September 2014 A bold wager was made between Sandor Fagyal, Euro Puppy's CEO and founder, and 3 of his friends. They agreed to test their limits by entering the 2015 Ironman 70.3 Budapest competition, and see who would win! This was no little wager, they were talking about a 1.9km swim in the Danube, straight into a 90km bike ride around Budapest, and to finish off a 21 km, half marathon, run around Buda. Voted the best Ironman competition by the participants, it immerses you in the beautiful surroundings of Budapest. You could say they were crazy. It certainly was exciting! Sandor freely admitted he had no sport background, but he had an active lifestyle, love of amateur hockey and a determination to push his boundaries. This really was going to be a challenge of a lifetime!
Having no professional experience in swimming, running or cycling, Sandor knew he was going to have to take this seriously. So he immediately set a schedule of 10 hours of training a week, for nearly a year, all with an aim of completing this immense challenge in 6 hours on the day.
What was the training like? Hard, in fact very hard. You don't realise at the start how much this is going to take out of you. Pushing boundaries is a real understatement! I had to push myself mentally and physically. And it required real sacrifice too. My family was really understanding about me being out there running, cycling and swimming at all hours, and TV time, you could forget about much chance of that!
Feeling confident as the day approached Sandor boldly set a new challenging time of 5:50 hours!
August 22nd 2015: The Day Had Come!
As luck would have it, it was a dry day, but not too hot, the week before being around 40c! With colleagues from Euro Puppy, and family to cheer him on, and a great atmosphere, Sandor dived into the Danube. To his great delight he beat his target and crossed the finish line in 5:45:03!Statistics: 41 minutes of swimming 3 hours, 2 minutes of cycling 1 hour, 51 minutes of running Plus time lost during transitions.
‘The feeling of pride and satisfaction was awesome. The past years training was fulfilled, and I had so much to thank for my families support and my trainers assistance.’‘A year ago I could not imagine having finished this challenge!’
Q and A with ‘Ironman Champion’ Sandor Fagyal
What did it feel like when you are actually in the race?I can honesty say you can’t imagine what it feels like to actually do it. You are really pushing your limits over those hours, and it is the motivation that keeps you going. It never crossed my mind once to stop, you are running on pure adrenaline. It is actually the training that was more difficult, but this makes you stronger, so on the day it is easier.What was your hardest section?The swim! It may be the shortest, but it is the most difficult. You can’t stop for one second on the swim, not even to slow down. And because it is right at the start you are in a crowd of 250 other participants. So for those first 300m or so, it was one big fight to get out of the crowd and stop hitting each other.How did you feel after you finished?Proud! More than I imagined I would be. And I was ecstatic that I beat my target, on my first time. I didn’t win the bet, being beaten by 20 minutes, but as my rival has been cycling for several years I didn’t mind too much! The feeling was extraordinary, its hard to describe. But all that effort, time and sacrifice, it really payed off. Who knows what the next challenge will be!