“Boost Your Business” Information Briefing

IRONClub MD to host “Boost Your Business” Information Briefing: Restaurants & Retailers Invited to Roll Out Welcome Mat & Rev-Up Economic Engine

IRONClub Maryland, the local nonprofit organization supporting IRONMAN Maryland, together with the Dorchester Chamber of Commerce and Cambridge Main Street, will host “Boost Your Business,” a free reception and information briefing on Thursday, August 4, 5:30-6:30 pm at Chesapeake College’s Cambridge Center, 418 Race Street. In anticipation of a record number of athletes participating in the third annual IRONMAN Maryland, more than 10,000 visitors will be in Cambridge September 28-October 2 and race organizers want to help local businesses roll out the welcome mat, provide first-class service, and generate exceptional sales.

“For more than three decades, Dorchester’s economy has been strengthened by thousands of athletes who come here to swim, bike, and run along our beautiful vistas,“ said Amanda Fenstermaker, Tourism Director. “IRONMAN Maryland is a crown jewel of our endurance events and this world class race is worthy of a worldclass welcome.”

CaptureTo help businesses plan and prepare for “Race Week,” IRONClub board member and Chamber Executive Director Bill Christopher will share specific strategies retailers can employ to boost business. “From extended hours and welcome signs to athlete-tailored specials, these gestures not only leave a lasting positive impression, but they’re tremendous for businesses bottom line.”

IRONClub Board Member Heather Rosato and Mid-Shore Graphics business owner Jason Warfield will unveil new flags, banners and window signs that retailers and organizations can display to welcome the athletes in IRONMAN’s signature red, white and blue crab logo.

“We want to paint the town red, white and blue to welcome thousands of athletes from 37 countries and 48 states to our historic and vibrant community,” Rosato said. “We are excited to partner with Mid-Shore Graphics to make these beautiful, affordable graphics available.”

“Based on our experiences in 2014 and 2015, we know there are many ways our businesses can support and benefit from IRONMAN Maryland,” said Tom Hutchinson, Cambridge Main Street President. “I encourage everyone to join us August 4 to share their experiences and plans for 2016.”

For information and to RSVP for “Boost Your Business,” visit

July 26th, 2016|News|

IRONMAN Races Contributed $5.5M to Local Economy in 2015

Events generate large sales, foot traffic for Eastern Shore businesses

Board introduces new sponsors, unveils signature sculpture at Visitors Center

Cambridge, MD – May 9, 2016 –-IRONClub Maryland, the non-profit organization formed to support large-scale, high-impact endurance events in Dorchester County, today released the results of an economic impact report revealing that the 2015 IRONMAN races attracted 3,500 participants and generated almost $5.5 million for the region. The findings were announced at the Dorchester Visitors Center during a morning reception recognizing new sponsors and board members including an unveiling of a locally fabricated metal IRONMAN sculpture.

Cambridge International President and CEO Tracy L. Tyler joined area business and government leaders to applaud the economic benefits and reveal the large, three-dimensional IRONMAN sculpture with a new, Maryland design.

“On behalf of Dorchester County and IRONClub Maryland, thank you for rallying behind IRONMAN and enthusiastically supporting our local booster club,” said Tourism Director and board member Amanda Fenstermaker. “Over the past two years, more than 300 members raised over $100,000 in private contributions toward licensing fees and leveraged that support with donations, in-kind services and volunteerism. Together, we’ve increased our investment 100-fold, generating $10 million for our economy in only two short years.”

Produced by Salisbury University’s BEACON Center under the direction of Memo Diriker “IRONMAN Races in Dorchester County: 2015 Economic Impact” reveals the June 14 Eagleman and October 13 IRONMAN Marylnad (IMMD) contributed $5.47 million to the local economy. An estimated 10,000 athletes and guests from around the world came to Dorchester County last summer and fall. Visitors stayed longer and spent more than the average tourist. The study found:

  • Two events collectively drew 3,500 participants: Eagleman (2,100) and 1,400 for IMMD*
  • 88% of IMMD athletes and 70% of Eagleman entries traveled distances greater than 100 miles to participate
  • IMMD athletes were accompanied by 2.5 guests on average; 1.7 for Eagleman
  • Direct spending by the athletes locally during the IRONMAN events was significant with 56% of IMMD participants reported spending at least $1,000 in Dorchester county and 54% of Eagleman athletes reported spending at least $750 in Dorchester
  • IMMD athletes/guests stayed an average of four nights; double that of Eagleman
  • 1,400 volunteers supported IMMD; another 800 volunteered for Eagleman

Testifying to the events’ importance to local businesses, Patrick Fanning, Chef and Co-Owner of High Spot, Stoked, Black Water and Rock Lobstah said, “The days around the races bring my restaurants the biggest crowds we get all year. The racers bring their friends and family and many athletes come back to visit or train.”

He added that IRONMAN events benefit the entire community and are a win-win for everyone. Fanning passed out cookies from his Black Water bakery featuring IRONMAN’s signature red M-Dot logo.

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 explained that the IRONMAN sculpture overlooking the Choptank Lighthouse was one of the most photographed spots of the race – as well as the featured cover image on the Chambers 2016 Member Directory. He invited Tracy Tyler to help ‘cut the ribbon’ on the new sculpture with Race Director Gerry Boyle.

“Cambridge 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.”

Tyler recognized Matt O’Connell, Cambridge’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 metal flag printed by Plak That of Ocean City.

To learn more about the economic impact study or to join IRONClub Maryland, visit:

Photos from the unveiling event, courtesy of Jill Jusuta:

May 9th, 2016|News|

IRONMAN Races in Dorchester County 2015 Economic Impact

Dorchester County is one of the few communities in the world to host two IRONMAN races in one year. In 2015, IRONMAN 70.3 Eagleman in June and IRONMAN Maryland (IMMD) in October brought thousands of athletes and their
supporters from around the world to Dorchester.

While IMMD requires a licensing fee, the return on investment is powerful—both events brought an estimated $5.47 million to the regional economy. That number likely would have been even higher had Hurricane Joaquin not forced the rescheduling of IRONMAN Maryland; many participants were unable to make it on the rescheduled date.

The community rallied behind IRONMAN Maryland by enthusiastically supporting the IRONClub Maryland booster organization. Over the past two years, more than 300 members raised more than $100,000 in private contributions toward the licensing fees and leveraged that support with donations, in-kind services, and volunteerism.

These IRONMAN events make more than an economic impact. They introduce people from around the world to Dorchester, its people, and its places. Some athletes visit again to train; others return with their families to explore; some have even considered purchasing homes here.



April 21st, 2016|News|

Save the Date: May 9th 10am

Please join us as we kick off the 2016 IRONMAN race season with an unveiling of the iconic M-Dot which was fabricated and generously donated by our friends at Cambridge International.

Monday, May 9th 10 AM

Dorchester County Visitor Center
2 Rose Hill Place
Cambridge MD 21613

March 29th, 2016|News|

Nathan Foundation donates to IRONClub Maryland

The Nathan Foundation is the first donor to the 2016 IRONClub Maryland campaign. The donation will go toward the $100,000 licensing fee that must be paid to IRONMAN for the event. In 2015, IMMD pumped about $2.74 million into the local economy. From left, Gerry Boyle, IMMD race director; Edward Nabb, Jr., and Rob Collison of the Nathan Foundation; and Amanda Fenstermaker, chair of IRONClub Maryland.

March 21st, 2016|News|

Cambridge Businesses Busy Planning for IRONMAN Maryland

July 22, 2015, CAMBRIDGE, MD – Last month, Carol Levy Ruark, owner of The Wine Bar (formerly A Few of My Favorite Things) and Jack Helgeson, owner of Choptank Charlies, attended a seminar designed to help local retail businesses prepare for this year’s IRONMAN Maryland. The message to business owners was clear: “IRONMAN weekend is going to be bigger (1000 more racers + families) and better (improved course and a coordinated downtown block party) than last year! Let’s be prepared to show our visitors what makes Cambridge special and make the most of the weekend for our local businesses.”

Levy Ruark and Helgeson listened. Light bulbs went off.  And now they are busy planning ways to welcome the expected 4,000 visitors who will be in town for the October 3rd event, with unique offerings tailored to the participants eager to experience this race and our community.

Levy Ruark, who changed the name of her gourmet wine and lite fare business to The Wine Bar last week, got right to work.

“One of the reasons we rebranded so quickly was because of IRONMAN,” she said.  “This year we are going to be a lot more prepared in terms of our menu, and we’ll have more Cambridge branded items that families can purchase as mementos of their time here.”

Wine-BarThe Wine Bar manager and chef, Matt and Kate General, named a number of health conscious menu items they’re considering for the weekend, including gluten free, vegetarian and protein-rich “paleo” dishes. They’re also planning to use the sidewalk in front of the store to bring people inside, and extend business hours for early risers and late night noshers.

Levy Ruark summed up how she wants her business’s brand to be perceived. “We want IRONMAN people to know that The Wine Bar is a comfortable and welcoming place to relax and chill for a while that weekend.”

Down the street, Helgeson has plans of his own. After hearing that IRONMAN Maryland racers call themselves “crabbies,” he decided to create a promotion just for them.

“I make these crabs out of recycled buoys that I call “Crabby Charlie”, he explained. “I’m going to create a window display of them for IRONMAN Maryland. For every one I sell that weekend, I’m going to donate twenty dollars to IRONClub Maryland.”

After witnessing the race up close last year—his store is feet from the run course on Race Street–Helgeson became convinced of the benefits of the race for the community.

“IRONMAN is the most professional organization I’ve ever seen, and they give back by donating to organizations in our community,” he said. “I can’t write a check but I can support the event and promote my business at the same time. I want everybody to succeed.”

If you’re preparing something special for IRONMAN Maryland, let us know at or by email at so we can post it on the IRONMAN Maryland racers’ Facebook page. Support the event by becoming a member of IRONClub Maryland at

And, if golf’s your game, sign up for the IRONClub/CSD Vikings Golf Tournament on August 3rd at the River Marsh Golf Club at Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay! Prizes include growlers from Ocean Odyssey Seafood Restaurant, and gift cards from Jimmie & Sook’s Raw Bar and Grill and Cambridge Car Wash. Sign up now at

About IRONClub Maryland

IRONClub Maryland is the booster club for IRONMAN Maryland, the first full-distance IRONMAN triathlon in the mid-Atlantic region. For information or to join IRONClub Maryland, visit or

July 24th, 2015|News|

IRONMAN 70.3 Eagleman Brings Diverse Athletes & Inspiring Stories to Cambridge

CAMBRIDGE, MD,  June 1, 2015 – This year’s IRONMAN 70.3 Eagleman triathlon on Sunday, June 14 will attract 2,600 athletes from 25 states and 7 countries to Cambridge. Considered one of the premiere half-distance triathlons in the country, Eagleman is a “must-do” race on many athletes’ wish list. Residents and visitors alike are encouraged to cheer on these inspiring racers and learn more about what drives them to take on a grueling physical challenge like Eagleman 70.3.

Among this year’s field of athletes, Rob Verhelst–known as Fireman Rob–will certainly stand out.  Rob is a career firefighter from Waunakee, Wisconsin who spent eight days doing search and recovery after 9/11. Since 2011, he has completed over 15 full and 7 half IRONMAN races wearing 50 pounds of firefighter gear with a mission to inspire others to define and pursue their life passion.

Rob explains, “I participate in each event to help raise awareness and show people that they are able to do more than they think if they are willing to take the first step.”

Through his Fireman Rob Foundation, Rob raises money for one of his passions–children–sending Gund bears to patients in children’s hospitals all over the world. Rob hopes his example will motivate others to be part of something bigger than themselves and to make a difference through their actions.

And, if you’re cheering this year, you’ll no doubt be inspired by the Pease brothers from Atlanta, Georgia. The brothers race as a team, with Brent carrying or pushing his younger brother Kyle, who was born with Cerebral Palsy, the entire way. Theirs is a story of brotherly love, courage and a fighting spirit that proves anything is possible.

The brothers have completed numerous races together, including a full-distance IRONMAN triathlon, making these “IRONMEN” an inspiration to thousands of athletes–and others who dream of doing something extraordinary–around the world.

They started The Kyle Pease Foundation to help others with disabilities enjoy sports and competition. Programs include scholarship opportunities, purchasing adaptive sports equipment, and participating in educational campaigns around Cerebral Palsy.

To learn more about the adventures of Kyle, Brent and Kyle’s twin brother Evan, check out their blog at, or, better yet, come to the finish line at Great Marsh Park on Sunday and ask them how they do it.

June 3rd, 2015|News|

Sharon Borg Wall Steps Up as First “Elite” Member for 2015

IRONClub announces IRONMAN Maryland kick-off event April 7 at LivAgain

IRONClub MD, the booster club for the IRONMAN Maryland triathlon, today announced that Sharon Borg Wall of Different Drummer Farm in Hurlock has signed on as the IRONMAN Maryland endurance season’s first “Elite” member. Ms. Borg Wall’s membership at the Elite level represents a significant increase in support from her 2014 “Triathlete” level sponsorship.

“I was a volunteer for IRONMAN Maryland last year and saw what a positive impact the race had on our community,” Ms. Borg Wall said. “With support, I believe the IRONMAN events will grow each year, bringing more exposure and economic benefit to Dorchester County and the region. I’m really excited to help organize another great race weekend this fall and show off all our community has to offer.”

Earlier this year, IRONClub release its Community and Economic Impact Report from the 2014 inaugural IRONMAN Maryland race. The study, conducted by BEACON, the Business Economic and Community Outreach Network at Salisbury University, found that the September 20, 2014 event generated an estimated $2.8 Million in economic impact for Dorchester County and $3.4 Million for the region. When combined with the impact of the IRONMAN 70.3 Eagleman triathlon, the impact numbers total $4.1 Million for Dorchester County and $5.4 Million for the region.

“Our community really worked hard to host two world-class IRONMAN events last year, and we were able to attract not only dollars, but also a huge amount of goodwill and “buzz” about Dorchester County,” said Amanda Fenstermaker, Director of Tourism for Dorchester County. “The IRONMAN Maryland race has already sold out for this fall, so we can expect more visitors, many of whom have heard great things about our community from last year’s participants. They are excited to come here. We will need a broad base of support from sponsors, volunteers and spectators from around our region to put on another spectacular weekend.”

IRONClub will host a kick-off event for IRONMAN Maryland 2015 on April, 7 at 6:30pm at LivAgain on High Street in downtown Cambridge. Anyone who is interested in supporting this year’s race as a sponsor or volunteer is encouraged to come. Visit or for more information.

The 2015 IRONMAN Maryland triathlon will take place Saturday, October 3rd. The IRONMAN 70.3 Eagleman triathlon is scheduled for June 14, 2015. To become a sponsor, a volunteer, or to learn more, visit

About IRONClub Maryland

IRONClub Maryland is the booster club for IRONMAN Maryland, the first full-distance IRONMAN triathlon in the mid-Atlantic region. For information or to join IRONClub Maryland, visit or

March 18th, 2015|News|

2014 IRONMAN MD Economic Impact Report Released

Endurance Events Generated $5.4 Million to the Mid-Shore Region

CAMBRIDGE, MD, January 23, 2015 - IRONClub Maryland, the non-profit booster organization created to support the IRONMAN Maryland triathlon and the IRONMAN 70.3 Eagleman triathlon, released its 2014 Community and Economic Impact Report. The report indicates that the inaugural IRONMAN Maryland triathlon, which took place on September 20th, generated an estimated $2.8 Million in economic impact for Dorchester County and $3.4 Million for the region. When combined with the impact of the IRONMAN 70.3 Eagleman triathlon, the impact numbers total $4.1 Million for Dorchester County and $5.4 Million for the region.

“We are so pleased to announce these findings today,” said Amanda Fenstermaker, Director of Tourism for Dorchester County. “In five short months, with the support of over 200 founding members of IRONClub Maryland, Dorchester County was able to orchestrate a world-class event that attracted an estimated 4,600 visitors from across the world. We saw a 54x return on our investment in endurance events last year. That’s very encouraging as we work to grow the economic impact of these events in 2015 and beyond.”

The group engaged BEACON, the Business Economic and Community Outreach Network at Salisbury University, to conduct the economic impact studies. The report also highlights feedback from race participants, local residents and business owners.

“IRONMAN Maryland exceeded our expectations as a first-time event,” said Philip LaHaye, Vice President of North American Operations for IRONMAN. “The support from the City of Cambridge and Dorchester County, as well as the residents and business community, was amazing. The feedback from participants has been very positive and there is a lot of interest from athletes in the 2015 race. We look forward to working with the community to organize many more exceptional events.”

The 2015 IRONMAN 70.3 Eagleman triathlon will take place on Sunday, June 14th and the IRONMAN Maryland triathlon will take place on Saturday, October 3rd. According to Race Director Gerry Boyle, planning is underway to improve the experience for the athletes and spectators for both endurance events.

“One of the features the racers liked most about IRONMAN Maryland was how integrated it was in the community,” said Boyle. “We’ve received fantastic feedback about the kindness and enthusiasm of the volunteers and spectators and we are planning ways to make it even easier for people to enjoy the event. The community came together to make last year’s race special. We want even more residents and visitors to come out to cheer, have fun, and most importantly support our local economy this year. The whole world is watching and they have heard what a welcoming place this is.”

Volunteers can register for both 2015 IRONMAN events by visiting

Download the Community & Economic Impact Report
January 27th, 2015|News|

The IRONMAN Foundation Gives Back to the Greater Cambridge Maryland Community

September 24th, 2014|News|