Heat concerns weigh on Ironman athletes, race coordinators
The Ironman competition is only a few days away and participants will soon be dealing with temperatures in the mid to high 90s.
Wednesday, August 20th 2014, 10:41 pm EDT
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- The Ironman competition is only a few days away and participants will soon be dealing with temperatures in the mid to high 90s.
"The triathlon itself is difficult for even the best athletes to get through. When you throw in the heat and the humidity it become almost impossible for many people," says Dr. Steve Heilman, Chief Medical Information Officer with Norton Healthcare.
Cyclists like Doug Voss say that dealing with the high temperatures is tough enough when on a bike, but when you're competing in a triathlon, it's extremely challenging. He says he hasn't competed in the Ironman, but gives credit to those who do.
“You just swam over 2 miles, you've ridden over 100, and now you have to run a marathon. It's an amazing feat. My hat's off to anybody that finishes the Ironman," says Voss.
With days the go before the competition, work is underway to get Waterfront Park set up with bike racks.
On Sunday, nearly 2,500 athletes will be competing in the triathlon and medical staff and volunteers want to make sure that they are safe.
They plan to have extra ice bags and water for the athletes and Ironman officials say they will add misting stations to the running course so that athletes can cool off.
Dr. Steve Heilman says medical staff usually treat nearly 500 people during the race. That number is expected to be higher this year with temperatures expected in the mid to high 90s.
Doctors say after the biking portion of the competition is when you may see the temperatures take a toll on some of the athletes.
"We see a lot of patients collapse right there," says Heilman.
That's why they're asking participants to use their best judgment and to also take precautions.
Voss. a cyclist, doesn't believe the heat will stop the dedicated athletes who've been preparing for this triathlon all summer long.
"I don't care how fast or slow they do it. Just to finish is an amazing feat," says Voss.
Officials with Norton Healthcare say nearly 300 volunteers, nurses, and physicians will help out on Sunday to make sure people are safe.
If temperatures are in the high 90s, officials with the Ironman competition say this could be one of the hottest years for the competition.
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