Big Race Brings Big Bucks to Dorchester - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Big Race Brings Big Bucks to Dorchester

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CAMBRIDGE, Md.- They were swimming, biking, and running in Dorchester County on Sunday.  Around 2,000 athletes from almost every state and over 50 countries.

Race director Gerry Boyle said this year's Eagleman event was a big success, thanks in no small part to the large role the Ironman organization has taken on in the past year.

"It brings international exposure, it certainly brings national exposure," Boyle said. "There's people from almost every state in the country, they've traveled a long way, they've heard about Cambridge, they know our reputation, they love coming here.  From an economic perspective, it can only be good, at least that's what we hope so."

His hopes have been answered. Cambridge Commissioner Gage Thomas says the Eagleman event this weekend, and the full Ironman triathlon in October, bring in millions to the city and the surrounding area.

"The overall economic impact is about $5 million," he said. " It really starts Thursday.  People come in Thursday and getting their space, doing some training out on the course, they're true professionals."

Cambridge doesn't have enough hotel space to handle the load of all the athletes and their families, so that $5 million for this one event is spread throughout a several county area.

Although this race is centered at Great Marsh Park, downtown businesses like Realerevival Brewing have been busy for the past several days trying to keep up with demand.  They say the businesses downtown stick together and refer customers to other stores or restaurants.

"You come for a beer here, go have lunch, come back here for another beer," said Paul Derndorfer at RAR.  "That's what we saw a lot of last night.  They came here to have a few drinks, went out to have dinner, came back here to have a few more drinks to finish out the night."

Monica Puerto is one of those customers who wouldn't be here without Eagleman.  She's from D.C.

"I'm supporting an ironman triathlelete.  While he's out there doing his thing, I'm in here shopping and drinking." 

Back at the race site, some non-profits like Cambridge Rescue Fire Company are cooking up food for some hungry competitors.  Ricky Travers says the economic boom of this weekend will continue for weeks to come.

"A couple weeks after, they'll come back, say, 'Hey, I liked that course. I rode that course and seen a bald eagle, or I rode that course and saw a deer,' and they will want to come back and do it when they're not to stressed in a race mode.  With two Ironman events like this, it's a big economic driver.  It's sports tourism and it's huge for Dorchester County right now," Travers said.

This is just the first of two major Ironman events in Cambridge this year.  The next one is coming up on Oct. 3, the big triathlon.  Quite the event, pulled a lot of people last year, so businesses are hoping the same will be true this year.

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