Participants in a scheduled triathlon in Delaware this weekend can forget about the swimming part of the competition.
Officials in Newark say a blue-green algae bloom in the city's reservoir has grown to levels at which recreational activities in the water must be suspended.
"Blue-green algae thrives off nutrients in the water, which are introduced via stormwater runoff throughout the watershed," acting city manager Tom Coleman said. "Unfortunately there is no easy way to prevent a bloom from occurring nor predict when a bloom may occur."
Sunday's Top of Delaware triathlon will now be a duathlon event, with 1.5 mile run followed by a 14.4 mile bike ride, concluding with another run of 2.6 miles. More than 200 athletes signed up for the full triathlon with another 56 planning on doing only the duathlon.
"We are disappointed the triathlon needs to be changed to a duathlon, but the safety and well-being of our participants is our primary concern," Piranha Sports founder, CEO and race director Neil Semmel said. "The duathlon course is a challenging, yet rewarding alternative and we hope those who registered for the triathlon will still join us for the event and participate in that course instead."
The race, which launched in 2013, was the first one to feature a swim in the city's reservoir, Newark said.
Organizers claimed that due to the late notice of the swim being canceled, they couldn’t offer refunds, they did however offer participants to transfer to another 2017 event. Requests for transfer must be made by 2 p.m. Friday.