OLD ORCHARD BEACH — On a typical late August day you wouldn’t normally see more than 2,000 adults jumping into the water near the iconic Old Orchard Beach Pier a little past 6 a.m.

But that’s how many athletes competed Sunday in the Ironman 70.3 Maine triathlon as the event grew by more than 100 percent in its first year as part of the popular Ironman series.

Dave Bartlett, 33, of England was the overall winner with a time of 4 hours, 9 minutes, 26 seconds. Ashley Forsyth, 36, of Philadelphia won the women’s division in 4:47:27.

“I’ve done 70.3s around Europe and have had good experiences,” said Bartlett, who qualified for and will participate in the Half Ironman world championships in 2018 in South Africa. “But you have to experience different things, and Maine popped up and I thought I’d give it a go.

“It is really exciting to be somewhere different. I’ve done the big places – the L.A.s, the New Yorks, San Frans – but to come to Maine at a really nice seaside resort, it is the perfect destination for a race. I really enjoyed it.”

Formerly known as the Rev3 Triathlon, which covered roughly the same course – a 1.2-mile swim near the Old Orchard Beach Pier, 56 miles of biking through Saco, Dayton, Lyman, Waterboro and Hollis, and a 13.1-mile run to Scarborough and back – adding the well-known Ironman brand took this year’s edition to a new level. This event is also known as a Half Ironman because it’s half the distance of a full Ironman triathlon.

Not only did the number of entrants more than double to 2,300, the crowds were three and four deep at the start, transition area and finish line.

“The Ironman name absolutely boosted the number by double,” said Larry Mead, Old Orchard Beach’s town manager, who got things under way by firing the starter cannon.

“Looking up the beach and seeing 2,000 athletes lined up almost a half-mile is a pretty awe-aspiring sight.”

Bartlett commended the support from Old Orchard Beach and the surrounding area and thinks it will sustain the race in years to come.

“The people in Maine are so welcoming and you can see how many people in the town have come out to support this race. It makes it an unbelievable experience to compete in this race.”

Zev Myerowtiz, the winner of last year’s Rev3 event, finished fourth this time, but had an excuse: He became a father less than two weeks ago.

The Cape Elizabeth resident was following his plan of a strong start – he held his own in the water and was in first when he laced up his running sneakers following the bike leg – but couldn’t finish like he had hoped.

“I came off the bike in first and I tried to run the pace I know I can run, but I came up a little short today,” he explained. “My wife and I were blessed enough to welcome our first child about 10 days ago, so I think maybe spending a little more time doing the diaper thing recently, which is wonderful and great, played a part (in my finish).”

Tim Brosious, Maine Ironman supply coordinator, has traveled the country in many capacities for the company, including as the race director in Boulder, Colorado. He said Maine’s first Ironman event couldn’t have been better.

“We’ve really enjoyed it here (in Maine). The community has been open to us, so it has been a win-win situation,” he said. “When the community enjoys it … it makes it easier for us to want to come back year after year.”

Scott Janicola of Dix Hills, New York, said that with many relatives in the area and his parents having met at the University of Maine, the race was quite nostalgic. He said his family spent two weeks in Maine during the summers when he was growing up.

“This was a bucket list race for me,” said Janicola, 54, who has competed in almost 20 half- and full triathlons. “(Thoughts and memories of) all of my relatives were going through my thoughts throughout the race.”

For Bryan Gallant, running on his home course, literally, is a great experience. The Portland resident is a trustee for the Eastern Trail, which was used for part of the run segment, and works at Rodgers Ski & Sport in Scarborough.

“Being able to run on the Eastern Trail and train in my backyard was quite beneficial,” he said. “The crowds were great today, a lot bigger than years past. I thought the congestion on the course was minimal. All in all it was a great time.”

Katherine Caprio of Portland surmised that adding the Ironman name will continue to bring more athletes and spectators, which can only be a positive for the area.

“Having an Ironman in the area brings so much notoriety; it enhances the economy and promotes physical fitness,” said the Portland resident who participated in the swim and run.