Beat Waste When You Run Your Next Race

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45,000 people will run the New York City Marathon this November, and many thousands more will enter other races across the country. Whenever that many people get together in one place, they leave behind a lot of stuff. Last year, the marathon gave out more than 2 million paper cups, according to Treehugger, and if you’ve ever seen cups dotting the pavement after a race, you know how much cleaning up there is to do

In many parts of the country, autumn is racing season. Whether that means you’re running a weekly cross country race, putting on your shoes to raise money for charity at a 5K or challenging yourself to a marathon, you can green your run by following a few simple tips.


1. Choose an Eco-Friendly Race

litter, run, marathon
Photo: Shutterstock
litter, run, marathon
CarbBOOM, food, fuel, run
Brooks Green Silence, run, footwear
Kor, water, run
running gear, shirts
clothesline, laundry, clothes
Samuel Huber, run, trash
Flagstaff, aspen, fall, run allows you to search for races near you and narrow search results to “green events.” The planners of these events often utilize online registration, use recycled products, cut back on waste by offering recycling options for race materials like bottles and cups and plan race routes near public transit to cut back on waste.

Waste conscious races are on the rise and many races, including the New York City Marathon, are doing their part to make large events environmentally friendly. Events can receive various levels of ReSport Certification for social and environmental responsibility from the Council for Responsible Sport. Check out the list of certified events.

If there isn’t a green race near you, consider signing up for a race close by to cut down on fuel use for travel. Going to a neighboring state for a green race may not be worthwhile when there are other races much closer to home. You could always ask race planners what might be done in the future to make your hometown’s race a little greener.

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