Interview with Peter Boronkay, Paratriathlon World Champion

Interview with Peter Boronkay, Paratriathlon World Champion

By Brad Culp on 08/04/10 at 1:23 am

Peter Boronkay is the only Hungarian triathlete participating in International Paratriathlon events. He became the Paratriathlon world champion at the Grand Final in Gold Coast, Australia last year. He was honoured as the athlete of the year in his home county of Bacs and was also awarded a bronze Hungarian Sport medallion. His daily routine is very busy, aside from training several times a day. He also studies special needs education and attends a triathlon coaching course. Additionally, Boronkay works in a school for children with special needs. He recently gave an interview after returning from a training camp in France.

You train, teach, write blogs and study. How do you find time for all of this?

Good question. I would say, if a day had 30 hours, even that wouldn’t be enough for me. I try to manage my time so that I am successful in all segments of my life - traning, job, love and family. I work as a teacher in a school where I provide physical education to mentally handicapped children. Their smile and happiness gives me energy to succeed with all these tasks.

How was your winter preperation?

The focus was on getting as many kilometres in as possible. I started each morning with swimming, then I went to work and then training again. Since I have been back in my hometown – Kecskemét, I train alone and I consult with my coach Péter Ball only once a week. During winter I was swimming 5 times a week, running 3-4 times and cross-training 2-3 times. My preparation was finished by a training camp in France, where I did mostly cycling. I was glad to be able to join this event, thanks to the organisers Csaba Kuttor and Balázs Polonyi. I have never done something like this before.

A big challenge for me is to restructure my training plan according to the changes introduced lately in the paratriathlon competitions. The ITU has decided that from 2010, all paratriathlon races will be sprint distances instead of Olympic distance. This means, I have to prepare myself in a different way.

After coming back from France, I put myself to a test by participating in a running festival of Kecskemét where I finished in second place at the 10K distance. I am very satisfied with this result and I am extremely happy for my fiancé, Dia, who got silver in the half-marathon.

In which areas do you have to improve and what is the focus of your training right now?

Due to the shorter tracks, I will have to improve my pace, but at the moment my focus is still on getting behind as many kilometres as possible, especially on the bike. In the camp, I managed to cycle almost 800K, which is a lot if you consider that I also did swimming and running there. Cycling is where I have to improve, but in running too. I do not have any problems in the water, since I used to be a pro swimmer. At the world championship last year I managed to beat the others by more than six minutes in swimming, but if we take into account that new competitors might pop up because of the shorter distances, I cannot neglect this discipline either.

What are your plans in your private life and in triathlon for this season?

In the beginning of the summer, I would like to take part in an intermediate race and then start training for short distances. I will be focusing on the European Triathlon Championships in Ireland, the International Paratriathlon Championship in London and the Dextro Energy Triathlon ITU World Championship Grand Final in Budapest. .
In the next 6 months my private life will be exciting too. My fiancé is finishing her studies soon and we do not know yet whether she will be able to find a job in my city. A harmonious family and relationship are the top priorities for me. I believe that this is indispensable for a successful sports career. I met Dia through sport, she is a triathlete and runs marathons too. My family also supports me a lot and I am extremely grateful for that.

You travel a great deal. Do you have a favourite race location?

I have never thought about it, but I really like the Szeged race at the string Maty, because the course is fast, flat and simple. Earlier, there was a competition in my hometown, Kecskemét, which I liked very much, as my family and friends could come to support me. Unfortunately, it is not organised any more, but I hope it will start up again. It would be important for me personally, because the cycling course went next to the school I work in and the children could get a feeling about what their “Uncle Péter” is doing outside of work.
 Among the races abroad, I will never forget the Switzerland Ironman 70.3 last year. The support and love from the spectators had a huge effect on me. I hope I can relive this feeling this year in Budapest.



Do you find time for sightseeing when you’re at a race?

It depends on where the race is. Overseas I have huge problems with jet-leg, and the time prior to the competition is dedicated to the race. That means there is no time and desire for hanging around. But after the races, if it is possible, I stay 2-3 more days and explore the area. Unfortunately, it was not the case in Australia, where after finishing the competition on Saturday, we had to come back on Monday.



Do you have some advice for the triathletes coming from abroad on what they should definitely see in Budapest at this year’s Grand Final?

Oh, you could write pages about it. To pick a few examples: the Parliament, the Opera, the Heroes’ Square, the Museum of Fine Arts, the Chain Bridge, the Buda Castle, the Citadella, the Hungarian National Gallery, the House of Terror and the Millenáris.

But one should not focus only on Budapest, as Hungary has a lot more to offer: the Bugac Plain, the Feszty cyclorama and of course all the sites listed in Unesco’s World Heritage program: Aggtelek, Tokaj, Hollókő, Hortobágy, Fertőrákos, Pécs, Pannonhalma. But you should not forget about our famous cuisine. Everybody has to try goulash (gulyás), fish soup (halászlé), cabbage roll (töltött káposzta), chicken paprika (paprikás csirke), paprika-tomato stew (paprikás krumpli), “disznótoros”, bean soup (bableves), savoury curd cheese noodles (túrós csusza), and I could go on and on…



How would you inspire someone to come to the Grand Final in Budapest?

It is a great opportunity for Hungarian triathletes as they can compete in front of their home supporters, friends and family. In addition, they do not have to travel abroad, thus athletes with low budgets can afford it.



What can you recommend to those amateurs who are just about to start training for the Grand Final?

First of all they should undergo a sport-medical examination, as it is one of the pre-requisites of the race. Then the easiest way to train is to join a triathlon club, but if one cannot do that, there are training plans on the Internet too. In this case it is important to know which course you want to compete in and what is your aim for the competition, as the preparations are different. But the key things are gradual training and enough relaxation between the trainings. First you should decide how much time you will have for trainings and then create your plan accordingly.



Who is your role model?

Actually, I do not have one, but I admire a few triathletes. For example, Józsi Major’s determination, Balázs Csőke’s neatness or Péter Kropkó’s fanatism all fascinate me. But I also have to mention somebody from my family, an amateur or, if you like, an age-group triathlete. Zoltán Bálint from Izsák managed to get prepared for his first race at Nagyatád, even with his 8 to10-hour daily job so well that he accomplished it in 10:16. I can learn from him as well.

Find more details about this event - 2010 Dextro Energy Triathlon - ITU Triathlon World Championship Grand Final Budapest

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