LOS ANGELES, Feb. 22, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- For Hines Ward and REFUEL | got chocolate milk?, the road to the 2013 IRONMAN ® World Championship triathlon has officially begun. On Feb. 23, the former pro football superstar joined some of the biggest names in endurance sports at L.A.'s Club Nokia for the 21st Annual Endurance LIVE awards gala presented by REFUEL | got chocolate milk?. Ward unveiled his new REFUEL | got chocolate milk? "my After" national advertising campaign as well as an online documentary series that will follow his training and recovery journey toward conquering the IRONMAN® World Championship in Kailua-Kona, Hawai'i on October 12, 2013. Ward also introduced three everyday athletes chosen to join him on this epic life-changing journey.
"Playing football was tough but training for a 140.6-mile swim, bike and run is probably the biggest challenge of my life," said Ward, a 14-year pro football veteran and championship game MVP. "I've got a long road – and a lot of workouts to go through, but I want to prove that by training hard and refueling smarter with chocolate milk, I will become an IRONMAN triathlon finisher."
A Training and Recovery Journey to 'BECOME ONE'
In partnership with REFUEL | got chocolate milk?, Ward will undertake a training and recovery regimen with elite professional coaches and sports dietitians that will prepare him for the grueling race. His transformation from a grid iron athlete to IRONMAN triathlete will be captured in the new online documentary series "BECOME ONE," which debuts this week on www.gotchocolatemilk.com.
In "BECOME ONE," cameras will follow Ward and his fellow IRONMAN triathlon apprentices for seven months as they prepare for the biggest athletic challenges of their lives: a back-to-back 2.4-mile open water swim, 112-mile bike race, and full 26.2-mile marathon. The reality-style webisodes will document the highs and lows of their grueling training, spotlight the importance of their after-exercise routines and role that lowfat chocolate milk plays in helping their bodies recover after hard workouts; and inspire all athletes to break out of their comfort zone and prove that anything is possible.
Introducing Team "BECOME ONE"
Last fall, REFUEL | got chocolate milk? launched a nationwide search to find two "everyday athletes" to join Ward on this unforgettable training and recovery journey to "BECOME ONE." In addition, through its partnership with the Challenged Athletes Foundation® (CAF), REFUEL | got chocolate milk? also selected a challenged athlete to join the team to inspire others – disabled or able-bodied – to overcome adversities. The team includes:
- Captain Eric McElvenny, USMC, 29, San Diego, CA – In December 2011, while serving in Afghanistan on his third deployment with the United States Marine Corps, McElvenny suffered the loss of his right leg below the knee in an IED explosion. With the support of CAF and their Operation Rebound program, he has used sports to help him recover and has since raced in two sprint distance triathlons using a prosthetic leg.
- Chrisann Dalton, 39, Bedford, NH – Stay-at-home mom Dalton wants to prove to her kids that "If you want something in life, you go after it. You become your dream by wanting it more than anything that might get in your way." She has participated in sprint triathlons but never attempted anything on the scale of an IRONMAN triathlon.
- Joshua Kalb, 24, Denver CO – A first-year medical student at Rocky Vista University, CO and a triathlon newcomer, Kalb wants to show his classmates and future patients that "Being healthy is a decision and that everyone can live a healthy lifestyle."
Ward and his fellow IRONMAN triathlon apprentices will be coached by eight-time IRONMAN World Championship winner Paula Newby-Fraser, plus a host of elite athletes and sports dietitians. Together they'll learn about the importance of post-exercise recovery and that what they do after strenuous exercise, such as refueling with chocolate milk – the Official Refuel Beverage of IRONMAN – can make a dramatic difference in how they feel and perform during their next workout. A growing body of published research suggests the nutrient profile of chocolate milk can help athletes recover after hard workouts so they can perform at their best during the next bout of exercise. For Ward and his fellow athletes, training and recovering effectively every day could mean the difference between crossing the finish line in Kona or "bonking out" somewhere along the 140.6-mile course.
"There's a reason that athletes of all types are turning to chocolate milk as an integral part of their post-workout nutrition," said Miranda Abney, Marketing Director of the Milk Processor Education Program, the group behind the 'got chocolate milk?' campaign. "To perform at your best, it's essential to take the time to refuel, recharge and get your body ready for the next challenge. Chocolate milk is an easy, effective and delicious way to do just that. Hines and the Become One Team know chocolate milk will help them make every workout count as they work toward the starting line in Kona."
Hines Ward Unveils 'my After' Ad Campaign
At the Endurance LIVE awards gala, Ward provided a glimpse into his role in the popular "my After" campaign from REFUEL | got chocolate milk? The new advertising – which includes a 30-second television commercial and print advertisement – highlights chocolate milk as a cornerstone of Ward's after-workout routine as he trains for the IRONMAN World Championship. The ads are underscored with the tagline, "my After."
Ward is the latest elite athlete to join the "my After" campaign, which debuted in 2012. To date, the campaign has featured a podium-topping team of athletes such as USA Basketball star Carmelo Anthony; five members of the 2012 USA Swimming Team; 2010 IRONMAN World Champion Mirinda Carfrae; three-time IRONMAN Champion Chris Lieto; and CAF challenged athlete Sarah Reinertsen, the first female leg amputee to finish the IRONMAN World Champion. The campaign has struck a chord with athletes by showcasing the personal post-exercise routines of elite competitors – and how their 'after' can make a dramatic difference in how they feel or perform in the next challenge.
The Science of Chocolate Milk
More and more elite athletes and coaches are recognizing the benefits of refueling with lowfat chocolate milk. Sports dietitian Leslie Bonci, reunited with Hines Ward for the "BECOME ONE" program after working with him and his former Pittsburgh teammates for years, makes chocolate milk a staple on her athletes' training menus. "Too many athletes overlook after-exercise recovery, which means they probably won't get the most out of their next workout," said Bonci. "Elite athletes have been refueling with chocolate milk for years because of its unique nutrient profile, plus it's so simple and it tastes great!" Chocolate milk has the right carb-to-protein ratio scientifically shown to help the body recover, high-quality protein to help repair muscles and fluids and electrolytes to replenish what's lost in sweat.
Follow Hines Ward's journey to "BECOME ONE," learn about the science behind the recovery benefits of chocolate milk, and check out exclusive training tips and videos at gotchocolatemilk.com. Join the conversation on Facebook/gotchocolatemilk and Twitter @gotchocomilk using #BecomeOne. Visit ironman.com to learn more about IRONMAN and the IRONMAN World Championship.
About the REFUEL | "got chocolate milk?™" Campaign
The Milk Processor Education Program (MilkPEP), Washington, D.C., is funded by the nation's milk processors, who are committed to increasing fluid milk consumption. The National Fluid Milk Processor Promotion Board, through MilkPEP, runs the REFUEL | "got chocolate milk?™" Campaign, a multi-faceted program designed to educate athletes about the recovery benefits of lowfat chocolate milk after strenuous exercise. Lowfat chocolate milk is simple, effective and scientifically shown to help refuel the body so athletes can perform at their best. It's a natural source of high-quality protein to build lean muscle; it has the right mix of protein and carbs to refuel exhausted muscles; plus fluids and a natural source of electrolytes to rehydrate and help replenish what's lost in sweat. For more information, go to www.gotchocolatemilk.com.
The iconic IRONMAN® Series of events is the largest participation sports platform in the world. Since the inception of the IRONMAN® brand in 1978, athletes have proven that ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE® by crossing finish lines at the world's most challenging endurance races. Recognized for excellence through distinguished events, world-class athletes and quality products, World Triathlon Corporation (d/b/a IRONMAN), owner and operator of the IRONMAN® Series, has grown from owner of a single race to a global sensation with more than 190 events across five unique brands: IRONMAN®, IRONMAN 70.3®, 5150™ Triathlon Series, Iron Girl® and IronKids®. For more information, visit www.ironman.com.
About the Challenged Athletes Foundation
The Challenged Athletes Foundation® (CAF) is a world leader in helping individuals with physical challenges get involved – and stay involved – in sports. CAF believes that participation in sports at any level increases self-esteem, encourages independence and enhances quality of life. Since 1994, more than $40 million has been raised and almost 7,000 funding requests from challenged athletes in all 50 states and dozens of countries have been satisfied. Additionally, CAF's outreach efforts reach another 60,000 individuals each year. Whether it's a $2,500 grant for a handcycle, helping underwrite a carbon fiber running foot not covered by insurance, or arranging enthusiastic encouragement from a mentor who has triumphed over a similar challenge, CAF's mission is clear: give those with the desire to live active, athletic lifestyles every opportunity to compete in the sports they love. For more information, visit www.challengedathletes.org
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