Today World Triathlon Corporation (WTC) is announcing Ironman Maryland, a phoenix raised from the ashes of what was Chesapeakeman, to take place on September 20, 2014. The WTC has acted quickly to turn an imminent disaster into a windfall for its own brand and for triathletes living in the metro-Baltimore and greater Mid-Atlantic area.
Exactly one month ago Slowtwitch reported that WTC would take over the production of most of the races produced by the Columbia Triathlon Association (CTA). That followed by only 5 days a Slowtwitch report on the imminent demise of the series produced by the 30 year old CTA. The WTC did not know of the depth of the problems at the CTA until it read that story, and it took under a week to reach an agreement in principle to produce CTA’s multisport and Ironman-branded events.
Ironman is announcing that general registration for the inaugural Ironman Maryland triathlon will open Thursday, April 17 at noon, Eastern Time, on Ironman.com/maryland. The 2.4-mile swim will take place in the Choptank River on the Delmarva Peninsula. The 112-mile bike will take athletes through Dorchester County and into the Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge. The 26.2-mile run is flat, on country roads, providing a scenic and fast course. Ironman Maryland will offer 30 age group qualifying slots to the 2015 Hawaiian Ironman World Championship.
The deal in principle for WTC to acquire and run all of CTA’s multisport events has morphed, and it appears no longer the case that WTC will end up with all the triathlons. In particular, the The Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adults (UCF) is set to acquire and run the Iron Girl Columbia Women’s Triathlon as well as the Columbia Triathlon, according to WTC’s press release announcing Ironman Maryland. “They expect to finalize their agreement next week and will re-open registration for those two races shortly thereafter,” says the release.
The UCF had evinced an interest in certain of CTA’s races almost immediately when the news broke that the CTA’s series was in trouble. The UCF is not without resources and manpower to produce events, as Kari Ebeling, a program director for the UCF, is the CTA’s former executive director. Neither Ms. Ebeling nor the UCF's Brock Yetso, its CEO, could be reached for comment.
“We were initially focused on Eagleman,” said Andrew Messick, Ironman’s CEO. “That drove our urgency. Chesapeake man was a little understood piece in the early hours and days that quickly emerged into a real opportunity for us.“
Cheseapeakeman had not opened for registration, and it was very questionable whether it would have. The CTA intended to produce only 6 or 7 out of what used to be a 10-race season, and Cheseapeakeman was unlikely to make the cut. The Ironman that will take its place will sit on the same weekend as Chesapeakeman but the course, while sharing certain elements common with Ironman Eagleman 70.3, will be different than the old Chesapeakeman course.