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
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 pack et 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, welcome functions, transition, swim start, aid
stations, finish line and day after functions.
Our analysis resulted in a series of operating principles organized around five broad areas of contagion
- Hand sanitizing stations, Hand Sanitizer bottles on tables and disinfectant wipes will be readily
available around our race venues. Cleaning of work stations 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.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
there volunteer is in direct contact with the athlete and gloves. There will be specific san itizing
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
- 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
- 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?
- 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
- There will be designated hand sanitizer locations at all entrances to the venues managed by the
event cleaning company and additional hand sanitisers at work stations in Registration and
around the IRONMAN village.
- 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.
- 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.
- We will optimize the number of volunteers at each location to reduce touchpoints.
- We are implementing a Pre-Race Health Screening Questionnaire 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 questionnaire with their area Team Captain /
Director on race day.
- No-touch temperature screening for athletes, volunteers and staff will also be conducted.
- Verbal health screening for offsite locations such as aid stations will be conducted on race day
by the captain in charge.
- Physical distancing markers and signage will be placed around the venue.
- We have increased spacing around the venue for proper physical distancing.
General Volunteer Health and Wellness:
- 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.
- Please remember to take care of yourself over the course of the race weekend, including staying
hydrated and eating a meal/snack when possible.
- 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.
- Reminder that face shields and gloves are required for all volunteers in athlete-facing volunteer
- 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.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- 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:
- 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.
- Via the Athlete Smart™ Program, our staff will complete education in proper health and hygiene
- Our staff will be required to undergo a screening process, including responding to a health
questionnaire 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 will be screened onsite via a health questionnaire and 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 distancing and allows for a smoother, touch
- 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.
- In 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 Special Needs bags will be consolidated during athlete check-in to optimize the flow
within the athlete check-in area.
- There will be no Expo at the IRONMAN Events during the COVID-19 restricted races.
At the Merchandise Store
- Our Merchandise store will feature new layouts, including click and collect, and in person
- There will be a limited number of customers in the store to allow for appropriate physical
distancing. Contactless payment.
- All staff in the Merchandise store will follow the same protocols as the IRONMAN staff and
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, event security will monitor the
amount of spectators in all restricted areas in accordance with the current COVID-19 restrictions.
- 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.
- 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
- 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 Run Special Needs
Location to allow for maximal spacing of athlete bags.
- Athletes will be able to access their own special 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
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 aw ards trophies but
should not have to interact with the athletes.
- There will no longer be lost and found or shirt swops on Monday morning.