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The IRONMAN Foundation Debuts Race For Change Relay Teams to Welcome More Athletes from Diverse Backgrounds to the Sport of Triathlon

May 18, 2022

Black Kids Swim, Black Runners Connection, and Major Taylor International Cycling Alliance join forces to compete as relay teams for the first time in triathlon history

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (May 18, 2022) /ENDURANCE SPORTSWIRE/ – The IRONMAN® Foundation diversity initiative Race For ChangeTM continues to build awareness and expand outreach with the formation of three relay teams comprised of nine athletes of color to compete in the 2022 Sunbelt Bakery IRONMAN® 70.3® Chattanooga North American Championship presented by McKee A Family Baker triathlon taking place on Sunday, May 22, 2022. The goal of the relay teams is to bring attention to the Race For Change initiative and inspire more athletes of color to participate in the world’s most popular endurance sport, triathlon. Individuals affiliated from Black Kids Swim, Black Runners Connection, and Major Taylor International Cycling Alliance will make up the teams.

In addition to welcoming diverse groups to the sport of triathlon, The IRONMAN Foundation will host its Gold Start Initiative program and distribute more than $25,000 in charitable giveback to nonprofit initiatives and groups in the greater Chattanooga area in conjunction with the 2022 Sunbelt Bakery IRONMAN 70.3 Chattanooga North American Championship presented by McKee A Family Bakery. This year’s grant funding brings The IRONMAN Foundation’s total historical giveback to over $603,000 in the region since inception.

Race For Change

In 2020, with the mission to ensure equity for athletes in the sport of triathlon and the communities where IRONMAN athletes and first-time hopefuls live, train, and race, Race For Change was launched by The IRONMAN Foundation and The IRONMAN Group with an initial pledge of $1 million to support programming.

The nine athletes participating on the 2022 Sunbelt Bakery IRONMAN 70.3 Chattanooga North American Championship presented by McKee A Family Bakery relay teams are:

  • Team “Race For Change”: Hollie Adejumo of Detroit, Mich., James Ravenell of Brooklyn, N.Y., and Ebonie Dubose of Atlanta, Ga.
  • Team “Race For Change-BKS”: Darien Edwards of Washington, DC, Conrad Kiffin of Atlanta, Ga, and Melinda Wofford of Cleveland, Ohio.
  • Team “Race For Change Team 1”: Marcus Fitts of Washington, DC, Zachary Rogers of Atlanta, Ga, and Nikaeda Griffie of Lexington, Ky.

Each relay team member will conquer one leg of the triathlon event consisting of a 1.2-mile swim, 56-mile bike, and 13.1-mile run. For live tracking, real-time results and instant tracking notifications, fans can follow the Race For Change relay teams on the IRONMAN Tracker app, available for download from iTunes App Store and Google Play.

“These relay teams represent the next stage for how The IRONMAN Foundation intends to welcome and support athletes of color who previously might not have considered triathlons,” said Audra Tassone-Indeck, Executive Director of The IRONMAN Foundation. “We are excited for these athletes to come together and participate in the Sunbelt Bakery IRONMAN 70.3 Chattanooga North American Championship presented by McKee A Family Bakery triathlon and for the positive effect their efforts will have on their communities and lives.”

In addition to showcasing the Race For Change relay teams, The IRONMAN Foundation will host a special community event in partnership with the Chattanooga Sports Commission and the YMCA of Metropolitan Chattanooga on Saturday, May 21st at the YMCA downtown facility from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. CDT. The community event will feature guest speakers, triathletes, and a youth swim clinic.

To remove swimming as a barrier and foster future triathletes, The IRONMAN Foundation will be donating $10,000 for continued swim lessons through the Chattanooga YMCA for nearly 100 area youth.

Gold Star Initiative

Sunbelt Bakery IRONMAN 70.3 Chattanooga North American Championship presented by McKee A Family Bakery again feature the Gold Star Initiative. Through the Gold Star Initiative, IRONMAN athletes who have served in the U.S. military carry the American flag during the run portion of the event and present it to a Gold Star Family. This program allows athletes to play a part in the healing process of those families who have lost a loved one in the name of freedom.

Born in Staten Island, N.Y., Scott Nelson served six years in the U.S. Army as a 12B Combat Engineer and 17 years in the U.S. Army Reserve. During a tour in Afghanistan, Nelson badly injured his left arm during a fueling operation while riding in a convoy from Bagram to Kandahar. He was transported to Germany for surgery and then spent 14 weeks at Fort Bragg, N.C., for occupational therapy to regain the use of his left arm. Nelson is competing in honor of his brother, U.S. Army Sergeant First Class Edward W. Nelson, who died in an auto accident while deployed in December 2006. Sgt. First Class Nelson’s two children and family members will receive the flag at the finish line.

For more information on The IRONMAN Foundation, and its programs including Race For Change and the Gold Star Initiative visit www.ironmanfoundation.org.

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About IRONMAN DE&I Efforts

IRONMAN® has and continues to provide a welcoming platform and environment for all, becoming synonymous with monumental achievement by athletes from around the world, proving that ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE®. Over IRONMAN’s 40-plus-year history, the brand and its series of events have worked with and celebrated athletes of all ages, abilities, and backgrounds, from all races, religions, nationalities, and sexual orientations. Since the very first years, IRONMAN has represented breaking barriers and redefining what is possible. This legacy continues as athletes and the greater IRONMAN community have utilized the platform as a vehicle to challenge and redefine society views. The very first trailblazing Special Team of Dick and Rick Hoyt racing alongside other athletes was a pinnacle moment for what was to come. Their determination and fortitude has continued with athletes like John MacLean, Jim MacLaren, David Bailey, Carlos Moleda, Jim Howley, Scott Rigsby, Sarah Reinertsen, Rudy Tolson-Garcia, Ricky James, Turia Pitt, Minda Dentler, Team Agar, the Pease Brothers, Alex Zanardi, Rajesh Durbal, Team Liza, Lauren Parker, Roderick Sewell, and most recently Chris Nikic and Sam Holness, among so many others. These athletes and their achievements through IRONMAN have established nonprofits and long-standing partnerships like the Challenged Athletes Foundation, which continues to do incredible work. The vastness of the athlete community, partners, and the openness that exists with its events is what makes IRONMAN special and is core to what the brand represents. Continuing the belief and importance of inclusivity, IRONMAN is committed to Women For Tri® and Race For ChangeTM while working on additional avenues to further increase diversity, equity, and inclusion.

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 the community. Since 2003, over $55,000,000 has been provided through giveback programs led by the IRONMAN Foundation to more than 10,000 local, regional, national, and global nonprofit initiatives. Through these partnerships, IRONMAN and Rock’ n’ Roll Running 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 The IRONMAN Foundation programs, including Team IMF, Community Fund, Rock This Town®, Your Journey Your Cause®, and Race For Change, 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®, UTMB® World Series events including Tarawera Ultramarathon and Ultra-Trail Australia™, mountain bike races including the Absa Cape Epic®, road cycling events including Haute Route®, 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-ironman-group.

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.

IRONMAN FOUNDATION MEDIA CONTACT

Michon Ellis

CLOUT LLC

EMAIL: michon@cloutllc.com