The spectacle of Warrior Dash, a 3.4-mile run complete with obstacles like leaping over fire and diving into a mud pit, is definitely a sight to behold. Costumed runners, mud-covered finishers and Viking helmets round out the mix of athleticism and celebration – and at the end of it all is a monstrous pile of shoes.
Green Sneakers, which has been around for two years, does this kind of thing all the time. It collects shoes to either resell to a secondary market, usually ending up in developing countries or recycle as absorbance material and other products.
“We think that it’s conceivable that in our second year to reach half a million pounds of collected sneakers,” says Doug Bartels, executive director of Green Sneakers. “That’s about 263,157 pairs, and Warrior Dash alone accounts for about half that number.”
There are three collection options available for shoe donation. A single event, like the Warrior Dash; a short-term collection, about six to eight weeks; or on-going, where scheduled pick-ups are available. In all these cases, Green Sneakers provide collection bins, resources like posters and press releases and pick-up options.
“We don’t charge anyone for what we do,” Bartels says. “It’s simple and effective, and we try to do the most work possible.”
Bartels also says Green Sneakers is actively looking for licensed partners to help in collection programs.
The Warrior Dash continues in 22 other states and Canada until November and shoe donation continues to be available at the event.
Even though the shoes are bound to be covered in grime, Bartels says, “The mud and crud doesn’t matter. We wash the shoes thoroughly and then sort them.”