On February 18, 1978, 15 competitors came to the shores of Waikiki, Hawaii to take on the first-ever IRONMAN challenge. It was an idea hatched by John Collins, a Naval Officer stationed in Hawai`i, and his wife Judy during a swim club gathering. Collins’ proposal was a friendly test of fitness combining the three toughest endurance races on the island into one race: The 2.4-mile Waikiki Roughwater Swim, the 112-miles Around-Oahu Bike Race, followed by a 26.2-mile run on the Honolulu Marathon course.
That very first race would go on to set the stage for what IRONMAN would become: not only the most challenging single-day sporting event in the world, but a brand symbolizing the belief that “Anything is Possible.” Building on the intrigue set in motion by that first race in Hawaii, races of the same distance began springing up all over the world—in Canada, New Zealand, Lake Placid, and Florida. In 1989, IRONMAN was purchased by Dr. James P. Gills, and the headquarters were moved to Tarpon Springs, Florida. In 2004, the inaugural IRONMAN 70.3 was launched in Florida. Providence Equity Partners bought the company in 2008, and moved the company headquarters to Tampa.
In 2011, Andrew Messick was named CEO of IRONMAN and shifted the focus from licensing its name to events to buying the races back in order to provide a consistently high-end experience to athletes globally. In November of 2015, IRONMAN was purchased by Dalian Wanda, and Wanda Sports Holding was created to bring together three entities aimed at becoming the world’s leading sports business entity (Infront, IRONMAN, and Wanda Sports China).
Over the past few years, IRONMAN has expanded beyond triathlon, purchasing running, cycling, and mountain biking events all over the world. The Auckland Marathon,
Across the Bay 10K (fifth largest 10K in US), the Santa Cruz Half Marathon/10K/5K, the Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon, and the highly regarded Cape Epic mountain bike race in South Africa are a few such acquisitions.
In 2016, the purchase of the Lagardere endurance event portfolio brought the UCI VELOTHON Majors road cycling series, the Bordeaux Marathon, and the Queenstown and Hawkes Bay
International Marathons into the fold. Most recently, the Dalian Wanda Group began a 10-year partnership with the Abbott World Marathon Majors, an association of the organizers of the world’s greatest running races in the world’s greatest cities: Tokyo, Boston, Virgin Money London, BMW BERLIN, Bank of America Chicago and TCS New York City Marathons.
In 2017, IRONMAN acquired Competitor Group Holdings. With their more than 30 world-class events including the flagship Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series,
CGI events see over 600,000 athletes each year. Since the debut of the of the signature Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series in 1998, CGI has continued to expand to key cities throughout the United States and eight international races from
the United Kingdom to China, creating the largest running series in the world. The series innovated the running industry by infusing the course with live bands, cheer teams, and creating a block-party atmosphere.
IRONMAN’s family of events now provide more than one million participants annually the benefits of endurance sports. We now have 235 events in a portfolio of brands, including 40 IRONMAN races, 106 IRONMAN 70.3 races, and many other running, road cycling, and mountain biking events throughout 50 countries.
IRONMAN is seeking a smart, creative, personable, and results-oriented professional to fill a critical new position as Head of Sales, Global Partnerships North America. The successful candidate will drive the acquisition of Series wide partnerships, Title Sponsorships and overall Marketing Partnerships and contribute to the financial success of the organization. Reporting to the EVP, Global Partnerships North America, the Head of Sales, North America will oversee the sponsorship sales efforts for events in the United States and Canada with a combination of personal sales efforts as well as leadership role for the North American sales team. This executive should have an established network of brand decision-maker and agency relationships and exhibit the solutions-based approach and high-touch professionalism and demeanor that properly reflect the culture and opportunities with IRONMAN. Read More