Aussie claims advantage at Eagleman

Appleton has ‘perfect’ stay, perfect race

CAMBRIDGE — Only on the Eastern Shore can someone from halfway across the world find a home-field advantage. After a “perfect” weekend stay in Cambridge, Sam Appleton of Australia had a perfect race in Sunday’s Ironman 70.3 Eagleman.

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The top three male professionals celebrate their strong finishes with champagne Sunday during the 70.3 Eagleman. Sam Appleton, of Australia, took first; Cody Beals, of Canada, took second; and Matthew Russell, of Sarasota, Fla., took third.

The male pro athlete was the first out of the water, with a time of 24:28. He also had the best times on the bike and on the run, at 2:01:05 and 1:16:48 respectively. He completed the entire course in 3:46:34.

Mr. Appleton comes from the Blue Mountain area west of Sydney. For the past two years, he has split his time training between Boulder, Colo., and his home in Australia. While his training paid off with a win, his connection to Cambridge may have helped.

Mr. Appleton met his girlfriend, Sarah James, when he moved to Boulder in 2015. Ms. James’ aunt and uncle, Gary and Jane James, live near Great Marsh Park, where the race started and finished. He came to town Friday evening.

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Volunteers spray the salty Choptank water off competitors as they finish the swim and head toward the bicycles.

“It was perfect,” Mr. Appleton said after his win Sunday. “I got to stay with them and wake up just five minutes from the race start.”
The Eagleman male pro winner said he enjoyed the course, and even saw a bald eagle while biking through Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge.

“It’s a beautiful area,” Mr. Appleton said. “I loved it out there.”

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Sam Appleton, of Australia, took first place in the Eagleman 70.3, with a time of 3:46:34. He stayed the weekend with his girlfriend’s aunt and uncle who live in Cambridge.

Sam Appleton led the race from start to finish, pushing the pace out of reach for second place finisher Cody Beals, who was the overall winner of the Eagleman in 2016. Canadian Beals crossed the line with a total of 03:54:49, followed by Matthew Russell of Florida with 03:58:51.

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Lindsey Jerdonek

Lindsey Jerdonek, of Ohio, was the first pro female to cross the line, just 19 seconds ahead of Alissa Doehla, of North Carolina. Ms. Jerdonek’s race time was 4:23:32.

Moments after she finished, Ms. Jerdonek had a message for the crowd. She thanked the people of Cambridge and the many Eagleman volunteers.

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A group of professional male athletes get close to exiting the water.

“There were a lot of cheers throughout the whole race,” she said. “It was really encouraging. This is a great community.”

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Athletes run their bikes toward Somerset Avenue and the beginning of the bike race.

Mr. Appleton and Ms. Jerdonek were among more than 2,000 athletes from 39 states and 21 countries to compete in Ironman 70.3 Eagleman 2017.

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