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Safe Return to Racing:

Volunteer Smart and Safety Guidelines for

IRONMAN ® and IRONMAN 70.3 ® South Africa Events


Version 2: 9 March 2021

These summary guidelines were prepared in accordance with industry best practices for open air mass participation sporting events including standards from the World Health Organization and guidance from the IRONMAN Global Medical Advisory Board.

Racing must return in a manner consistent with sound public health guidelines. The IRONMAN Group, global leaders in the mass participation industry, have crafted interim guidelines to outline best practices for Volunteers at IRONMAN’s global mass participation triathlon events in the context of the COVID-19 outbreak 1 . These guidelines were prepared in accordance with industry standards for open air mass participation sporting events including standards from the World Health Organization (WHO), and guidance from the IRONMAN Global Medical Advisory Board (IGMAB – See Appendix A). These guidelines are designed to allow for IRONMAN ® and IRONMAN 70.3 ® triathlons to be organized in a manner consistent both with a community’s objectives and with the expectations of public health entities around the world.

During the development of these guidelines, The IRONMAN Group conducted detailed benchmarking of many of our races around the world to measure concentrations of physical touchpoints and proximal interactions. Our approach started from when athletes arrive at an event for packet pick-up, and continued until they left the venue post-race – and focused on all aspects of the race experience including (but not limited to) registration, expo, merchandise, transition, swim start, aid stations and finish line.

Our analysis resulted in a series of operating principles organized around five broad areas of contagion risk mitigation:

  1. Enhanced Hygiene

    • Hand sanitizing stations, Hand Sanitizer bottles on tables and disinfectant wipes will be readily available around our race venues. Cleaning of workstations and common venue areas will be enhanced. Volunteers and Staff will be educated on the best ways to keep their work areas clean.
    • Staff and Volunteers will be provided with the appropriate face coverings (Masks and or shields) and gloves to be used while working in all athlete-facing areas. Athletes will not be permitted to enter the race venue without a face mask and will be provided with face masks at the end of the race with the Finisher T-Shirts, we expect all athletes, service providers, staff, and volunteers to wear the regulated face coverings around our event venues at all times.
  2. Screening and Education

    • IRONMAN is rolling out training for staff and volunteers in appropriate personal health, personal hygiene, with the Athlete Smart Program.
    • IRONMAN makes use of e-mail newsletters to reach the athletes who have entered that specific IRONMAN event. The measures taken and the behavior expected of athletes will be communicated in detail to them and their accompanying spectators.
    • Besides that, IRONMAN also uses social media, the formal printed and radio media to communicate with the broader IRONMAN audience and residents in the host city on measures taken in COVID 19 mitigation.
    • In addition to the athlete communication, IRONMAN will communicate with all volunteers via the volunteer website or directly with the team leaders of specific volunteer groups.
    • Athletes, staff, and volunteers will be required to complete a screening process which will include a pre-race health questionnaire, staff and volunteers will do this on a daily basis before gaining access to the venues. There will be a QR code system available for Staff, Athletes, and Volunteers.
    • With this screening questionnaire a no-touch body temperature screening will also be done. Per World Health Organization guidelines, individuals with a body temperature greater than 100.4° Fahrenheit, or 38° Celsius will not be allowed access to the venues i.e. athletes to race, volunteer / staff or work.
  3. Density Reduction

    • The Registration venue will be limited to a small number of athletes at any given time, this number will be determined by the local government guidelines and restrictions.
    • We will also institute measures onsite to increase space for athletes and supporting personnel in areas such as swim start, transition, and finish line.
    • We will implement the elimination of non-essential group gathering such as Race Briefings, Welcome Banquets and Awards presentations. The race day services provided by IRONMAN have been modified to ensure a safer race venue with limited contact between volunteers and athletes.
  4. Touchpoint Minimization

    • We will be reducing or removing touchpoints and points of interaction between staff, participants, and volunteers without compromising event safety and security. We have redesigned and reimagined areas such as athlete check-in, expo, merchandise, transition area and finish line to minimize person-to-person contact.
    • All volunteers will be issued with the relevant PPE, this will include face masks, face shields where the volunteer is in direct contact with the athlete and gloves. There will be specific sanitizing stations throughout the event venues and in the event that we cannot remove a touchpoint altogether, we have endeavored to adapt the system, however there will be sanitizing wipes with medical waste bins to maintain a clean and sterile working space.
    • Aid stations have been reconfigured to minimize both athlete-to-volunteer and athlete-to-athlete contact.
  5. Athlete Self-Reliance

    • Through the Athlete Smart Program, athletes will be empowered to determine their individual level of self-reliance to further minimize interaction and touchpoints with race officials and volunteers.
    • Athletes will be encouraged to Race SmartTM by carrying nutrition and hydration while utilizing items such as hydration vests and event-offered special needs stations.
    • Athletes should review and embrace Athlete Smart Self-Reliance Tips.

The implementation of the guidelines can reduce total touchpoints and interactions by as much as 90%, as compared to 2019 racing standards.

The manner and scale to which these guidelines are implemented will vary depending on the current COVID -19 regulation stipulated by the South African Government.

IRONMAN® and IRONMAN 70.3® Event Modifications for Enhanced Health and Safety:

What You Can Expect As A Volunteer?

  1. Face masks are required for each volunteer shift over the event weekend. Volunteers will be provided a face mask / shield depending on the area you are working in, upon arriving for the shift.
  2. There will be designated hand sanitizer locations at all entrances to the venues managed by the event cleaning company and additional hand sanitisers at workstations in Registration and around the IRONMAN village.
  3. Disposable gloves will be required when volunteering in an athlete-facing volunteer position and available to volunteers in none athlete-facing positions who would prefer to use them.
  4. We will provide volunteers educational material on new protocols for cleaning and disinfecting surfaces, safe handling/serving fluids and food, proper use of disposable Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) and proper disposal of waste products.
  5. We will optimize the number of volunteers at each location to reduce touchpoints.
  6. We are implementing a Pre-Race Health Screening for athletes, volunteers and staff when arriving onsite or at the venue. Additionally, Volunteers who are only working over the race weekend period will answer the same Health Screening process with their area Team Captain / Director on race day.
  7. No-touch temperature screening for athletes, volunteers and staff will also be conducted.
  8. Offsite locations such as aid stations, the volunteer groups will be required to provide answered Health Screening questionnaires to the Captain / Director in charge.
  9. Physical distancing markers and signage will be placed around the venue.
  10. We have increased spacing around the venue for proper physical distancing.
  11. Should a volunteer fail the Health questionnaire, he/she will be required to go home for isolation.

General Volunteer Health and Wellness:

  1. Please ensure that you contact the Volunteer Team Director or the captain of your particular group at any point during the event if you start to feel unwell, do not arrive at the event venue if you are sick.
  2. Please remember to take care of yourself over the course of the race weekend, including staying hydrated and eating a meal/snack when possible.
  3. Make sure to have your face mask / shield and gloves (if applicable) on at all times around the event venue during the weekend, including race day. You may temporarily remove your face masks and gloves when eating or drinking, but please maintain proper physical distancing from others when doing so.
  4. Reminder that face shields and gloves are required for all volunteers in athlete-facing volunteer positions.
  5. Please make sure to clean your hands often. Wash your hands with soap and running water when hands are visibly dirty. If your hands are not visibly dirty, frequently clean them using hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Hand washing and hand sanitizing stations will be available around the venue.
  6. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  7. Should you have any pre existing health issues and you feel that you could be vulnerable in an area with frequent interaction, please advise the Volunteer Co-Ordinator in order for us to reassign you to a lower physical or proximal contact area.

The changes that IRONMAN and IRONMAN 70.3 volunteers may expect to see at upcoming events can be summarized as follows:

Looking After Our Community

What Volunteers Can Expect to See With:

Our Athletes

  • Athletes are recommended to wear face masks at our venues outside of competition.
  • We have expanded our IRONMAN Smart Program, including our Athlete Smart Program, better preparing athletes for race day.
  • Athletes are encouraged to review and acknowledge the Return to Racing Pledge, committing to safe and conscientious conduct.

Our Staff

  • Via the Athlete Smart Program, our staff will complete education in proper health and hygiene protocols.
  • Our staff will be required to undergo a screening process, including responding to a health screening and no-touch temperature screening on a daily basis.
  • Our staff will be required to wear gloves and face masks in all athlete-facing areas.
  • Enhanced protocols will be implemented for cleaning and disinfecting surfaces, safe handling/serving fluids and food, proper use of disposable Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) and proper disposal of waste products.

What Volunteers Can Expect to See:

At Race Venues and Race Village

  • Station cleaning will take place in 30 minute intervals or sooner if needed.
  • Signage and markers to enforce physical distancing.
  • Increased hand sanitizing or hand washing stations.
  • Additional garbage receptacles.
  • Enforced one-directional foot traffic flows.
  • Greater spacing between portable toilet units and increased portable toilet units where possible.
  • Expanded space at the athlete check-in area to allow for proper physical distancing. Check-in will be done in batched with certain age groups coming in at certain times to avoid crowding.
  • Volunteer / athlete food and beverages will be provided in a single packaged self-serving style.

At Athlete Check-in | Registration

  • All athletes onsite will be undergo a health screening in accordance with any other local screening regulations, including the no-touch temperature screening.
  • The registration, athletes will follow a queuing system to promote social distancing and only a limited number of athletes will be allowed into the venue at any one time.
  • There will be no cash accepted in the venue, TSA licenses can only be paid for by credit/debit card and preferably using the tap method.
  • The stations will be spread out in a way that promotes social distancing and allows for a smoother, touch free flow.
  • For first time registering athletes, the biometrics process will need to be completed, photo taken, ID and fingerprint scanned. Here volunteers will wipe down and sanitize the surface of the ID scanner and the fingerprint scanner after every use, there will also be bottles of sanitizer on the tables for the athletes to disinfect their hands after this process.
  • IIn order to minimize contact and surface touch, there will be no “Pro Race Board” or “I AM True Board” to be signed by athletes.
  • Pack collection: volunteers will punch in the athletes' race number, double check that all race medical and contact information is correct before prompting the athlete to sign on the signature pad, accepting the terms of the waiver. This pad and pen will then be sanitized. The volunteers working the reg pack tables will bring the athletes pack to the table where they will ask the athlete to please retrieve their athlete wristband and place it on their arm. The volunteers will ensure these bands are secured on the athletes' wrists before they will be allowed to leave the table. Once this process is completed the volunteer will sanitize their workstation before proceeding onto the next athletes' registration.
  • Items like Personal Needs bags will be consolidated during athlete check-in to optimize the flow within the athlete check-in area.

At Expo/Merchandise

  • here will be a separate queue for expo and merchandising. Social distancing protocols in queues with 1.5m spacing applies together with the wearing of masks throughout the entire visit to the expo and to merchandise.
  • Anyone who wants to enter the Expo and or Merchandise will need undergo the health screening process and no-touch temperature screening.
  • Athletes and volunteers who pass the screening will get a coloured sticker to show they have been screened. This colour will change daily to reflect new screening for the day.
  • Should an Athlete or a Volunteer fail this screening, they will be asked to leave the venue.
  • There will be a hand sanitizing station available.
  • All volunteers and staff members will wear the relevant PPE and will have enough sanitizing equipment at the relevant stations. Work desks will also be sanitized at regular intervals.

Bike and Gear Bag Check-in and Check-out

  • We will be extending bike and gear back check-in and check-out periods to accommodate athletes.
  • Prior to the opening of Transition, the area will be sanitized with foggers, this will be done by the IRONMAN Cleaning company.
  • There will be sanitizer foot pump stations with a Khanya staff member during bike check-in (as well as race morning Check-Up and Check-Out).
  • Athletes will enter and exit transition at two different points, this is to assist in the flow and implementation of social distancing.
  • The bike and gear check in for all athletes will take place in predetermined age group time slots, in order to decongest the process. These time and age group slots will be communicated to the athletes in advance.
  • Athletes must wear their race number to check bike and bags in, this is in order to control the age groups checking in.
  • There will be a limit of one representative per athlete for bike and gear bag check-out (i.e. either the athlete or an athlete’s family member with proper bike and gear bag check-out ticket).
  • Volunteers will only assist athletes with directional flow through the transition area, there should be no touching of bags or equipment.

    During the Race, IRONMAN will make the following modifications:

What Volunteers Can Expect to See With:

At Swim Start

  • Alternative, longer fenced off swim start chute, this will assist in keeping the regulated space between athletes and allow space at our swim start staging area.
  • Athletes will have subgroups with different time slots of entering transition for a bike and bag check up pre-race, these groups will allow for a slow constant flow of age group athletes into the swim holding chute.
  • The rolling swim start will allow less athletes to roll into the water over the same time gaps to avoid large groups of athletes entering the water together.
  • Athletes will be required to wear a disposable mask until they reach the last holding pen, here they will be able to discard their mask in the medical waste bins provided, masks will not be compulsory for athletes during the race. However one will be provided on the finish line.
  • The normal ceremony on the beach will still take place before the start of the race, however with greatly reduced participation.
  • Spectators will not be allowed onto the beach as in past years.
  • Timing volunteers managing the drop out process will be in the appropriate PPE, including a face shield and will have a bag that the athlete or paramedic tending to the athlete should place the timing chip into, the volunteer should not handle the timing chips, only take a picture of the athlete, log the info onto the drop out group and request the timing chip be put into the bag.

At T1 Transition & Gear Bag Area | Swim to Bike

  • Wetsuit stripping services will no longer be provided by staff or volunteers.
  • There will no longer be a sunscreen station so therefore none of the associated volunteer groups.
  • There will be no assistance by volunteers in the changing of athletes, the athlete should be self- sufficient. This includes packing their race items back into their transition bags and placing them in the bag drop area for the volunteers to rehang on the racks.
  • There will no longer be a Physio station in the transition area. There will however still be Medical personnel in the transition area should athletes need assistance.
  • Reduced athlete numbers in accordance with the South Africa COVID -19 regulations will allow for an increase in space between racked bikes, this will also allow for additional spacing of athlete bags hung on bag racks.

Aid Stations

  • Bike Aid station format will remain the same with the reduction of volunteers and the increase in space between tables. All aid station volunteers will be provided with appropriate PPE, and sanitizers.
  • Run course aid stations will now be set-up in a ‘self-serve’ format. The type of nutrition/ hydration offered will remain the same, but athletes will now be able to grab their own fluid/ nutrition from the aid station, volunteers will only be required to restock the tables. The number of volunteers at this Run Aid stations has also been reduced.
  • Where possible, we will use single-serving, sealed products at our aid stations.

On Bike Course

  • At our full distance IRONMAN event, we will be increasing the space at our Bike Personal Needs area to allow for maximal spacing of special needs bags.
  • Athletes will be able to access their own personal needs bags during competition. Volunteers will be in the area to assist athletes with direction to their bags, but will not hand over bags or hold bikes for athletes.
  • All volunteers on the course will be provided with the relevant PPE.
  • SAG vehicles will have additional masks for athletes who pull out of the race, as well as sanitizers.

On Run Course

  • At our full distance IRONMAN event, we will be increasing the space at our Run Personal Needs Location to allow for maximal spacing of athlete bags
  • Athletes will be able to access their own personal needs bags during competition. Volunteers will be in the area to assist athletes with direction to their bags, but will not hand over bags or take bags from athletes.
  • All volunteers on the course will be provided with the relevant PPE.

At the Finish Line

  • We will increase space and flow through finish line area, exiting participants as efficiently as possible through the process and exiting into public space.
  • Once athletes cross the finish line they will:

    • Retrieve their own finisher medal from a continuously stocked table, the volunteers allocated to this table will be in the appropriate PPE and will only be required to unpack the finisher medals from the boxes and restock the table.
    • Finisher Shirt/Mask/Final Aid Voucher Collection tent: the volunteers working with the athletes will wear protective face shields and gloves and be behind a Perspex screen. While volunteers collecting the relevant shirt sizes will be in face masks, these volunteers will have no direct contact with the athletes. The captain will oversee regular sanitizing of working surfaces.
    • Timing chip removal : Athletes will be required to remove their own timing chip before leaving the finish line area. IRONMAN will have boxes / chairs to place their foot on while undoing the strap. The timing straps and chips will be dropped in a container as athletes leave the finish line area. The timing volunteers will only need to monitor that the athletes are actually removing their timing chips rather than assisting them in the removal process.
    • Should the IRONMAN or IRONMAN 70.3 event have a Pro field, there will then be a Pro medal ceremony where social distancing will be observed.
  • We will encourage athletes to engage in no-touch finish line celebrations.
  • Our finish line area will continue to be monitored by medical personnel to assist athletes if needed. We will not have designated finish line volunteers assisting athletes.
  • Post-race food and beverages will be provided to athletes in a single-packaged self-serving style.
  • Post-race massage services will not be available for athletes.
  • Additional hand sanitizing stations will be available in the finish area and IRONMAN village area, immediately available to finishers.
  • The Streetwear racks are adjacent to the finish line area. Athletes will retrieve their own bags in this restricted area, volunteers should only assist with direction.

Awards Presentation | Monday

  • There will be no formal Awards Ceremony with a Dinner.
  • IRONMAN will host an online post event celebration. Athletes will have received a voucher in their registration pack that will be valid at selected restaurants over the course of the weekend.
  • The collection of trophies for IRONMAN Age Group Athletes and Pro athletes will take place on Monday morning. This will happen in staggered groups to allow for a podium photo opportunity. Volunteers will assist IRONMAN staff in the unpacking and setup of the awards trophies but should not have to interact with the athletes.
  • There will no longer be lost and found or shirt swops on Monday morning.