Meet our May Athlete Spotlight, Ildar Mannapov! Ildar's persuasive, humorous, and charismatic personality has brought numerous friends to the sport and to Team Paragon. He encouraged many of us to take triathlon to the next level with the full distance, before he had even done a sprint tri. Ildar may be a jokester and prank artist, but he applies a serious attentiveness to whatever he does—business, triathlon, relationships, etc. He also endures and stays positive despite uncanny setbacks. If you know Ildar, you know his history with flat tires...
Occupation: Master dolphin shaver at Sea World
How long have you been swimming, cycling, running, and/or doing triathlons?
A little over 4 years. I learned about Ironman triathlon during a New Years resolution discussion with a friend. I decided it must be the scariest and the most insane thing I could attempt to do. I knew with some training I could probably run a half or full marathon, but I wasn’t so sure about a full Ironman. That idea became very exciting. I reached out to 5 Triathlon coaches in San Antonio and told them I would like to do a full Ironman in the next 7-8 months (due to work schedule). Every coach passed on training me since I hadn’t even run a 5k without walking before. All of them told me I needed to have few half triathlons under my belt and then it would take 2-3 years of training to do a full. I was about to start looking for another hobby when Mark Saroni reach out to me and asked to meet for coffee, and the rest is history. He did warn me that I might die however we should still give it a try.
What aspects of triathlon do you enjoy most?
I truly enjoy the mental challenge of triathlon. Train your mind like you train your body. I feel like I can convert that mental fitness to other areas of my life which is pretty awesome. In a full Ironman I am always waiting for that moment when your mind starts to play tricks on you, especially after the first 5-7 hours of the race when it’s no longer just physical. My mind is reminding me everything is hurting and I should slow down, or I should take the 7th flat I just had as a sign and quit the race. I use these times to challenge my mental barriers and practice “you can’t loose if you don’t quit” motto.
What has been your favorite training or racing event, and why?
Coeur d'Alene Ironman. I got to do it with a bunch of my friends as our first full distance Ironman. Rented a nice house, family and friends came to support and spent few days training before the race. Incredible time with awesome memories. And Mark ended up winning the entire race which was a perfect ending to a great trip.
What is your favorite post-workout or race meal?
Sushi from Yummi and Coke Zero.
What is one recent accomplishment you are proud of?
During COVID our company was able to pick up a big contract which was very new to us. This allowed us to keep all the staff during the pandemic while the other parts of the business resumed back to normal. Very proud of our team.
What do you want to be when you grow up?
Venture capitalist/angel investor. I love the energy that people have pursuing their dreams and turning their ideas into products. I like to collaborate with them and discuss/help to see their projects come to light. That’s probably why “Shark Tank” is my favorite TV show.
What is something no one knows about you?
My official title is LORD Ildar Mannapov. That’s right! I own 1 sq foot plot of land in Scotland which makes me a Lord (you can get one too for $75).