Cold Half

From Openwaterpedia
The 15 km Cold Half Extreme Marathon Swim and the 1.5 km Cold Plunge are held in Hong Kong
2016 race flyer
Doug Woodring, Founder of the Cold Half
Sylvia Marino among her fellow competitors at the 2015 Cold Half marathon swim in Hong Kong
The Wall in the middle of the Cold Half and Clean Half Extreme Marathon Swim courses in Hong Kong

The Cold Half Extreme Marathon Swim is a 15 km marathon swimming race in Hong Kong Island in January or February by Open Water Asia. It is combined with the 1.5 km Cold Plunge.


The Cold Half (or the Cold Half & Cold Standard Extreme Marathon Swim) is modeled after Asia's most popular marathon swim, the Clean Half with the same course, except the water temperature is more to the liking of marathon swimmers, channel swimmers and adventurists of various types than the water temperatures during the Hong Kong summer. The expected water temperature is 15-18ºC (58-65ºF) with an expected air temperature that can range from 12.7-22ºC (55-72ºF). The swimmers will also encounter The Wall, a body surfing section in the middle of the course. It is one of Asia's Top 50 Open Water Swims and part of the Cold Standard.

It also includes the YakSwimmers who consists of 2 relay swimmers who rotate with each other for 30 minutes each using 1 kayak the entire way of the 15 km Cold Half marathon swim.

The Cold Half is part of the 2015-2016 World Open Water Swimming Series (WOWSS), a global series of open water swimming competitions.

The Cold Standard & Sub-3 Squared Club

The Cold Half & Cold Standard Extreme Marathon Swim combines the Cold Half with the Cold Standard to offer both a solo marathon swim with the Cold Half and a full marathon run in the Standard Chartered Marathon where endurance athletes try to join the Sub 3 Squared Marathon Club over one weekend.


The Cold Half is either a solo race or a 2-person relay. If performed as a relay, a support paddler is required. If performed as a relay, the swimmers can either rotate every 30 minutes or can swim half of the distance. A motorized escort or carbon neutral option is required.


Swimmers will start at Stanley Main Beach and finish at Middle Island Beach with a barbeque and warm-up dinner held at the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club in front of Hong Kong's only fireplace. The 2017 Cold Half goes along the Coastal Hug where swimmers cannot swim over 150 meters from shore during the 2017 race.


There are 2 categories: Naturally Ocean and Wetsuited and Buoyant.


Solo: $2,000 with a support paddler. Relays: $4,500 with a support motor boat.


Saturday, 23 February 2013 with a registration deadline of 16 February 2013.


For information and registration requests, contact Shu Pu at

For information and registration requests for swimmers outside of Hong Kong and China, contact Doug Woodring at

The Cold Half
c/o Doug Woodring
6B Bonham Court
12 Bonham Road, Midlevels
Hong Kong

Cold Half

The Sha Mei team of Ethan McGrath and Sam Thorley finished first overall in the 15 km Cold Half marathon swim in 2016.


Douglas Woodring is the founder of the Cold Half. He is also the Co-Founder and Managing Director of Ocean Recovery Alliance as well as organizes the Hong Kong / San Francisco Ocean Film Festival, the annual Clean Half Extreme Marathon Swim and Sheko Challenge open water swimming events in Hong Kong. The Clean Half Extreme Marathon Swim is one of the World's Top 100 Open Water Swims.

2012 World Open Water Swimming Man of the Year Nomination

Woodring was nominated for the 2012 World Open Water Swimming Man of the Year award. His World Open Water Swimming Association nomination reads,

Day in and day out, Doug Woodring works tirelessly to bring the world’s attention to the plasticity of the world’s oceans. His open water events are the greenest in the world with their carbon-neutral options and biodegradable products. His projects, run under his NGO, Ocean Recovery Alliance, include the Plastic Disclosure Project and Global Alert – Floating Trash, reach global political leaders and an increasing number of citizens in a number of countries. He is a man of the sea, but he deals with the growing menace of ocean plasticity by going upstream and offering practical solutions that can be reasonably implement by individuals, corporations and governments. For his unwavering focus on a global issue with specific solutions, for his tying together open water swimming with the environmental problems of contemporary times, Doug Woodring is a worthy nominee for the 2012 WOWSA Open Water Swimming Man of the Year.

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