Adam Peruta, assistant professor of strategic communication, is about to undertake something only 15 individuals in the past 17 years have completed.
After finishing the Ultraman Canada competition this past summer, Peruta is preparing to complete in the Ultraman Double, which means competing in two Ultraman events in a year. Peruta will be pursuing that goal Nov. 26-28 at the Ultraman World Championships in Hawaii.
The Ultraman is a three-day-long event, comprising a 6.2-mile swim, 261.4-mile bike and a 52.4-mile run. Peruta, who previously competed in two Ironman events and is currently raising money for the Ultraman event, said the race has always been about pushing himself to see what he’s capable of.
“I was just looking for something a little bit different, a little more challenging and also something more intimate,” Peruta said. “I was looking for something a little more personal you could say, and I stumbled across this and I looked at the distances and thought, ‘Wow, that is ridiculous.’”
Only 40 people were accepted to the Ultraman Canada — Peruta was one of them.
One aspect of the Ultraman event is that all participants are required to be self supported. Peruta asked his aunt and uncle, Kathy and Bob Hettrick, to be his supporting cast in Canada, which involved driving ahead in a car, making sure Peruta had the necessary food and drink and even kayaking alongside him during the swim.
Bob, though initially taken aback and unaware of what the event entailed as far as support, said he was committed to helping Peruta any way he could — even when Peruta asked him to kayak the 6.2 miles alongside him.
“I actually went out and bought a kayak and kayaked two to three times a week for two months prior to the competition,” Bob said. “Adam had anticipated doing the swim somewhere between three and three and a half hours. So I would go out and kayak for two, two and a half, three hours.”
While competing in the Ultraman Canada, Peruta said, he had to fight through his body overheating, his hatred of swimming and the mental challenge of pushing himself to the limit.
“Even a lot of times when I do my long-distance training, I’ll listen to my iPod or have music,” Peruta said. “This really kind of focuses you, it’s just you alone with your thoughts the whole time, and sometimes for me that’s a dangerous place to be. But yeah, it can get very lonely, but at the same time I just enjoyed it; it was a time for me to reflect on my training.”
Peruta’s daily training schedule is packed — from his 5 a.m. workouts to his evening training session that lasts one to two hours. Sophomore Joe Weber, who founded the Ithaca College Triathlon Organization last semester, for which Peruta is the faculty adviser, said he has spent time cycling with Peruta as well as watching his swimming routine.
“He’s super intense,” Weber said. “I’ve seen him in the pool — because I lifeguard on the weekends — and on the weekends there’s a three hour shift, and he comes in right at 2 and doesn’t leave until 5 o’clock.”
In preparation for Hawaii, Peruta has been busy coordinating packing lists, hotels, buying nutritional supplements and specific gear to cope with the heat during the race.
Peruta said the chance to be among a select group was one of his motivating factors.
“I’m not going to lie, that was part of the appeal to do it.” Peruta said. “But I just love the challenge, I like to push myself, I like to see what else I’m capable of. Everybody says it’s absolutely crazy.”
But Peruta said the recognition wasn’t the only thing driving him.
Peruta said the Ultraman World Championships incorporate the traditional Hawaiian values of aloha (love), ohana (family) and kokua (help), all of which capture the philosophy of the organization that he is raising funds for through this event.
The Endure to Cure Foundation is a non-profit that specifically raises money for pediatric cancer patients. Peruta said it’s important that he give back to a cause that can actually make some tangible differences.
“With Endure to Cure, that’s the primary goal of the organization — all the money goes to pediatric cancer patients,” Peruta said. “It’s not like everybody else is not significant in terms of where the fundraising money goes, but the children, that’s our future.”
For more information on the Ultraman World Championships and how to make a donation, go to www.peruta.com.