He’s a powerboat champion, finished the Epic5 challenge – and he now faces the DECA ultratriathlon in Switzerland: Anastas Panchenko. In the interview, the Russian athlete talks about motivation and how his knee injury changed his goals.
Anastas, you are a powerboat champion, a great jetski and aquabike professional - and a triathlete. How do you combine water sports with long-distance triathlon?
Anastas Panchenko: Aquabike is my main sports specialization. However, in view of the unstable weather conditions in St. Petersburg, even during the summer season, it would be impossible to keep in shape and perform at the professional level through aquabike training alone. Therefore, you can say, I do triathlon to keep in shape. Triathlon helps me stay on my game all year round, regardless of the locations and weather conditions.
You are one of the top 5 Russian IRONMAN triathletes, you already did the SIBERMAN515 ultra triathlon and finished the Epic5 Challenge. Your biggest challenge for 2018 is the DECA Ultratriathlon in Switzerland. What is your motivation to do 10 Ironman Triathlon in 10 days?
When I finished the Epic5 Challenge last year, there was nothing else I wanted. My only desire was to maintain a moderate training regime and to participate in two or three Half Ironman events a year. However, already a few months later, I changed my mind and, as it happens, my name was added on the list of swissultra participants …
After the Epic5, I got a knee injury, but kept stubbornly refusing to have surgery. I had tried various recovery exercise programs, however, unfortunately, a month ago I resulted unable to run and then even walking with difficulty. It was finally decided to have the urgent surgery. Now I have the clear motivation to restore the efficiency of the leg, to prove myself that the impossible is possible and to finish swissultra at any cost.
How do you prepare for the DECA? Can you describe your training plans?
Due to the knee injury, the entire training plan had to be modified. We are currently adjusting the scope and specifics of the training program every week, depending on the progress of knee joint recovery.
What is your goal at DECA?
When I first registered I wanted to be among the leaders, but now, due to the knee injury, I simply wish to cross finish line without new injuries.
This year, we have 3 participants from Russia, and it’s the first time we welcome Russian athletes. Is ultratriathlon becoming popular in Russia?
I do not know the other Russian participants personally, but I believe that ultra-triathlon started gaining popularity in our country only after my successful finish at the Epic5 Challenge. With the help of my team, we were able to successfully bring the idea of ultra-triathlon home to the large Russian audience, explaining what people take part in such competitions and extending the audience of ultra-triathlon beyond the limited group of triathlon fans.
What is your strongest discipline – swimming, cycling or running?
I really like the bike. I enjoy cycling the most and truly believe it to be my strongest discipline.
What is your personal record for an IRONMAN distance?
I have only been doing triathlon for three years now, but all my training programs are originally targeted at finishing ultra-triathlon distances. So far, my best result is 9:53 hours, which is not very high at all, but I believe that after swissultra my goals will change and, in the coming year, you can expect me to become one of the top 20 finishers at an Ironman event.
A DECA is a big mental challenge as well. What are your "tools" and tricks not to give up?
After the successful finish at the SiberMan515 ultra-triathlon event, our team has acquired a number of life hacks and personal tricks, which we obviously prefer to keep to ourselves ...
How do you find sponsors for your competitions? Which sponsors are supporting you this year?
This is continuous and difficult work. I have a separate professional team communicating with sponsors, of which I am very proud. I assume that no other amateur or professional triathlete from Russia has such an advantage. We are undertaking tremendous work to develop my personal brand and to contribute to the overall evolution of triathlon in Russia. For all my sponsors, see the Partners section of my website anastas.su.