Ironman is looking to get back on track Image Credit: Organiser

Dubai: Ironman has released a series of operating principles to ensure the safety and uniformity of events and organisers when competition restarts around the world following the coronavirus pandemic.

Centred around five basic principles of ‘Safe Return to Racing’, the operating principles include enhanced hygiene, screening and education, density reduction, touchpoint minimisation and athlete self-reliance to ensure mitigation of all risks when competitions are held.

Based on standards from the World Health Organisation (WHO) and developed with guidance from the Ironman Global Medical Advisory Board (IGMAB), the best practices are designed to allow for Ironman and Ironman 70.3 triathlons to be organised in “a manner consistent with each of Ironman’s local community objectives and within the expectations set by public health entities around the world”.

Organised by the World Triathlon Corporation (WTC), a typical Ironman Triathlon consists of a 2.4-mile (3.86km) swim, a 112-mile (180.25km) bicycle ride and a marathon 26.22-mile (42.2km) run, raced in that order. It is widely considered to be one of the most difficult one-day sporting events in the world.

The UAE has hosted one-off Ironman and Ironman 70.3 (also known as Half Ironman) events in the past. Asia, on the other hand, has at least four regular Ironman events during the course of a normal season. These include the Ironman Gurye in Gurye-gun, South Korea, Ironman Taiwan in Penghu, Ironman Malaysia in Langkawi and Ironman Philippines in Zambales.

“Safety and community have always been the north stars of our organisation, and while the decision around when to host races will ultimately depend on local communities and public health authorities, we have been working with experts and race stakeholders on how to conduct events in a post-COVID environment that allows for the economic, mental and physical benefits endurance events provide,” Andrew Messick, President and CEO of the Ironman Group said in a statement made available.

“We have created a plan for returning to racing and believe that these guidelines keep our athletes, volunteers, staff and communities safe.”

Several scheduled Ironman and Ironman 70.3 events have either been cancelled or postponed. However, the world governing body is confident of putting together a calendar of events in the near future.

Messick believes that implementing these best practices across Ironman and Ironman 70.3 (also called Half Ironman) events, the body has the “ability to eliminate up to 90 per cent of total touchpoints and interactions for athletes in a typical race”.

And then additionally, there is a whole list of recommendations laid down in the Athlete Self-Reliance manual. “These guidelines are designed to help our communities with the return to healthy and safe racing so they can once again secure the benefits of hosting our races,” he said.

“These guidelines are crafted in close consultation with the Ironman Global Medical Advisory Board, our communities, and others who are an integral part of the race ecosystem.”