(BIVN) – The countdown to the iconic Ironman World Championship in Kailua-Kona is underway. The big race takes place on Saturday, Oct. 12, but several other traditional events are already happening.
Tuesday marked the tenth annual I AM TRUE™ day, part of “IRONMAN’s ongoing work with athletes and the triathlon community to promote clean sport and the integrity of IRONMAN racing through outreach and anti-doping activities at the IRONMAN World Championship,” race organizers say.
I AM TRUE Day celebrates the next generation of athletes by holding the IRONKIDS® Keiki Dip-n-Dash and Fun Run.
Sharing a portion of Saturday’s race course and the world famous Ali`i Drive, children from ages 2 to 14-years-old participated in either a quarter mile or a 1-mile run course while kids age 6-14 competed in the swim and run. Those who participated in the dip-n-dash swam approximately 150 yards in open water before running approximately one mile. The children were greeted at the finish line by some of the athletes that will take to the start line during Saturday’s Vega IRONMAN World Championship, including IRONMAN Ambassador Athlete Roderick Sewell.
Tuesday was also the IRONMAN Parade of Nations.
Following the IRONKIDS Keiki Dip-n-Dash, world championship athletes hailing from 74 countries, regions and territories enthusiastically celebrated their nations with team shirts, waving flags and cheers during the prominent IRONMAN Parade of Nations. The parade started at the Courtyard by Marriott King Kamehameha Kona Beach Hotel and led down Ali`i drive to the IRONMAN Village at Hale Halawai.
The I AM TRUE outreach program is developed in association with the World Anti-Doping Agency and a shared belief that every athlete has a right to clean sport. The I AM TRUE message has always been about protecting the integrity of racing and ensuring that athletes know and understand their rights and responsibilities. Using the hashtag #KNOWTHERULES, the scope of the initiative goes beyond the Anti-Doping Program to include all aspects of fair racing that are part of the IRONMAN Competition Rules, including drafting, personal conduct and mechanical doping.
The IRONMAN Anti-Doping Program partners with National Anti-Doping Agencies worldwide to execute in-and-out of competition testing and to coordinate strategic testing of professional and age-group athletes throughout the year. Athletes qualified for the IRONMAN World Championship are a priority focus, which includes an extensive pre-competition testing program carried out in Kona throughout race week. The WADA Accredited Salt Lake Medicine Research and Technology Laboratory (SMRTL) will analyze all samples and ensure immediate and independent scientific oversight and qualified evaluation of the IRONMAN Anti-Doping Program’s results, Athlete Biological Passports, and testing strategies.
“The IRONMAN Anti-Doping Program continues to work with our athletes and our partners around the world to ensure that our efforts to deter and detect doping are effective,” said Kate Mittelstadt, Director of the IRONMAN Anti-Doping Program. “The testing and education strategies that are focused on our IRONMAN World Championship athletes evolve alongside of our advances in global coordination and intelligence sharing, analytic capabilities, and with the support of professional and age-group athletes who are committed to protecting the integrity of IRONMAN racing around the world.”