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A look back as The IRONMAN Group continues its safe return to racing with two successful IRONMAN 70.3 Triathlons in North America and Latin America

November 5, 2020

TAMPA / TEMPE, Az. / COZUMEL (November 5, 2020) – As triathletes around the world eagerly await the opportunity to compete, The IRONMAN Group took another successful step in its Safe Return to Racing, with events officially taking place once again in Latin America and North America.

On September 27, IRONMAN®70.3® Cozumel saw athletes take to the coastal waters off the Yucatan Peninsula marking the first IRONMAN® event to take place in Mexico in 2020. Three weeks later the U.S. had an opportunity, as athletes entered the swim start in Tempe Town Lake on October 18 to kick off the SelectBlinds IRONMAN 70.3 Arizona triathlon.

Both races followed The IRONMAN Group’s Safe Return to Racing protocol, a set of industry-leading guidelines prepared in accordance with standards for open air endurance events from the World Health Organization (WHO) and guidance from the IRONMAN Global Medical Advisory Board that builds on the pillars of enhanced hygiene, screening and education, density reduction, touchpoint minimization and athlete self-reliance.

“We were absolutely thrilled to see our athletes out on course and racing in our first North America triathlon of the year,” said Elizabeth O’Brien, Managing Director of North America for The IRONMAN Group. “The team has been hard at work all year to get us to this point and while events may look and feel a bit different, our Safe Return to Racing guidelines have provided the path for us to work with our host cities on racing plans that provide a safe and positive race experience in a manner consistent with local community objectives. Seeing hundreds of athletes doing what they love is incredibly meaningful and we will continue to work hard and fine tune as events take place globally to appropriately bring racing back to other parts of North America.”

“Cozumel played an incredibly welcoming host for our athletes in our first event back since the pandemic started,” said Joanna Jordan, Managing Director, Latin America for The IRONMAN Group. “While ’the island of triathlon’ is the first event for the region, the teams in Latin America are energized and continually working hard to bring IRONMAN back to many more communities safely and successfully.”

IRONMAN 70.3 Cozumel also saw the return of professional racing in the Americas with Sam Long of the United States taking the overall victory with a total time of 3:42:44, only a minute ahead of defending champion and second-place finisher, Tyler Butterfield of Bermuda who crossed the line with a time of 3:43:35. Mexico’s Mauricio Mendez Cruz rounded out the podium in third with a time of 3:46:57. Holly Lawrence of Great Britain took a dominating win in the women’s race with a time of 4:07:17, nearly ten minutes ahead of Romina Biagioli of Argentina who clocked a total time of 4:17:14. Mexico’s Cecilia Perez rounded out the group with a time of 4:18:50.

“Athletes have overcome so much in 2020. The moment of crossing the finish line at this year’s event was incredible! The island of Cozumel was poised to provide an amazing and safe race experience following Safe Return to Racing guidelines. We accomplished it just recently at IRONMAN 70.3 Cozumel and look forward to doing it again in a few weeks at IRONMAN Cozumel,” said Mauricio Zavala Alonso, Race director Asdeporte/IRONMAN 70.3 Cozumel.

The SelectBlinds IRONMAN 70.3 Arizona saw a robust field of age group athletes toe the line with Jan Stepinski of Palo Alto, Calif. topping the overall race with a time of 4:01:03 while Brianna Troska of Veradale, Wash. won the women’s race in a time of 4:34:23, her first IRONMAN 70.3 race ever.

“It’s been about working with our local communities and I want to give a big thanks to the city of Tempe for working with us to be able to host this race. They have been with us throughout this the entire journey. This is our first event back since December in Arizona and we can’t express just how thrilled we are to be back racing,” said Keats McGonigal, Head of Operations, North America for The IRONMAN Group.

What else are they saying:

“Thank you for letting us be part of this incredible experience! See you soon!” Pedro Joaquin D, Cozumel Municipal President.

“Super event, well organized according with new hygiene protocols. Thanks all, especially crew and volunteers” Osiris Ortiz, Mexico City.

“I´m so happy of watching all of you doing what you love, thanks for all this inspiration! Next year I will be with you racing my first 70.3!” Carlos Cordera, IRONMAN 70.3 Cozumel athlete.

“IRONMAN has done a remarkable job of keeping us up to date on new policies and new procedures, and so far, just getting here today – it is awesome.” Todd Crandell, Founder & President, Racing for Recovery and 2020 SelectBlinds IRONMAN 70.3 Arizona athlete.

“The protocol is great. Obviously, we have all had a chance to live our lives a little differently over the last few months. I think IRONMAN just accentuates exactly what that is. The distancing and keep everyone apart, you can see it is safety first here, have fun and go race second. And I think that is going to be required for a lot of things in life as we move forward.”  Rick Steele, Co-founder and Chief Marketing Officer of SelectBlinds and 2020 SelectBlinds IRONMAN 70.3 Arizona athlete.

Next events coming up:

IRONMAN racing in North America is scheduled to continue with Visit Panama City Beach IRONMAN 70.3 Gulf Coast and Visit Panama City Beach IRONMAN Florida both taking place in Florida’s panhandle on Saturday, Nov. 7.

For more information on the IRONMAN brand and global event series, visit www.ironman.com.

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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® presented by Westpac, 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.