SPECIAL by ANDREA VERNOT: 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 Maryland (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

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