We Ran For The Oceans And Here’s What Happened

By Esté Swanepoel
4th Jul 2018

There’s not a lot that can get me out of bed before the sun’s up but somehow adidas have managed to do it not once, but twice — once, for their solarBOOST launch and most recently to learn more about their collaboration with Parley.

Usually I like to snooze the alarm a couple of times before I commit to starting the day, but not this time. When it beeped in the wee hours of the AM, I excitedly bounded out of bed because I was going to Sydney! 

After a super fun taxi ride with the nicest driver I’ve ever met, I joined with the rest of the adidas crew at the airport. A few long blacks and blocks of M&M’s chocolate later and we were just about functioning and ready to hop on the plane. A delicious plane breakfast (sarcasm) and a couple of episodes of Friends meant the two-hour plane journey quite literally flew by and we’d crossed the ditch before I knew it.

We were staying in Bondi, so the whole team piled into a van and headed to what would be our home for the next 24 hours. Once we’d settled into our lush hotel rooms, we headed out for a seriously good lunch (Sydney knows how to do coffee) and walked along beautiful Bondi beach. It’s fitting that we were staying less than 500 metres from the beach as the ocean was the whole reason we were in Sydney with adidas. 

In case you somehow hadn’t heard, plastic pollution is a pretty big issue and it’s only getting worse. Single use plastic is present in basically all aspects of our lives. Let’s think about your day so far. Grabbed a coffee on your way to work this morning? The lid on your takeaway cup was probably plastic. Picked up some groceries for dinner? You might have taken your reusable shopping bag (well done), but what about the plastic produce bags you used for your carrots and apples and all the plastic your bread, milk and other goods were packaged in? While you might not feel like you’re using a lot of plastic, it has a way of sneaking into your life if you don’t make a conscious effort to stop it. Unfortunately, a lot of this plastic ends up in our beautiful oceans, polluting the waters and choking the marine life. If we’re not careful, there’ll soon be more plastic in the ocean than fish, which means our children and our children’s children won’t be able to enjoy the pristine beaches and crystal clear waves we all played in as kids. 

This is all pretty sad, but luckily there’s a whole bunch of clever people doing their best to combat this. Parley for the Oceans was founded as a space where creators, thinkers and leaders could come together to raise awareness for the beauty and fragility of the oceans and work with other enterprises on projects that will end its destruction. Parley has teamed up with adidas to create a line of activewear that helps intercept ocean plastic. We were in Sydney to celebrate the launch of their new adidas x Parley UltraBOOST, a running shoe made with the equivalent of 11 plastic bottles. Adidas recognizes plastic pollution as a serious threat to our oceans and has committed to fighting this problem through their partnership with Parley. The big brains behind adidas have come up with a way to turn plastic into thread used for making shoes and clothes that are both stylish and sustainable, spinning the problem into a solution. As well as creating a range of clothing and footwear, adidas and Parley have gone the extra mile by starting a global initiative of running to save the oceans through their Run For The Oceans campaign. For every kilometre clocked on the Runtastic app during the campaign, adidas will contribute US$1 for the first one million kilometres to the Parley project. It’s been hosted in Germany, the UK, the US and I was lucky enough to attend the Australia event. 

We showed up nice and early for the pre-run registration to collect our special Run For The Oceans shirts and let the anticipation build. Australia’s weather wasn’t everything we’d hoped it would be, but nothing was going to rain on our parade! Decked out in my brand new adidas x Parley kicks and rubbing shoulders with likes of Dan Conn, Rebecca Lomas, Tanya Poppett and Kiwi runners Lana van Hout and Cam Graves, I felt like a real deal athlete. It was inspiring to see how many people turned up to raise funds and awareness for such a great cause, braving the freezing winds and impending downpour to save the seas they love. 

After a quick warm up to get the blood pumping and warm our chilly limbs, we set out en masse along Bondi’s beautiful esplanade. The four kilometre run took us along the Bondi coastline, showing us areas that will soon be completely eroded if we don’t take steps to look after our environment. The run was hilly and spotted with stairs, but my new sneaks made it easy. Those of you who have experienced the joy of adidas’ UltraBOOST technology will know what I mean! Running with such a big group of people alongside one of the world’s most iconic coastlines was a pretty crazy experience and made the reality of the threat facing our oceans really hit home. 

Adidas is doing their bit to raise awareness about the danger of plastic pollution here in Auckland, too. From the 3rdto the 5thof July Kiwi artist Erika Pearce will be working on a live art piece in downtown Auckland’s Britomart square. Her art will explore the impact of plastic on our oceans and will evolve and change dramatically during course of the two days. It’s truly amazing and inspiring, so make sure you head down and check it out. If you want to get behind the adidas x Parley campaign, you can download the Runtastic and clock your kilometres through there until July 8th. 

The ocean is a pretty big part of our lives here in New Zealand and it’s up to us to make sure they’re protected for future generations. So much plastic consumption could easily be avoided if we all just made some small changes. It’s plastic free July this month and while it’s definitely a challenge to cut out all plastic, doing simple things like skipping the straw in your smoothie or putting your sammies in a Tupperware instead of Gladwrap can make a huge difference. If you want some more tips on how to reduce your plastic consumption, check out our ideas here. 

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Image Credit: Supplied 

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