The show goes on after E. coli at Oneida Shores shut down Iron Girl swimming

Competitors adjusted to a two part race to avoid health risks

Brewerton, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) - Iron Girl competitors suited up and moved ahead with a new plan on Sunday, adjusting to changes in the lineup that usually includes biking, running, and swimming.

A positive test for E. coli in Oneida Lake prompted organizers to cancel the swimming portion of the competition in Brewerton this weekend.

Race director Ken Hammond told NewsChannel 9 that the competitors’ options would include a 1.6K run, a 30K bike and 5K run.

In their packets, registered visitors were also offered discounts for next year's Iron Girl in Central New York.

Many women said they would rather miss the swim portion of the event than risk getting sick.

"It was a good experience just running the mile first. It was a nice warmup to the bike. So, it was still fun. I had a better time than last year because we didn't swim. So, it was good," said Carol Basile.

Others say the Iron Girl experience is more about the camaraderie and support from other women who train for months to finish the challenge.

"A lot of people come out, even along the roads while we are riding our bikes or running the neighborhood, people are out there cheering us on. It's just great. It's really great for the community," added Roxanne Deyo, who traveled from Florida.

Recreational swimming at Oneida Shores has been banned since the end of July.

The sand portion of the beach is still open for visitors, but the water is off-limits.

Swimming was not allowed for the past few weeks due to blue-green algal blooms found in Oneida Lake.

According to the Health Department, blue-green algal blooms can turn the water green and form scum on the surface of the water, sometimes releasing toxins that may cause skin or eye irritation, or diarrhea and vomiting if ingested.

Health experts say people and animals should keep out of water with algae blooms.

Oneida Shores closed last summer for high levels of E. Coli bacteria.

Drivers traveling on the race's bike course Sunday morning should expect delays throughout. For a look at the course map, click here.

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