Abhay Kelkar's extraordinary story begins in the mountain town of Satara in Maharashtra. Every morning at 3:30 AM, Abhay, a 38-year old milkman, heads out for a run in the Kaas Pathar Flower Valley. His typical runs are 2 hours long. On occasion he has spotted a black bear or leopard on the way! After his run, Abhay takes a dip in the Kaas lake and then begins his work of delivering milk to the households in Satara. The reasons for his daily morning training? Abhay is a passionate amateur triathlete. He is also the only Indian to have participated in the Ironman triathlon in Norway which took place on June 24th’19.

 

 

Ever since his childhood, Abhay has always been adventurous, hiking in the tiger reserve, rescuing wild animals and snakes. It has been his dream to open a rescue centre for injured wild animals but due to lack of resources he hasn't been able to realize his dream yet. Instead, he helps rescue injured animals with the help of forest officials.

 

 

Going full throttle with his other passion - endurance sport, he has participated in many marathons in India. Through the extensive help of the Mann Deshi Foundation and some financial help from the Ironman Haugesund, Abhay found himself in Haugesund, Norway. This being his first trip on a plane and his first trip overseas. The Haugesund Ironman had competitors from over 50 countries with a cut-off time of 16 hours and 30 mins. Representing India, Abhay completed it in 14 hours and 27 minutes.

 

 

Abhay says that he took to sport in his early 40s questioned by his daughter Swara, as to why he did not do any sporting activities while she trains to become a boxer (Swara is also supported by the Mann Deshi Champions program). While he pursues Ironmans representing India with pride, he is hopeful his daughter will one day represent our country as a boxer.