TAMPA, Fla., May 13, 2021 — Through its Race for Change® initiative, the IRONMAN Foundation and The IRONMAN Group will be teaming up with local communities and organizations to address potential barriers to entry that could prevent Black and other diverse groups from participating in triathlons. Kicking things off at the Certified Piedmontese IRONMAN® North American Championship in Tulsa, Oklahoma, the Race for Change initiative will activate grassroots diversity outreach campaigns in select cities where IRONMAN®, IRONMAN® 70.3® and Rock ‘n’ Roll® Running series events are held throughout the United States. Through Race for Change, The IRONMAN Group and IRONMAN Foundation are working to recognize, empower, and sustain the next generation of great triathlon competitors, coaches, and history-makers.
“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. “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.”
Coinciding with the Certified Piedmontese IRONMAN® Tulsa triathlon race week (race day being Sunday, May 23) 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.
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 as well as inspirational professional triathlete and coach Matt Russell who will talk about achieving one’s full potential.
The groups will also be participating in efforts to recognize the centennial anniversary of the Tulsa Race Massacre which took place between May 31 and June 1 in 1921.
To preserve and inspire achievements while restoring community culture lost, a mural has been commissioned through the Race for Change initiative, showing future generations that “Anything Is Possible®“. The painting of the mural will be created by sisters Elizabeth and Christina Henley along with fellow artist, Melody Allen. All are from Tulsa’s Black Moon Collective. The Collective, composed of local black artists, will use a wall in the W.L. Hutcherson branch of the YMCA as their canvas.
In addition, the first one-hundred-yards of the 2021 Certified Piedmontese IRONMAN® Tulsa run course, will be adorned with inspirational messages that acknowledges the past and points to a brighter future together. This stretch of the run course takes place in the historic location of Black Wall Street, the heart of where the Tulsa Race Massacre took place in 1921.
The Race for Change campaign was launched 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/.