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Ironman announces virtual racing

Ironman will launch a virtual racing series including a virtual pro challenge starting in April.

Triathletes will be able to fuel their competitive urges in April as Ironman announces a new virtual racing series that will even include a professional component.

Virtual reality racing is on the way as Ironman announces a new Ironman VR series. Photo: Matt Stetson.

Set to launch on April 1, 2020, Ironman’s new Virtual Club will allow “athletes to train and compete from anywhere around the world at any time through the Ironman VR Series of weekly races and challenges.”

“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,” says Ironman CEO Andrew Messick.

The virtual races will be accessed through a web-based platform which will allow athletes (depending on their current circumstances) to either use home equipment or complete the races outside. The activities and distances of the weekly races will vary so that organizers “can accommodate for the current fluidity of access to public athletic facilities,” an Ironman representative was able to confirm.

The program will be free for tracking personal workouts and challenges and “will also include activity-based loyalty point system designed to motivate athletes as they train and reward them through merchandise, discounts and special benefits.”

There will be a registration fee for the Ironman VR which will offer bibs, medals and T-shirts.

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More details of the program will be available when it launches on April 1, but here’s some of the information Ironman shared in a release today:

Athletes will compete in the traditional age-group categories and for select virtual races, will 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 6 p.m. GMT and close Sundays at midnight GMT with the first competitive race, Ironman VR1, debuting 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. The 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 6 p.m. 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 our traditional host communities.