It was great to be racing at the home of swimrun once again, this time with brother-in-law Paul. We placed somewhere in the top half, which was a welcome surprise given are cumulative weight.
One thing stood out this time, in 2015 it was the waves, in 2014 it was the after-party, this year it was the emphasis on environmental impact.
Have you ever been annoyed by the amount of wasted cups or plastic water bottles at marathon, triathlon or other events? Well several swimrun race directors are leading the way when it comes to cutting down on waste using a method that is becoming more common in the world of long-distance racing.
Ben at BRECA Swimrun started the re-usable cup initiative for swimrun in 2017 at the BRECA Wanaka race in New Zealand and all subsequent races. So it was great to see OtillO get wholeheartedly on-board at Uto by giving out collapsible, re-usable cups to use at this race and beyond.
There were paper cups at the first two aid stations to avoid congestion in the early stages, from then on in it was use your own. In addition there were no gels at the aid stations, the nutrition was provided in pre-cut mouth-sized chunks, so none of that wasteful individual packaging.
The collapsible cups were made of silicone, you could easily stuff them in to your wetsuit no problem. We both stuffed ours up the leg of our wetsuits and they stayed put throughout the race. I'll certainly be re-using mine on future races and on long mountain challenges such as the Welsh 3000s to fill up from streams.
Well done to BRECA, OtillO, and to loveswimrun who have adopted similar approaches in their races. I've noted that in 2018 the Malvern Hills Trail Half Marathon opted for a re-usable approach at their water stations. The times they are a changing - as event participants we can influence change by embracing the reduce, re-use, recycle mantra.
If the races you enter aren't doing this then ask some questions.
Here's some video highlights of the actual race day, can you spot team 110?
Further reading... this informative article from The Guardian.