Given Hong Kong’s current waste crisis, the 9th annual Sheko Challenge, and world’s only Trisolothon, will continue to be one of the only sports event in Hong Kong where zero plastic water bottles are used for the athletes.

Under the leadership of race director Doug Woodring, this mindset and initiative directly help reduce the waste output at the event. “It reminds people of the importance of protecting the ocean from litter. Filtered water is supplied by Life Solutions, and new fold-able, re-useable cups from Fold-n-Fold in Taiwan were used.”

Participants get cold, fresh drinking water without leaving waste plastic behind. “This is groundbreaking for a sports event in Asia and something any event around the world can mimic,” Woodring explains.

The Sheko Challenge is a 2.2 km point-to-point race where some of Hong Kong’s top swimmers, triathletes, adventure racers and water lovers swim from Big Wave Bay in Sheko to the Back Beach. In the fourth annual Trisolothon, some of Hong Kong’s top athletes will compete. Swimmers will team up with a runner and a paddler (on a surf ski or outrigger canoe). All the teammates start at the same time from different locations, and converge on the same finish line together.

For the first time, ocean water polo will also be played after the races, and spectators are encouraged to participate. “This year will be hot, like the past, but we have the biggest amount of pre-registered participants ever. This shows that people love the outdoor beauty and challenge that this sports event offers. It continues to be a pillar of the open water swim schedule in Hong Kong,” said Woodring. “We are pleased to be a showcase of how sports events can reduce their plastic footprint and waste-creation during events. We hope that other organizers can follow suit. We already have events in the United States that are also adopting a reduced plastic and waste strategy, and it is great to see Hong Kong leading the way particularly given the pressure on our landfills and the marine 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.”

Since 2004, the Sheko Challenge has been a fundraising event to support the Ocean Recovery Alliance with their global efforts and WWF with their local efforts to improve the ocean environment. For more information visit Open Water Asia.

Ocean Recovery Alliance is a non-profit organization in Hong Kong and California. It was established in 2010 in order to bring new technologies, innovations, creativity and collaborations to solve issues that face the health of the ocean today. One of the main focuses is on plastic pollution, and the group has made two commitments related to the reduction and prevention of global plastic pollution at the Clinton Global Initiative. The group’s unique plastic reduction programs are now being adopted by UNEP and the World Bank for their ocean programs.

Life Solutions was founded in Hong Kong in order to provide high quality water filtration solutions for the provision of clean and healthy drinking water. One of the main objectives is to reduce the reliance on the use of bottled water so prevalent in modern society. Life Solutions has become the market leader in providing filtered water to offices, homes and the hospitality industry in Hong Kong, Macau and Mainland China.

Photos from last year’s event are here. Video of this year’s race is below:

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