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More Than 10,000 Athletes From 116 Nations Registered to Compete in the Inaugural IRONMAN® Virtual Racing™ Series Event; Over 25,000 Athletes From Around the World Joined IRONMAN Virtual Club Platform in 48 Hours

April 3, 2020
  • IMVR1 opened for competition today, Friday, April 3 at 6 p.m. GMT; IRONMAN VR1 Pro Challenge to begin at 3 p.m. GMT on Saturday for women’s race and 3 p.m. GMT on Sunday for men’s race 
  • Female professionals Carfrae, McCauley, Naeth, and Seymour and male professionals Gambles, Lange Metzler, and Weiss set to go head-to-head during bike portion of IRONMAN VR1 Pro Challenge, utilizing Official Virtual Training partner ROUVY’s augmented reality 
  • Live coverage available exclusively through the IRONMAN Now Facebook Watch Page 
  • IRONMAN Foundation to match all donations made to IRONAID COVID-19 Support Fund up to $10,000 USD during professional live coverage 

TAMPA, Fla. (April 3, 2020) More than 10,000 athletes from around the world, ranging in age from 18 to 73  are registered and ready to compete in the inaugural IRONMAN® Virtual Racing™ Series event, IRONMAN® VR1™, proving that Anywhere Is Possible™. The race, which began today, Friday, April 3 at 6 p.m. GMT (2 p.m. ET) will require athletes to complete in three segments a 5km run, 90km bike and 21km run by the race close on Sunday, April 5 at 11:59 p.m. GMT (7:59 p.m. ET). Competitors can complete the segments in any order and are not required to do the segments consecutively. Athletes can compete Anywhere, indoors or outdoors.

Bringing the IRONMAN community together virtually, the IRONMAN® Virtual Club™ has also seen over 25,000 athletes join the platform with thousands having already completed IRONMAN Virtual Club Challenges since launch two days ago.

“We are thrilled to see the response of our athletes to the new IRONMAN Virtual Club and IRONMAN Virtual Racing Series in just 48 hours’ time,” said Andrew Messick, President & CEO for The IRONMAN Group. “It is our belief that athletes should always have the opportunity to test themselves in body, mind and spirit whether in person or virtually. In these challenging and uncertain times, we hope that these new options will allow for our athletes to continue to train with purpose, compete and most importantly, remain connected with their fellow community members virtually in a healthy and safe manner.”

With athletes hailing from 116 nations, the United States leads the way with 31% of the athletes registered to race in IRONMAN VR1. Following the United States is the United Kingdom (10%), Germany (7%), Australia (5%), and Canada (just over 4%). Other nations represented range from Brazil, Italy, Singapore and South Africa. Athletes will receive IRONMAN Virtual Club points based on the distance they complete with all finishers receiving a Virtual Badge.

On the professional side, four women and four men, including past IRONMAN World Champions, will be going head-to-head during the bike portion utilizing Official Virtual Training partner ROUVY and their augmented reality to enable indoor cycling as they race on the virtual IRONMAN 70.3 Boulder bike course. Mirinda Carfrae (AUS), Jocelyn McCauley (USA), Angela Naeth (CAN), and Jeanni Seymour (RSA), will take to the virtual bike course on Saturday, April 4 beginning at 3 p.m. GMT where they will be covered live through the IRONMAN Now Facebook Watch page. The men’s race will follow with live coverage on Sunday, April 5 beginning at 3 p.m. GMT with Joe Gambles (AUS), Patrick Lange (DEU), Justin Metzler (USA), and Bradley Weiss (RSA) facing off.

“The COVID-19 virus has touched us all in challenging ways,” said professional triathlete Angela Naeth. “More than ever, I believe it’s important to encourage everyone to be active, be healthy, and continue moving forward  (a motto of mine that has helped me thru Lyme and doing what I love – racing and triathlon!) – all with respect to local protocols and social distancing measures. Not only is this pertinent for our physical health, but for our mental state, and general well-being. And so, I’m excited to be jumping into the IRONMAN VR1 Pro Challenge tomorrow! This new initiative by IRONMAN is an opportunity to get a little closer to what we all love – pushing our boundaries, racing, and enjoying the camaraderie of our triathlon community. Join me by doing the challenge alongside, and jump in on the fun! I’m looking forward to riding my bike for 56 miles, as fast as I can!”

All registered age-group athletes will also have the ability to ride alongside the Pros. By logging onto ROUVY, athletes can choose to ride with the professionals on Saturday and Sunday.

During the professional live coverage, the IRONMAN Foundation will also match all donations made to IRONAID COVID-19 Support Fund at www.ironmanfoundation.org/ironaid up to $10,000 USD. The campaign kicked off last week and already has more than $65,000 committed to help support IRONMAN, IRONMAN 70.3 and Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series event communities in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Coverage of this weekend’s event can be viewed exclusively through the IRONMAN Now Facebook Watch page. Hosted by Michael Lovato and Dede Griesbauer, coverage will also include check-ins on the age-group VR1 race, and special guests including top pros Skyping in from around the globe.

Additional details for the weekend can be found below:

Facts & Figures for IRONMAN VR1:

  • Linda Rich (USA) is the oldest female participant at 72, while Abigail Walker (USA) is the youngest at 18
  • Ronald Restivo (USA) is the oldest male participant at 73, while Hugo Charmant (Belgium) is the youngest at 18
  • All 50 S. states are accounted for as well as the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and Guam, with the greatest number hailing from California, followed by Texas, Florida, New York and Illinois.

IRONMAN VR1 Pro Challenge:

  • Race Format:
    • Run 1: 5 km run
    • Bike: 90 km utilizing ROUVY [completed during live IRONMAN Now coverage]
    • Run 2: 21 km run
  • Bike Portion Primes:
    • Climb Prime: 11.6 km–16 km
    • TT Prime: 62.3 km–70 km
    • Plus, there will be a few “mystery primes” thrown in by commentators, Facebook fans and call-in guests along the way

IRONMAN Now Facebook Watch Live Coverage Info

  • Friday, April 3 – IRONMAN VR1 Preview Show – 5 p.m. GMT (1 p.m. ET)
  • Saturday, April 4 – IRONMAN VR1 Pro Challenge Women’s Race – 3 p.m. GMT (11 a.m. ET)
    • Head-to-head competition using ROUVY augmented reality to race on the IRONMAN 70.3 Boulder bike course
  • Sunday, April 5 – IRONMAN VR1 Pro Challenge Men’ Race – 3 p.m. GMT (11 a.m. ET)
    • Head-to-head competition using ROUVY augmented reality to race on the IRONMAN 70.3 Boulder bike course

Full details and specifics regarding the IRONMAN Virtual Club are available on www.ironmanvirtualclub.com. For questions about the IRONMAN Virtual Racing Series, athletes can email [email protected]. For more information on the IRONMAN brand and global event series, visit www.ironman.com. Media related inquiries may be directed to [email protected]. 

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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®, 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 50+ countries. On March 26, 2020, Wanda Sports Group (Nasdaq: WSG) entered into an agreement to sell The IRONMAN Group to Advance; closing is anticipated in mid-2020. For more information, visit www.ironman.com.

Appendix A:

About the Professionals

WOMEN

Australian Mirinda Carfrae, 39, is a three-time IRONMAN World Champion and the 2007 IRONMAN 70.3 World Champion. One of the fastest runners in the sport, she has finished on the podium in Kailua-Kona seven times. A longtime resident of Boulder, Colorado, she is married to fellow pro Timothy O’Donnell.

American Jocelyn McCauley, 31, is a three-time IRONMAN Champion and an IRONMAN 70.3 Champion. In 2019 she finished second at the IRONMAN North America Championship in Texas, holding off ultimate champion Daniela Ryf until the final miles of the run. She lives in Texas.

Canadian Angela Naeth, 38, is podium steady on the IRONMAN 70.3 circuit with 36 top-3 finishes in her career and has raced sub-9 hours at IRONMAN events three times. She lives and trains in South Easton, Massachusetts.

Jeannie Seymour, 28, of South Africa is a nine-time IRONMAN 70.3 Champion. Last year she clocked a sub-9-hour IRONMAN in her debut in the distance at the IRONMAN North America Championship in Texas. She lives and trains in Boulder, Colorado with her pro triathlete husband Justin Metzler.

MEN

Joe Gambles, 38, is a longtime pro from Tasmania living in Boulder, Colorado. In the past ten-plus years of racing as a pro, he has garnered more than a dozen IRONMAN 70.3 podium finishes, including a win at IRONMAN 70.3 Eagleman in 2019.

Patrick Lange, 33, of Germany, is a two-time IRONMAN World Champion (2017 & 2018) setting some of the fastest times ever in Kailua-Kona, Hawai`i. Lange also has a number of IRONMAN and IRONMAN 70.3 titles to his name, including the IRONMAN North American Championship in Texas which qualified him for his first IRONMAN World Championship appearance, where he finished in third. 

Justin Metzler, 24, of America, has finished third at IRONMAN 70.3 Santa Cruz, one of the more challenging courses on the IRONMAN 70.3 circuit. He has earned numerous other IRONMAN 70.3 podium finishes since he began racing professionally in 2014. He lives and trains in Boulder, Colorado with his pro triathlete wife Jeanni Seymour.

South African Bradley Weiss, 31, is a two-time XTERRA off-road world champion who has recently found much success on the IRONMAN 70.3 circuit. He has earned five IRONMAN 70.3 podium finishes, including wins at IRONMAN 70.3 Taiwan and IRONMAN 70.3 South Africa.