Edmonton Marathon will go ahead as air quality expected to improve Sunday

Poor air quality due to smoke from B.C. wildfires is expected to improve Sunday, so Edmonton Marathon organizers say the race will continue as planned.

Smoke is thick in the Edmonton area on Saturday, with the Air Quality Health Index measuring 10+ — the highest possible rating. Environment Canada recommends limiting outdoor activities and strenuous activity when the air quality is this poor.

But the air quality level is expected to improve to a six by Saturday night, and Sunday should be much less smoky, at a level four.

Marathon organizers say this “moderate risk” level is low enough to continue with the marathon.

“Participants know how to manage their race experience to minimize their health risks. It is the individual’s responsibility to choose participation and or a distance that reflects their abilities and health factors,” organizers said in a statement.

Race participants who believe the air quality still poses too much of a health risk can run a shorter distance at no charge by visiting the race kit pick-up area in the Shaw Conference Centre.

The ABC Kids race scheduled for Saturday has been rescheduled to Sunday due to air quality concerns and to coincide with the main race event, however. The short-distance run is now scheduled for 10:45 a.m. and kids will run down Jasper Avenue.

Another update on the marathon will be issued Saturday at 5 p.m.

Another event set to continue despite hazy skies this weekend is the Edmonton Airshow at the Villeneuve Airport. A spokesperson for the event said in a statement there are “blue skies” at the airport.

The Edmonton Eskimos are expected to announce at noon whether tonight’s home game against the Montreal Alouettes will go ahead at 7 p.m.

Smoke drifting across the Prairies

Smoke from B.C. wildfires has wafted east across the Prairies, putting the entire province of Alberta as well as Saskatchewan, Manitoba and parts of Ontario under air quality advisories.

Almost all of B.C. is also included in the special air quality advisories.

The forecast for Edmonton this weekend is mainly sunny Saturday with a high of 21 C and a low of 10 C, and will remain smoky throughout the day. The air quality level should improve by Saturday night, dropping to a level six.

Sunday will be a high of 21 C and sunny, with smoke lingering. The air quality level is expected to improve to a level four. 

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