suit. And thought I was ready.
My bags were packed. I woke up Coach and he got ready and we left.

The start line was full of nervous energy. Music was in the air and I was a vomiting nervous wreck. In my head, I decided to take it Day by Day. All I had on my mind was the 10k swim and 145 kms on the bike to follow.

I met my Paddler. Shook hands with him and then went back to puking. The air was cold and the sun was coming up.
Swim Start Line
Surprisingly, the water was quite warm. There was a mesmerizing performance by a man from the Muku-Muku people(correct me if I am wrong). Those vibrations were captivating and 
therapeutic. Really calmed my nerves down. All said and done, there was a group photo and then we all waddled into the water.

6:15 AM : The gun went off and I began to swim extremely fast. Then I laughed and told myself not to kid around (I had done a total practise of 9 kms, c'mon, swimming record? Really?) and slowed down and got into a rhythm. My paddler soon found me and many others got rid off me. By the time the 1st Buoy (at 700 meters appeared, I was pretty far behind and by the time I made the turn at 1.7 and held the paddler boat to eat some chocolate, I could see I was pretty far behind.

Well, still 5 miles to go as I turned back and started swimming. At the 3.4k mark, I had some electrolyte and a Banana. We went off in the other direction stopping at the 5k mark to have some more chocolate. I asked my paddler if he was getting bored and if we were in the last place. The answer was in negative for both of them, thankfully. We swam back, with me fully aware of my aching left shoulder and something burning really bad on the right side of my neck. Pulling through the pain, my swim as slowing down and my pain was going up. By the time it was 6.6k done, I wanted a Shark to come ashore and eat me.
No luck, just had to swim the rest 3.4k.
1.7k up again, I felt like screaming. In pain and agony and head under water for around 3 hours. I tried to close my eyes and just swim straight. Tried to see as far below as I could. Turning back if I could swim faster, I would have. I stopped swimming for half a second and did a dead float and then carried on. Last Kilometer was a scream. Last few hundred meters, I tried to swim like Phelps and failed like anything.

Still better than what I was expecting.

Swim Stats
Once, out of the water I saw my team. Changed and assessed the damage. Ate a bit. And saw 6 more bikes in the bike rack. 6th from the bottom. Not bad!
Mentally, I wasn't too tired. Neither physically. A training ride of 145k still to go.

Bike Day 1 :  *Clunk**Clunk**Clunk*
Not a good start, not even a kilometer into the ride, this irritating noise started. I pulled over, checked my spokes for damage and continued. Another 2 kms in, same noise.

This time I noticed that the Cadence Sensor was rubbing against the rear wheel spokes. I dismounted again, did my best to fix the sensor and rode off again, not knowing this was the 1st of MANY stops.

Finally, got a going and found a rhythm. The roads were good and weather was pretty pleasant. And I found a good enough speed till I hit the 1st hill on the Cooroy-Noosa road. I tried to drop my chainring to the lower gear and, well, it was stuck.

Anyways, churning up the big hill my team came right behind me. The hill was 10% gradient and it seemed longer on the big chainring.
My team was waiting on top of the hill. I dismounted and showed them the problem while I ate.
I changed my helmets as it was too hot to ride in an Aero Helmet and my neck was in enough discomfort already.
Our solution : Change the chainrings manually or hope that luck works and it changes on its own.

Not good right? C'est la vie.
I moved on, "enjoying" the rolling terrain. My front bottle came off and fell on the road on one bump during a descent. Rhythm Breaker#9.
50 kms into the ride near Kin-Kin, I was hoping to see the leaders and soon saw Tim Franklin fly past with the chase group behind.

On one descent, I tried changing my gear to a lower chainring and the whole chain came off. I let myself glide down at 60 kmph with no chain and finally came to a halt at the bottom of the hill #10.

A couple of chain mishaps and some loud swearing later, I reached another climb. 2nd big one for the day. Not willing to repeat Cooroy Noosa, I dismounted, manually changed my chainring and like an idiot, cleated uphill and *boom*. Down goes No. 72. Luckily another crew was passing by and my crew at that time was just about to leapfrog me.
All of them rushed and picked me up. They held my bike and gave me some momentum and I resumed climbing again. As I climbed, Ryan started running with me, cheering me on. I smiled and carried on at a mindbogglingly fast 8 kmph!!! (It was a 12% gradient, c'mon)
Ryan dropped off at the top of the hill as I rolled down again and went fine till the lovely 15% climb loomed infront of me.

Learning from my mistakes, I dismounted before the climb, changed gears and then resumed the ride. Talk about your gallant efforts. Stopped after the climb for some food and then rode error free till my bottle fell again on the wooden bridge. Curbing my urge to jump into the river flowing below the bridge and unwilling to swim anymore today, I climbed my bike. And rode till the turnover point in Gympie where I refueled, messaged my family and then started riding back and began to see the people who got out of the water after me.

The ride back was equally soul searching, with places where I had no will to pedal but had to tell myself to keep moving. There were patches where I felt great, patches where I felt bad and patches where I wondered what I was doing.

Nonetheless, I reached and did the small dog-leg near Kin-Kin, where I saw Christine, who knew I had a crash asked me how I was. 100k down, I had plenty of time to ride back but I bonked at 120k and got down for literally the 50th time.
We discussed how I needed to take less stops tomorrow as there wouldn't be this much of a cushion on Day 2. Riding through the last 25 kms, I reached home in 11:06 on Day 1 and took a much needed massage.
The doctor checked my weight. No change, which was good.

My arms and shoulders felt like they were falling, back was sore and mentally, I was a little irritated because of the mechanical issues.
I needed to shake them off and head on to Day 2.


Bike Stats, Day 1. Close to 1 hour of stopping.

Day 2 : 

Today was going to be the day of reckoning. I chose to go with the same pair of shorts I had used the previous day(simply because I didn't have and couldn't afford another one) and my full-sleeved Adidas Jersey(Which actually is the only branded jersey I have).

It was going to be the longest ride I had ever done(previous record being 250k in 11 hours of total time back in 2014). And I could not stop as frequently as yesterday.

The best news was that my crew had fixed my gears and now I didn't need to drive my bike in manual mode.

Also my crew had slept for a combined total of 3 hours(Ryan went to bed at 2:30 and Coach at 3:30)

5:30 AM : We got a Police escort to get us underway and we rolled on into the sunrise. I was feeling better, despite a very uncomfortable sleep due to the chaffing and shoulder pains and managed to get in a good bike rhythm.
Averaging close to 32 kmph in the 1st hour, I quickly dismounted and watered the flowers. I pushed on till my old friend, Cooroy-Noosa climb. Till then I had done 55 kms@30 kmph.

And then I again reached warp-speed of 8 kmph. Krista Page overtook me and thus began a story which would last the entire day. By the time I reached 80 kms, I was done. My eyes burned, even with a Caffeine tablet inside me and I just felt miserable.
Close to 200k more on low morale, the ghosts of past DNFs were now awake.
"I'll just get off and end this. I came this far and I put my country on the map"

And then came the Ghostbuster, Matthew McIntyre.

Our conversation went something like :
"Matt : How are ya mate?
Me : Not good man
Matt : Hey, don't worry. Just keep going, we are a family. We will take you to the finish line"

Saying those words, he exorcised my ghosts and left. All of a sudden, my caffeine shot woke me up and I became chirpy again. I was back.

I rolled on till I made a wrong turn and was about to go the wrong way when a crew saved me.

Climbing gallantly, like Alberto Contador(No, actually more like a miserable Arunaabh Shah but I felt like Contador) I made progress and even overtook people. Such a confidence booster!

Well, I reached the Bruce-Highway stretch and hit the 100k mark in around 3:45 and realized that a little over a hundred miles are left. I broke my ride into 2 sets, 100k and 76k and decided to do the next 100 before the clock goes past 8 hours.

The best thing was, I wasn't stopping. Just small rolling speed breaks to grab the food and then back to pedaling as hard as I could.

"It's flat for the next 10k" shouted Ryan at around 150 kms.
Such a LIE!

It had such big rolling hills and then a massive 14% 3 km climb. I really killed myself going up the hill laughing hysterically at the "Give you 100% all the time, except when you give blood" sign.

And then I took the Peter Sagan route down, zooming at 60 kmph, not even moving my legs. By the time I had reached 176k, I was having a dark spell again.

Descending after the massive climb. Look at the view!

 Low on energy and full of fatigue, I just lay down below a tree and had some chocolates and 1 caffeine tablet. Not gonna happen.

100k to go and plenty of time on my hand, I decided to churn up whatever I could, keeping Krista Page in sight. I just kept going till around 200k(which did come up around 8 hours) when Ryan handed me a Red Bull.

Magic happened!

Suddenly I was flying. I really need to cut down on my coffee because my body needs copious amounts of caffeine to feel alert now(I can easily have an 8 hour sound sleep after having a strong coffee shot)
Finally having wings felt great and I churned on, reinvigorated.
I interchanged places with Krista Page at around 210k mark and thanked her for the inspiration.
We left the beautiful countryside and with the last 40 kms over the next day's run course. I felt good about myself. And then I saw Arnaud's Crew Car at a Petrol Station.

He was done for the day and resting and I was still left with 25 kms. Such a pleasant feeling.

Still no end to those damn hills though. Right till the very end, they kept on coming and coming and coming.

I saw 1 wrong sign, 1 km before the finish and called Ryan to confirm but another crew just guided me.

10:57 for 276.1k was the redemption of all those hours spent on the trainer, grinding the wheels and having my meals on the bike. It was long and arduous but it was over.

My coach was visibly delighted, the training had worked. Ryan was very happy too.
And then I met a gentleman, who had won the 2012 Ironman World Championships : Pete Jacobs.

I forgot my pains and forgot that I have to next day and stood in awe of the man. Then I headed over to the medical and the massage table. 431.1 kms done, just 84.3 kms to go.

Bike Stats Day 2, just 18 minutes of stoppage.

Day 3 : 

It was my day, running is my favorite sport.My best friend.And I had DNFed in my previous 2 running events, so it was time I gave my proper respect to the love of my life.
At the start line, there was a man, who I consider as my God. If there is some form of human worship I do, it is for 6 people and he is 1 of them.
Craig "Crowie" Alexander, 3 time Ironman World Champion was standing at the Start line. He was there to pace Ricky Jeffs.

The fanboy floated towards the God and asked him for a picture.
With the God and my Teacher

5:30 AM : After putting a hand on the shoulder of the person on my right(which was Rod Staines) and wishing him luck, we all set off.
My legs were tired, I could feel it but chose to ignore it.

After knocking 5:30 for a few kilometers, I began to slow down and saw the God come running by my side.
On my countless trainer hours, I have seen the 2011 Kona Ironman Video and seen him run like the Terminator overtaking Chris Leito. And now here he was.

A small group formed consisting of  Ricky Jeffs, Gary Kelly, Cameron McKay, Matthew Wheatley and I. We had Crowie for company as we churned down 10k in 53:10 and the Half Marathon in 2:05.

Running with Crowie was something I had dreamed of and running through the beautiful Noosa landscape and with an amazing sunrise on a cool morning was life-altering. Crowie told us stories and kept the chatter going at what was walking pace for him. After a while, he dropped off thus giving us the distinction of dropping a pro during a run!!!

At 26k, the climb at Coolum started. With Ryan by my side, I dropped the group and picked the pace a little. Post 30k, I resumed my solo run and was offered some coke by another crew, I kept overtaking people including the ever-so-inspirational Peter Wheatley, who was really setting up the pace.
Coach joined me a little before the Marathon turn and we reached the Marathon Mark in 4:14.

Halfway through
I had made up my mind to run till 50k mark, and even as Crowie, Ricky and group overtook us, I reiterated the same point. 50k came in 5:08 and I decided to relieve the pain I was having since 5:30 and had been holding back using the race belt.

 The break, did have an affect on the legs as I couldn't get the rhythm back even as the fatigue from the past 2 days started to creep in.Coach kept on egging me and we approached the hills in Coolum once again. Running pace dropped down to Walking Pace. It started off as a 30 step walk-rest of the Kilometer run and then at 58k, it finally became a full-blown walk. I looked at pictures of my family and girlfriend, ate Mom's laddoo and broke down after taking a bite.
With a wet T-shirt on my neck, I told coach at 60k, that we will run for the next 14k. We somehow found the 7:30/km pace , and with Matthew Wheatley, Susannah Harvey-Jamieson and I running within 5 minutes of each other it became a very family like situation.
Their crews treated us like their own, giving me ice, coke and water. At 74k, I started walking again and this was a bad decision considering the legs were close to failing. A kilometer later we started run again and now the only driving force was the impending history and the never-say-die spirit.

We met Pete Jacobs again at 76k mark. Towards the last 3 kms, I completely closed my mind and just focused on shuffling my legs and moving forward even as Ryan joined Me and Coach.
He even managed to score a Tropical Flavored Red Bull from 2 Red Bull girls.
For the record, I didn't do anything Sugandha, not even talk to them :P

With 1 km to go, we changed T shirts, took out the flag and started the run on the beach.

I must have done a LOT of tough things in life, running on that damn sand after 83.5 kms of running and 431.1 kms of cycling and swimming is THE TOUGHEST.
Last few hundred meters were just a blur, my feet being washed by the sea and my eyes with tears.
The Indian Flag on my shoulders, I crossed the line in 10:13:28.

My total time was 32:16:57. I was now officially an Ultraman. The 1st Indian Male to do so.

Realization of a Dream

Of all the races I have done, this one taught me the most valuable lesson in life : Self Belief.
There were some really dark places I had to go through to reach the finish line, before and during the race.
And at any moment, through any difficulty, the only thing that got me through was Self Belief and the stubbornness to not quit despite the odds.

Run Stats

Sports have taught me respect and humility and in Ultraman, these values were reinforced. Ultraman is based on 3 principles : Aloha(Love), Ohana(Family) and Kokua(Help), all 3 of which were evident through out the event. The love and support of the Organizers (Tony Horton and Dayle Jordan), the Trilogy Bikes Shop(Keith), the organizing team especially the Bike Captains (Christine and Wayne Metacalfe) , Race Announcer (Steve King and his wife Jean), the other teams(Craig Percival , Hayden Llyons, Adam Fox, Lucas Dey), my Crew(Deepak Sir and Ryan Stoddart) and family-like feeling I got from the teams and support crews ( especially Peter & Matthew Wheatley and their entire family, Matthew McIntyre, David Nathan, Krista Page, Kellie Ridges, Joseph Palisoc, Peter Hudson, Greg McDermott, Juan Craveri's crew on Day 2 and Susannah Harvey-Jamieson, Christian Jacobie  and Rick Jeff's crews on Day 3) was something I haven't felt in races before. The Spanish crews made the environment really cheerful.

They were honest, genuine people who loved the sport. There were athletically gifted people(Race winners - Arnaud Selukov and Chloe Lane, Tim Franklin and Juan Bautista Arroyo) and pure inspirations ( Andre Kallich and Darryl Allen ). Every single one of Ultraman Athletes and their crew were achievers in their own right. Legends some of them. I met Craig Alexander, Pete Jacobs, Scott Molina and Dave Orlowksi. 

With Scott Molina and David Nathan

What everyone had in common was 1 thing : Humility. 
And the respect they had for each other. I saw the love of sport in their eyes.

Post Script :  The next day, despite not being in walking condition, I listened to Andre Kallich and John Domandl (who did Ultraman last year and has just 15% eyesight) talk and was so inspired, I walked 4 kms back to my room.

Later in the evening it was speech time and I got to carry my country's flag again and it couldn't get any better than that.

Back home, I am trying to recover from the Jet lag and the fatigue, trying not to push myself again like after Ironman. Lesson learnt. :)

There are races on my mind : Ironman Vichy and then Ultraman World Championships.
Still looking for sponsors, so if you find any please let them know.

The mind is at peace, and is focused even more.  I was planning on retiring from triathlons and now, well, my aim are set higher than before

Fruits of the labor
Oh and yes, I did get another record : Youngest Male ever to finish Ultraman Australia
Made it to Steve King's books! :D

Well, this was my story. A story full of struggle, ups and downs, and determination. Never will I doubt myself again.

Time to make the Country proud again.
Until next time. जय हिंद. 


  1. Inspiring Nice write up chief .. well done,

  2. Amazing feat. Enjoyed each and every word of the journey you took us through with this. Heartiest congratulations!

  3. Amazing feat. Enjoyed each and every word of the journey you took us through with this. Heartiest congratulations!

  4. I dont know, man......at a loss for words. Its beyond a mere mortal's comprehension, what kept you going through all the pain. All I can say is, you are one incredible fellow from Incredible India. Jai ho! Extremely proud of you, mere bhai!

  5. Fantastic write up. truly inspiring. Congratulations !

  6. You are a legend arunnabh . I respect what you had gone through . May this be an inspiration to me . Proud of your grit and dedication .

  7. Wish you all the luck and success ahead Arunaabh. Indeed,your incredible experience shares an amazing picture of self-belief

  8. Well Done!!! Stay Motivated and Keep motivating!! You proved it again that things will happen if you really want to make them happen. Cheers. You will get big time sponsors very soon. :)


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