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Ironman VR Championship Series offers 75 qualifying spots for 70.3 worlds

What you need to know about Ironman's new virtual racing championship series.

Photo by: Kevin Mackinnon

Starting this weekend athletes looking for a more competitive online race experience can try their hand at Ironman’s new VR Championship Series.

Starting Friday, June 5 athletes will be able to compete in the new Ironman VR Championship series as part of Ironman VR10. This weekend’s race will be the first of the four-race series that will include three 5150 (Olympic-distance) races – VR10, VR11 and VR13 – and one 70.3 (half-distance) race simulations.

A few weeks ago Ironman added a new Challenger Division to its VR races – the new Championship series builds on that program, require athletes to race under stricter rules. Athletes must complete the run segments outdoors and do the bike segment on the “prescribed weekly course utilizing the Official Virtual Training partner Rouvy’s augmented reality in Race Mode (not Training Mode).”

Related: Ironman to offer 70.3 world championship spots in VR racing

Athletes taking part in the Championship Series will also have less time to complete all three segments of the race, too – instead of the 54-hour competition window available to the rest of the athletes competing in the VR event, Championship Series racers must complete all three segments of the competition within 12 hours and complete them in “proper order” – short swim, bike, long run.

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“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.”

Related: Is there more integrity in triathlon than cycling?

According to a release from Ironman today:

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.