This North Devon triathlon is thought to be the first plastic free sporting event in the UK
- Credit: howaboutdave photography
A triathlon held in North Devon is believed to be the first event of its kind to go plastic free.
The Croyde Ocean Triathlon 2018 took place on Sunday, with the event achieving plastic free status from Surfers Against Sewage.
Organisers believe it is the first plastic free sporting event to take place in the United Kingdom.
The triathlon teamed up with The Pickwell Foundation to encourage greater consideration for the enviornment, both as event and for competitors taking part.
Race director Pete Wright said: “It’s not as hard as one thinks. We replaced plastic cups with compostable cups, banned plastic bottles and used tap water instead; we also had reusable cable ties and non-laminated race numbers and all food was supplied in environmental containers.
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“In time all sporting events will be run this way and we are spearheading the movement by making all our research of alternative suppliers available to other event organizers.”
As well as recycling and using no single-use plastic, organisers looked at minimising environmental impact through suppliers, snacks available at the race and even the prizes given out to winners.
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On a scorching day, a water bar set up by Plastic Free North Devon served up some 600 litres of water to competitors and spectators, an amount which would usually have generated 1,200 plastic bottles.
There was also a celebrity appearance at the event, with actress Charity Wakefield volunteering to hand out drinks to competitors.
She said: “This incredible oceanic triathlon was free of single use plastic, and what a gorgeous day to celebrate North Devon in all its natural beauty.
“Thanks so much to The Pickwell Foundation for sponsoring, and to Pete and the team at Croyde Ocean Triathlon for envisioning how environmentally friendly their event could be, and of course huge congratulations to everyone who took part in this incredibly tough event.”
The race itself was won by Croyde lifeguard Jack Hutchens, who took the title for a second year running.
Among some 400 competitors were a couple of Olympians too. Beijing 2008 silver medallist Heather Fell and Sochi 2014 bronze medallist Jenny Jones both took part.
Entrants enjoyed a completely glassy sea at Putsbourough Beach, followed by a hot and hilly 40km bike ride through North Devon, finishing with a 12km run up steep hills and Croyde Beach, before climbing up to Baggy Point and back to Putsborough Beach, hugging the South West coast path.