The Ironman VR Championship Series gives triathletes the chance to earn Ironman 70.3 World Championship qualification through a four-event virtual series.
The four-race series is an exciting new element to Ironman VR, run through the Ironman Virtual Club platform. It provides isolated athletes with the opportunity to test themselves against fellow age-group competitors to earn series points.
Athletes with the most points at the end of the series will earn slots to the Ironman 70.3 World Championships. The 2020 world champs are currently scheduled to take place in Taupo, New Zealand on 28-29 November.
“The first weeks of the Ironman Virtual Racing Series and Ironman Virtual Club platform have been a success in bringing our community together while guiding us to this new competitive series,” said Andrew Messick, President & CEO for The Ironman Group.
“Giving athletes who have a competitive itch the chance to see how they stack up against others has always been a goal for us in Ironman VR. We believe that we have a competitive format that is robust enough to assess relative performance accurately while maintaining the integrity that Ironman and the sport of triathlon has come to represent.”
When Does The Ironman VR Championship Series Start?
The series begins with Ironman VR10 on 5-7 June 2020 and runs each weekend until Ironman VR13 on 26-28 June.
Can I Race In The Ironman VR Championship Series?
To be eligible to race, you’ll need to have met one of the following criteria:
- Completed a real-life Ironman
- Completed a real-life Ironman 70.3
- Completed an Ironman VR series event of either 5150 or 70.3 distance
If you meet these criteria, the series is automatically open to you via Ironman Virtual Club.
You’ll also need a Rouvy account and an approved indoor trainer for the bike leg of each event (see below).
How Is Ironman Making The Series Fair?
With world championship slots at stake, Ironman has taken several measures to try and ensure valid, fair results. These include:
Both run legs for series events must be completed outdoors and no downhill courses (those with net elevation loss) are allowed.
“If validity of race activity is questioned, your activities may be subject to investigation post-race”Ironman
Ironman also recommends making activities from your device public via your selected tracker app – for example Garmin Connect or TrainingPeaks. This enables easier validation of athlete data.
Your Rouvy profile must also be set to public and bike legs have to be completed on the AR app’s Race Mode (not training mode). You also need to race on the course designated by Ironman for each event.
For additional validation, you also need to take a photo or screenshot of your Rouvy race summary screen.
Ironman also states: “If validity of race activity is questioned, your activities may be subject to investigation post-race.”
What Indoor Trainers Are Approved For The Ironman VR Championship Series?
Ironman has specified a list of approved indoor trainers for the VR Championship Series from some leading brands. These include Wahoo, Tacx, Elite, Saris and TechnoGym (Ironman’s official partner).
Here’s the current list of approved trainers:
- TechnoGym: MyCycling
- Tacx: NEO, NEO 2T, NEO Bike, Flux, Flux 2, Flux S
- Wahoo: Kickr, Kickr Core, Kickr Bike
- Saris: Hammer H1,H2,H3
- Elite: Direto X, Drivo II, Suito, Zumo
Notable absences from the list of brands include Bkool and Kurt Kinetic. Meanwhile, several smart trainers from the above brands are also disallowed.
How Does Ironman VR Championship Series Work?
There are four events in the series and competing in them earns you points towards the series. The athletes with the most points at the end of the series are allocated slots for the 2020 Ironman 70.3 World Championship.
- 5-7 June – Ironman VR10: 3km run outdoors, 40 km ride indoors on Rouvy, 10km run outdoors
- 12-14 June – Ironman VR11: 3km run outdoors, 40km ride indoors on Rouvy, 10km run outdoors
- 19-21 June – Ironman VR12: 5 km run outdoors, 90 km ride indoors on Rouvy, 21km run outdoors
- 26-28 June – Ironman VR13: 3km run outdoors, 40 km ride indoors on Rouvy, 10km run outdoors
Athletes must complete three races from the series including Ironman VR12, the only Ironman 70.3-distance event on offer.
What Order Do Activities Have To Be Completed?
Events must be completed in the specified run-bike-run order. This is in contrast to other Ironman VR events, which can be taken on in any order.
How Long Do You Have To Complete An Ironman VR Championship Series Race?
You have 12 hours to complete each event with the virtual gun going off when you start your timer for the first run.
You can start your 12-hour race period any time within the time period specified for that particular Ironman VR event. This is usually 6pm GMT on Fridays until 11:59pm GMT on Sundays.
How Do Ironman VR Championship Series Points Work?
Points are awarded for your two best 5150-distance events and your Ironman VR12 performance, which is mandatory.
The top 50 athletes in every age-group are awarded points after each event.
For Ironman 70.3 distance events, 100 points will be awarded to the top male and female in each age group. The number of points then whittles down to two by the 50th-placed athlete.
It’s the same system for 5150-distance events, but with half the points. So, the winner gets 50 points and the 50th place finisher gets just one point.
The maximum number of points an athlete can accrue over the series is 200 – achievable by winning three races.
The official point allocation is published on Wednesday following each event. Slots will be allocated at the end of the series.
How Many Ironman VR Championship Series Slots Are Available For The Ironman 70.3 World Championships?
Ironman has announced 75 slots will be available for the 2020 Ironman 70.3 World Championships. Details on the slot allocation protocol will be provided before the first event.
Other Rules And Regulations
Having learned from the launch of Ironman VC and Ironman VR, Ironman has put a comprehensive set of rules together for Ironman VR events.
Check out the 2020 Ironman VR Competition Rules here.