India’s first-ever Ironman Triathlon to be held in Goa – The Week

Over 1,000 participants from 27 countries will take part in the race in Goa on Oct 20
Attention, endurance athletes! The (arguably) toughest endurance race is coming to India. Yes, it’s the Ironman Triathlon, which involves swimming 3.8km in open water, 180km cycling and 42.195 km running—all done sequentially in a single day. Ironman, which started with a single event in 1978, has grown to become a global sensation with more than 230 events across 53 countries.
The Goa chapter of Ironman will have 1.9km swimming, 90km cycling and 21.1km running. Over 800 Indian participants have registered from Bengaluru, Delhi and Mumbai for the event.
"India is a huge market going through fitness transformation," said Ironman Asia managing director Geoff Meyer. "We had many requests to bring the event to India but honestly, we didn’t think the timing was right. But, over the past few years, we have seen tremendous sporting developments and saw that marathon running was already strong and growing dramatically,” he said.
The event is the most prestigious endurance triathlon event worldwide and, over the years, India has made its presence felt at Ironman events across the globe.
One of the frontrunners among the Indian athletes at Ironman races globally is Deepak Raj, who completed 20 full distance triathlons between 2008 and 2017. An IT professional-turned-fitness enthusiast who represented India at the Ironman World Championships in 2017, Raj, 42, is also the co-founder of Yoska, a Bengaluru-based fit-tech company. "Deepak understands the sport very well and shares our values. I knew the partnership was strong and together we would deliver an athlete experience to be proud of," Meyer said.
Over 40 Indians will be participating in the Ironman event in Malaysia which is scheduled to be held in a couple of weeks. “This was not the scene five years ago. But it is slowly picking up. We had over 25 Indian participants in Ironman Austria and Sweden,” he said.
While there was a cap on the number of participants in the inaugural Ironman 70.3 Goa, Meyer said there is immense potential for the event to grow in the coming years. “We capped the first year’s event to 1,000 participants because we want to get it right and produce a safe, fantastic athlete experience. We have one chance to show India what Ironman is all about. Athletes love travelling. They know the quality of the events and look for new experiences whether it is cultural, destination or course-wise. So, I know India will be a popular destination for many international athletes,” Meyer said.
Rudra Prasad Nanjundappa, 41, co-founder of Yoska said, "It is indeed a matter of delight and honour for us to be working with Geoff. We are extremely thankful to the Government of Goa for its unconditional support in making this dream a reality."
An amateur runner himself and a senior corporate professional-turned fit-tech entrepreneur, Nanjundappa said, "What makes this even more special for us is that we are organising this close on the heels of the Fit India Movement, launched by our prime minister in August. We believe every participant is a celebrity who will inspire millions of Indians to adopt a better lifestyle."
According to Deepak Raj, who is also an Ironman-certified coach, the event is a great opportunity for the fast-growing triathlete community in the country. “It was overwhelming to see the interest among international athletes as it not only gives them a first-time opportunity to race in India but also experience Goa’s hospitality and enjoy its beautiful beaches,” he said.
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