The 2014 New Bedford Half Marathon took the FitPlanet Pledge of Sustainability.
What is that you may ask? It is a pledge to run their race in a sustainable and environmentally friendly way. A group called Athletes For a Fit Planet have put together a program to help race organizers achieve this goal.
Eco-Practices for Sustainability
FitPlanet groups eco-Practices into required and optional practices for sustainability. To achieve the Pledge of Sustainability, race organizers pledge to perform all four (4) of the required practices, and a minimum of six (6) elective practices.
|R1||Reduce paper waste by requiring at least 80% of total pre-registered race field to register online – only option for paper registration is at the event.|
|R2||No mailing of paper registration forms. (Takes effect within 24 hours of signing the Pledge)|
|R3||Provide recycling bins at the event and recycle cardboard, paper, plastic and other materials|
|R4||Provide information to athletes about public transportation options and/or provide them with ride-share options on your website.|
|E1||100% online registration|
|E2||Provide athletes the option of offsetting their travel to and from Event.|
|E3||No standard cotton t-shirts for athletes. Offer t-shirts made from organic cotton, recycled polyester, bamboo, or other environmentally friendly material. (We recommend screen printing with non-toxic inks.)|
|E4||Offer a clothing and/or shoe recycling/reuse program (old running shoes and apparel can be recycled and/or contributed to charity organizations)|
|E5||All paper used to promote the event is at least 20% post-consumer recycled stock. (We recommend using non-toxic inks.)|
|E6||Replace traditional race bags (AKA swag or goodie bags) with an online or virtual version. It eliminates the need and expense of printing, paper not to mention the plastic bags.|
|E7||If you are not quite ready to get rid of the race bag (AKA swag or goodie bags) then replace it with a recyclable and/or reusable bag. (We recommend the bags also be made from recycled materials.)|
|E8||No single-use disposable plastic bottles for water or sports drink distributed at the finish line. (We recommend you hand out reusable plastic, aluminum, or stainless steel bottles.)|
|E9||Provide green portable toilets that use non-toxic deodorizer and recycled toilet paper and paper towels.|
|E10||At least 80% of all marketing and participant communications facilitated through email or website updates instead of paper mail.|
|E11||Reuse at least 80% of all signage for the event.|
|E12||For new signage, purchase recyclable or biodegradable materials for signs and banners. (We recommend you use non-toxic inks.)|
|E13||At least 25% of all power used during the event is supplied from renewable sources such as solar, wind or bio-fuels either directly or indirectly through renewable energy credits or carbon offsets.|
|E14||Utilize bicycles, electric scooters, electric motorcycles, or electric/hybrid cars for pace and lead vehicles.|
|E15||For events that are point to point, provide shuttle buses for athletes that are powered by bio-fuel or another form of renewable energy or offset the vehicle emissions through carbon offsets.|
|E16||Provide environmental education as part of expo and/or race-day presentations (e.g. speakers, booth space for environmental organizations, and green product and service companies)|
|E17||Source sustainable finisher medals such as recycled/recyclable lanyards and metal and/or locally made medals from recycled materials .|
|E18||Provide composting for pre- and post-event meals. (we recommend using biodegradable/compostable tableware as well, such as plates, cups, knives and forks made from PLA.)|
|E19||Donate unused food to a charity such as a homeless shelter or soup kitchen.|
|E20||Offset at least 10% of the greenhouse gas emissions from the race through sponsorships, a percent of the race fee, voluntary contributions from athletes, or other means.|
|E21||Encourage athletes to support an environmental initiative important to the Event by either volunteering time or donating money. This could be a local environmental project or cause or a national or international environmental charity.|
|E22||Serve at least some locally grown, fresh food at pre- and/or post-race meals. (We recommend offering organic food as well.)|
|E23||Provide VIP parking for carpoolers and bicycles.|
|E24||Get creative. e.g. give an award for the ‘greenest’ athlete or team; require athletes come to the event only by public transportation; make the race ‘carbon neutral’, etc.|
|E25||Introduce one practice that helps conserve water and reduce water waste on the race course. For instance, ask athletes to bring their own bottles and provide water dispensers instead of tables of cups.|
|E26||Create a category of volunteers that are dedicated to environmental practices, such as recycling and/or composting at the finish.|
As a runner I find this a really cool idea. When I run along our city streets I see coffee cups, bottles and all kinds of trash on the side of the road. There are days when I think I could pay my mortgage if I stopped and picked up all of the returnables I see on the side of the road.
If you are a race organizer check out their web site. Most of these things are easy to do and will help set a good example for all of the runners at your race. Someone has to lead and someone needs to set an example. It can be you.
They even have Green Tips for Athletes
Looking to add environmental responsibility to your exercise and training program? Here are some suggestions…
- Take a trash run. Every month pick up the trash along one of your training routes. Get your training partners or club members involved too. Wear gloves and carry a bag or push an old baby stroller with a trash can or bag.
- Don’t wear so much petroleum. The vast majority of all technical apparel is made from polyester, which is derived from petroleum. Instead of pumping your clothing out of the ground, seek out recycled polyester apparel. How can you tell if it’s recycled? Manufacturers list the recycled content on the label.
- Race Green. Before you sign up for your next event, check the FitPlanet Green Events Calendar for an eco-friendly race near you. All lists include the specific green practices that the race is planning so you’ll avoid getting green washed.
- Buy eco-friendly energy drinks. Instead of buying your energy drink in disposable plastic bottles, buy it in power form and mix it yourself. And invest in a reusable hydration system for training and racing. Same goes for gel.
- Wash and drip dry. About 70% of the carbon footprint of apparel is the result of washing and drying. And most of that comes from the electric dryer. Hang your cloths out to dry on a line or on the back of a chair instead of running them through the machine.
- Share a ride. Every mile you drive produces about one pound of carbon dioxide. Consider sharing a ride the next time you travel to a race or a group workout.
- Recycle your shoes. Your smelly old shoes don’t need to end up in the landfill. Check with your local running store or do a web search for “recycle running shoes” for an organization that will put them to second- use.
- Become a Locavor. Lower your carbon footprint by eating fresh, locally grown fruits and vegetables. The shorter the distance between farm and plate, the higher the nutritional content. And you’ll be supporting the local economy.
- Shun paper registration. Pre-registering online helps reduce paper and ink use and saves you time and money on race day.
- Take the FitPlanet EcoPledge. Make your voice heard by pledging to do your part to support green races. With your permission, we’ll add your name to the thousands of athletes that have already pledged.
What do you think? Is going green or staying green important to you? If a race took this pledge would you be more likely to signup for it?
Run well my friends.
© 2014 anagelin