– Ambassador team includes 20 carefully selected age group athletes led by recently retired “Voice of IRONMAN” and Ambassador Team Captain, Mike Reilly
– 2023 IRONMAN Foundation schedule consists of 18 service projects with a focus on DE&I, military & first responders, volunteerism, as well as health & wellness
TAMPA, Fla. (March 29, 2023) – The IRONMAN Foundation, Inc., which aims to create positive, tangible change in race communities through grants and volunteerism efforts, announced today its 2023 IRONMAN Foundation Ambassador Team, along with 18 service project initiatives for the season. Leading the team as The IRONMAN Foundation Team Captain is IRONMAN® Hall of Fame member, Mike Reilly.
“I am so glad that I joined The IRONMAN Foundation team seven years ago,” shared Mike Reilly, legendary IRONMAN race announcer and The IRONMAN Foundation 2023 Team Captain. “My only regret is I didn’t get involved sooner. During my time as The IRONMAN Foundation Team Captain, I’ve gotten to volunteer alongside hundreds of IRONMAN athletes and staff at The IRONMAN Foundation’s service projects and I’m excited for what is planned for this year.”
This year’s TEAM IMF Ambassadors are comprised of 20 carefully selected athletes ranging from beginners to seasoned racing veterans based on their outstanding involvement in IRONMAN event communities. Ambassadors exemplify what it means to ‘Race For More’ and are dedicated to creating positive change in the communities where IRONMAN athletes live, train, and race.
Looking ahead, the ambassadors will focus their efforts on The IRONMAN Foundation’s TEAM IMF experience as well as supporting the 2023 IRONMAN Foundation service projects including Race For Change™ relays and swim clinics, military care packages, hosting an adaptive surf clinic, and more.
“Our ambassadors not only have a passion for endurance sports, but they also realize the positive impact that sport can have on people and their communities,” said Audra Tassone-Indeck, Executive Director of The IRONMAN Foundation. “Through acts of service and commitment towards enhancing the experience for all athletes on race day and beyond, our ambassadors embrace the mission of The IRONMAN Foundation and our core values as an organization.”
2023 IRONMAN Foundation Ambassador Athletes
The IRONMAN Foundation is excited to welcome all 20 ambassador athletes to the team. The below is a look at a few of this year’s team members.
- Sika Henry is the first U.S. Black female professional triathlete and a longtime advocate for The IRONMAN Foundation and the Race For Change™ program. Last year, Henry partnered with The IRONMAN Foundation to build awareness, expand outreach, and work to identify and remove participation barriers within the sport of triathlon that impact Black and other diverse athlete groups.
- Sam Holness, or “Super Sam,” became the first known athlete with autism to complete the IRONMAN World Championship triathlon when he crossed the finish line in 2022 and for which he received recognition from the Guinness World Records. Through his continued efforts to raise awareness for fellow athletes with autism and his motivation to help others with disabilities participate in triathlons, Sam has become a huge part of The IRONMAN Foundation’s mission. Sam will be racing with TEAM IMF at the 2023 VinFast IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship race in Lahti, Finland and at the 2023 Visit Panama City Beach IRONMAN Florida triathlon, part of the VinFast IRONMAN North America Series.
- Chris Nikic is the first person with Down syndrome to complete a full-distance IRONMAN triathlon and the first to cross the IRONMAN World Championship finish line at the 2022 VinFast IRONMAN World Championship for which he also has earned acclaim from Guinness World Records. Alongside Sam Holness, the two athletes continue to break down barriers in the sport and create new opportunities for athletes with disabilities, especially with The IRONMAN Group’s announcement of the new Physically Challenged/Intellectual Disability (PC/ID) Open division.
- Elizabeth Wood has raced TEAM IMF for the last five years and has been an ambassador since 2020. After her husband passed away of a heart attack, triathlon was an outlet that gave her purpose again. Wood aims to raise awareness of how the mental toughness developed in triathlon not only gets you across the finish line, but also through challenging times in life. Now, Elizabeth is on a mission to help The IRONMAN Foundation increase female participation at all levels of triathlon and bring 30 women to compete at the 2023 VinFast IRONMAN World Championship race in Kailua-Kona, Hawai`i.
Additional Team IMF Ambassadors include:
- Sergio Bustamante
- Erin Byrge
- Peter Crescenti
- Woody Freese
- Bryan Harris
- Justin Herman
- Michael Kane
- Thomas Kotterer
- Arthur Leiz
- Jason Massie
- Angela Paternostro-Pfister
- Christine Valdes
- Tyler Vance
- Craig VanEss
- Steve Wilson
2023 The IRONMAN Foundation Service Schedule
Last season, with the support of The IRONMAN Foundation ambassadors and athletes, The IRONMAN Foundation provided over $2 million in charitable giveback to more than 1,500 local, regional, national, and global nonprofit initiatives throughout IRONMAN®, IRONMAN® 70.3®, and Rock ‘n’ Roll® Running Series, and UTMB® communities. In 2023, as The IRONMAN Foundation celebrates its 20th anniversary, the organization looks to enhance community impact efforts with a focus on their four key pillars, which includes diversity, equity and inclusion, military and first responders, volunteerism grants, as well as health and wellness.
- February 25: Rock ‘n’ Roll Running Series Las Vegas || Military Care Packages (In Expo)
- March 18: United Airlines Rock ‘n’ Roll Running Series D.C. || Race For Change Run Team & Race For Change Swim Clinic
- April 1: Athletic Brewing IRONMAN 70.3 Oceanside || Race For Change Relay Teams & CAF Adaptive Surf Clinic
- May 13: Visit Panama City Beach IRONMAN 70.3 Gulf Coast || Operation Gold Star Race & Military Care Packages (In IRONMAN Village)
- May 21: IRONMAN 70.3 Chattanooga || Race For Change Bike Build (In IRONMAN Village) & Race For Change Relay Teams
- July 30: IRONMAN 70.3 Maine || Operation Gold Star Race & Military Care Packages (In IRONMAN Village)
- August 27 & 28: VinFast IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship Lahti, Finland || Service Project TBD
- September 10: VinFast IRONMAN World Championship (Men) Nice, France || Service Project TBD
- September 24: IRONMAN 70.3 Augusta || Race For Change Relays & Race For Change Swim Clinic
- October 8: Publix Rock ‘n’ Roll Running Series Clearwater || Military Care Packages (In Expo)
- October 14: VinFast IRONMAN World Championship (Women) Kailua-Kona, Hawai’i || Race For Change Swim Clinic
- October 15: IRONMAN 70.3 Waco || Operation Gold Star Race & Military Care Packages (In IRONMAN Village)
To view the 2023 IRONMAN Foundation Activation Schedule visit www.ironmanfoundation.org/service-projects. For more information on The IRONMAN Foundation, upcoming events, how you can race with TEAM IMF, and to volunteer at a 2023 The IRONMAN Foundation service project visit www.ironmanfoundation.org.
About The IRONMAN Foundation
The IRONMAN Foundation creates positive, tangible change in IRONMAN race communities by engaging athletes and volunteers to participate in programs that demonstrate service through sport and commitment to community. Since 2003, over $55,000,000 has been provided through IRONMAN charitable giveback programs, including the IRONMAN Foundation, to more than 10,000 local, regional, national, and global nonprofit initiatives. Through these partnerships, IRONMAN® and Rock ‘n’ Roll® Running Series participants are powerfully linked to the community and together help leave a positive legacy behind in race communities long after event day. For more information on IRONMAN Foundation programs, including Team IMF, Community Fund, Race For Change™, Rock This Town®, and Your Journey Your Cause®, visit www.ironmanfoundation.org.
About IRONMAN DE&I Efforts
IRONMAN has and continues to provide a welcoming platform and environment for all, becoming synonymous with monumental achievement by athletes from around the world, proving that ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE®. Over IRONMAN’s 40-plus year history, the brand and its series of events have worked with and celebrated athletes of all ages, abilities, and backgrounds, from all races, religions, nationalities, and sexual orientations. Since the very first years, IRONMAN has represented breaking barriers and redefining what is possible. This legacy continues as athletes and the greater IRONMAN community have utilized the platform as a vehicle to challenge and redefine society views. The very first trailblazing Special Team of Dick and Rick Hoyt racing alongside other athletes was a pinnacle moment for what was to come. Their determination and fortitude has continued with athletes like John MacLean, Jim MacLaren, David Bailey, Carlos Moleda, Jim Howley, Scott Rigsby, Sarah Reinertsen, Rudy Tolson-Garcia, Ricky James, Turia Pitt, Minda Dentler, Team Agar, the Pease Brothers, Alex Zanardi, Rajesh Durbal, Team Liza, Lauren Parker, Roderick Sewell, and most recently Chris Nikic and Sam Holness, among so many others. These athletes and their achievements through IRONMAN have established non-profits and long-standing partnerships like the Challenged Athletes Foundation, which continues to do incredible work. The vastness of the athlete community, partners, and the openness that exists with its events is what makes IRONMAN special and is core to what the brand represents. Continuing the belief and importance of inclusivity, IRONMAN is committed to Women For Tri™ and Race For Change™ while working on additional avenues to further increase diversity, equity, and inclusion.
About The IRONMAN Group
The IRONMAN Group operates a global portfolio of events that includes the IRONMAN® Triathlon Series, the IRONMAN® 70.3® Triathlon Series, 5150™ Triathlon Series, the Rock ‘n’ Roll® Running Series, IRONKIDS®, World Triathlon Championship Series, premier running events including the Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon™ and City2Surf®, UTMB® World Series events including the Canyons Endurance Runs™ by UTMB®, Tarawera Ultra by UTMB® and Ultra-Trail Australia™ by UTMB®, Epic Series™ mountain bike races including the Absa Cape Epic®, road cycling events including Haute Route®, and other multisport races. The IRONMAN Group is the largest operator of mass participation sports in the world and provides more than a million participants annually the benefits of endurance sports through the company’s vast offerings. Catering to the full athlete experience, the company portfolio also includes FulGaz® virtual cycling, the most realistic indoor riding experience connected fitness application aimed at preparing athletes for real-world events. Since the inception of the iconic IRONMAN® brand and its first event in 1978, athletes have proven that ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE® by crossing finish lines around the world. Beginning as a single race, The IRONMAN Group has grown to become a global sensation with hundreds of events across 55+ countries. The IRONMAN Group is owned by Advance, a private, family-owned business. For more information, visit www.ironman.com/about-ironman-group.
Advance is a private, family-held business that owns and invests in companies across media, entertainment, technology, communications, education and other promising growth sectors. Our mission is to build the value of our companies over the long-term by fostering growth and innovation. Advance’s portfolio includes Condé Nast, Advance Local, Stage Entertainment, The IRONMAN Group, American City Business Journals, Leaders Group, Turnitin, 1010data and Pop. Together these operating companies employ more than 17,000 people in 29 countries. Advance is also among the largest shareholders in Charter Communications, Warner Bros. Discovery and Reddit. For more information visit www.advance.com.