Goose poop plays havoc with triathlon

Event organizers have contingency plan, though no swim advisory lifted Friday morning

An advisory posted at Hamsterly Beach earlier this week warns swimmers to stay out of the water.

Bad weather has kept beach-goers from Elk Lake this summer but now that the sun is out it became the Vancouver Island Health Authority suggesting people stay away.

The Capital Regional District posted a no swim advisory at Hamsterly Beach on July 23 due to high levels of fecal coliform bacteria from excessive geese droppings.

Not only did the warning put a damper on the popular swim spot, it’s also forcing athletes in Sunday’s annual Self Transcendence Triathlon and Duathlon to rethink participating.

“Unless there’s a ban, even with the health advisory in effect, it’ll be the athlete’s choice (to swim),” said race director Sumitra McMurchy.

The race isn’t being re-routed, she said, but organizers have provided a contingency plan. “Those who choose not to swim can switch from the swim-bike-run triathlon to a modified bike-run-bike duathlon.”

It’s a tough call for the athletes, many of whom train for the event all year. Some, like race veteran Barney McKinnon, are willing to ignore the health warning.

“I wasn’t even aware of the advisory on Saturday when I swam the lake (to train for the triathlon),” said McKinnon, who’s competed in the triathlon 24 times. “Unless there’s a ban, I’ll be in the water. After all the years of doing it, I’m not interested in bike-run-bike.”

Fortunately, participants won’t have to worry about that – for now. On Friday morning the advisory was lifted, though it could possibly be reissued before Sunday, depending on the weather and the number of geese at Hamsterly.

“It’s ironic the weather has kept people away because they are the deterrent for the geese,” said VIHA’s medical health officer Dr. Murray Fyfe.

Swallowing the high-bacteria water can result in gastrointestinal inflammation. Even direct contact with the eyes, ears and nose can cause irritation.

sports@vicnews.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

View Royal fire chief calls for realistic solutions to ‘mess’ at Thetis Lake

Emergency crews harassed while extinguishing brush fire, rescuing drunk 15-year-old during long weekend calls

Greater Victoria woman goes on gratitude mission to thank first responders

Jen Klein fainted while driving and crashed on Pat Bay Highway in 2019

Non-venomous ball python missing in Vic West

Snake was reported missing to Victoria police Tuesday morning

Multiple Victoria officers injured during violent incidents, including mental health calls over long weekend

Police deploy pepper spray, conducted energy weapon while arresting suspect

B.C. records 146 new COVID-19 cases through long weekend

More that 28 people tested positive for the virus each day since Friday

Canucks tame Minnesota Wild 4-3 to even NHL qualifying series

J.T. Miller leads Vancouver with goal and an assist

COVID-19 vaccine efforts provide hope but no silver bullet to stop pandemic: Tam

There are more than two dozen vaccines for COVID-19 in clinical trials around the world

Two people die in propane heated outdoor shower near Princeton

Couple was attending a long weekend gathering

Study shines light on what makes LGBTQ+ youth feel safe in a community

The study goes beyond looking at school or family supports

Alberta to require masks at schools this fall, but still no mandate in B.C.

B.C. students are also set to return to classrooms in September

B.C. to allow customers to buy cannabis online for in-store pickup at private shops

Age verification will still be required inside the store

30% of British Columbians would ‘wait and see’ before taking COVID vaccine: poll

Some are concerned about side effects, while others don’t think the virus is a big deal

Most Read