In conjunction with the 2023 VinFast Women’s Ironman World Championship on Oct. 14 in Kailua-Kona on the Big Island, The Ironman Foundation continued its support of the race’s host community through a variety of giveback efforts that totaled more than $140,000 in proceeds this year.
That brings the foundation’s total historical giveback to the community to more than $3 million.
“The Kailua-Kona community is an integral part of the Ironman World Championship race’s history and has created a lasting impact on the organization’s spirit,” said The Ironman Foundation Executive Director Audra Tassone-Indeck. “As we continue to evolve our program, this year hosting the first dedicated Women’s Ironman World Championship weekend, we celebrate the community that continues to make our programming possible.”
This year’s community contributions included a $20,000 grant to Lydia8, a local organization aimed at cultivating artistic and cultural opportunities for Native Hawaiians to mobilize their communities. The group painted a mural on a wall at the corner of Kuakini Highway and Palani Road, which falls along the racecourse.
The mural emphasizes the concept of “Holomua,” meaning moving forward.
The Kona Underpants Run, a one-of-a-kind event, is a staple of race week. More than 1,500 participants of all ages, genders and body types stripped down to their skivvies and took to Ali‘i Drive on Oct. 12 for the run presented by The Ironman Foundation. Participants took an about 2.4 km out-and-back fun run during which spectators and participants alike enjoyed photos, cheer stations and comradery.
The run raised more than $52,000 for nonprofits this year.
Conceived in 1998 by Chris Danahy, Tim Morris and Paul Huddle as a protest against wearing swim briefs in inappropriate places, the event morphed into an Ironman pre-race icebreaker. Through the years, the total raised for charities has now reached more than $350,000.
Funds raised by The Ironman Foundation directly benefit those communities where Ironman events are hosted by providing charitable support to a variety of local nonprofit organizations.
For the first time in the 40-plus year history of the Ironman World Championship, the spotlight is shining exclusively on women triathletes as Kona hosts the first standalone women’s championship triathlon. In total, 19 women are racing with The Ironman Foundation, the largest group of women to race with Team IMF during a single world championship event in the organization’s 20-year history.
Team IMF is a network of triathletes that Race For More and dedicated to leaving a positive legacy in race communities long after race day. Through Team IMF, athletes fundraise to support the foundation’s mission while racing an Ironman event of their choice at no additional cost.
For more information about The Ironman Foundation and its programs, click here.