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IRONMAN Announces Creation of Kukui Swim Wave for Legacy and Wild Card Athletes at the 2019 Vega IRONMAN World Championship

September 18, 2019

TAMPA, Fla. (September 18, 2019) — IRONMAN, a Wanda Sports Group company, announced today the creation of the “Kukui” Swim Wave for the 2019 Vega IRONMAN World Championship® which takes place on Saturday, Oct. 12, 2019. The Hawaiian Kukui is a candlenut tree that symbolizes enlightenment and its name will now represent Legacy and Wild Card athletes. Like the kukui, these athletes represent enlightenment through their determined and inspirational journeys to the Vega IRONMAN World Championship start line. Their stories of perseverance and their ability to overcome challenges serve to motivate and inspire us all to remain steadfast as one pursues their dream. The Kukui has many uses in Hawaiian culture and due to its symbolic value and importance became the official state tree of Hawai`i in 1959.

Earlier this year, a new swim start protocol utilizing waves that separates the field into 11 groups was announced for the Vega IRONMAN World Championship. After a comprehensive analysis of athlete data, the change was made with the goal of reducing peak athlete density flowing onto the bike course. The creation of the Kukui Wave will further assist this goal, providing Kona Qualified athletes with swim waves devoted to age-group divisional competition. The new start times will not change the existing cut off standards for the Vega IRONMAN World Championship – 2 hours and 20 minutes for the swim and 10 hours and 30 minutes for the bike. Athletes are also required to reach the finish line within 17 hours to be official finishers of the race.

New start times:        

Time of Day Division
6:25 MPRO
6:30 FPRO
6:35 PC OPEN / HC
6:55 M18-39
7:00 M40-44
7:05 M45-49
7:10 M50+
7:15 F18-39
7:20 F40-54
7:25 F55+
7:30 Kukui

Among the athletes who will be highlighted during the new Kukui Swim Wave will be the following remarkable individuals.

  • Christopher Dykzeul Christopher is a 13-time IRONMAN® finisher, 30-time IRONMAN 70.3® finisher, and IRONMAN New Zealand Hall of Fame inductee. As a Legacy athlete, he is also a former actor/TV presenter, including 4 years and more than 1,000 episodes on New Zealand’s number 1 soap opera, Shortland Street.
  • Lisa Johnson – Lisa is an Army veteran who started triathlon as a way to overcome PTSD. She has completed 15 full-distance IRONMAN races and looks to fulfill her dream of competing in Kona.
  • Kelly Kingsfield – Kelly has been in pursuit of an IRONMAN Legacy slot since 2011, while battling Sjogrens Syndrome and Gastroparesis. No doubt an incredible feat, not only has Kelly earned that slot but will be racing with her husband, Jeff Kingsfield, who also earned a Legacy slot.
  • Francois Rivard – Francois is a father of four, including three girls and one boy. Since his first sprint triathlon in 1989, the 49-year-old from Drummondville, Quebec has finished over 200 triathlons. Francois sadly lost his son in 2008 after a battle with Leukemia and now spreads his love for the sport with the youth in his area through the formation of a school program for children to get involved in triathlons. He is a 2019 Legacy athlete competing at the IRONMAN World Championship for the first time.
  • Roderick Sewell – Born with severe leg deformities that would prevent him from walking, Roderick’s mother made the difficult decision to have both of his legs amputated above the knee before his second birthday. Despite moving from shelter to shelter starting at the age of seven, Roderick’s pure determination led him to pursue his athletic goals which started with handcycling, and then to running track, playing basketball, and swimming. Roderick has gone on to accomplish many other “firsts” in his family: from homelessness to the first to graduate college, to bringing home a Gold and a Bronze medal from the 2014 Pan Pacific Para Swimming Championships, his accomplishments continue to grow with Roderick focusing on becoming an IRONMAN.
  • Wayne Skipworth – Wayne joined forces with his wife Heather and Missy and George Mackey to co-found IRONMĀORI, an initiative and club set up to tackle growing issues of ill health amongst the Maori population. Since its inception in 2009, it has grown to host events and community health projects including cycle rides, swimming and spin classes that have positively impacted countless lives. Wayne has completed nine IRONMAN New Zealand triathlons and will reconnect the strong bond of Hawai`i and New Zealand culture through his racing.

The IRONMAN World Championship is the ultimate and most iconic one-day test of body, mind and spirit, with approximately 95,000 athletes competing to qualify at more than 40 global IRONMAN events each year. Last year’s record-breaking race welcomed approximately 2,500 registered athletes from 82 countries, regions and territories, marking the largest international field in race history.

The 2019 Vega IRONMAN World Championship will enjoy 20 hours of comprehensive live race-day coverage globally via IRONMAN Now™ on Facebook Watch (www.facebookwatch.com/IRONMANnow) and through regional television coverage, including NBC Sports in the United States. Last year’s IRONMAN World Championship live coverage included everything from the early morning body marking to the final hour finish-line celebration and had nearly 20 million total views on Facebook Watch.

For more information about the event, please visit www.ironman.com/worldchampionship. For more information on the IRONMAN brand and global event series, visit www.ironman.com. Athlete inquiries may be directed to [email protected]. Media may contact [email protected]

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About the IRONMAN World Championship

Since its inception in 1978 on the island of Oahu, the IRONMAN World Championship has etched its name in history through stellar performances, inspirational participants and emotional memories. In 1981, the race moved from the tranquil shores of Waikiki to the barren lava fields of Kona on the Island of Hawai`i where it continues to take place to this day. The race now sees over 2,500 athletes embark on a 140.6-mile journey that presents the ultimate test of body, mind and spirit to earn the title of IRONMAN World Champion. The most iconic one-day sporting event in the world is the culmination of 40 global IRONMAN events with athletes around the world striving for one of the coveted qualifying slots. In 2019, the event will be utilizing the theme `Ohana which in Hawaiian culture represents a specially bonded extended family to celebrate the greater IRONMAN community of athletes, volunteers, supporters and partners. For more information, visit www.ironman.com/worldchampionship.

About The IRONMAN Group

As part of Wanda Sports Group, The IRONMAN Group operates a global portfolio of events that includes the IRONMAN® Triathlon Series, the IRONMAN® 70.3® Triathlon Series, 5150™ Triathlon Series, the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon 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 more than 235 events across 55+ countries. For more information, visit www.ironman.com.

About Wanda Sports Group

Wanda Sports Group (Nasdaq: WSG) is a leading global sports events, media and marketing platform with a mission to unite people in sports and enable athletes and fans to live their passions and dreams. Through our businesses, including Infront and The IRONMAN Group, we have significant intellectual property rights, long-term relationships and broad execution capabilities, enabling us to deliver unrivalled sports event experiences, creating access to engaging content and building inclusive communities. We offer a comprehensive array of events, marketing and media services through three primary segments: Mass Participation, Spectator Sports and Digital, Production, Sports Solutions (DPSS). Our full-service platform creates value for our partners and clients as well as other stakeholders in the sports ecosystem, from rights owners, to brands and advertisers, and to fans and athletes. Headquartered in Beijing, China, Wanda Sports Group has more than 60 offices and 1,600 employees around the world.