Bangladesh’s Mohammad Shamsuzzaman Arafat finished this triathlon race in 12 hours 14 minutes and 43 seconds to achieve the Ironman title for the second time
Swimming for 3.8kms, cycling for 185kms and finally, running a full marathon for around 42kms were what entailed to be complete in 15 hours for a triathlon athlete to be titled as Ironman in the recently concluded Ironman European Championship Frankfurt, held in Germany Sunday.
Bangladesh’s Mohammad Shamsuzzaman Arafat finished this triathlon race in 12 hours 14 minutes and 43 seconds to achieve the Ironman title for the second time.
The latest timing is an improvement by 29 minutes than his previous one when he won his first Ironman title in Malaysia two years ago.
Participating in such a long distance endurance race required a healthy sphere of times for both the physical and mental preparation prior to the event and Arafat has been doing this, along with a full-time job at Bangladesh Bank, sacrificing family time, social gatherings and even the holidays.
The title appeared worthy of all the hard-works and sacrifices.
“It’s challenging to continue with a full time job. But, I manage time from sacrificing family time, social gathering, holidays, before and after office. This may be boring to many people, but I enjoy it and love it. I wake up early in the morning and get out of the home for training,” said Arafat to Dhaka Tribune after achieving the Ironman title.
“It’s a journey to me to test my physical toughness and mental strength through consistent persevering, commitment, and dedication. On the other hand, long distance endurance races are not familiar to our country. I stepped up in this journey to represent our country, which has less participation worldwide. I also wanted to promote healthy and active lifestyle in our country,” he added.
A total of 2,741 athletes took part in the event in Frankfurt where 2,064 participants managed to complete their race, and Arafat was placed 883rd among them.
Sumit Paul, an expatriate Bangladeshi living in Germany, also partook in the event and finished 1,927th.
Arafat mentioned four other names - Imtiaz Ilahi, Muntasir Sami, Abdullah al Imran and Tahsin Alam, an expatriate Bangladeshi living in USA – who also participated in the Ironman series previously.
Arafat shared his heartbreaking “bad luck” journey throughout the race as he and Sumit lost track of the road thrice due to wrong instructions, which cost them 45 minutes.
To add to their woes, the bike wheel tube was also destroyed, the brakes were making friction with wheels after 185kms bike ride and there was stomach pain during the bike race, which lasted for two hours till the running course.
“The consequences made me drop my special needs bag and nutrition plan. I almost lost my concentration and started crying. During swim, I was afraid of injury and take the road of maximum distance. I swam 4.7kms instead of 3.8kms. Then I fixed my bike and started my bike course,” added Arafat, also informing that NRB Commercial Bank Ltd sponsored the bike and Palli Karma Sahayak Foundation paid for the round trip ticket.
These Ironman events are not the only endurance events Arafat took part in.
He swam across the Bangla Channel, from Teknaf to Saint Martin, five times.
He also enrolled his name in "The Great Bangladeshi Run” and ran for around 1,000kms from Teknaf to Tetulia.
Arafat also talked about his future goal.
“My next two years plan to attend couple of Ironman and short distance multi sports races around the world. In line with this plan, I will work hard to qualify for Ironman World Championship. May be it will take some years, but I hope it will be achieved.”