Getting Answers: Connecticut River water quality for Ironman 70.3 Western Mass.
SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) - Preparations are underway for the Ironman 70.3 Western Mass. taking place in Springfield on Sunday and athletes have already begun to arrive. One of the challenges will have participants swimming through the Connecticut River, but how optimal is that water for people to swim in.
Work was underway on Friday to set up for Sunday’s competition. Western Mass News found staff putting up barricades, placing markings on the streets, and even buoys in the waters of the Connecticut River for the 70.3 mile event.
Heavy rain on May 24 caused more than seven million gallons of sewage water and discharge to be released into the Connecticut River. The question now is: will it be ready for the athletes to swim in this weekend? Dave Christen, the Ironman Group’s regional manager, told Western Mass News it already is.
“Yeah, we test it ongoing. We actually tested it yesterday and we’ll get those results today and then again, we work on that continuously because it’s a moving body of water and we want to make sure we have good quality leading all the way up to the last possible moment,” Christen explained.
Organizers said that 1,400 athletes are expected to participate in the triathlon. To complete it, they will first go down a ramp at North Riverfront Park, swim to Riverfront Park, ride a bicycle to Granville and back, and then run through Springfield and West Springfield. Caitlin Drap, an Ironman volunteer but also one of the registered athletes, told Western Mass News she has full trust in the water testing measures in place ahead of Sunday’s event.
“I know, for a fact, the work at hands. We have nothing but the best people out there taking care of us, so it’s a good security blanket to have…Rivers move quickly, so I tend to think in my mind that those are the cleanest bodies of water that we have so no, I’m not concerned,” Drap noted.
Additional water testing will take place on Saturday and Sunday while athletes are swimming in the Connecticut River. The Springfield Fire Department, as well as area first responders, will also be on-hand to make sure everyone stays safe.
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