Extreme swimmers brace for Hong Kong’s toughest open water event

Cold Half marathon swim pushes competitors to the limit over 15km course from Stanley to Deep Water Bay

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 11 February, 2017, 7:03am
UPDATED : Monday, 13 February, 2017, 5:40pm

One of Hong Kong’s most gruelling races will be held next Saturday, February 18.

Now in its fifth year, the 15km Cold Half extreme marathon swim was introduced to cater to the growing interest in open water swimming in the city. It is the winter companion event to the popular Clean Half held in October.

The race takes place on Hong Kong Island from Stanley Main Beach to Deep Water Bay Beach and is divided into solo or two-person relay under two categories – “Naturally Ocean” (no wetsuit) and “Wetsuited & Buoyant”. The cut-off time for completion is six hours.

“This is only for advanced swimmers, and it is the only long-distance cold water swim in Asia that also allows people to train for marathon swims like the English Channel crossing,” says race founder and organiser Doug Woodring.

The event supports Ocean Recovery Alliance, a Hong Kong-based ocean conservation, solutions and education charity.

Woodring says Cold Half course record holder Ned Denison (four hours, 18 minutes and 33 seconds) from Ireland is returning for this year’s event. Denison has also completed the English Channel crossing in 12 hours and 47 minutes.

“This event is also about raising awareness of the need to protect the ocean in honour of the work that Ocean Recovery Alliance is doing, both locally and globally,” Woodring says.