Nikki Bartlett (GBR) And Ben Kanute (USA) Put in Top Performances During Mixed Pursuit Format of IRONMAN VR7 Pro Challenge Weekend

May 17, 2020

- Over 24,000 athletes from 147 nations registered to compete in IRONMAN VR7 - IRONMAN Virtual Club platform reaches 100,000 members from around the globe looking to prove #AnywhereIsPossible

TAMPA, Fla. (May 17, 2020) – The seventh edition of the IRONMAN® VR™ Pro Challenge saw eight leading professional triathletes battle it out over the course of two days. For the first time the IRONMAN VR Pro Challenged featured two professional women and two professional men racing on the same course each day in the new mixed pursuit format. After the conclusion of two days of racing, Nikki Bartlett of Great Britain claimed top honors in women’s race while Ben Kanute of the United States topped the podium in men’s competition.

During IM VR7 Pro Challenge on Saturday and Sunday, two professional women and two professional men, took to their trainers battling it out over two laps of the newly offered 20 km SUPERSEAL sprint distance bike course utilizing Official Virtual Cycling partner ROUVY’s augmented reality. On lap one of the 20 km course, the two professional women from each day started with a three-minute lead on the two professional men’s athletes. After a quick break, A pursuit format second lap followed shortly after where each athlete was sent off based on their finish times handicapped from lap one. The overall winner was determined by the first professional to cross the finish line.

In the women’s professional race, Nikki Bartlett (GBR) claimed the overall victory with an impressive performance Saturday, clocking an overall time of 52:39. Sarah Piampiano (USA) finished second in a time of 57:03, while Mel McQuaid (CAN) followed in third clocking a time of 57:36. Laura Philipp (DEU) rounded out the group with a time of 57:37. While not part of the official IRONMAN VR7 Pro Challenge, broadcast host, former professional and three-time IRONMAN Champion Dede Griesbauer joined in on the second lap of Saturday’s races posting a time of 29:08. Griesbauer, along with all other registered age-group athletes in IRONMAN VR, had the ability to ride alongside the Pros by logging onto the ROUVY platform.

The full broadcast of Saturday’s IRONMAN VR7 Pro Challenge can be viewed, HERE.

Professional women’s results:

1. Nikki Bartlett GBR 00:26:46 00:26:43 00:52:39
2. Sarah Piampiano USA 00:28:15 00:28:35 00:57:03
3. Mel McQuaid CAN 00:28:28 00:29:21 00:57:36
4. Laura Philipp DEU 00:28:39 00:28:57 00:57:37


In the men’s professional race, Ben Kanute (USA) earned the spoils as the victor, completing two laps of 20 km SUPERSEAL bike course in a time of 51:34. Maurice Clavel (DEU) followed in second with a time of 52:36, while Brent McMahon (CAN) came in third with a time of 53:04. Mauricio Méndez Cruz (MEX) rounded out the group clocking a time of 56:36. Continuing the trend, broadcast host, former professional and three-time IRONMAN Champion Michael Lovato jumped on his trainer and joined in on the second lap during Sunday’s race posting an impressive time of 26:55, a time just shy of what Kanute posted on his second lap.

The full broadcast of the Sunday’s IRONMAN VR7 Pro Challenge can be viewed, HERE.

Professional men’s results:

1. Ben Kanute USA 00:25:39 00:25:55 00:51:34
2. Maurice Clavel DEU 00:26:23 00:26:13 00:52:36
3. Brent McMahon CAN 00:26:06 00:26:58 00:53:04
4. Mauricio Méndez Cruz MEX 00:28:04 00:28:32 00:56:36


In total, more than 24,000 athletes from 147 nations and all 50 states registered to set out to participate in the IRONMAN VR7 – sprint distance simulation, which began Friday, May 15 at 6 p.m. GMT (2 p.m. ET). The race requires athletes to complete three segments, including a 1.5 km Run, 20 km Ride, then 5 km Run by race close this evening, Sunday, May 17 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 are able to compete anywhere, indoors or outdoors.

Bringing the IRONMAN community together virtually, the IRONMAN® Virtual Club™ continues to grow and has now reached 100,000 members on the platform with tens of thousands completing IRONMAN Virtual Club Challenges since its recent launch. In addition, through the new 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 can be found on the IRONMAN VC platform at www.ironmanvirtualclub.com/.

IRONMAN VR7 leaderboard updates can be found by visiting the IRONMANVR Facebook Page.

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 ironmanvr@ironman.com. 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 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 more than 235 events across 55+ 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.