Racers prepare for high temperatures during IRONMAN Chattanooga

IRONMAN Chattanooga participants like Tim Minderlein prepare for the race by drinking plenty of water. (Image: WTVC) 

With temperatures expected to reach the upper 80's for Sunday's IRONMAN Chattanooga triathlon, athletes and organizers are taking precautions.

Tim Minderlein says he's made it a priority to hydrate since Wednesday.

"I was definitely anticipating the humidity and the heat," said Tim Minderlein.

Minderlien lives in Maryland, where he competed in his first IRONMAN. He feels prepared for whatever conditions Sunday will bring.

"It's similar weather in Maryland, so I've been training all summer in the heat," said Minderlein.

Last year, temperatures reached a sweltering 97 degrees during the IRONMAN.

"There's definitely concern," said Minderlein. "It's always on the back of my mind."

Erlanger says it treated more than 600 athletes and spectators in its medical tents on the course last year. A majority of those people needed help for heat related illnesses.

It won't get as hot this year, but athletes are still using caution.

"As soon as I get out of the water and on the bike I start hydrating," said Minderlein about this game plan for the race. "Just drinking and sticking to my nutrition plan."

When racers feel the effects of heat along the course, organizers say they'll have some relief.

"We just make sure they have access to as much fluids as possible," said Bryan Myrick, Race Director. "Ice is available. We bring in misting tents. Sprinklers, stuff like that to try to keep these guys as cool as we can."

Competitors hope those elements and their preparation will help them cross the finish line.

"Until you do one, you just don't understand how exciting it is," said Minderlein.

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