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Water too low for triathlon?

OKLAHOMA CITY — It is a big weekend for extreme athletes in Oklahoma City competing in the annual Redman Triathlon at Lake Hefner.

The event ushers in athletes from around the country and the world.

Besides heavy competition between themselves, this year they have an added challenge, low water levels at the lake.

“Goggles, wetsuit,” triathlete Corrie Young said.

A lot of preparation goes into packing for the big day.

“Some energy gels since we have to eat a lot,” she said.

Wait until you hear what all this packing for; 140.6 miles that includes a 2.4 mile swim, a 112 mile bike ride and then we run a marathon when we get off the bike,” Young said.

Young has been doing triathlons for a few years and juggles training around work and her three kids.

“Things aren’t always cooked and the house isn’t always perfectly clean,” she said.

Just like training for a full Ironman takes months, it takes several days to get Lake Hefner ready for the event.

Each fall it is where people from all over the world come to compete in the Redman full and half triathlons.

However, this year, the sprawling lake that can be seen for miles is not so sprawling.

The drought has sucked the shore dry.

What does this mean for athletes?

“Their transition time will be longer,” Redman director David Wood said.

It will also be a little longer before the city can replenish the lake.

Canton Lake is the only water source the city uses to get levels back up at Hefner but Canton Lake is just as parched as Hefner.

“The silt level was too high at Canton and the level of Canton was too low to send water down here,” Wood said.

City officials said there is no charge to release water from Canton each time it is needed because the city pays to lease water rights from the lake.

They said the only time they get water from Canton is when it is needed at Hefner to supply drinking water to the metro.

Even though there is no water supply this year, it does not mean the city is at a total loss.

“The 2,000 athletes that are visiting will bring about $4.2 million to the economy,” Wood said.

As for the safety of the water, officials said it is tested just like the course here tests triathletes.

“It’s kind of a fun lifetime sport,” Young said. “Hopefully it inspires somebody to do their first 5K.”

The Redman Triathlon is Saturday and Sunday.

Get more information on the Redman here: http://www.redmantriathlon.com