Mid-Atlantic’s only Ironman Race returns to Cambridge

Many athletes come to Dorchester County's Ironman not only to compete, but also to enjoy the historic setting.

Many athletes come to Dorchester County’s Ironman not only to compete, but also to enjoy the historic setting.

CAMBRIDGE — Dorchester County will once again roll out the red carpet for 2,000 endurance athletes participating in the 5th Annual IRONMAN Maryland on Sept. 29. Representing 59 countries – the largest international delegation to date – the athletes will be welcomed by thousands of volunteers, IRONClub sponsors, businesses and residents along the 140.6-mile course beginning Sept. 26 and culminating with the awards ceremony Sept. 30.

“For five years, the Eastern Shore has embraced IRONMAN Maryland, catapulting it to the top of endurance events nationally,” said Race Director Gerry Boyle. “In April, we were named ‘Athlete’s Choice’ for best full distance IRONMAN race in the world by participating athletes thanks to the welcome they receive from the community.”

Amanda Fenstermaker, Dorchester Tourism director and club chair, credits support for IRONClub Maryland — the local booster club responsible for raising the $100,000 annual license fee — for making the event a great success. She announced the 2018 sponsors, led by the Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay Golf Resort Spa and Marina.

“We are proud to support IRONClub Maryland and recognize the positive impact these races have not only on our Four Diamond property, but also the region and State of Maryland as a whole,” said Joel Bunde, general manager of Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay. “Hosting major athletic events provides us with the opportunity to attract visitors from across the country and showcase all that the Eastern Shore of Maryland has to offer.”

s. Fenstermaker also recognized the Todd Fund, an Elite IRONClub sponsor for three years running. The Todd Fund has contributed $30,000 since 2016. Additional IRONClub members include: Sharon Borg Wall, Mike and Dale Schrader and Dorchester Banner (Champion); Dorchester County Economic Development, Downtown Cambridge, and Walmart (Triathlete); Bay Country Security, Choptank Communications, Comfort Inn, Holiday Inn Express, Maryland Sports Commission, Rotary Club of Cambridge, Whitten Group, Sen. Addie Eckardt, Bay Country Communication and Gerry Boyle (Eagleman); and many businesses and individuals.

Ms. Fenstermaker added that the community’s investment in IRONClub Maryland has delivered significant economic benefits, attracting world-wide publicity, generating over $1.5 million annually for the county, and donating $100,000 to nonprofit and educational organizations.

Dorchester was also chosen in a national online poll to host Mike Reilly, “the voice” of IRONMAN” in 2018. Known for his signature proclamation of “You, are an IRONMAN” to each athlete crossing the finish line, Mr. Reilly will also host 20 athletes on a skipjack Nathan of Dorchester lunch cruise to benefit the IRONMAN Foundation on Sept. 27.

“IRONMAN events obviously provide tremendous economic value to Dorchester County and the surrounding areas,” said Bill Christopher, IRONClub board member and Chamber of Commerce President and CEO. “However, they also create a sense of community for the large group of volunteers who help show off the beautiful place we live to the visiting athletes and their families.”

This year, IRONMAN Maryland is supporting “Dorchester Goes Purple,” a Chamber initiative, by outfitting 1,700 volunteers in purple t-shirts to call attention to opioid awareness.

“IRONMAN Maryland’s high recognition and athlete satisfaction is a testament to every resident, volunteer, and donor who helps create a flawless, friendly and first-class experience,” said County Council President Ricky Travers. “Dorchester is the heart and soul of Tri-Country.”

Five dozen Dorchester County school children will participate in the Athlete Welcome Ceremony’s “Parade of Flags” at the Hyatt on Sept. 27, 6:30-7:30 p.m., with each elementary or middle school child carrying a flag from an athlete-represented country.

IRONMAN Maryland is the first full-length IRONMAN triathlon in the mid-Atlantic region and one of only 12 full IRONMAN triathlons in the U.S. Dorchester will also host the 2019 North American Regional World TriClub Championship in conjunction with IRONMAN Eagleman.

Learn more about IRONClub Maryland at www.ironclubmd.com or sign up for one of dozens of race support positions. With more than 1,700 positions to fill, IRONMAN Maryland is actively recruiting volunteers. Visit the event volunteer registration page. For information on IRONMAN Maryland including course, schedule, finish line activities and race village at Long Wharf, visit: bit.ly/2oG1zG6.

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