2021 IRONMAN VR Team Challenge Kicks Off with Sprint Distance Triathlon Simulation Airing on IRONMAN Now on Facebook Watch

March 18, 2021
  • Team Captains Nashville singer and songwriter Ryan Kinder, U.S. Marine Corps Veteran and IRONMAN U Certified Coach Morgon Latimore, and veteran sportscaster Shannon Spake go head-to-head-to-head in a Sprint distance triathlon simulation
  • Cody Beals to join in the competition offering opportunity to bolster their scoring with Pro Wild Card Lifelines 
  • First competition taking place on Thursday, March 18 at 7:00 p.m. ET (11:00 a.m. GMT)

IRONMAN VR Team Challenge

  • First competition taking place on Thursday, March 18 at 7:00 p.m. ET (12:00 a.m. GMT)
  • IRONMAN VR Team Challenge can be viewed on the IRONMAN Now on Facebook Watch page by visiting facebook.com/IRONMANnow.
  • Professional triathlete Cody Beals will join this week’s competition providing the teams an opportunity to bolster their scoring with Pro Wild Card Lifelines while engaging with the teams during live broadcast.
  • Three-week competition cycle begins with three teams from North America facing-off in Sprint, Olympic and Half-Distance virtual triathlons, with competition continuing on to feature teams from EMEA (Europe, Middle East & Africa) and Asia Pacific in future months.
  • Three regional team captains and their respective age-group teammates will compete in their own three-week-long competition cycles covering Sprint, Olympic and Half-Distance virtual triathlons.
  • Each teammate will be in charge of competing in one swim, bike or run segments in their respective virtual distance.

Team North American Team Captains

Representing North America as Team Captains will be singer and songwriter Ryan Kinder, U.S. Marine Corps veteran and IRONMAN U Certified Coach Morgon Latimore and veteran sportscaster Shannon Spake. These captains will be tasked with forming a trio of athletes to join them each week for the competition scoring. This week’s trio of athletes include:

Week 1 Teams

  • Team Ryan Kinder
    • Ryan Kinder
      • A Nashville based singer, songwriter and country music star, Ryan is also a proud IRONMAN finisher completing IRONMAN Florida in 2019. Along with his wife, Heather Kinder who was Mrs. Tennessee in 2019, the Kinder’s serve as IRONMAN Foundation Rock This Town Ambassador. Learn more about Ryan and his music here.
    • Heather Kinder
      • Wife of Ryan, Kinder is also a former Tennessee Titans Cheerleader and was crowned Mrs. Tennessee in 2019.
    • Patrick Fellows
      • Residing in Baton Rouge, La., Fellows is an IRONMAN athlete with plans to race in IRONMAN 70.3 Texas next month.
    • Jeannete Sorensen Hickok
      • Colorado based Hickok is an avid IRONMAN athlete who qualified and raced the IRONMAN World Championship in 2019. Additionally, she has qualified for the 2021 USA Triathlon Nationals.
  • Team Morgon Latimore
    • Morgon Latimore
      • Morgon is a U.S. Marine Corps veteran, motivational speaker, IRONMAN U Certified Coach, and multi-time IRONMAN finisher. Morgon has experienced a lot in life and through sport has been able to use these experiences to help others and give back to the triathlon community that he loves. Learn more about Morgon here.
    • Heather Fisher
      • Hailing from Rock Hill, S.C., Heather is Curriculum Development Manager for a National Early Childhood Company. She is in love with the sport of triathlon and believes it is not only about staying healthy but also the relationships with the people she has met on this journey.
    • Alyson Watson
      • A resident of Pacifica, Calif., Alyson is the CEO of an engineering consulting firm that focuses on water and the environment. Triathlon has changed her life in so many ways. Alyson is grateful, humbled, honored, and super excited to race for the first time in well over a year.
    • Lothar Birkenfeld
      • No stranger to the IRONMAN brand, Birkenfeld has competed in multiple IRONMAN branded events. Residing in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Birkenfeld is excited to be a part of Team Morgon Latimore and take on the run portion of North America round one in the IRONMAN VR Team Challenge. 
  • Team Shannon Spake
    • Shannon Spake
      • Shannon is a veteran sportscaster, multi-time IRONMAN 70.3 finisher, and IRONMAN Foundation Ambassador. Shannon juggles a busy career in sports broadcasting with a full family life, while also finding time to pursue her passion for triathlon. Learn more about Shannon here.
    • Bobby Labonte
      • Winner of 21 NASCAR Cup Series races throughout his career, Labonte also won the 2000 NASCAR Cup Series Championship. Following his successful career, Labonte was inducted into the 2020 NASCAR Hall of Fame. He is currently an analyst for NASCAR RaceDay for Fox Sports.
    • Marty Smith
      • Marty Smith is one of ESPN’s most popular and recognized reporters and hosts who currently covers a variety of sports including college football, basketball, both the NFL and NBA, NASCAR and others. Smith’s features and reporting are often seen on ESPN platforms including SportsCenter and ESPN.com. Smith, who joined ESPN in 2006, launched his own show Marty Smith’s America in August 2017 on ESPN2. In addition to hosting Marty Smith’s America, Smith co-hosts the popular radio show Marty and McGee on SEC Network and ESPN Radio.
    • Lisa Dixon
      • Dixon is a mother of four and is taking part in her first IRONMAN VR event.

Weekly Schedule – North America Round

Thursday, March. 18

  • 7:00 p.m. ET (11:00 p.m. GMT) – North America Sprint Distance

Thursday, March. 25

  • 7:00 p.m. ET (11:00 p.m. GMT) – North America Half-Distance

Thursday, April. 1

  • 7:00 p.m. ET (11:00 p.m. GMT) – North America Olympic Distance Plus IRONMAN VC one-year anniversary celebration.

Rules and Processes

  • Each region will compete in its own three-week-long competition that consists of Sprint, Olympic and Half-Distance virtual triathlon simulations.
  • Three team captains and their chosen team members will compete simultaneously against each other in their respective swim, bike, and run segments.
  • The region’s team captain with the most cumulative points at the end of the three-week-long competition will receive a $5,000 donation to the charity of their choice from the IRONMAN Foundation Your Journey, Your Cause fundraising campaign.
  • Scoring is not only based on athletic performance; however, with the live audiences’ help, points will also be awarded for social media engagement and In-Broadcast Challenges. 

Scoring Categories 

  • Athletic Performance:Each week, team captains and their team members will test their endurance by competing in each of the respective disciplines of the Sprint, Olympic, or Half-Distance virtual triathlons. The scores for their swim, bike, and run segments for each distance are cumulative and combined with their selected team members’ swim, bike, and run times.
  • Social Media and Engagement: During the three-week-long competition, team captains will be given social media challenges; following each engagement, viewers will get the opportunity to vote on their favorite post, awarding the winning team with more points.
  • In-Broadcast Challenges:Throughout each region’s three-week-long competition, In-Broadcast Challenges will require athletes to think on their feet to show off their triathlon knowledge, helping them to earn more points and move them up on the team leader board.

IRONMAN VR All-Terrain Series

Coinciding with the IRONMAN VR Team Challenge, the IRONMAN VR All-Terrain Series consist of six months of training-length challenges and virtual races that will take athletes on a tour of the best IRONMAN locales. Each month will focus on a different terrain – expect to virtually visit race destinations in different regions within each terrain. Offering three weekday workouts plus one weekend VR race, the IRONMAN VR All-Terrain Series will also consist of multiple month-long challenges. These month-long challenges allow athletes to chase a certain number of kilometers for the month in whatever sport they like and on their own time. March’s theme is Flat and Fast and will offer a Sprint, Olympic, Sprint, and half-distance as well as a 150km, 300km, and 500km month-long challenges. For more information of this month’s challenges visit here. 

IRONMAN Foundation

Team captains will set up IRONMAN Foundation Your Journey, Your Cause fundraising campaigns where they will be able to collect donations for a charity and cause that is important to them. The winning team from each regional showcase will receive a $5,000 donation from the IRONMAN Foundation to further grow their Your Journey, Your Cause fundraising campaigns. To learn more about the IRONMAN Foundation and Your Journey, Your Cause visit here.

For additional details on the IRONMAN VC platform, visit www.ironmanvirtualclub.com/. Questions about the IRONMAN Virtual Racing Series can be directed to ironmanvr@ironman.com.

For more information on the IRONMAN brand and global event series, visit www.ironman.com. Media related inquiries may be directed to press@ironman.com.


About IRONMAN Virtual Club

The IRONMAN® Virtual Club™ (VC™) brings the global IRONMAN® community together virtually week-after-week. Launching in April of 2020, the platform gives athletes from around the world access to IRONMAN U Certified Coach curated workouts, training resources, and challenges that prepare athletes to compete in the IRONMAN Virtual Racing™ (VR™) Series. Athletes have the opportunity to train, compete, earn, and be rewarded as they set their goals towards a successful year of racing. In addition, through the Race Honorably campaign, IRONMAN’s goal is to provide an exceptional virtual racing experience with credible results that requires athletes to do their part by entering accurate data. Additional details about the IRONMAN VC platform can be found at www.ironmanvirtualclub.com/.

About the IRONMAN Foundation

The IRONMAN Foundation creates positive, tangible change in race communities by engaging athletes and volunteers to participate in programs that demonstrate service through sport and commitment to community. Since 2003, over $50,000,000 has been provided through giveback programs led by the IRONMAN Foundation to more than 9,500 local, regional, national and global nonprofit initiatives. Through these partnerships, IRONMAN and Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series participants are powerfully linked to the community and together help leave a positive legacy behind in race communities long after event day. For more information on IRONMAN Foundation programs, including TEAM IMF, Community Fund, Rock This Town®, Your Journey Your Cause, and Women For Tri, visit www.ironmanfoundation.org.

About The IRONMAN Group

The IRONMAN Group operates a global portfolio of events that includes the IRONMAN® Triathlon Series, the IRONMAN® 70.3® Triathlon Series, the IRONMAN® Virtual Racing™ (VR™) Series, 5150™ Triathlon Series, the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series®, the Rock ‘n’ Roll Virtual Running™ Series, IRONKIDS®, ITU World Triathlon Series, premier running events including the Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon™ and The Sun-Herald City2Surf®, Ultra-Trail® World Tour events including Tarawera Ultra and Ultra-Trail Australia™, mountain bike races including the Absa Cape Epic®, road cycling events, and other multisport races. The IRONMAN Group is the largest operator of mass participation sports in the world and provides more than a million participants annually the benefits of endurance sports through the company’s vast offerings. Since the inception of the iconic IRONMAN® brand and its first event in 1978, athletes have proven that ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE® by crossing finish lines around the world. Beginning as a single race, The IRONMAN Group has grown to become a global sensation with hundreds of events across 55+ countries. The IRONMAN Group is owned by Advance, a private, family-owned business. For more information, visit www.ironman.com.

About Advance 

Advance is a private, family-held business that owns and invests in companies across media, entertainment, technology, communications, education and other promising growth sectors. Our mission is to build the value of our companies over the long-term by fostering growth and innovation. Advance’s portfolio includes Condé Nast, Advance Local, Stage Entertainment, The IRONMAN Group, American City Business Journals, Leaders Group, Turnitin, 1010data and Pop. Together these operating companies employ more than 17,000 people in 29 countries. Advance is also among the largest shareholders in Charter Communications, Discovery and Reddit. For more information visit www.advance.com.