When PITD decided to come up with a triathlon and duathlon, we were excited and happy to know that India is finally progressing in the field of sports. However, when the event came to an end, we couldn’t believe what it had turned into. To present you a detailed brief about the event, we got in touch with Mayank Tripathi from Mumbai. Below are his words that should give you an idea about the event.
Pune International Triathlon & Duathlon, an event which was one the most awaited ones and was expected to be a world class event with best of the athletes participating in it. I decided to go for the Olympic distance Duathlon as I like longer races which required to do 10k run + 40k bike + 5k run.
I did a route recce a week before and it was a good decision as even after studying the map thoroughly I got lost a couple of times. It was full of rolling terrains with a few technical turns. I reached Pune a day before, collected the bibs and submitted my bike.
On the event day, I had my plan in place which was to go steady in the initial run and play on my strengths in the bike leg. The run started on time at 6:00 am. The NDA cadets went flying ahead, but I was determined to stay controlled. It was all dark at the time and no street lights were on. After 2-3 km there were 6-7 runners ahead of me and things started to settle. I caught hold of a good runner who was running slightly faster and decided to stick with him. At the turn back point, there was no demarcation. Suddenly, a bunch of guys in a vehicle said, “mud jaao bas”. It was a poor selection of volunteers I must say. They were so casual and as if they didn’t care at all. We kept moving and surprisingly, I wasn’t feeling much tired when I finished the 10k in 44 min.
It was time to push now and I started to get into my rhythm. After 3-4 km I saw Kartik Kansara ahead which was a good sign as he was among the lead runners. After I caught up with him, I went past and he followed. It was a good thing that I knew the route because I was seeing a lot of riders getting confused on turns. By the time I reached Kasarsai, another rider came from behind. He was Sanjay Shinde as per his bib. Until the time we reached the turn back, we didn’t see any rider coming from the opposite side, which meant that we were leading the race. When we reached Sai Flavours, there was no timing mat and the volunteers were looking blank when they saw us. They were starting to setup their equipment and asked us to stop. I gave them a piece of my mind as one cannot be asked to stop in between a race especially when you’re leading. Then one of the volunteers looked at the screen and signalled us to go ahead. I knew something was fishy but decided against stopping as I was recording my ride on Garmin as a proof.
On the way back we started crossing riders who were behind us. I suddenly started to feel cramped in my left calves. This was bad news! I immediately gulped my electrolyte mix. But I had soon finished it and was left with nothing for hydration. The cramps returned and this time they were really bad and in both my calves. I tried to endure but finally gave in as it kept getting worse. I was in a lot of pain and there was no help around. I now realized that it was a mistake to fill the bottle half, so as to reduce the weight. Kartik and Sanjay had overtaken me and I was stranded by the road. After a couple of minutes, a Sprint Duathlon category rider stopped to help me. He offered me his bottle. I finished 3/4th of it, thanked him much and quickly started off again. I saw Kartik and Sanjay far ahead when it was 3-4 km to go. After which I caught them and went past them. I finished the bike leg in 71 min.
I again did a very quick 40s transition and put myself in my running shoes. I drank 2 small bottles of water given by the volunteers, to make sure I don’t cramp now. But it was probably not a good idea as I started to bloat. Even though it wasn’t too bad, but it was bothering me. I knew Kartik was a better runner so I had to be faster. But he overtook me anyways and I kept seeing him go farther. Now all I needed was to maintain my position. Sanjay was not too far, but I realized I was gaining time on him, so it was fine. After 3 kms, the gap increased even more. I finally reached Balewadi Stadium and finished the race at 2nd place. I was happy with my performance apart from the hydration mistake. I did the 5k run in 26 min and my final time was 2:22:42.
After I finished, I observed there was tension everywhere. Participants were unhappy because of the poor event support. There were absolutely no volunteers for guiding the route on the bike leg. Also, there were no timing mats on the two running U-turns, which meant that participants could make short turns. The organizers were nowhere to be seen at the venue and that was infuriating the participants. The way they managed the medal and t-shirt distribution were also not proper and they soon fell short and everyone got even angrier. We saw sponsors packing their stuff and leaving. We then got the news that there’ll be no prize distribution ceremony. We wasted almost 3 hours waiting for it. It was highly disappointing and finally decided to leave the venue and go home.
The event had the potential of becoming a successful one but because of sheer lack in execution they failed miserably and made a huge mess out of it. I hope next year they would learn from their mistakes and come back stronger and better. Meanwhile, we’re still waiting for the complete official results and one month has already passed.
Written by Mayank Tripathi
While everything is said and done, we hope next year, the event has a better ending.
Edited by Nigel Buthello