Athletes rave about the temperate swim in the Choptank River and pastoral bike and run courses through rural Maryland.
The city of Cambridge was settled by English colonists in 1684, making it one of the oldest colonial cities in Maryland. To this day it has remained a small, scenic town, rich in history and full of sights straight out of James Michenerʼs novel, Chesapeake. In 2002, the city's economy was boosted by the opening of the 400-room Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay resort, which draws golfers, spa-goers, and boaters. Cambridge's downtown business district was designated a historical district in 1990, and the city is known for its vibrant arts scene, local shopping, restaurants, and rich history.
One thing that makes this course unique is its bike course, taking athletes through the Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge—a critical waterfowl sanctuary for birds migrating along the Atlantic Flyway and containing nearly one-third of Marylandʼs tidal wetlands. The refuge consists of over 27,000 acres of freshwater impoundments, tidal wetlands, open fields, and mixed forests. The refuge is also home to over 250 bird species, 35 species of reptiles and amphibians, 165 species of threatened and endangered plants, and numerous mammals that can be spotted throughout the year in the region's marshes, forests, meadows, and fields.
A precursor to the new IRONMAN Maryland, and partaking of much of the same course, this race has been popular among triathletes based in the area for years. Athletes will begin with a 1.2-mile, one-loop swim in the Choptank River on the Delmarva Peninsula. The course is rectangular, and features an in-water start, exiting at the Great Marsh Park. Water temperatures can vary between 73 and 79 degrees Fahrenheit. The 56-mile, one-loop bike travels through Dorchester County, and into the aforementioned wildlife refuge. The course is flat, fast and scenic. The 13.1-mile, one-loop run is on calm country roads offering numerous straightaways—opportunities for athletes to size up their competition.
The 2016 IRONMAN 70.3 Eagleman offers 30 qualifying slots to the 2016 IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship in Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia.
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