Swimming Events Guide 2024
Race for the sea

Dame Kelly Holmes, Sir Chris Hoy and Ross Edgley team up for an epic triathlon to save our seas

On 16 October world-famous athletes Dame Kelly Holmes, Sir Chris Hoy and Ross Edgley will embark on a ‘Tri for the Sea’, to raise awareness for Talisker’s ongoing marine conservation with Parley for the Oceans

Today (16 October), long-distance swimmer and environmentalist Ross Edgley is teaming up with Olympic cyclist Sir Chris Hoy and athletics icon Dame Kelly Holmes to compete in a Relay Triathlon with a twist. Taking place on the shores of Edinburgh, the athletes will participate in a relay triathlon to raise awareness for the vital importance of our seas, and Talisker’s ongoing support of Parley for the Oceans’ marine conservation projects.

In a never-before attempted challenge, the three athletes will race consecutively along Edinburgh’s coastline towards Cramond Island, which sits 1.5 km off the shores of the Scottish capital. The island is only visitable for a limited time per day, after which the causeway to access it is enveloped by the tide and Cramond’s rugged beauty becomes isolated from the city once more.

A race against the tide

The challenge starts in the Firth of Forth, where Ross Edgley will dive into the salty waters of the famous Scottish Estuary, in a 1.5km swim towards Silversands Beach, where Sir Chris Hoy will be waiting. Once Ross has run up the beach and tagged him, Chris will embark on a 15.8km cycle across the Forth Bridge and along the coastline to meet Dame Kelly Holmes, who will run the triathlon’s final 10km. A sprint until the very end, the athletes will have to ensure their race times are quick so that Kelly is able to complete her final leg along the causeway before it is taken by the tide.

United by the shared goal of raising awareness for the need to protect sea kelp forests in Scotland, the athletes will be competing with marine ecosystems in mind. The research, which Talisker has helped fund through their long-term partnership with Parley, is being carried out at Edinburgh-based Heriot-Watt University, who along with Plymouth Marine Laboratory (PML) and the Blue Marine Foundation are undertaking independent scientific research in the Orkney Islands.

Just off the north coast of Scotland, these islands offer a remote, biodiversity-rich and abundant area of underwater kelp forests. Setting out to help protect the magical world beneath the surface of Scotland’s waves, this scientific research aims to better understand kelp forests’ critical role in preventing climate change and the value they play in the biodiversity of Scotland’s fragile and beautiful marine ecosystems.

Vital habitat

Native to the Isle of Skye, sea forests are prime underwater habitats that cover 25% of the world’s coastline and play a critical role in planetary health, but are vanishing four times faster than rainforests. Parley for the Oceans and their partners will help to showcase how essential these underwater forests are and encourage greater levels of protection.

Extreme swimmer Ross Edgley said, “I am incredibly excited to be partnering with Talisker once more to undertake an epic race in the name of ocean conservation. The triathlon will be an awesome challenge and I am delighted to have two legendary sportspeople on my team to race in and alongside Scotland’s beautiful waters to Cramond Island, in the hope of beating the tide. The research being undertaken by Parley’s partners Heriot-Watt University and Plymouth Marine Laboratory could not be more important and it is an honour to compete in the stunning city that Heriot-Watt calls home. Bring it on!”

Historic connection

Talisker’s connection with the ocean goes back hundreds of years starting when founders, the MacAskill brothers, stepped onto the shores to set up the first distillery on the Isle of Skye. Talisker Whisky is very much a product of its coastal home, the ocean that surrounds it has created and shaped the signature maritime and briny notes that can be tasted in its whisky today.

Consumers can support Talisker and Parley for the Oceans’ mission to help protect Scottish waters and marine ecosystems around the world by purchasing a bottle of Talisker whisky from participating Tesco stores nationwide. For every bottle sold from 10th October to 6th November, Talisker will pledge £1 to Parley for the Oceans up to a maximum of £40,000, directly funding this important work to help preserve wild seas for generations to come.

Follow Ross, Chris and Kelly’s Race for the Sea on @Talisker, @Parley.Tv, @RossEdgley, @ChrisHoy1 and @DameKellyHolmes

Read our interview with conservationist Cal Major about why sea kelp is so important.

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Abi writes swimming news stories and features for the Outdoor Swimmer website and manages the social media channels. She loves to swim, run, hike and SUP close to her home in Herefordshire. While she’s a keen wild swimmer, Abi is new to the world of open water events and recently completed her first open water mile. She has previously written for The Guardian, BBC Countryfile Magazine, BBC History Magazine and Ernest Journal.