IronmanMD monument unveiled in Cambridge

MD-Ironman monument unveiled_4x

Dorchester Banner/Paul Clipper
Community leaders, athletes, business people and enthusiasts gathered Monday morning for the dedication of the new Ironman “MDot” monument to commemorate the region’s support for the legendary Ironman and Ironman 70.3 Eagleman triathlons, hosted in Cambridge each year since 2014.

CAMBRIDGE—Cambridge Chamber of Commerce, IronClub MD, Dorchester County Tourism and Cambridge Multi-Sport gathered on Monday morning, May 9, to participate in the unveiling of the new Ironman Maryland monument created by Cambridge International. The celebratory event was kicked off by Chamber president Bill Christopher, and speaking in support of Ironman MD and the continuing economic good it brings to the region were Tourism Director Amanda Fenstermaker, Cambridge chef and restaurateur Patrick Fanning, IronClub MD’s Edward Nabb Jr. and Tracy Tyler of Cambridge International.

“This is a symbol of community pride,” said MS. Fenstermaker, indicating the new Ironman “MDot” monument. “This really makes my heart full. I’m really happy to see people come out and show enthusiasm and passion for the Ironman races, and happy that we can all pull together and really make a great event.”

Ms. Fenstermaker recognized new 2016 IRONClub members, including the Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay and the Nathan Foundation, who each contributed $5,000 to support the event. She welcomed Cambridge Multi-Sport President Michael Keene who introduced new Club member Sara Lettelleir. Keene and Letteleir used the occasion to announce the recipients of CMS’s scholarships to Patrick Geleta and Austin Loeffler.

IRONClub board member and Dorchester Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Bill Christopher invited Tracy Tyler to help ‘cut the ribbon’ on the new sculpture with Race Director Gerry Boyle.

“Cambridge (International) was proud to partner with IRONClub to create this iconic sculpture. Once we saw how popular it became — as athletes and visitors posted photos of our beautiful community around the world — we knew we had to make our Maryland marks even more special,” said Tyler. “This year, our team of talented fabricators and engineers remade the façade painting one side with the Maryland flag and powder-coating the other red creating a three-dimensional, one-of-a-kind sculpture.”

The speakers pointed out that Cambridge has the unique distinction of holding two IronMan events in the course of a year—both the June Eagleman 70.3 and the Ironman MD, this year to be held in October. Each event brings thousands of competitors to the region. In 2015, the Eagleman brought in 2100 participants, and Ironman in the fall was slated to bring in at least that many, but rescheduling after Hurricane Joaquin cut the participation down to 1400.

Each of the racers usually brings someone with, in the case of the Eagleman the average is just under two guests per participant, and the full Ironman averages a little under three guests per participant.
IronMan MD requires a $100,000 licensing fee, but the return on investment is powerful. Both events brought an additional $5.47 million dollars to the local economy, according to the Tourism department. It was quickly pointed out that the licensing fee was raised through private contributions.

Research shows that 54% of the Eagleman participants spend over $750 while in the region, while 56% of the Ironman attendees spend over $1000 while in the region.

Last year, 14 local restaurants took part in a voucher program, offering a $25 discount for local dining. It is estimated that more than $28,000 came into the community as a direct result of the voucher program.
“On race days, we see the biggest crowds we’ll see all year,” said Chef Patrick Fanning. “And a lot of the athletes come back to visit or train. These races are a win-win for everyone.”

Both of the races bring in new faces from afar to see and enjoy the county. 70 percent of the Eagleman participants travel more than 100 miles to come to Cambridge, as do 88 percent of the Ironman MD racers.

When the “MDot” was unveiled, everyone gathered around for group photos, as do the racers when they’re in town—the MDot is a “selfy” destination during the days before the race. To the racers it is a symbol of the iconic races, certainly, but decorated with the Maryland flag and our equally iconic blue claw crab, it is a monument to the success available from hard work and dedication to a goal.

Ms. Tyler thanked Matt O’Connell, Cambridge International’s Director of Operations, a long-time company engineer and endurance athlete, for coordinating design, labor and construction. The sculpture was powder coated by Metal Arc of Cambridge and the metal flag printed by Plak That of Ocean City.

“I came here this morning and saw the Ironman MDot glowing in the sunlight on the top of the Sailwinds amphitheater, and it was amazing,” said MS. Fenstermaker. “What a great symbol of our dedication to the success of the event. The city and the county have given Ironman incredible support, and we’re all looking forward to this year’s races.”

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