Racers testing the waters in Coeur d'Alene - ABC FOX MONTANA NEWS, WEATHER, SPORTS - KTMF/KWYB

Ironman 2010

Racers testing the waters in Coeur d'Alene

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Ironman races tested the conditions early Friday morning and found water temperatures above 60 degrees (Photo: KHQ/SWX) Ironman races tested the conditions early Friday morning and found water temperatures above 60 degrees (Photo: KHQ/SWX)

Water temperature rises as race approaches

COEUR D'ALENE, Idaho - Things are literally heating up before the annual Ironman race in Coeur d'Alene this year. With water temperature in Lake Coeur d'Alene around 55 degrees earlier in the week, race director Matt Cavasar said the temperature had risen above 62 by Friday, with more warming on the way.

Organizers said they would have had to shorten or eliminate the swim part of the race had the water temperature fallen to 50 degrees. On Friday morning though, Cavasar said the temperature was 62 degrees. The forecast calls for weather in the 70s and 80s as Sunday approaches, meaning the water will likely continue to warm.

"So, things are warming up every day that we get a little more warm weather. Things are looking up for us," said Cavasar.

Racers could be seen Friday morning testing the waters. Some were in wet suits. Some weren't.

Susan Ford, from Tennessee, was one of the participants checking the water in a wet suit.

"I'm from Tennessee, I'm used to bath water," she joked. "But it really wasn't as bad as I was afraid it would be. Coming from me, that's a pretty good indicator because I'm a cold weather weenie!

An estimated 2,500 racers are expected to participate in this year's Ironman. Every year the all-day race takes over the cities of Coeur d'Alene, Hayden, Hayden Lake and Dalton Gardens. Cavasar said it take a whole year of careful planning to pull off the event, and with an increased number of volunteers this year, things are looking good.

He'll know for sure Sunday morning when thousands of people hit the water for the first leg. A total of 72 qualifying spots are on the line for the 2010 Ford Ironman World Championships in Hawaii in October. Competitors have 17 hours to finish the race and compete for a purse that's $50,000 large this year.

"At the finish line at midnight it's almost a party atmosphere," said Cavasar. "We've got all kinds of things going on down here. The pros that have finished earlier are back exhorting the crowd on, cheering those age groupers who are the last to finish."

The elite runners get things started around 6:30 Sunday morning. Everyone else starts at 7.

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