Living without age limits.
“I live like a 20-year-old with a future full of possibilities,” states Stefano De Napoli, 57, when asked if he has a bucket list. Asked to elaborate he simply says that bucket lists are only for those who feel limited by time. And he for one, isn’t limited at all. Not by time, nor geography, and least of all by age. Born in Torino, Italy, Stefano, the CEO of Embassy Knowledge Infrastructures Projects, Bangalore, has lived in India since 2000. A few years ago, with his professional life rewarding enough, he was unsettled by the realisation that he missed having a target to work towards.
It’s a familiar feeling that most of us would seek a simple solution for. Stefano, on the other hand, picked the Ironman Triathlon. The most difficult single day sporting event in the world. With a 3.86 km swim, a 180.25 km bicycle ride and a marathon 42.20 km run, raced in that order, the Ironman is an extreme challenge only for the supremely fit. Not only are the race’s distances gruelling but there’s a time limit for each segment.
As a sportsman (he’s played football and golf, and skis whenever he has the chance), Stefano quickly discovered that athletic ability was only 50% of what he needed, to get to his goal. The other 50% he says is discipline, consistency, concentration, and motivation in equal measure.
Which is why he believes finishing the race is only part of the dream. The other part is the training itself. He wakes up every day at the crack of dawn, trains for hours twice a day (sometimes in the rain) 6 days a week, carefully balances meals to manage his nutrition, and stays in touch with his professional triathlon trainer in Italy who monitors every detail of his sessions.
“The routine is complicated and strenuous, and at my age and fitness levels this is my life for the next 18 months at least, before I can compete at Ironman. But if you ask me how I feel at the end of every day I can honestly say I don’t feel pain. I just feel a little closer to realising my dream.
When he is not training, you’ll find him hard at work in his office, dressed to the nines in tailored Italian formals, cooking up a storm in his kitchen (pastas and risottos are his specialty), watching football (he’s a lifelong Juventus supporter), listening to western classical music or inspiring everyone around him to stay fit. But whatever it is that Stefano is doing, of one thing we’re certain. He’s got his Tri-suit handy.