With the support of The IRONMAN Foundation, IRONMAN is excited to kick off the Kona Inspired „¢ program for the second year in a row after a successful inaugural campaign. In the search for aspirational stories, the program is designed to engage the endurance community as they determine the seven athletes who deserve a slot at the 2013 IRONMAN ® World Championship located in Kailua-Kona, Hawai`i.
This year’s program has been expanded to have a truly global presence, now allowing Kona hopefuls in Australia, Germany, Mexico and Canada (excluding Quebec), as well as the United States the opportunity to enter the contest. In 2012, Kona Inspired athlete videos drew over 2.9 million video views; like last year, anyone can vote for the individuals they feel are most worthy of a slot to Kona. Driven by the inspirational stories of everyday athletes who have made the sport of triathlon what it is today, Kona Inspired turns the question back to the athlete and asks, What Drives You?
“It is clear that every athlete has a story to tell. We will build upon the success of last year’s program by engaging our community in selecting extraordinary athletes to compete on the largest stage in triathlon,” said Christopher Stadler, Chief Marketing Officer of World Triathlon Corporation (d/b/a IRONMAN). “As witnessed by the journey of last year’s athletes, Kona Inspired is an exciting platform that allows individuals to share their story and demonstrate why they deserve a slot at Kona.”
The submission period will last through May 7, 2013 at which time a panel of IRONMAN representatives will narrow the field to 45 finalists. The finalists will be divided into three subsequent 10-day voting rounds, the first of which begins on May 14, 2013. The public vote will determine two winners from each round, with a final wild-card winner being selected by IRONMAN representatives from the remaining finalists.
In support of Kona Inspired, The IRONMAN Foundation will provide additional benefits to this year’s program. Each entrant in the contest will have the opportunity to support a cause they are passionate about through The IRONMAN Foundation’s fundraising program, Your Journey, Your Cause. The platform allows athletes to select a charity and fundraise in support of the charity’s mission. The IRONMAN Foundation has also agreed to match up to $10,000 for the charity of the individual who raises the most money for his/her cause.
Thad Beaty, guitarist for the Grammy-winning group Sugarland, will serve as the spokesperson for Kona Inspired this year. As a part of The IRONMAN Foundation, Beaty recently completed the 2012 IRONMAN Arizona triathlon as an IRONMAN Foundation athlete and exemplifies what the Kona Inspired Program represents.
“Thad Beaty had undergone an amazing transformation from being a full time traveling musician, to living the IRONMAN Lifestyle,” said David Deschenes, Executive Director of the IRONMAN Foundation. “He is taking what can be thought of as an individual sport, with all of the personal sacrifices, and changed his efforts towards a self-less journey in support of his community. Through his initiatives with the Foundation, Thad has created a non-profit called Music that Moves that inspires those in the music community to affect lives beyond just the stage. Through his inspiration, we are honored to have Thad Beaty as the spokesperson for Kona Inspired.”