Ironman ‘Eagleman’ soars again in Cambridge

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Dorchester Banner/Paul Clipper
Delegate Johnny Mautz and Senator Addie Eckardt hold the ribbon as Cody Beals claims his second consecutive Eagleman 70.3 overall win.

CAMBRIDGE — Sunday morning dawned warm and humid, with more heat predicted to motivate the thousands of racers crowded into Great Marsh Park for the Ironman Eagleman 70.3 triathlon. This year was the 20th anniversary of the event in Cambridge, a fact that was acknowledged occasionally on the loudspeaker but garnered no overt fanfare among the organizers, volunteers and participants. The Eagleman was brought into the Ironman brand in 1996. Before then, it was known as the Blackwater Triathlon, and had already acquired an enthusiastic following.

Not that any additional fanfare might be noticed after all, considering the impact already generated by the swift arrival of the World Triathlon Corporation and all their tents and trappings, and the sudden appearance of 2000 or so competitors anxious to get into the water and get the day started before the heat became as oppressive as predicted.

The designation “70.3” for the Eagleman is a notation of the overall mileage of the event — a 1.2 mile swim in the Choptank, followed by a 56 mile bicycle loop down through Blackwater and back, and finishing up with a 13.1 mile run out to Horn Point. A 70.3 is known as a half-triathlon, a full tri offering double the distance and taking considerably more time.

Canadian Cody Beals, last year’s overall winner, returned to Cambridge for the Eagleman and served notice of his victorious intentions during the bicycle leg of the event. Florida’s Jake Rhyner was first out of the water after the swim, followed by Ukranian Viktor Zyemtsev seven seconds later. Beals was third out, with a minute to make up, which he easily did by the 32-mile split of the 56 mile bicycle loop. Beals went through the bike transition with a four minute cushion, allowing him to get off the bike and out onto the run before second place finisher Thomas Gerlach of Wisconsin even came into view.

Once out on the run, the Canadian never looked back. Adam Otstot of Williamsburg, Va., moved into second and nibbled away at Beal’s lead, but there wasn’t time to shave more than two minutes off of the Canadian’s final time. Otstot finished second overall for his efforts, and Gerlach held on for third.

Beals was still enthusiastic at the finish line. “I’m thrilled to come back here and defend my win,” Beals said. “I love this race! It’s one of my favorites on the circuit, and I’ll definitely be back next year. I wish I could get here more often, I’m sure this would be a great place to train.”

Of his local impressions, Beals stated, “These (local) people are phenomenal. I have a home-stay just a mile from the race start, and they are some of the nicest people I’ve ever met in my life. I appreciate their kindness in everything, and that really speaks well of the community here in general.”

Jennifer Spieldenner of Ohio recorded the fastest swim for the pro women in the morning, and the fastest swim of the day at 26:13. New York’s Darbi Roberts was next out, almost a minute back in the water. During the bike ride, Carrie Lester of Australia broke into the lead, and stretched it to two and a half minutes by the end of the 56 mile loop. She pushed even harder on the run, and finished the footrace with over 7 minutes on second place, Beth Shutt of Massachusetts. Shutt had her work cut out holding off the third place finisher, Lauren Capone of California, who’s previous experience in Cambridge included a Women’s division overall win at the inaugural full Ironman here in 2014.

Carrie Lester assured us that the course was “deceivingly brutal” when we talked at the finish line. “I’m not used to racing on a flatter course,” she said, “my strength is riding on a very hilly course, and this was tough. And it’s generally an easy run (in a half-tri) but with the heat it turned out to be quite a hard day — but a beautiful course.” As the saying goes, there are no downhills on a flat course.

Lester was joined by her boyfriend at the finish, Scott DeFilippis, who finished 12th in the Men’s Pro class, and both were pleased with their experiences here. “So far we’ve met two home stay families who were very welcoming, very hospitable,” said Lester, “The whole town is very friendly, very helpful—we’ve had very nice experiences here.”

Chris Stock of Virginia Beach, Va., was the first amateur finisher in the Men’s 35-39 class and 12th overall. He was followed closely by Wyatt Collins of Larchmont, NY, who posted the best time in the Men’s 25-29 class and 13th overall. Sheila Treveaven of Canada was the first amateur female finisher, competing in the Female 40-44 class and taking 44th overall.

The weather wreaked havoc on some of the Pros and the later classes. Air temperatures hit 93 degrees locally at midday, and heat exhaustion resulted in some racers taking a trip to the hospital or to the on-site medical facility for observation and rehydration.

Paul Clipper is the editor of the Dorchester Banner. He can be reached at

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