Happy Trails: The Legend races achieve 97 Percent Diversion

An absolutely perfect morning for a race at Sleepy Hollow State Park, and another great Zero Waste result. (Pictured: our race director holding the single bag of trash from a 650-person race.)

Sustainability Report: The Legend races 2017
Date: August 5, 2017
Event company: RF Events, Ann Arbor MI
Location: Sleepy Hollow State Park, Laingsburg MI
# Attendees: 650
Zero Waste Team volunteers: 3

Race Overview

The Legend is a trail race in Sleepy Hollow State Park. There’s less elevation change than other local trail races, making this one a good choice for beginning trail runners and those wanting a fast time. All races are completed and the park cleaned up by noon.

Three distances are offered: 5 miles, 10 miles, and half marathon. Engraved wood finisher medals are a nice touch.

The Legend - 5 mile start
The 5-milers take off.

Zero Waste Plan

We set up one tent next to registration and two other tents in the post-race area, with bins for recycling and food waste in the food area. The sorting station was set up near the parking lot where the recycling would be picked up by park staff. Three aid stations offered water and Gatorade. Bins were set up to collect them, along with 5-gallon pails for Gu packets.

Post-race food included bananas, cookies, and bagels. Peanut butter to go with the bagels was much appreciated by the runners, and also by the Zero Waste team because they were served in compostable cups.

The Legend - Zero Waste volunteers
See how happy our volunteers are?

The park took the collected recycling. Happy Planet Running took the plastic bags/wrap and Gu packets for TerraCycle, and took the compost to a local commercial composting farm.


A total of 97.5 percent landfill diversion! Breakdown by waste stream:

  • Compostables: 39.2 lbs. (19.1 %)
  • Recyclables: 161.3 lbs. (78.4 %)
  • Landfill: 5.1 lbs. (2.5 %)

What Went Right

Overall, everything went smoothly. The most real-time sorting was moving compostable plates and cups of peanut butter into the green bags. We marked the tents and put a sign in the food tent identifying the PB cups as compostable.

The Legend - Using a ZH Tent

The aid station waste required only a small amount of sorting to remove Gu packets from the bags of cups.

Opportunities for Improvement

We overlooked covering some of the park’s trash cans, and the bins by the bathrooms and near the parking lot filled up with combined waste race (food, cups, etc.). The bags were retrieved and sorted.

What We’ll Do Differently Next Time

Cover or move the park trash cans in the race area.

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