IRONMAN VR Team Challenge Wraps Up North America Competition on IRONMAN Now Facebook Watch Page with Teams taking on Olympic Distance Triathlon Simulation; Emea Preview Show Slated for April 7

March 31, 2021

Joseph Gray, American World Champion runner to join in the competition, offering teams opportunity to bolster their run scoring with Pro Wild Card Lifeline

– Team Morgon Latimore stretches lead on Team Ryan Kinder and Team Shannon Spake going into the final week of competition for the North America portion of the IRONMAN VR Team Challenge

– Third and final week of North America region competition taking place on Thursday, April 1 at 7:00 p.m. ET (11:00 p.m. GMT); plus IRONMAN VC first birthday celebration

– Heading to the Coast: The IRONMAN VR All-Terrain Series kicks off the Coastal Terrain in April as it continues to highlight some of the best geographic elements that IRONMAN and IRONMAN 70.3 courses have to offer

IRONMAN VR Team Challenge

  • A champion will be crowned in the North America IRONMAN VR Team Challenge as the third and final week takes place on Thursday, April 1 at 7:00 p.m. ET (11:00 p.m. GMT) as three teams from North America face-off in an Olympic distance virtual triathlon to close out the three-week competition cycle.
  • American World Champion Runner, Joseph Gray will join this week’s competition providing the teams an opportunity to bolster their run scoring with Pro Wild Card Lifelines
  • IRONMAN VR Team Challenge can be viewed on the IRONMAN Now on Facebook Watch page by visiting www.facebook.com/IRONMANnow.
  • ICYMI: If you couldn’t tune in last Thursday, revisit the IRONMAN Team Challenge on the IRONMAN Now Facebook Watch page. Week 2 North America IRONMAN VR Team Challenge –  Recap
  • The IRONMAN VR Team Challenge competition will continue over the next three months featuring teams from EMEA (Europe, Middle East & Africa) and Asia Pacific.
  • 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 tasked with competing in either the swim, bike or run segments to help build the teams captain’s total score.
  • 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.

IRONMAN VC Turns 1 on April 1! No Fooling!

To celebrate the first birthday of IRONMAN VC, a series of segments highlighting the incredible inaugural year will air throughout the IRONMAN VR Team Challenge Broadcast on the IRONMAN Now Facebook Watch page. Highlights will include some of the most unforgettable moments from the past year of IRONMAN VR racing, interviews with IRONMAN VR Legends who finished all 34 VR races in 2020, and special guest appearances during the competition celebrating the platform that brought the triathlon community together amidst the toughest of years.

Team North American Team Captains

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

Week 3 Teams

Team Ryan Kinder – Fundraising for Kinder’s Kids Foundation

  • 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.
  • Matt Collins
    • Born and raised in central Illinois, Matt studied music and even worked in the industry before serving in the U.S. Army as a Green Beret for 10 years. Matt’s wife Stormi introduced him to IRONMAN and he has been hooked ever since competing in IRONMAN 70.3 Florida in 2018. Collins enjoys triathlon, music, and exploring the world with his family.
  • Shay Eskew
    • Shay is an accomplished triathlete, IRONMAN finisher, bestselling author and motivational speaker. When he was eight, Shay was set afire by a neighbor’s child and credited with saving the life of his seven-year-old friend. Despite being told he would never play sports again, enduring over 35 surgeries the last 36 years, Shay became a multi-time IRONMAN finisher, multi-time member of Team USA and has competed in 11 triathlon championships in seven countries on four continents, including the IRONMAN World Championship. Additionally, Shay is a long-standing member of the Team IMF and a proud father of five.
  • Emily Rollins
    • Hailing from Nashville, Tenn., Emily Rollins is a multi-time IRONMAN finisher and along with her husband Brad, both are avid triathletes. Emily has dozens of IRONMAN, IRONMAN 70.3 and road races under her belt, including multiple Boston Marathon and IRONMAN World Championship finishes to her name.

Team Morgon Latimore – Fundraising for Tri-Masters Sports Initiative

  • 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.
  • Lothar Birkenfeld
    • Returning for the third straight week for the run, Lothar is 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 two in the IRONMAN VR Team Challenge.
  • Heather Fisher
    • Returning for a third week to take on the swim, this resident of Rock Hill, S.C. is a 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
    • Returning to take on the bike, Alyson is the CEO of an engineering consulting firm in Pacifica, Calif. 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.

Team Shannon Spake – Fundraising for the IRONMAN Foundation

  • 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.
  • Mike Ergo
    • A U.S. Marine Corps veteran who has completed several tours in Iraq, Mike took part in the heavy urban combat during the Second Battle of Fallujah in 2004, resulting in the loss of 29 of his battalion brothers. After returning home, Mike self-medicated to numb the pain. After being diagnosed with PTSD, he turned to triathlon as a healthy recovery tool. During each event, Mike wears the names of his fallen U.S. Marine Corps brothers on his race kit and dedicates the races to their memories and families as was featured when he raced the IRONMAN World Championship. In 2018, Mike piloted an IRONMAN Foundation program called the Gold Star Initiative. This initiative gives veterans and active-duty service members the chance to team up and honor Gold Star Families by carrying an American flag during the run portion of select IRONMAN and IRONMAN 70.3 events, which is presented to a local Gold Star Family at the finish line. He continues to lead the program in 2021 with fellow ambassador and Gold Star Mother, Lisa Anderson. Mike is preparing to race in the 2021 IRONMAN World Championship as a member of Team IMF.
  • Kara Ewing
    • A graduate of Ohio State, Kara now lives in Charlotte, N.C. and is a licensed social worker who specializes in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. When Kara is not on the sidelines of a baseball field with her husband cheering on their son together, she enjoys running, hiking with their dog, watching football, and laughing with family and friends. She is also currently pursuing a certification in holistic nutrition through AFPA (American Fitness Professionals & Associates) and will later go on to receive a certification in sports nutrition.
  • Scott Robinson
    • A Financial Advisor based in Charlotte, N.C., Scott is a passionate husband, father and IRONMAN athlete who is also a member of Team IMF. In 2018, Scott was joined by the IRONMAN Foundation in organizing an event that raised money for those impacted by the two hurricanes that passed through Wilmington, N.C. and Panama City Beach, Fla., both host cities for IRONMAN 70.3 North Carolina and IRONMAN Florida which he was scheduled to race in that year.

Upcoming Broadcast Schedule

Thursday, April 1

  • 7:00 p.m. ET (11:00 p.m. GMT) – North America Week 3: Olympic Distance Plus IRONMAN VC first birthday celebration.

Wednesday, April 7

  • 7:00 p.m. ET (11:00 p.m. GMT) – IRONMAN VR Team Challenge EMEA Preview show and Introduction of Team Captains

Thursday, April 8

  • 7:00 p.m. ET (11:00 p.m. GMT) – EMEA Week 1: Olympic Distance

North America Week 2 Recap:

Athlete Performance:

  • Combined Swim Times:
    • Team Kinder: 1:09:01
    • Team Latimore: 1:09:27
    • Team Spake: 1:11:57
  • Combined Bike Times:
    • Team Latimore: 5:16:56
    • Team Kinder: 5:22:40
    • Team Spake: 6:24:51
  • Combined Run Times:
    • Team Latimore: 3:20:33
    • Team Kinder: 3:26:30
    • Team Spake: 3:35:30
  • Athletic Total:
    • Team Latimore: 9:46:56 (50 points)
    • Team Kinder: 9:58:11 (40 points)
    • Team Spake: 11:12:24 (30 points)

Social Media and Engagement:

  • Team Spake: 25 points
  • Team Kinder: 20 points
  • Team Latimore: 15 points

In-Broadcast Challenges:

  • Team Kinder: 25 points
  • Team Latimore: 20 points
  • Team Spake: 15 points

Overall Standings After Week 2:

  • Team Latimore: 185 points
  • Team Kinder: 155 points
  • Team Spake: 140 points

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.
  • 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.

Coastal Theme – 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. This April the IRONMAN VR All-Terrain Series will shift to the Coastal theme. These or coastal-inspired virtual races will conjure racing that is unique to coastal terrain, such as Australia’s Gold Coast, The Cote d’Azur on the French Riviera and California’s Pacific Coast Highway 101. Coastal courses are scenic, beautiful and wild, but can also be choppy, windy, and exposed. April’s Coastal theme will offer a Sprint, Olympic, Sprint, and half-distance as well as a 150km, 300km, and 500km month-long challenges. In addition, the new Training Day challenge will be offered giving athletes a flexible way to train as many times as they want throughout the course of April. To complete athletes must record one session of swimming, biking, or running of at least 1.93 km (1.2 miles) to earn the Training Day challenge digital badge for the day. 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 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® Running Series, the Rock ‘n’ Roll Virtual Running™ Series, IRONKIDS®, World Triathlon Championship 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.