LAKE PLACID - Although winter is far from over, local and state officials are already thinking about this summer's Ironman triathlon.
The state Senate passed a bill recently week that lets out-of-state medical professionals perform services for athletes during the annual race, an exception the Legislature usually approves.
Meanwhile, the town of North Elba took action to authorize the July 22 event, and the village of Lake Placid is working with the Lake Placid Business Association to place a plaque honoring the athletes near the Beach House on Mirror Lake.
Over the course of the last 10 years, the state has enacted legislation that lets doctors and health care professionals from other states work with Ironman athletes during the event.
This year is no different.
"Thousands of athletes participate in this physically grueling competition and the immediate attention they receive from health care professionals is essential to address sports-related injuries and speed their recovery," state Sen. Betty Little said in a press release.
The bill covers physicians, physician's assistants, massage therapists, physical therapists, chiropractors, dentists, optometrists, nurses, nurse practitioners and podiatrists who are licensed to practice in other states or territories. They must also be recognized or appointed by the World Triathlon Corporation.
Assemblywoman Teresa Sayward is sponsoring a companion bill. If signed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, the law takes effect July 18 and expires July 23.
Town signs off
During a regular meeting Feb. 14, the North Elba town board unanimously approved a resolution to allow the event to be televised. The board also gave town Supervisor Roby Politi permission to sign a letter of support for Ironman.
Politi said Essex County Highway Superintendent Tony LaVigne has already offered his formal approval of the event subject to insurance requirements.
Lake Placid won't be the only Ironman in the Northeast this year. New York City and Quebec will host races on Aug. 11 and 19, respectively.
Politi said he's not concerned about the presence of two additional races.
"I think that we're all very optimistic that the race will stay in Lake Placid," he said. "This race and the Ironman Hawaii are the two most popular races."
Village Trustee Art Devlin said last week that he's been working with the Regional Office of Sustainable Tourism and a subcommittee of the LPBA to have a plaque honoring Ironman athletes placed on a rock next to the Beach House.
"It would give a photo opportunity for athletes, participants or even just tourists in the area," Devlin said.
According to Devlin, ROOST would pay for the plaque. It would be attached to a flat rock, which would be donated.
"This is one of several things the business association is working on to try to recognize Ironman," village Mayor Craig Randall said.