Due to dense mats of potentially toxic algal species at five sites around Lake Taup, prompting a Council warning for the public to avoid swimming in affected areas, organisers of IRONMAN 70.3 Taupo have been forced to remove the swim leg and implement a contingency course, consisting of a 3km Run, 90km Bike and 21km Run.

After receiving reports from the public of algae blooms, Waikato Regional Council scientists collected a number of algae samples on Tuesday and again yesterday from five sites.

Testing overnight by NIWA scientists has confirmed the presence of potentially toxic algal species, including Phormidium, at areas within Five Mile Bay, Acacia Bay, the main lake front in Taup, Whakaipo Bay and Kinloch Beach.

Race organisers were notified of the warning at 8pm Thursday 7 December, and have been working quickly to notify all registered athletes of the change, and the options open to them.

The new format will be a 3km RUN - 90km BIKE - 21km RUN. The start location will be on Ferry Road above the original swim start. Start times and waves will remain the same.

Race Director Wayne Reardon acknowledges this is not the race Athletes were hoping for, but says the health of all competitors is the first priority in this situation.

"We know athletes will be disappointed about this news, as we are. However, our team are still committed to putting on a fantastic race on Saturday, albeit in a modified format. We look forward to seeing athletes at Athlete Check in tomorrow and on the start line on Saturday."

Reardon acknowledges that many athletes will be disappointed not to have the opportunity to complete the full course, so IRONMAN will also offer all athletes the opportunity to transfer their entry at no cost to any 2018 IRONMAN 70.3 race in Australia or New Zealand. CLICK HERE to see the list of races

Athletes wanting to transfer to another ace must apply in writing via email to Taupo70.3@ironman.com before 5pm NZT 20 December 2017 and confirm which event they would like transfer to. Further terms and conditions apply, CLICK HERE for more.

MORE INFORMATION

Members of the public who notice algal blooms in other areas can report them to the regional council on 0800 800 401. For health advice, people should call the Healthline on 0800 611 116. For advice on drinking water and beach access call the district council on 0800 ASK TDC (0800 275 832).

- This story has been automatically published using a media release from Athletics New Zealand