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Ironman Lake Tahoe organizers prepared if smoke does not clear by Sunday's race

OLYMPIC VALLEY, Calif. (MyNews4.com & KRNV) -- Thousands of athletes are competing in Ironman Lake Tahoe this weekend. The event involves a 2.4 mile swim, a 112-mile bike ride, and a marathon.

Ironman organizers said they are relying on the National Weather Service's prediction that smoke in the Lake Tahoe region will clear out by this weekend. Officials said as of now, no changes are expected, but said they will have to wait until race day to know for sure. "You know, I think a cancelled race is very rare, I don't think that's really ever happened," said North Lake Tahoe Resort Association's Chief Marketing Officer Andy Chapman.

Approximately 3,100 athletes will be racing through Lake Tahoe Sunday for the Ironman event. With smoky conditions around the region from the King Fire, organizers are hoping the air is clear by race day. "But again, looking right now, there's no anticipation of any change, I think everyone's comfortable with the way the forecast is going right now, and so we should have a great race come Sunday morning," said Chapman.

Still, Chapman said the safety of athletes and spectators is the most important part of Ironman. So he said if the smoke has not cleared by Sunday, race modifications could happen. "You know, not to play armchair quarterback, we won't know what that is, certainly we'll be watching the weather patterns and come Friday, we'll see if the forecast that the Weather Service is putting out there is in fact accurate, we do things can change."

Ironman Lake Tahoe will be Kristin Bradfield's seventh competition. She said the smoke has affected her training this week. "Yeah I went out the one day and ran in it for quite a while, and I coughed for maybe 24 hours, so yesterday I stayed in all afternoon and evening, so it's keeping us inside a little more than we would like."

But Bradfield is keeping a positive attitude for race day. "Ironman people are really determined and I've seen people race with serious injuries and illness and I don't think the smoke will stop people from trying."

But if any race changes end up happening on Sunday, officials said they will post updates on the Lake Tahoe Ironman website. If you plan on attending the event this weekend, you are encouraged to go early and expect delays throughout the Tahoe region.

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