The Legend 2019 Sustainability Report

Our third cupless event of the year, with over five hundred runners out on the trails on a warm morning. Did anyone lose their heads over it? Not that we could see!

Sustainability Report: The Legend Run 2019
Date: August 3, 2019
Event company: RF Events, Ann Arbor MI
Location: Sleepy Hollow State Park, Laingsburg MI
# Attendees: 540 runners
Zero Waste Team volunteers: 2 (Captain: Jeff Jackson)

Results: 98.3 percent landfill diversion

Pie and trend charts - The Legend 2019

Compostables: 41.6 lbs.     Recyclables: 146 lbs.     Landfill: 3.2 lbs.

Main contributors to landfill trash were tape, waxed bowls (from the Friday setup), wet wipes, and plastic too contaminated to recycle.

Due to the race being cupless, the recycling total was much reduced from earlier years.

Race Overview

The Legend is a set of trail races – 5 miles, 10 miles, and half marathon – in Sleepy Hollow State Park. It’s the final race in the “Serious Series” which includes Trail Marathon Weekend and Flirt with Dirt. The course does not have the steep climbs and descents of the Potawatomi Trail, but there are some long ascents that will grind down the unprepared.

The Legend 2019 - Guy giving fist bumps
And everyone got a fist bump after finishing. Trail runners are the best!

All races are completed and the park cleaned up by noon.

Zero Waste Plan

As the finish area has a small “footprint,” we set up just two Zero Hero tents, with a set of bins at Ground Zero near the registration and food tent. These were sufficient. I made periodic trips to the finish line to pick up plastic wrap from water bottle cases and cardboard from boxes of medals.

The stations were set up for Recycle / Compost / Trash. Gu and snack bag wrappers went into the trash bags retrieved later for recycling via TerraCycle.

Post-race food was bagels with peanut butter (in compostable cups), bananas, snack bags, and cookies.

Like the two other races in the Serious Series, this race was cupless.

The Legend 2019 - Cupless event sign with tent in background

Aid stations bags went to Ground Zero, and thanks to no cups were quickly sorted.

What Went Well

Just about everything. The runners were good about sorting their waste and the single volunteer did a great job assisting.

The Legend 2019 - Rhonda at Ground Zero


None, other than I got a bit lightheaded after finishing the 10-mile race and needed to sit and recover for a bit. And the mixed bag of waste from the Friday setup was a surprise, though quickly sorted.

Opportunities for Improvement

Use compostable materials for the Friday setup as well as the Saturday race.

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