Amid ongoing eruptions, Ironman organizers tell runners the race is on

KONA, HAWAII (HawaiiNewsNow) - As the Kilauea eruption continues to make national headlines, organizers of the Ironman are urging triathletes not to cancel their travel plans.

The World Championship takes place in October, but the more immediate concern is the Ironman 70.3 which is half the distance and a prep race for the World Champs. The Ironman 70.3 Hawaii is scheduled for June 2.

Race officials are trying to spread the word that the areas impacted by the eruption are limited to lower Puna.

The website says that the volcanic activity is in a remote area approximately 100 miles from the Kohala Coast, where the race occurs. In addition, it says air quality on the Kohala Coast is considered good and the airports continue to operate normally.

Queens Medical Center Emergency Room Dr. Wayne Warrington is planning to race in the half-Ironman next month.

He's hoping the trade winds hold up and keep the bad air offshore.

"Over in Kona, your biggest issue is really the atmosphere, the vog. Not really there's going to be an explosion on the Queen K up in Kailua-Kona ... that's probably highly unlikely. But mostly for the air conditions," said Warrington.

Although the Ironman website hasn't commented specifically about the vog threat, Warrington said he has received two emails from organizers in the last two weeks reminding athletes the race is still on.

Warrington added he's even seeing an increase in respiratory problems at Queen's Medical Center-West Oahu.

"There's definitely been an increase in visits to the emergency room for respiratory exasperations, whether it be COPD emphazemia, or asthma in younger people or older people," he said.

Warrington has been chosen for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society's IronMan Kona team and will be competing in honor of his mother, Janet Warrington, who lost her battle to cancer 10 years ago.

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