The IRONMAN Group will add the IRONMAN Virtual Racing (VR) Series to its portfolio, including the IRONMAN VR Pro Challenge that will debut on April 4 through the IRONMAN Now Page on Facebook Watch.
Full details and specifics regarding the IRONMAN VR Series and IRONMAN Virtual Club will be available at launch on April 1, 2020.
The IRONMAN VR Series will be offered through the soon to be launched IRONMAN Virtual Club. This is a web-based platform allowing athletes to train and compete from anywhere around the world at any time through the IRONMAN VR Series of weekly races and challenges.
“At the IRONMAN Group, our mission is to provide exceptional, life-changing race experiences for athletes of all levels from their first step to the finish line,” said Andrew Messick, President & CEO for The IRONMAN Group.
“We believe that under extraordinary circumstances such as these, athletes should be able to maintain the structure and continuity that training and competition provides. The IRONMAN Virtual Club is an innovative digital platform that enables our athletes to continue training with purpose, remain connected to our community and provides an opportunity to compete through the IRONMAN VR Series.”
Athletes will compete in traditional age-group categories and for select virtual races. They will also have the opportunity to earn qualifying slots to the 2020 IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship in Taupo, New Zealand scheduled to take place on November 28 and 29, 2020.
Virtual races will begin on Fridays at 19:00. GMT and close on Sundays at midnight GMT. The first competitive race, IRONMAN VR1, debuts on April 3.
The format and distances may vary each race weekend. The IRONMAN Virtual Club platform will utilize connected devices and be ‘compatible with most wearable technology and app trackers’.
Upon completion of a race, athletes will receive a finisher package including the collectible IRONMAN VR medal and finisher tees for that race. The IRONMAN Virtual Club will additionally provide an activity-based loyalty point system designed to ‘motivate athletes as they train and reward them through merchandise, discounts and special benefits.’
During each weekend of competition, there will also be a Women’s and Men’s IRONMAN VR Pro Challenge. Two professional female athletes will compete on Saturday and two professional male athletes will compete on Sunday for prize money. Anyone around the world will be able to tune-in to the head-to-head battles through the IRONMAN Now Page on Facebook Watch.
IRONMAN adds thatthe coverage will also follow the competing age-group athletes through user-generated content shared on the interactive platform, allowing athletes to see how they match up against fellow competitors through live look-ins and leaderboard updates.
Additionally, every Monday at 18:00 following the race weekend, the IRONMAN VR Rolldown Show ‘will provide the best action from the weekend and an interactive live awarding of the 2020 IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship qualifying slots.’
During the live coverage, the IRONMAN Foundation will also run Facebook fundraisers to provide support for traditional event host communities.