Goan Nisha Madgavkar creates history, wins Ironman 70.3 in Colombo

A dream does not become reality through magic. It takes sweat, determination, and hard work. As much as I’d love to take credit for that line, it’s actually Colin Powell, former United States Secretary of State who said that. The retired 4-star Army General knew a thing or two about keeping your nose to the grindstone, pulling out all the stops, and investing blood, sweat, and tears, in the pursuit of greatness. Another person who embodies all of that and has recently proved it is Nisha Madgavkar, Goa’s first woman to win the Ironman 70.3 triathlon in the 40-44 age category in Colombo.

Nisha Madgavkar at Itonman 70.3, Colombo

Running, cycling, and fitness enthusiasts across the state are not strangers to the name Nisha Madgavkar. Nisha has been in the circuit for many years now, and her hard work and persistence has been a source of inspiration to many. Winning the Ironman 70.3 triathlon is the culmination of years of practice that has started a road to greatness since the win has qualified her to take part in the Ironman 70.3 World Championships to be held in France this September 2019.

Becoming Ironman

For the uninitiated, Ironman 70.3, also known as a Half Ironman, is one of a series of long-distance triathlon races organized by the World Triathlon Corporation (WTC). The “70.3” refers to the total distance in miles (113.0 km) covered in the race, consisting of a 1.2-mile (1.9 km) swim, a 56-mile (90 km) bike ride, and a 13.1-mile (21.1 km) run. Each distance of the swim, bike, and run segments is half the distance of that segment in an Ironman Triathlon. The Ironman 70.3 series culminates each year with a World Championship competition, for which competitors qualify during the 70.3 series in the 12 months prior to the championship race.

Ironman 70.3 Course, Colombo
Ironman 70.3 Course, Colombo

This year’s qualifier in Colombo was no small feat. The 1.9 km swim anti-clockwise swim began with a rolling start from the beach in front of Galle Face Green. This was followed by the 90.1 km bike ride that saw contestants take a flat and fast 3 loop course north towards the Port of Colombo, one of the most historic trading harbors in the world. The course followed through Chaitya Road onto the Colombo Financial Centre, and then south towards Marine Drive before heading to Dehiwela Canal Bridge. This was repeated twice for a total of 3 laps. After ditching the cycles, the last part of the Ironman 70.3 triathlon had participants run a 21.1 km course past Galle Face Hotel towards Kollupitya junction taking a u-turn soon after to return to Galle Face Green. The course was repeated once again for a total of 2 laps, and a total course expectancy of 8 hours and 30 minutes.

The Ironman 70.3 contingent in Colombo
The Goa contingent

With a little help from my friends

The contingent from Goa (which was the largest from the state) consisted of Nisha Madgavkar who completed the triathlon in 5 hours, 44 minutes, and 42 seconds making her the fastest woman on the Colombo circuit in the age group of 40 to 44. Finishing the course was the rest of the team with highly commendable times – Vinayak Gaonkar (5:23:44), Wilbert Egipsy (6:05:30), Zubin Rebello (6:28:39) and Rahul Chandawarkar (7:19:11). There were a total of 93 triathletes from India and 500 triathletes from multiple countries.

If you’re looking to take part in an Ironman triathlon, Goa will get a chance to experience the thrill and excitement on its very own course planned for later this year. Set to take place on the iconic Miramar beach, the course is planned to traverse along the Mandovi all the way up to Dona Paula and back down. Registrations are unfortunately full for now, but to be contacted before the next event, you can signup on www.ironman.com.

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