Authorities lift water advisory, indicating that weekend's Ironm - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Authorities lift water advisory, indicating that weekend's Ironman race will take place as planned

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LOUISVILLE, (WDRB) -- Authorities are lifting a water advisory on the Ohio River that threatened to curb the swim portion of Sunday's Ironman triathlon. The move paves the way for the race to take place as planned.

Algae blooms had threatened to disrupt the race.

"The Kentucky Division of Water (DOW) and the Kentucky Department for Public Health (DPH) are removing the recreational use advisory for the section of the Ohio River that encompasses the IRONMAN triathlon swim course and runs from Cardinal Harbour in Oldham County to the McAlpine Locks and Dam, effective immediately," a news release states. "Results from recent sampling by DOW indicate the levels of microcystin toxin occurring in this area of the river are below the advisory threshold for recreating in the water."

The stage is now set for a 26-mile run, a 112-mile bike race and a 2.4-mile swim, as competitors from across the country check out the course and ready themselves for the challenge.

"I do it because of the challenge and being able to say that I am an Ironman," said Robert McConnell, an Ironman participant.

"I love it," said Amy Craft. "I love every part of it. I love to suffer a little bit."

"Today I'll run about five miles, then bike about 10 miles tomorrow, to make sure my gear works," Craft said on Thursday.

"I've heard really good things about the race," said Kimmie Beitzell. "The venue? The swim? Obviously not this year."

The weather looks like it will hold up for Sunday's event, but the big cloud that had been hanging over the Ironman is what was thought to be in the water. The Ohio River held a potentially dangerous algae bloom. The concern was that it might have been too hazardous for thousands of swimmers to dive into for that 2.4-mile swim.

"If there are algae blooms, I don't want any part of it," Craft said.

Racers like Robert McConnell say safety is the most important thing.

"Absolutely," McConnell said. "I'm a dad first."

"I would love to know that whenever I get out of the water -- the hours and days after -- I won't have some kind of parasite or something crazy in my body that's going to put me down," he added.

This afternoon's announcement indicates that authorities believe the algae bloom is no longer a threat and the race will go on.

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