Through its ‘Race For Change’ initiative, The IRONMAN Group and IRONMAN Foundation are 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.
Coinciding with the 2021 St Jude IRONMAN 70.3 Memphis triathlon, Race For Change will be championing diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts at a special event on Sunday, October 3, in partnership with the YMCA of Greater Memphis and Major Taylor Memphis Cycling Club.
“As the largest organizer of endurance events globally, inclusive of some of the most prestigious races in the world, The IRONMAN Group is working as leaders of our industry by advocating diversity efforts that aim to proactively remove participation barriers in order to welcome more people of colour 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 so that they too can enjoy the life-changing event experiences that our teams work so hard to create.”
To celebrate Memphis’s rich and diverse music scene, the IRONMAN Foundation has partnered with Stax Music Academy’s Songwriting Cohort to produce a theme song for Race For Change in connection with the local Memphis initiative and St. Jude IRONMAN 70.3 Memphis triathlon.
The Stax Music Academy’s Songwriting Cohort was formed in 2019 when Justin Timberlake and Levi’s Music Project installed a permanent Songwriting Lab in the academy and provided funding for a song-writing and music business instructor.
“We are treating this like a professional song-writing competition,” said Pat Mitchell Worley, Stax Music Academy Executive Director. “The students are learning how to write jingles and the ability to engage with IRONMAN to create a theme song for this initiative will help the students with their craft in the future.”
The winning Stax Music Academy group is comprised of Ashton Mack (Memphis Virtual School), Noah Israel (Gateway Christian Academy), Nadia Hopkins (Hamilton High School), and Violette Worley (Crosstown High School).
They will perform their original theme song, ‘Dangerous’, prior to the race start at the St Jude IRONMAN 70.3 Memphis triathlon event on Saturday, October 2. The group will also perform the song at the IRONMAN Foundation’s Race For Change community event on Sunday, October 3 at Douglass Park and Community Center.
The Sunday event will also feature giveaways and donations to the Memphis area YMCA and Major Taylor Memphis Cycling Club, introducing triathlon to the next generation of diverse IRONMAN participants.
The partnership with the YMCA of Greater Memphis will offer free swimming lessons and swim safety curriculum for children attending local elementary schools throughout the city with a focus on predominately Black communities.
In collaboration with the Major Taylor Memphis Cycling Club, kids bikes and helmets, as well as bike safety training sessions, will be given to Memphis-area children.
Speakers during the event will include representatives from The IRONMAN Group, IRONMAN Foundation and the Memphis community who will talk about achieving one’s full potential.
The Race For Change campaign was launched in 2020 with an initial pledge of US$1 million to support programming to 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.
Through Race For Change, The IRONMAN Group and IRONMAN Foundation note they are working to… ‘recognize, empower, and sustain the next generation of great triathlon competitors, coaches and history-makers.’