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Over 8,000 Athletes compete in First Virtual Full-Distance Ironman Triathlon

In a fitting week-long tribute to the iconic and beloved IRONMAN World Championship®, IRONMAN provided the entire endurance community a way to enjoy the magic of the event with the IRONMAN® VRTM Championship Celebration. The virtual celebration included the first-ever offering of a virtual full-distance IRONMAN triathlon with IRONMAN VR27 Kona, that competitors could complete in seven-day, three-day and traditional 17-hour race formats. Commencing on Sunday, Oct. 4 and running through Sunday Oct. 11, IRONMAN VR27 Kona saw over 8,000 registered participants take on the virtual IRONMAN in historic fashion.

In addition, over 14 hours of programming on IRONMAN Now via Facebook Watch provided a global audience an in-depth view into the history, personalities, and magic that have made the iconic IRONMAN World Championship the pinnacle endurance event for over 40-years now. Through the hosted Kona Celebration Daily Show viewers across the world were able to relive all the hallmarks of world championship week virtually, including the E Komo Mai Welcome Ceremony, Ho‘ala Swim celebration, Underpants Run, Heroes of Hawai`i and much more.

Looking Back IRONMAN VR27 Kona – By the Numbers

Facts & Figures 

  • In total, over 8,000 registered participants took part in IRONMAN VR27 Kona
  • Athletes represented 49 states and 117 nations
  • The United States led the way with over 2,200 participants, followed by United Kingdom (over 550), Germany (just under 500), India (over 350), Canada (over 300), and Philippines (over 250)
  • Other nations represented included Australia, Brazil, Czech Republic, Egypt, France, Italy, Kazakhstan, Poland, Russia, South Africa, Spain, Taiwan, and United Arab Emirates, among others
  • Of the 49 U.S. states represented this past weekend, the greatest number came from California, followed by Florida, Texas, Michigan, Illinois, and New York
  • 1,526 participants completed their first 140.6 full-distance race
  • 123 participants completed their first 140.6 full-distance race in the traditional 17 hours
  • Over 2,300 IRONMAN TriClub members registered for IRONMAN VR27 Kona
  • In total, more than 33,000 athletes participated in the IRONMAN VR Kona Series

IRONMAN Virtual Club Platform Facts & Figures

  • The IRONMAN Virtual Club platform has reached more than 120,000 members since the inception of the platform
  • In total, there have been over 330,000 registrations to participate in the IRONMAN Virtual races
  • Over 17,000 TriClub members are registered on the IRONMAN Virtual Club platform
  • To date, 127 athletes have completed all 27 IRONMAN VR races. Over the past 27 weeks of racing, these athletes have completed at least 425km of running and 1,401km of cycling

Bringing Kona to Life – Broadcasting the Kona Celebration Daily Show – E Ola Mau

Over the course of the race week, over 2.4 million tuned in to watch the Kona Celebration Daily Show on IRONMAN Now on Facebook Watch. The daily hosted show brought to life the magic of race week in Kailua-Kona through athletic participation, storytelling, and community moments. Hosted by Michael Lovato and Dede Griesbauer with reporting by Greg Welch and Matt Lieto, the program also featured special guests including IRONMAN legends, Master Coaches and professional athletes giving viewers an in-depth look at the greatest athletes and achievements over the event’s 40-plus-year history through the most inspiring storylines to ever emerge from this iconic race with a binding theme of E Ola Mau, meaning ‘Keep on Living’. The week culminated with an edited re-air of the 2019 Vega IRONMAN World Championship featuring live commentary from the top pros, legends of the sport and staff members taking viewers from swim start to the midnight finish.

Recap of the week of broadcast:  

Sunday, October 4

Monday, October 5

Tuesday, October 6

Wednesday, October 7

Thursday, October 8

Friday, October 9

Saturday, October 10

  • Kona Celebration Daily Show 7 – Race Day – Watch Again

IRONMAN VR28 – Recovery Week

As the excitement from the IRONMAN VR Kona Series and IRONMAN VR World Championship Celebration winds down, The IRONMAN Virtual Club transitions into a recovery week. With recovery being paramount in the prevention of injury and burnout, the platform will offer a post-race recovery plan now on IRONMAN+, as well as a series of recovery workouts and IRONMAN VR28, a sprint distance simulation with run-bike-run option

  • IRONMAN VR28 to open on Friday, Oct. 16 at 6:00 a.m. ET (10:00 a.m. GMT) with registration still open
  • IRONMAN VR28, a sprint distance simulation, requires competitors to complete three segments – 1.5km run, 20km ride, and 5km run by race close at 7:59 p.m. ET (11:59 pm GMT) on Sunday, Oct. 18.
  • Leading into IRONMAN VR28, athletes can take on the recovery challenges designed to aid in proper recovery and give athletes’ bodies the TLC they need after a full schedule of training and virtual racing.
  • Visit IRONMAN+ for the perfect post-race recovery plan, as well as daily tips and recipes, including the protein-packed Fall Protein Salad merges seasonal flavors with the nutrients needed to restore and protect against injury.
  • ICYMI: Limited supplies of past IRONMAN VR medals are now available for athletes who may have missed a previous opportunity to purchase along with other IRONMAN Virtual Racing Series merchandise through

IRONMAN Foundation – IRONAID COVID-19 Support Fund

Last week, IRONMAN Foundation Ambassadors, TEAM IMF Athletes and friends of the IRONMAN Foundation took part in Kona Celebration Week. Participants included IRONMAN Foundation Athlete Jay Hewitt, a 39-year-old pastor who was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer (Stage 3 astrocytoma) two years ago and is presently undergoing chemotherapy. Despite having a very low white blood count, he has trained through his treatment, and on Friday, October 9th he completed the IRONMAN VR27 Challenge in 13:40:54. Additionally, through the IRONAID COVID-19 Support Fund, over $300,000 in grant funds have been distributed to 120 health-related charitable organizations around the world since March, with a fourth round of grants to be announced this month. Applications for the fifth round of IRONAID COVID-19 Support Fund grants are currently being accepted. For more information about IRONAID visit

Bringing the IRONMAN community together virtually, the IRONMAN Virtual Club continues to grow and has now reached over 120,000 members across 170 nations and all U.S. States on the platform with tens of thousands completing IRONMAN Virtual Club Challenges since its launch in April. In addition, through the 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.

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