RACE FOR CHANGE

Overview

The IRONMAN Group, in partnership with the IRONMAN Foundation and Rock This Town, is creating an initiative titled Race for Change.  The mission of Race for Change is to improve equity for our athletes, in our sport and in the communities where we train and race.

For questions about Race For Change or to get involved, please contact us at raceforchange@ironman.com.

THE IRONMAN GROUP RETAINS DE&I CONSULTANCY FIRM KALEIDOSCOPE GROUP

- Company seeks to unlock the full potential of its sport by furthering the sense of belonging

The words Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DE&I) are not just buzz words or trends, but an intrinsic part of the work and community cultures that The IRONMAN Group is looking to further foster. The organization understands that in order to achieve their goals, it is of utmost importance to attract and welcome the world’s most talented people and athletes from all backgrounds while continuing to create life changing event experiences globally.

Acknowledging the need to bring in outside expertise in this area, The IRONMAN Group is proud to announce it has retained the nation’s premier Diversity, Equity and Inclusion firm, Kaleidoscope Group, to lead their DE&I transformation.

Fully endorsed by Andrew Messick, President & Chief Executive Officer for The IRONMAN Group, the global sports event producer considers their DE&I effort a business imperative for the entire organization. Every part of the company will be accountable for this transformation to ensure its health and sustained growth.

“Diversity in mass participation sports is something that has and continues to carry incredible importance to us and the overall industry, and while individuals of all backgrounds have been welcomed and celebrated during our 40-year history, it is important that we recognize opportunities to further develop,” said Messick.

As the largest mass participation sports event producer in the world, The IRONMAN Group is working to lead diversity advocacy efforts through a multi-tiered outreach campaign to address the lack of Black athlete diversity among race participants. In partnership with the IRONMAN Foundation, The IRONMAN Group launched Race for Change in 2020 with the mission to remove barriers to equity for its athletes, in the sport of triathlon, and in the communities where IRONMAN® athletes and first-time hopefuls live, train and race while doing the same with its internal workforce.

“Over the past several months, we have spent time reflecting, listening, learning, and discussing what role the company – and all of us collectively – must play in helping to drive change, both within The IRONMAN Group and in our race communities,” continued Messick. “With significant input from employees and leaders, we determined that the Kaleidoscope Group was the perfect partner to lead our transformation through Race For Change and internal DE&I efforts.”

According to Messick, the Kaleidoscope Group partnership reflects The IRONMAN Group’s commitment to not only raise awareness of DE&I issues that exist within the sport of triathlon, but to further create a sense of belonging for all communities of color.

It is the organization’s belief that it must empower the next generation of great competitors, coaches, and history-makers by proactively removing barriers to entry. Through its collaboration with Kaleidoscope Group, one of the initial goals for The IRONMAN Group will be to support local run and triathlon clubs and organizations focused on growing the number of Black athlete participation in the sport five-fold within the next five years. Growth of the Latinx community as well as growing female participation through the Women For Tri initiative is also critical focus areas.

The company also intends to elevate existing staff talent, build a work culture based on inclusion and work with local organizations to recruit diverse applicants.

According to Kaleidoscope Group’s Chief Executive Officer, Doug Harris, The IRONMAN Group is committed to making real progress toward a more inclusive culture and community for its race participants.

“Their mission to welcome more diverse athletes to the sport is being led by employees from all levels within the organization. That shows a true willingness which is needed to succeed,” said Harris.

The transformative outreach work required to drive change for The IRONMAN Group will be driven through the Race for Change campaign. To date, progress includes:

  • An initial pledge of $1 million to fund the Race for Change initiative.
  • Finalizing creation of an Advisory Council for the Race for Change program to help guide the organization’s actions to ensure resources are properly allocated to efforts that deliver the greatest impact.
  • Finalizing internal DE&I Committee within the organization to provide a voice to the workforce, developing ways to become a more inclusive organization.

The company plans to continue taking meaningful and substantive actions in the coming months.

For more information on the IRONMAN brand and global event series, visit www.ironman.com. Media related inquiries may be directed to press@ironman.com

  • Today, black athletes represent less than 1% of IRONMAN athletes in the United States and Canada. Our initial goal is to support clubs and organizations focused on welcoming black athletes to our sport and to increase participation five-fold within the next five years.
    • We will create an Advisory Council for the Race for Change program to help guide our thinking and our actions to ensure that we put the resources to the best and highest use. We encourage anyone who wants to participate to reach out to us by completing the form HERE
    • We will make an initial pledge of $1 million to fund this initiative.
    • We are concurrently starting a Diversity and Inclusiveness Committee within our Company to provide a voice to our workforce and develop ways to become a more inclusive organization.

Greetings IRONMAN community,

It has been a couple months since we began our journey of reflection and growth and I want to share with you an update on the progress we’re making towards The IRONMAN Group’s renewed commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion both within the sport of triathlon and inside our own walls.

Since our announcement in June, we have been actively listening, learning and surrounding ourselves with experts to help build a foundation for our Race for Change sport equity program and our internal Diversity and Inclusion workforce program. We are asking tough questions of ourselves, our sport and our practices.

The mission of Race for Change is to improve equity for our athletes, in our sport and in the communities where we train and race. Our racial equity initiatives will touch every part of our organization, influencing everything we do. As the CEO, the program sits on my desk because if change is going to happen, it needs to start with me and permeate throughout our entire organization.

We are at a critical stage in our build: the creation of our Race for Change Advisory Council. We are excited and overwhelmed by how many of you, our athletes and community members, have committed to being involved in this initiative. If you are interested in representing, leading and building Race for Change, please be sure to complete the form found at www.ironmanfoundation.org/raceforchange before Wednesday, September 23. Likewise, if you are interested in serving on a committee, supporting the program or contributing in any other way, please use the same form. Everyone is welcome.

In addition to building our Advisory Councils, we are in the process of evaluating various consulting groups who as dedicated subject experts will, among other things, lead a training program on equity in our sport for the council. They will additionally help in obtaining baseline data through anonymous surveys of our athletes and employees, to help us establish our foundation and ultimately measure progress.

There is much more to do but we are excited to see what we can achieve and build together. As I told our team during our last town hall, we still have a lot of listening, learning and action ahead of us. Progress starts with tough questions, reflection, and a willingness to grow, and we are committed to doing the necessary work.

Stay healthy and well and I look forward to providing additional updates soon. If you have questions or need assistance, please email us at raceforchange@ironman.com.

Andrew Messick

President & CEO

The IRONMAN Group

This is an agonizing moment for America. We are in the midst of a global pandemic. Our economy is deeply impaired. And the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery, and the subsequent outrage and protests, have brought to the surface both the reality of America’s fraught racial climate and systemic racial biases that are so prevalent in today’s society.

For over 40 years, IRONMAN has been built upon the mantra that Anything is Possible. As we organize events around the world, our community has grown to include people of all ages, abilities, and backgrounds, from all races, religions, nationalities, and sexual orientations. I am proud of the role that IRONMAN has played over the years in fostering inclusivity in our sport.

  • Our support of challenged athletes– The Hoyt’s, Minda Dentler, Carlos Moleda and David Bailey, Roderick Sewell -- has helped to redefine the way society views those with physical challenges
  • The establishment of Women For Tri in 2015, created by IRONMAN in partnership with several passionate triathletes, has been a positive force in bringing more women into our sport. Women For Tri has provided grant funding to triathlon clubs with a focus on removing barriers to participation and welcoming more women into our sport

I understand that none of these address the question of race in our sport here in the United States, but they provide context about IRONMAN’s DNA, and our willingness to lead on social issues.

The past few days have unfolded to the steady drumbeat of “you have to say something” coming from employees, athletes, communities, and partners. I have been open about my reluctance to join the chorus because at its most fundamental core, IRONMAN is focused on action, not words. And until we were ready to begin to discuss tangible things, talk is just talk.

So, let’s talk about action.

The IRONMAN Group, in partnership with the IRONMAN Foundation, is creating an initiative tentatively titled Race for Change. The mission of Race for Change is to support diversity and inclusiveness in our workforce, among our athletes and race community, and in our host communities.

  • Today, black athletes represent less than 1% of IRONMAN athletes in the United States and Canada. Our initial goal is to support clubs and organizations focused on welcoming black athletes to our sport and to increase participation five-fold within the next five years.
  • We will create an Advisory Committee for the Race for Change program to help guide our thinking and our actions to ensure that we put the resources to the best and highest use. We encourage anyone who wants to participate to reach out to us.
  • We will make an initial pledge of $1 million to fund this initiative.
  • We are concurrently starting a Diversity and Inclusiveness Committee within our Company to provide a voice to our workforce and develop ways to become a more inclusive organization.

We are at the very beginning. We have a lot to learn. We intend to listen carefully and ask for help to find the right path forward.

I am confident that our community will come together, rise to the challenge, combat racism and injustice and create equal footing for all people of color.

Andrew Messick

CEO & President

The IRONMAN Group

June 5, 2020

Contact Us

The IRONMAN Foundation
3407 W Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd
Suite 100
Tampa FL, 33607

813-868-5940

Stay Connected