Challenge Family has confirmed the instalment of a Board of Directors. Zibi Szlufcik will move from the CEO position to become President of the Board. The Board is completed by Jort Vlam, Richard Belderok and Jefry Visser.
Szlufcik will hand over the CEO role to Jort Vlam. Meanwhile, Jefry Visser and Richard Belderok are assigned respectively as Chief Operating Officer (COO) and Chief Technical Officer (CTO). Going forwards, the Challenge Family headquarters will be based in Almere, The Netherlands.
Challenge Family, with almost 40 races worldwide, noted that it closed 2019 as its ‘most successful year in terms of race quality, athlete satisfaction and participation.’
Company President Zibi Szlufcik said, “To enable us to keep this upward trend – growing the number of athletes as well as improving the race experience and extending the portfolio – we decided to strengthen the management of our series, to provide an even better service and support to our race directors and to our athletes.
“That’s the reason why Challenge Family will be led by a Board of Directors, which commenced on 1st January 2020.”
While Jort Vlam, Richard Belderok and Jefry Visser will take the daily and operational lead, Szlufcik as President of the Board will… ‘fully focus on brand strategy, partnerships and development of the race portfolio.’
Jort Vlam, Richard Belderok and Jefry Visser are most known for their roles at Challenge Almere-Amsterdam: Vlam as Commercial Director, Belderok as Race Director and Visser as Operational Director.
With a team of over 700 volunteers, the Amsterdam team has built a race with over 4000 participants every year, highlighted by hosting seven ETU Championships and the upcoming ITU Multisport World Championships 2020 in Almere. They are also deeply involved at other Challenge Family races, which include Challenge Daytona, Challenge Geraardsbergen and The Championship and have been part of the Challenge Family core team for over three years.
“Since we were kids, we’ve been watching triathletes doing great things in Almere year after year,” said new Challenge Family CEO Jort Vlam. “This inspired us to focus our future careers within the sport of triathlon. Triathlon is in our DNA. Through the years, these dreams became reality and we created world class events ourselves. We are grateful for the opportunity to further develop what has been started by our friends the Walchshöfer family in Roth, Germany.”
Jefry Visser added, “And we’re very pleased to have Zibi at our side. His knowledge and experience makes him simply indispensable. With the actual changes, the operational side of Challenge Family will be managed from Almere. As the face of our Challenge Family brand, Szlufcik will remain working around the globe, visiting races when he can.”
Richard Belderok reassures athletes, stating that it was “business as usua,l and any changes will be in the interest of the athlete. Challenge Family is #AllAboutTheAthlete and this will remain our main objective. Within Challenge Family, we work every day as hard as possible to organize quality races and triathlon festivals to be the best they can be. This is our passion and in 2020 we want to intensify these values all over the world.”
For Szlufcik, these changes are a natural ‘evolution’ within Challenge Family. He added, “Challenge Family isn’t about one person or about a core team. It’s about passion, inspiration and determination, which we share with thousands of athletes all over the world. It’s about race directors, athletes, local communities and of course all the amazing volunteers, who make each and every Challenge Family race unforgettable. It’s about becoming better, about emotions and about a lifestyle. It’s a way of life: for me and everybody working for Challenge Family.”
Now based in Almere, The Netherlands, Challenge Family is a leading global triathlon festival race series. With 40 races annually across more than 20 host countries, Challenge Family is billed as ‘the fastest growing mass endurance triathlon brand in the world.’ Challenge Family adds that it offers ‘events for everyone with a festival character,’ so that everyone can share in the triathlon experience, from professionals to age-groupers.