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For the Fun of Fit: Ironman comes to Maryland

The World Triathlon Corporation (WTC) recently announced that it would take over the production of most of the races formerly produced by the Columbia Triathlon Association (CTA), the non-profit organization, also known asTriColulmbia, that has executed top-notch races in the Mid-Atlantic region for more than 30 years.

While rumors of financial mismanagement swirled, CTA board member Debra Saltzblamed the organization's imminent unraveling on a combination of poor executive decisions at a time of declining registrations which, according to an article on slowtwitch.com, were down across most of the organization's races. After years of routinely filling the majority of its 10 signature events, CTA's Eagleman, the Ironman 70.3 distance race with lucrative Kona spots, was the only event to still sell out.

"Too many races. Too many companies," Saltz noted on slowtwitch.com, referring to the proliferation of race organizations crowding the calendar with events.

On Thursday, the WTC, which organizes and promotes the Ironman Triathlon, Ironman 70.3 and IronGirl series of triathlon races, opened general registration for the inaugural Ironman Maryland triathlon, which will be held in September in place of what has in the past been known as the Chesapeakeman Ultra Distance Triathlon.

As with Chesapeakeman, Ironman Maryland's 2.4-mile swim will take place in the Choptank River. The 112-mile bike will wind through Dorchester County and into the Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge, and the 26.2-mile run will traverse flat, country roads. Unlike its predecessor, Ironman Maryland will offer 30 coveted age group qualifying slots to the 2015 Hawaiian Ironman World Championship in Kona.

Prior to Ironman Maryland, triathletes in the Mid-Atlantic region had to travel far and wide to participate in an Ironman, Lake Placid, New York and Louisville, Kentucky being the closest venues. And since many Ironman races, including the popular Ironman Florida and Ironman Arizona races, fill up before you can say "Kona," many triathletes opt to volunteer at the race of their choice to better their chances of securing a spot at the starting line the following year. This means at least two treks to a far-flung venue, all for the privilege of enjoying what will, for the average triathlete, amount to ten or more hours of blood, sweat, tears and pain, and to hear Mike Reilly utter four magical words: You are an Ironman!

So if an Ironman triathlon is on your bucket list but the logistics of traveling to New York or Kentucky or half way across the country have kept you from checking that box, now's your chance.

Ironman Maryland means you can now suffer through 140.6-miles of swimming, biking and running and still be home in time for breakfast the next morning.

To register for Ironman Maryland, visit http://www.ironman.com

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