Swimming with a conscience

My pre-race checklist goes something like this:

  • Goggles – check.
  • Swim hat – check.
  • Trunks/wetsuit – check.
  • Nutrition – check.
  • Bottle of water – check.

Pretty standard. But one thing that you see a lot of at races is empty plastic bottles of water. Add those bottles to those given out free at the start line and in finishers’ goody bags, and you end up with a lot of waste plastic.
The Jax Sheko Challenge in Hong Kong, organised by Douglas Woo and Doug Woodring of D2Adrenaline, is one of the few sporting events in the world where no plastic bottles are used.“The Jax Sheko Challenge is a showcase of how sports events can reduce their plastic “footprint” and waste-creation during events,” says Woodring. “We hope that other organisers can follow suit. We already have events in the US that are adopting a reduced plastic and waste strategy, and it is great to see Hong Kong leading the way here, particularly given the pressure on our landfills and the marine environment.”
The Jax Sheko Challenge is a 2.2km beach-to-beach race from Big Wave to the Sheko Back Beach. The event also includes the world’s only Tri-Solo-thon, where swimmers team up with runners and paddlers.
Funds raised go in part to support the Ocean Recovery Alliance and WWF with their local efforts to improve the ocean environment.
“As users of the ocean, and the environment, athletes cherish clean places to train and compete in their sports, and we hope that they will carry this ambassadorial role with them to their friends, families and other races as they continue their love of sport,” says Woodring.
The 11th Jax Sheko Challenge had over 200 swimmers, 40 runners and 12 paddlers. The swim was won by Craig Nortje in 31:24. Second place went to Angus Kelleher in 31:31. The women’s race was won, a second year in a row, by 14-year-old Aneekah Styles in 32:39, with second place going to former Olympian sprinter Hannah Wilson in 33:54.

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I created Outdoor Swimmer in 2011 (initially as H2Open Magazine) as an outlet for my passion for swimming outdoors. I've been a swimmer and outdoor swimmer for as long as I remember. Swimming has made a huge difference to my life and I want to share its joys and benefits with as many people as possible. I am also the author of Swim Wild & Free: A Practical Guide to Swimming Outdoors 365 a Year and I provide one-to-one support to swimmers through Swim Mentoring.