TAMPA, Fla. (June 1, 2020) — IRONMAN today announced the formation of the IRONMAN® Virtual Racing™ (VR™) Championship Series, a four-week long regulated age-group competition designed to reward top-performing athletes. In a structured and competitive virtual environment, an athlete’s overall standing will be based upon their top three performances in aggregate over a four-week period. Athletes will be competing for an opportunity to race in the 2020 edition of the IRONMAN® 70.3® World Championship with a total of 75 qualifying slots allocated across age groups for top performers.
The all-new IRONMAN VR Championship Series builds off the recently established Challenger Division and the competition will begin on Friday, June 5 with IRONMAN VR10. The competition format for the IRONMAN VR Championship Series will be made up of three 5150™ branded Olympic distance (IM VR10, IM VR11, IM VR13) and one IRONMAN® 70.3® brand half-distance (IM VR12) race simulation from IRONMAN VR10 through IRONMAN VR13. A video tutorial can be found here.
“The first weeks of the IRONMAN Virtual Racing Series and IRONMAN Virtual Club platform have been a success in bringing our community together while guiding us to this new competitive series,” said Andrew Messick, President & CEO for The IRONMAN Group. “Giving athletes who have a competitive itch the chance to see how they stack up against others has always been a goal for us in IRONMAN VR. We believe that we have a competitive format that is robust enough to assess relative performance accurately while maintaining the integrity that IRONMAN and the sport of triathlon has come to represent.”
For the IRONMAN VR Championship Series, athletes must complete the run segments outdoors, while the bike segment must be completed on the prescribed weekly course utilizing the Official Virtual Training partner ROUVY’s augmented reality in Race Mode (not Training Mode). Additionally, while the competition weekend consists of a 54-hour period, athletes must complete all three segments of the contest within 12 hours of starting their race, performing the disciplines in the proper order (short run, bike, long run).
In order to be eligible to compete in the IRONMAN VR Championship Series, athletes must be registered on the IRONMAN Virtual Club platform and have completed at least one physical IRONMAN 70.3 or IRONMAN triathlon, or one 5150 or IRONMAN 70.3 race simulation through IRONMAN VR. Those who currently do not meet eligibility standards are able to register on the IRONMAN VC platform and compete in the Classic division of IRONMAN VR10. The IRONMAN VR Classic Division will remain unchanged and open to the entire global athlete community who wish to focus on one’s own personal performance goals on preferred equipment.
The IRONMAN VR Championship Series will feature a points-based system ranking athletes within their age group and gender. Points will be awarded to the top 50 male and 50 female athletes in each age group for each IRONMAN VR Championship Series race. For example, during 5150 race simulations, 50 points will be awarded to the top female and male athlete in each age group down to one point for the 50th placed athlete in each female and male age group category. The IRONMAN 70.3 race simulation for IRONMAN VR12 will be weighted with top performing athletes in each category receiving 100 points. A leader board found on the IRONMAN Virtual Club platform will be updated on a weekly basis to reflect points awarded from the eligible IRONMAN VR Championship Series designated races. At the end of the four-week period, IRONMAN will allocate 75 slots to the 2020 edition of the IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship to the top point performers in each age group for both male and female athletes. A full set of rules and regulations for the IRONMAN VR Championship Series can be found here.
Athletes that participate in the IRONMAN VR Championship Series will have the opportunity to line up with the IRONMAN VR Pro Challenge races on Facebook Watch and gain exclusive access to special medal bundles for IRONMAN VR Championship Series events in addition to earning special digital badges.
Bringing the IRONMAN community together virtually, the IRONMAN® Virtual Club™ continues to grow and has now reached over 100,000 members across 170 nations and all U.S. States 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/.
Full details and specifics regarding the IRONMAN Virtual Racing Championship Series as well as IRONMAN Virtual Club are available on www.ironmanvirtualclub.com. For questions about the IRONMAN Virtual Racing Series, athletes can email email@example.com. For more information on the IRONMAN brand and global event series, visit www.ironman.com. Media related inquiries may be directed to firstname.lastname@example.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® 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.