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October 2009
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That Didn't Seem to be Too Green

Me at the Scotia Waterfront RaceLast weekend I was one of 20,000 people that participated in the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon, Half-Marathon and 5km. I really enjoy being able to take part in the events, see people from all walks of life give it their best in their distance of choice.

The race directors had created a ‘Green Page’ listing all the things they would do to minimize the footprint of the race. Their initiatives included:

  • Recycling From Start to Finish
  • Composting the paper cups and food
  • Re-usable goodie bags

(To read more about their initiatives click here)

When I arrived at the expo to pick up my race kit I received my gift bag filled with delicious snacks and many flyers that I wasn’t interested in. In the end I had to throw a whole bunch of unnecessary flyers into my recycle box

My big complaint with the race was the number of sponsored plastic, water bottles at the end (go to the website to see the sponsor). With all the discussion about how bad plastic bottles are for the environment I was amazed to see so many at the race. If I had to hazard a guess, I suspect there was at least one bottle per person racing – at minimum 20,000 plastic bottles! Despite being dehydrated and in need of water I refused to take the plastic bottle.

How could you make a race ‘greener:’

  • No more bottled water at the end – again have the refillable compostable cups that can be used for both water and other sports drinks
  • Have a table with flyers for participants, which allow them to choose which races, events, etc they are interested in
  • Make sure numbers are printed on recycled paper
  • Make race shirts out of sustainable cotton or other recycled materials

Running races have their inherent pollutants, the little cups you drink from along the way, the race numbers/bibs, the packages from the sport gels, and various other bits of garbage that are found along the way. There are necessary evils with anything and I the positive social benefits