IRONMAN seeks to diversify triathlons with “Race For Change” initiative.

by Mike Creef, Staff Writer
ironman triathlon

The IRONMAN Group and IRONMAN Foundation, in partnership with the YMCA of Greater Tulsa and the Salvation Army Boys and Girls Clubs of Tulsa, are kicking off a program aimed at getting more Black and minority participants in triathlons.

ironman triathlon

Max Fennell, the first African American triathlete to turn pro, and elite triathlete Sika Henry; photo: usatriathlon.org

The “Race For Change” is a global diversity, equity and inclusion initiative to address barriers that might prevent Black athletes and other diverse groups from participating in triathlons. Through its Race for Change initiative, the IRONMAN Foundation and The IRONMAN Group have pledged $1 million to support programming that will help ensure equity for athletes in the sport of triathlon.

The money will also help support communities where IRONMAN athletes and first-time hopefuls live, train and race.

Removing barriers to entry

“As the largest and most prestigious endurance event organizer in the world, The IRONMAN Group will lead our industry by championing diversity advocacy efforts that proactively remove participation barriers in order to welcome more people of color into our sport,” said Shane Facteau, COO of The IRONMAN Group and President of The IRONMAN Foundation.

Coinciding with the Certified Piedmontese IRONMAN® Tulsa triathlon race week, and to begin its campaign of addressing these access hurdles across North America, Race for Change will be championing diversity, equity & inclusion efforts at a special event on Friday, May 21 in Tulsa, Oklahoma in partnership with the YMCA of Greater Tulsa and The Salvation Army Boys & Girls Club of Metro Tulsa.

The Friday, May 21 event will feature giveaways and donations to the Tulsa area YMCA and the local Boys & Girls Club, introducing triathlon to the next generation of diverse IRONMAN participants. The partnership with the YMCA of Greater Tulsa will offer free swimming lessons and swim safety curriculum for children attending the local elementary school near the Greenwood District. Race day takes place on May 23.

Local groups support national triathlon diversity effort in Tulsa

“Our vision of success for the Race for Change initiative is to attract and welcome people from all backgrounds to our sport and IRONMAN community while continuing to create life-changing event experiences worldwide,” said Facteau.

Partnerships with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Tulsa will allow giveaways of bikes and helmets as well as bike safety curriculum to children within the inner-city Tulsa community. Speakers during the event will include representatives from The IRONMAN Group, IRONMAN Foundation and from the Tulsa community. In addition, inspirational professional triathlete and coach Matt Russell will talk about achieving one’s full potential.

Organizers launched the Race for Change campaign in 2020 with an initial pledge of $1 million to support programming that will help ensure equity for athletes in the sport of triathlon, and in the communities where IRONMAN athletes and first-time hopefuls live, train and race. For more information about Race for Change visit, www.ironmanfoundation.org/raceforchange.

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