IRONMAN VR Team Challenge launches as new live broadcast racing format pitting teams of age-group athletes against each other and airing exclusively on the IRONMAN Now Facebook Watch Page
March 11, 2021
2021 IRONMAN VR Team Challenge kicks off Wednesday, March 17 with three-month-long programming through the IRONMAN Now Facebook Watch page - 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 & Asia Pacific in future months - Nashville singer and songwriter Ryan Kinder, U.S. Marine Corps Veteran and IRONMAN U Certified Coach Morgon Latimore, and veteran sportscaster Shannon Spake tapped as team captains for North America competition
TAMPA, Fla. (March 11, 2021) – Coinciding with the recently launched IRONMAN® VR™ All-Terrain Series, IRONMAN has announced the creation of the IRONMAN VR Team Challenge, a new live broadcast racing format focusing on three teams of age-group athletes that will compete exclusively on the IRONMAN Now Facebook Watch page. During a three-week competition cycle, three teams of athletes from a featured region will race in Sprint, Olympic, and Half Distance virtual triathlons. Kicking off the competition will be teams from North America who will be captained by Nashville singer and songwriter Ryan Kinder, U.S. Marine Corps veteran, Motivational Speaker, and IRONMAN U Certified Coach Morgon Latimore, and veteran sportscaster Shannon Spake. Notable professional triathletes will also be featured each week providing the teams an opportunity to bolster their scoring with Pro Wild Card Lifelines while engaging with the teams on the broadcast. Following the North America IRONMAN VR Team Challenge, the competition will continue with three teams from EMEA region (Europe, Middle East and Africa) and then three teams from Asia Pacific region in the following months to come.
The IRONMAN Team Challenge broadcast will kick off with a preview show on Wednesday, March 17 at 7:00 p.m. ET (12:00 a.m. GMT) with the 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 www.facebook.com/IRONMANnow.
“We are excited to bring the IRONMAN VR Team Challenge to our global audience in conjunction with the new IRONMAN VR All-Terrain Series,” said Andrew Messick, President & CEO for The IRONMAN Group. “Our goal has always been to elevate the athlete experience. Through our continued partnership with Facebook Watch, we are bringing the excitement of this innovative virtual competition in an easily accessible format to the global triathlon community. This new broadcast will highlight the hard-working athletes who have competed in and continue to utilize IRONMAN VR while training for their upcoming live and in-person races.”
|March 17||North America|
Introduction of Team Captains from North America
|North America||Sprint Distance|
|March 25||North America|
|North America||Olympic plus a special celebration commemorating the one-year anniversary of IRONMAN VC|
Introduction of Team Captains from EMEA
|April 29||Asia Pacific|
Introduction of Team Captains from Asia Pacific
|Asia Pacific||Olympic Distance|
|May 20||Asia Pacific|
Each three-week regional competition cycle will feature three age-group Team Captains who will be required to complete the respective virtual events for that week (Sprint, Olympic, Half Distance). Additionally, each week, the captain will be tasked with forming a team of three athletes to join them for the weekend competition with the identified team members completing one of the disciplines (i.e., one swimmer, one biker and one runner). There will also be three professional athletes joining each regional showcase as part of the challenge. Notable professional triathletes will provide the opportunity to bolster the scoring with Pro Wild Card Lifelines while engaging with the teams on the broadcast. Each week, professional athletes will join in the competition by posting a single sport split for either the swim, bike or run segments. Team captains will have one opportunity during their three-week competition to swap one of their split times with a coordinating split time from their pro ambassador athlete, prior to the time being unveiled, allowing them to better their overall team time and performance.
North America 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. Team Captains for North American to include:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
Team Captains for EMEA and Asia Pacific will be unveiled in the weeks to come.
Rules and Process
Each region will compete in its own three-week-long competition and consists of a Sprint, Olympic and Half-Distance virtual triathlon simulation. The teams from North America will compete during round one on March 18; EMEA will take part in round two beginning April 8 and Asia Pacific will participate in round three beginning on May 6. In addition to watching the live racing unfold, viewers of the broadcast will be able to engage through live interaction consisting of challenges, Q&A, and voting polls. At the end of each three-week regional challenge, the Champion Team Captain will be announced. The winner will be decided by whichever captain has the most cumulative points at the end of the three-weeks of competition. 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.
Scoring will be based on:
- Athletic Performance: Each week, team captains 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: Athletic performance is not the only way teams can move up the leader board; throughout their three-week-long competition each team captain will share their personal experiences including favorite triathlon memories and tips, among other topics through their social media pages. During the live broadcast, viewers will vote on their favorite social media posts throughout the week, rewarding teams 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 showing off their triathlon knowledge, helping them to earn more points and move them up on the team leader board.
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.
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.