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Raw Sewage Spill In The Hudson River Clean Enough To Greenlight Ironman Championship (PHOTOS)

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By Paul DeBenedetto, DNAinfo Reporter/Producer

NEW YORK CITY — The Ironman U.S. Championships will go on as scheduled.

Officials ruled Friday that the Hudson River was clean enough for swimmers to cross after a broken sewer line in Westchester on Thursday led to a "controlled discharge" of millions of gallons of sewage into the river.

Die-hard athletes eagerly waited all day for a decision on the inaugural competition, set to take place on Saturday.

"We are excited to announce that we will proceed with the 2.4-mile swim in the Hudson River during tomorrow's inaugural Aquadraat Sports IRONMAN U.S. Championship," Ironman spokeswoman Emily Vicker said in an email. "The New York City Department of Environmental Protection tested the water following the break and the reports show the water is safe for swimming."

The Westchester Health Department on Friday morning still had an alert on their website advising swimmers, kayakers and windsurfers to avoid contact with the river. But by late afternoon Friday, the website had been changed to say the advisory would be lifted at 11 p.m.

A spokesman for the event said that more than 2,500 people were expected to participate in the 140.6-mile race, which includes the 2.4-mile Hudson River swim, a 112-mile bike ride on the Palisades Parkway in New Jersey and a 26.2-mile run crossing the George Washington Bridge and finishing in Riverside Park.

Seventy-five age-group qualifiers will advance to the 2012 Ironman World Championship in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, and the top finishers will split $125,000, the website said.

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