Businessman and triathlete Aleksey Panfyorov: "I will never lose the race"

Konstantin Rupasov

Businessman and triathlete Aleksey Panfyorov:

The Breitling iron squad challenges three elements. The athlete of the year Evgeny Rylov will tell you how from a 6-year-old little boy turned into a world swimming champion. Ilya Slepov, the founder of the Run Laboratory chain of stores, will teach you how to win triathlons, how to run a business and how to meditate while running. Entrepreneur and triathlete Aleksey Panferov will share an inspiring story on how to defeat a deadly disease and become an “iron man” 14 times


an interview with businessman and triathlete Alexei Panferov
In the early 1950s, Breitling was the official timekeeper at the most prestigious cycling races: Giro d'Italia, Milan San Remo, Tour de France , "Belgium Tour". The name Breitling appeared on a par with Il Campionissimo (Championissimo) - the nickname of Italy's greatest world champion Fausto Coppi, who twice won the Tour de France and five times in the Giro d'Italia.

Breitling also worked with his main rival, Gino Bartali, a two-time Tour de France winner and a three-time winner in Italy.

Decades replace each other, but loyalty to sports remains. Now the Breitling chronograph flaunts in the hands of the “iron people” - those who challenge the three elements. Today, Alexei Panferov is with us - Deputy Chairman of the Board of Sovcombank, businessman, triathlete. Alexey will tell you how to overcome cancer, make sport a way of life, and never go out of the race.

You started to practice triathlon in 2009. How many competitions do you have behind you?

Yes, then my friends and I got excited about the idea and decided to try it. Since then, I have overcome 14 Ironman races, more than 30 Half Ironman, 1 Ultraman, about 40 marathons and dozens of multi-day bike races. Half marathons I do not consider.

On Instagram, you quote Gene Krantz, flight director of the Apollo 13 spacecraft.

On a mission, he said: Failure is not an option - "Surrender is not an option." What does this phrase mean to you?

I will never lose my distance. There is no option to give up, I go to the end, no matter what it costs. Lance Armstrong said: "" Pain is a temporary thing. It can last a minute, an hour, a day, or a year, but ultimately it will pass, and something else will take its place.

But if I give up, it will last forever. "People are divided into those who gritted their teeth to the finish line, and those who calmly leave the race. They always find excuses: they say that health is more expensive, the next start is coming soon. Some are afraid to get injured. others lack a stimulus.

But if a person at least once gives slack, he gives up again and again. This applies to sports, business, life in general. The tasks set must be completed to the end.

Businessman and triathlete Aleksey Panfyorov:


Super Marathon and US daily record holder Scott Jurek in a book "Eat right, run fast," writes that people do not lose their distance because their body cannot cope. Alexey, tell us about the hardest finish. When the body could not cope, but the consciousness was stronger.

In May 2013, I was at Ironman in Spain, on the island of Lanzarote. The distance there is complicated, in the transit zone I fell unsuccessfully.

At the running stage it became really bad: due to the heat and overload, my vision was lost. There was something terrible. If not for my partner, I would have to be tight. He caught up with me and ran close to the finish line. I remembered that race for a long time.

We are all not sparing ourselves preparing for the competition, but if a friend feels bad, you forget about the result. There are more important things than your own ego.

Overcoming the triathlon, people primarily challenge themselves. Were there races where serious competition was unleashed with other participants? When did seconds decide everything?

Yes, there was such a race. Back in 2011, I set a goal - to qualify for the World Cup in Kon.

The number of slots is limited in each age category: there are only six in the M45-49. Out of 500 people, getting into the six is ​​a difficult task. I still have not dealt with it. In 2012, in New York, I did not have one second. According to the rules of the rolling start, each participant had their own time cutoff.

I have not seen rivals. It was not clear who was running. It's a shame - I remember to this day!

Breitling launches its first airborne chronographs for aircraft, these devices were used by fighters of the British Royal Air Force during World War II .

Sport has not always been the center of your life. You once said that "the first 10-15 years of a man’s career is a combustible mixture of immoderate workaholism and moderate alcoholism.

" How did you break out of a vicious circle?

In those days, the priority was work, the sport went on the residual principle. There was football, there was hockey, but there were no systemic activities. The ball drove, stretched - already good. In 2005, long-distance running came into my life - half marathons and marathons. There was a desire to try systemic endurance training, cyclic sports.

I thought about proper nutrition, about sleep patterns, began to look for a balance between work, crazy nervous tension and recovery. Gradually saturated with information. I became truly systemic since 2009, when I began to prepare for the triathlon. That is, in 40 years.

For reliability and original design.

Even casting a glance from afar, you know - this is Breitling. This watch has a "breed".

You said that out of ignorance you started to run too hard. As a result, overtraining, ambulances, droppers. .

. Doctors diagnosed vegetovascular dystonia. Once you were barely pumped out.What did this story teach? Have you begun to listen to yourself better?

Sure. If a person knows how to work, knows how to endure, he runs the risk of driving himself.

One must be not only stubborn, but also wise. It comes with experience. Here you are underworking, but already reworked - the line is thin. Sports wisdom does not come immediately, only after several years of training. Ambitious people are harder.

Even if a trainer is nearby, they often do not listen to his words. They do what their body prompts, because they are afraid to underwork.

In 2013, I overcame six Ironman and one Ultraman. For eight months I had 52 days of competition, the shortest - a marathon. It's overkill, such loads do not make you stronger.

No strength, the results are not growing, you are upset. You spend tremendous time on recovery. But this is also an experience.

Businessman and triathlete Aleksey Panfyorov:

In 2009 at the triathlon in Italy you finished in the last ten. Did it upset or provoke?


Later we learned that only professionals participated in the race. To be at the end among the strongest is worth a lot. In addition, it was the first triathlon. Having finished, I was happy from the very overcoming, from the realization that I did it.

Breitling becomes the "official supplier of the world of aviation", installing its on-board chronographs first on propeller aircraft, and subsequently on jet aircraft of many airlines.

In September of the same year, you became a “semi-iron man”, and a year later you completed the full IRONMAN in Germany in 10 hours and 45 minutes. The preparation was lengthy. Alexei, how did you support the stimulus? Read books, watch movies?

I got into the hands of John Callos's Iron Ambition book. In a Russian translation, she came out under the name "Iron Man is in Everyone." By that time, the book had already become a bestseller: more than a million copies were sold worldwide.

I read it in English, and at the end was the author's email. I wrote to him, asked for permission to publish a book in Russia. To my surprise, after a couple of hours John answered. I asked him: "Can I make Ironman?" “Sign up now!” He said. “With such good results, it will take no more than a year.

I will give you the best American coach.” And so it all began. I was absorbed in the preparation, I did not even think that it was hard for me. On the contrary, it seemed to me that I was underworking. It was awesome!

As soon as you went up to the stars, life struck from the back.

In mid-January 2011, you were diagnosed with kidney cancer. What thoughts were in your head? How did you manage the shock?

When you are told about a disease with a possible fatal outcome, the way of thinking changes. You’re thinking not about sports, but about how much you have to do in life. But the sport saved me. I signed up for a medical examination at the request of a triathlon coach.

The last doctor saw on an ultrasound a strange formation in the kidney.If not for training, I would not go to the diagnostic center and the disease would not be found.

At 40, this is a difficult test. It's not up to Ironman. In life there is a family, responsibility, work.

How to have time to complete everything if there is so little left to live ?. . Sport helped recover after surgery. Despite the exhortations of the doctors, in April I finished the marathon in Paris. But a year and a half did not even have to think about serious loads.

Many world brands are fond of toys. They strive to give the watch jewelry. But Breitling watches still combine high style and impeccable quality. Nothing extra.

Alexei, you have challenged yourself, which would dare units.

Within three months, you again ran 42 km. Through pain, "on the teeth." Why was it necessary to rush things and take risks?

Spring, sunshine. ..

I wanted to prove to myself that I am alive, that I can do anything. Unreasonable? Yes. Is it easier for me? Have I come back to life? Yes, back. After running a marathon, I just forgot that something happened to me. That's why I needed this finish.

Businessman and triathlete Aleksey Panfyorov:

In November 2011, you again crossed the full Ironman on the island Cozumel in Mexico. What is the result?

Of 10 hours. I didn’t expect it. Despite all the difficulties and one kidney, I succeeded. Itself was surprised!

Navitimer Cosmonaute becomes the first Swiss chronograph to be in space on the hand of Scott Carpenter.

The transferred operation threw you back in the sense of physical capabilities. And if we talk about perseverance, spirit, strength of will? Are you stronger?

I think not. He didn’t become stronger. Always been strong! But I became more reasonable. He began to listen more carefully to himself.

With new restrictions, I can’t live like before. The desire to do better, faster and better was not diminished, but there was less desperate zeal and recklessness.

Many consider the triathlon to be a metaphor for life: constant overcoming, long-distance running, self-development. And what makes you check your strength over and over again?

Every man needs a challenge. There is no war, you won’t pick up a machine gun.

At work - routine, at home - routine. I want to prove that you can do something special. This requires a strength test. We all must challenge ourselves, break through, overcome difficulties. Only in this way we become stronger.

Businessman and triathlete Aleksey Panfyorov:

Once you said: "To solve a problem that lies beyond your capabilities, you need to break it into many small victories. Then all life will consist of goals achieved. "

This is my goal-setting technique. As they said in ancient China, the journey of a thousand begins with the first step. If you look far ahead and evaluate the distance that you have to go, your hands will drop.

Look where you’ll get to. Until the next tree.To the mark on the pavement. Got it? Well done, hero! Put the following mark. We pass control points, evaluate what has been done, and correct navigation.

This helps to stay on track.

In 1999, Breitling Orbiter 3, piloted by Bertrand Piccard and Brian Jones, conquers the last not taken line of twentieth-century aeronautics: they fly non-stop around Earth in a balloon. Performing the longest flight in the history of aviation, both in time and in distance, these two travelers wore the Breitling Emergency model, which was first released in 1995

Alexei, what's your next challenge?

Now is a difficult time. We do not feast in Russia. I set goals not in sports, but in business.

You have to be in the office, work with your hands. I train in save mode. At work, you have to spend 12-13 hours a day, and wedge physical activity into the “windows”. The main thing is not to sour, to keep fit, but not to provoke yourself with competitions. Now I do not have sports plans, and I'm not worried.

Everything has its time. Previously, it was necessary to challenge outside the office, but now it's time to focus on the main skill and plow. To do business.

You have infested with love for the triathlon not only the large audience of the trilife site. ru, but the whole family.

Your wife made Half Ironman, both sons successfully perform at the starts. What instructions do you give them before the race?

None, in any case. I'm afraid to transmit. The only instruction is to be wise and never go too far. Enjoy the race, enjoy every second on the track among like-minded people.

A watch is indispensable for those who value time. A man without a watch on his hand is out of date and looks "understaffed." Breitling watches are the height of excellence.

At the end of November, as part of the Breitling Triathlon Squad team, you went to the extreme bike race Coronation Double Century in South Africa. With its participation, Breitling supported the charity QHUBEKA.

What does the organization do, Alex? And what does the name mean?

Qhubeka means "moving forward." These people help children in Africa. The organization recently bought hundreds of bicycles, and now children get to school four times faster. Previously, the road took more than two hours to walk in each direction!

Which other Breitling athletes took part in the cycling race? How did the team perform?

We performed very well. But the final result is not the main thing! Many prominent athletes eagerly supported the charity event: Vincenzo Nibali - winner of the Tour de France, Nino Schurter - multiple MTB world champion, Daniela Reef - 2018 world champion at Ironman.

We were all on the same Breitling team.

Alexei, give three tips to those who decided to participate in Ironman for the first time.

First: to build training and preparation for competitions within your life, and not your life around them. Ironman is serious and long. If we build life around sports, then what values ​​do we pursue? We want to become professional athletes? Late, for this it was necessary to live a different life.

Work, family and friends should stay in first place.

Second: move towards the goal step by step. Check the card, be wise, be disciplined in nutrition, in the mode. To be constant. Not strong, not fast, but constant.

Make sports routine a part of your life.

Third: select competitions so that each new one is more interesting than the previous one. If you immediately go to the coolest race, the next one will disappoint you - both in beauty and in complexity. So start simple and add color gradually.

Businessman and triathlete Aleksey Panfyorov:



    interview with world swimming champion
    Evgeny Rylov


    interview with triathlete and entrepreneur
    Ilya Slepov



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