Race for The Sea

RACE FOR THE SEA

Safety with Beyond 

 

At Beyond Adventure, our passion and our livelihoods depend on the rivers and seas that surround Scotland. Which is one of the reasons we were so thrilled to be invited to provide safety for a one-of-a-kind event held on the Isle of Skye. Together, Parley and Talisker Distillery have committed to the preservation and protection of 100 million square metres of marine ecosystems.

 

On World Oceans Day 2023, ultra-marathon swimmer and adventure athlete Ross Edgley competed with international cycling legend Sir Chris Hoy in the first ever “Race for the Sea”. With the finish line at Talisker Distillery on the Isle of Skye, the athletes had two routes to race: Ross in the sea, and Sir Chris on the road. Their mission is to raise awareness of ocean conservation and to celebrate the launch of the new Talisker x Parley Wilder Seas Single Malt Whisky. And of course, as we all know: if you ain’t first, you’re last.

 

An event like race for the sea can be extremely high pressure, with not only two internationally famous athletes navigating volatile Scottish weather, but also the press coverage and media that accompanies it. The team recced the venue during the week before, defining safe access points, a start line, and a finish line.

Selecting the Team

 

Our approach to selecting a team for this event was a bespoke operation. We opted for a balance of experience and expertise. By picking people who are extremely comfortable in their respective disciplines, we were able to maintain a relaxed and easy-going atmosphere whilst delivering an optimised service in a uniquely high-pressure environment. 

 

The next step was to identify the risks. With Ross Edgely swimming in the sea, the team had to consider exposure, along with safe retrieval points and weather forecasting. Tidal planning and coordinating with the event team were essential, and we deployed two well-laden sea kayaks to follow Ross along the coastal route. The water safety team had med packs, towlines, and a monster supply of medically approved doughnuts.

 

Defining a cycle route for Sir Chris Hoy was a matter of figuring out how the event could finish at the same point as the swim, with a fair fight between both athletes and a road surface that wouldn’t compromise the bike or the athlete. A safety van followed Sir Chris, with a plan put in place for road traffic incidents, mechanical failure and first aid support.

 

Optimised communication is the glue that holds any safety operation together. We had to consider mobile and radio coverage, and make sure the team was positioned in the right places. Having a specialist paramedic at the finish meant they were able to access both routes with emergency equipment if needed. Elite athletes can push themselves physically beyond safe limits, and the team had to create a plan that not only kept them safe, but also lived up to their expectations. An event like this one required a tailored approach, and we were happy to deliver a service that kept everyone reassured and safe from behind the scenes.

 

Race for the Sea was incredible to be part of. The day ended with a lot of laughing and smiling, the result of a plan put in place to ensure that nothing would surprise us – other than the volume of doughnuts a human can consume.

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