Chennai Triathlon, July 13th, Event summary

Wednesday, July 17, 2013
Last Saturday, 108 members participated in our Triathlon, the 6th edition since its inception in September 2012. This time we raised the bar by introducing the 3/4 Iron distance - the toughest so far. Currently there is no International recognized Ironman Triathlon event organized in India and only 6 Indians (residing in India) have completed this iron challenge abroad. Till now, 44 CTCians completed the Half Iron distance (organized trice) and 3 finished the 3/4 Iron distance this time. Our target is to organize one Full Iron distance Triathlon by the end of this year and one more 3/4th before that. How many CTCians will successfully complete the iron challenge and claim the title among the very few in India?

This time we have 5 levels - the entry level categories Enticer/Sprint, the mid level Olympic and the high end Half and 3/4 Iron. Participants ranged from 11 to 61 years young with a respectable representation from the female gender - 12 in total beating their male counter parts in average timing!

The entry level Enticer drew the largest group of 48 members with an average time of 2 hours 28 min to complete. The second level Sprint had 28 participants and needed 3 hours and 7 min for the average Triathlete to finish. The mid-level Olympic had 18 contenders with an average time of 4 hours and 52 min. Only 9 were remaining for the tough Half Iron distance which took them 9 hours 52 min to successfully complete. And finally the deadly 3/4 Iron had only 3 members successfully complete with an average time of 14 hours 47min.

The Triathlon started at the Anna swimming pool @ Marina beach at 5:30am for the higher levels (Olympic, Half and 3/4 iron) and 6:30am for the entry levels (Enticer, Sprint). Swimming distance to complete was from 300m Enticer all the way till 2.9km for the 3/4 Iron Tri.

After completing the swimming section the participants immediately proceeded by cycle from Marina to Adyar to OMR taking U-turns at various distances corresponding to their level. The Enticer directly peddled to the running venue at Neelankarai to cover their 15km cycling distance while the 3/4 Iron Triathletes had to go till Kalpakkam and back to finish their required 135km.

The final stage of the Triathlon consisted of a run along a 1km loop in Neelankarai. Enticers got away with 2 loops while the 3/4 Iron Triathletes had to cover 31 loops to receive their medal. Totally 108 members ran through the finishing line and took raised to the podium alongside the 110 members from our last March Triathlon.

Participants who successfully completed the Triathlon received a beautiful medal to recognize their memorable accomplishment.

Participation headcount

Average swim/cycle/run timings across the 5 levels

The registration desk was buzzing on Saturday early morning with volunteers and participants filling up timing sheets, distributing BIBs, settling accounts, signing disclaimers, checking out cycles, clicking photos, taking interviews and distributing activities among themselves.
Vallab, CTC's resident Ortho and Sports consultant ensured that all muscles required for the Triathlon were sufficiently stretched and warmed up to avoid injuries.

The event finally kicked off in the Olympic sized swimming pool where the participants had to cover 50m lapses to cover the required distance for their Triathlon level.
Lane separators provided safety and a means for novice swimmers to take a break in between


Before we head on further, I must halt and thank the 30+ volunteers who made this Triathlon possible - amazing energy, unlimited selflessness in supporting the participants with refreshments, timings, punctures, cramps, food, photos and mental support during their endurance race.

A BIG THANKS to our sponsor TI Cycles/Montra who supplied 100 hybrid cycles for the Triathlon reducing the logistics for the participants to get their own cycle

Valla, Ortho and Sports professional, director from the Physio Academy of Sports, has been supporting CTC's sports events since last year's October Marathon. He ensure once again that the Triathletes were in good hands upon completion of the race.

One of the key organizers behind every CTC sports and awareness event is Prabhakar - untiring volunteer who works silently behind the scenes and ensures all logistics are in place to have a successful event. You can build houses on this man's shoulders!

Equally broad-shouldered volunteer cum organizer is Saba - another core member in the organizing team of CTC's non-stop events throughout the year whether it's Trek Polamaa, marathon, triathlons, workshops or Coastal Cleanup. Saba is there to make sure all pieces of the puzzle are in place to make it happen every time!

Covering every major CTC event through her lens, Nivya prepped and headed a dedicated group of photographers to ensure the spirit or the cause of this Triathlon and many past CTC events are captured digitally and shared with the online world and ever present for generations to come.

This man needs no introduction - from printing t-shirts, setting up the stages, creative out of the box ideas, designing banners and posters, causing sleepless nights to other volunteers - no job is too big for Gokul, a steady presence in our volunteering team.

Special credit to Yazar - creative head - who patiently designed, redesigned and tuned medals, logos, posters for this event until the organizing team was satisfied. Every wonderful event needs a wonderful event design.

A BIG thanks to Raj Jacob the volunteer lead for the cycle section of our Triathlon managing 100+ sponsored cycles, cycling route & refreshments, disclaimers, U-turns, check points and more.

Sankar is taking his cap off - how am I gonna manage 108 swimmers in the pool, count thousands of lapses and note down 200+ timings? God only knows how but he and his team of volunteers pulled it off successfully. 

Vishal's ever-presence was felt everywhere - during the swim, cycle and run sections of our Triathlon - the magnitude of this selfless heart is in no comparison to his physical height.

Triathlon anchor Bhavadharani and the videographer Hassan followed the participants along their way from the pool to the cycle route and the running venue. Few could escape from the mic and the questions that would unveil the emotions and action behind the Triathlon.

Arun Kuttapam & Vasanth did an excellent job as usual in assisting cyclists with punctures and mechanical issues.
Jayanthan was my right hand in the days before the event getting all supplies ready on time
Girish, Aravind, Sundari, Shreyas and tens of other selfless volunteers supported this event.


10 ladies participated in our Enticer completing a 300m swim, 15km cycling and 2km run in an average of 2 hours 16 min below the average time of their male counter parts!

Divya Vivek (E047) finished first in 1 hour 12min
Radha Kumar (E004) came in second in 1 hour 38min
Lakshmi SK (E012) came in third at 1 hour 40 min

Below chart shows the minimum, average and maximum timings for the swim/cycle/run sections (not necessarily accomplished by the same individual). It allows participants to compare to their individual timings and see how they are performing on the three disciplines compared to the others.

Overall and individual timings for the 10 women Enticers -


Vidhan Bhaiya came in first in the Men Enticers in just over 1 hour, well below the average of 2 hours and 24 min set by the 38 male participants in this category.

Inspiration example in our July Triathlon was set by P.Chandramohan (E018), 61 years young and finishing 18th at 1 hour 48min in the Enticer category.

Below the min/avg/max timings across all men Enticers - can be compared with the individual timings to get an overall idea on where each one stands and whether improvement/focus is required on either swimming, cycling or running in future practice sessions.

Ranking of the 38 men Enticers - first completed in 1 hour 1 min, last one finished at 3 hours 53 min!


Our Sprint category received 29 participants, including 28 men and 1 lady. Average time to complete 750m swimming, 20km cycling and 5km running was just above 3 hours.
Skanda Adiga (S014) came in first at 1 hour 56 minutes!

Special mention goes to our youngest Triathlete Aditya Sharma at 11 years and the only female Sprint Triathlete - his sister - Nandini Sharma
They were standing on the podium long before their dad Anil Sharma would finish his 3/4 Iron distance Triathlon (see further below)

Our Chennai Triathlon welcome three participants from Bangalore who participated and finished as one team. Hopefully they will carry the spirit of the Triathlon back to Bangalore and get it kick started over there.

Min/avg/max timings for our 29 Sprint Triathletes - to be used as reference against the individual timings to see which of the three disciplines requires practice to improve

Individual ranking -


Scaling up one level we come to the Olympic category which involves 1.5km swimming, 40km cycling (U-turn at OMR/Navaloor) and 10km of running. Average among the 18 participants was 4 hours 52 minutes.
First to finish was Subramanian Narayanan (O-015) at 3 hours 52 min, 1 hour below the average.

Special mention goes to Aashrita, regular participants in our Triathlon series and only female participant at our Olympic level finishing at 4 hours 28min below the male average!
Her dad is proudly looking from behind the scenes!

Another inspirational example was set by Kabbir - 53 years young - who finished his endurance in 5 hours 29 min. He proved that age is no bar for being an Olympic Triathlete

Here goes Duraisamy, aged 52, regular on my difficult treks over many years coming in a respectable 9th position in this Olympic challenge. How do all you youngsters feel sitting on your lazy butts looking at this senior Olympic Triathlete?

Min/avg/max timings for our 19 Olympic Triathletes - key reference chart to compare the individual timings for our participants:

Individual timings:


Stepping up one level to the Half Iron distance Triathlon the pyramid gets smaller with only 9 participants completing 1.9km swim, 90 cycling (U-turn near Mahabs) and 21.5km run. 
Average time clocked was 9 hours and 52 min. The first finisher was Vijay who came in at 7 hours 44 min.

Special mention goes to Ravikumar - one of the most active members in our Chennai Triathlon FB group regularly sharing his practice session and inspiring others.

Min/avg/max reference timings for the Half Iron -

Individual timings:

3/4 IRON

Stepping up to the highest level, the iron content goes further up - these are not regular men - these are our 3/4 Iron Triathletes. You are looking at men here who can be counted on two hands in the whole of India!
These men of steel finished a grueling 2.9km swim, 135km cycling and 31.5K run non-stop from early morning till late evening. Average time taken is 12 hours and 47min.
Marathoners go bleak compared to these guys!

Out of the 13 who registered only 3 made it to the finishing line:

Raghul (T001) came in first at 11 hours 49 min
Followed (T003) by Anil Sharma at 12 hours 33 min

Followed third by Emperor Ponnuraj at 13 hours 59 min.

A BIG HAND to these iron men who stand alone in the whole of India!

Min/avg/max timings:

Individual timings:

Once again thanks to all our volunteers who made this 6th edition of our Triathlon possible!

Hope to see all of you on our 7th Triathlon in the next few months - time to start practicing NOW no matter whether you are targeting entry (Enticer, Sprint), mid (Olympic) or experienced (Half, 3/4 Iron) level!

Peter Van Geit
Life starts at the end of our comfort zone



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