There has been a marked rise in female participation in triathlons over the years, according to the Triathlon Industry Association.

For example, at the London Triathlon in 1997, only 12 per cent of the participants were female, but in 2016, 29 per cent of the participants were female. Triathlons include cycling, swimming and running. The world’s most difficult Triathlon event is Ironman. It consists of a 2.4 mile swim, a 112 mile cycling leg and a 26.2 mile marathon. Over the past few years, Indian women have also been participating in this strenuous event.

Meet these female triathletes who have the grit to endure:

Anu Vaidyanathan – In 2013, she became the first female Indian athlete to compete in Ironman, and the first Asian to compete in Ultraman triathlons. She hails from Bangalore and is also the founder of intellectual property company PatNMarks.

She used to get up at 4 am for training and has faced many challenges as a woman. She has been cat called while biking on roads, dealt with the absence of women’s restrooms, and has even been discouraged by her swimming coach, who at one point told her to get married. 

Salonie Pathania – She participated in the IronMan in 2016. She tells SheThePeople.TV about how her journey started with her quest to get fitter. She started with running and then did her first triathlon in 2014. “I realised I enjoyed the sport and decided to do the Ironman in 2016,” she says.

She has faced many challenges — she has had to manage 16 hours of training a week, with a full-time job. The roads in India are not conducive to cyclists, she says, and nor are the people. She also participated in the IronMan on the first day of her period, and was cramping throughout. She had never used her period as an excuse not to train, and that helped her during the race.

“When I started, there were few women, but now more and more women are getting more involved. In 2014, I used to do a Triathlon camp to go swim in open water and I was the only woman. Now the women outnumber the men. It is really heartening to see so many more women come up.”

Also Read: Iron Man Triathlete Anu Vaidyanathan busts some myths on work life balance

Picture Credit:  Indian Express