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.

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

  • 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.

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

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