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Tags:   Sports,   Triathlon,   Sportsman

By Mila Camilleri   -  July 17, 2015

   Sports malta,  Triathlon malta,  Sportsman malta,  Kevin Attard: The Real Iron Man malta, Sport malta, Swag Mens Online Magazine Malta

For most of us, getting up in the morning is a chore, but there are people who just love to be active – and KEVIN ATTARD is one of them. A silversmith by trade, 41-year old Kevin began extreme fitness triathlon challenges four years ago and has since competed in Half Ironman competitions and most recently, a Double Ironman competition in Germany, which lasted 32.30 hours.


A triathlon consists of three activities: cycling, running and swimming. Double refers to the amount of kilometres that have to be covered – double the average distance. The SWAG team was interested to find out more about Kevin and what he does to prepare for such a gruelling task.



Can you tell us a bit about yourself and how you got into fitness?


I’ve been a filigree artisan for the past 27 years, a craft and skill that I inherited from Raymond Falzon. I design my own jewellery and decorations amongst other pieces and I’m well known for my creativity, innovation and contemporary designs. I also took part in various solo and collective exhibitions.


At the age of 16 years I started to train in freestyle wrestling until the age of 26 with Malta’s national team. Following freestyle wrestling, I did 6 years of cycling.


At the age of 32 until 37, I played squash and was involved as well in physical theatre and miming.


In 2011, I started to train in triathlons under coach William Brydon. I started with short races and then moved on to longer ones.



What made you decide to compete in extreme fitness challenges?


It wasn’t really planned. I’d been to Sicily with my friends on a cycling tour and when I came back I saw an advertisement in the papers about a triathlon sprint in Malta, organised by Birkirkara St Joseph Club, and I took part.


My first extreme competition was the Half Ironman organised by Charlie Demanuele.


It went well, although the training that lasted for 6 months was quite hard.


I was well prepared, but during the Half Ironman I was overexcited and did faster than planned and consequently the recovery took longer than normal. This served me a lesson. I’ve learned to stick to the plan for the races that followed.



How did your family & friends react when they found out what you were going to do?


I took the decision and knowing my stubborn character, my family and friends had no option but to accept my decision and help me out through it!



What does the Double Ironman competition entail?


The Double Ironman competition was held in Emstedden, Germany and this was their second edition. It entailed 7.6 km of swimming, a 360 km cycling portion and an 84.4 km run. The race lasted 32.30 hours and to participate I had to give proof that I completed a half of a Double Ironman distance. 


This is a competition with a money prize and awards for the first six winners. My award was the satisfaction of completing the race, because out of 64 participants, only 44 completed the race, of whom two were females.



What pushed you to participate in the Double Ironman competition?


It was not planned actually. I started from small races and moved on. The experience was very tough for me and the people around me because of the pressure. The training schedule for the Double Ironman consisted of seven months training, an average 20 hours a week.



What goes through your mind at the start of a race?


At the start of the race I had the question mark in my head if I had prepared myself enough to finish it. Only at the end of the race would I know!



Did you ever feel like quitting during a race?


No, although there was some crises, I was able to deal with them. I was going to quit during the last month of training in Malta, but my GP explained to me that when you’re preparing for something so big, it’s natural that towards the end of the training one will start having doubts. During the last month of training, seven athletes dropped out of the race. It’s my willpower and stubbornness that pushed me on.



Do you prefer the swimming, cycling or running portion of the triathlon?


I don't have a preference – I consider the triathlon as a whole event.



What did you do after the race?


After the Double Ironman race, I took a shower and went for a meal in a quiet ambience with my crew instead of attending the closing ceremony.



How many Maltese people have participated in these types of challenges?


I’m the third Maltese participant in the Double Ironman, which I’m very proud of.



Do you think that competing in extreme fitness competitions is down to mostly physical or mental strength?


I believe it's down to both mental and physical strength.



What would you say to anyone thinking about competing?


To compete in these events, one has to be both physically and mentally strong. I’ve got a lot of information and tips regarding the Double Ironman and I’m ready to share it with someone who wishes to go for it seriously. It will be nice if a female athlete is willing to participate.



Anyone wishing to speak with Kevin can get in touch with SWAG.



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