If winning an Ironman race, one of the most gruelling challenges to athletes around the world, is incredible in itself, how about winning three Ironman challenges across three continents in just 58 days!
Suresh Sam Chandy, a 41-year-old Thiruvananthapuram native, has achieved this unique feat of winning three Ironman triathlon challenges in just two months.
Sam recorded his third consecutive win on December 3 when he completed the Ironman challenge held in the scenic township of Busselton in Western Australia. The challenge requires participants to complete a 3.8 km swim, followed by 180.2 km of cycling and finally, a full marathon of 42.2 km, all within a stipulated period.
Sam, on his part, finished the task in just 14:39 hours. Of the three events that he won recently, Sam told ‘Manorama’ that the one held in Malaysia on October 7 was the most challenging. It took him 16 hours to complete the race. On November 4, he secured the second title by finishing the race in Florida, US, in 15:21 hours. This was followed by yet another win at Busselton.
Sam has completed four Ironman challenges so far in his relatively short career as a triathlete. His first stint with the Ironman challenge was in 2018 when he won the race held in Copenhagen, Denmark in 14:09 hours. Sam, a certified public accountant from the US, is the son of the former Punalur MLA Sam Oommen.
“My father passed away when I was just 2 years old. I feel what I faced in life afterwards along with my mother was the biggest Ironman challenge. I always keep the Indian national flag in my running backpack and this is one of the things that motivates me to cross the finishing line,” he says.
Having completed the Ironman races in four continents, Sam is keen to win the events to be held in South America as well as in Africa. Up for grabs is the unique feat of becoming the first Malayali to emerge as the Ironman in all six continents. It appears that Sam is not far from the finishing line of fulfilling his dream.