Chilly and Chili: Bigfoot Snowshoe 5K/10K Sustainability Report

The Bigfoot Snowshoe race is something I can describe only as having an odd but irresistible attraction. I mean, running a 5K or 10K is hard enough in shoes on roads or trails. But run in snow? Who does that? Well, I have every year since 2014, along with about five hundred others who strap ‘em on and get out there in temps below freezing, and sometimes well below zero.

Rarin’ to go!

Tell you what, though – running this year’s 5K was a lot warmer than standing around at a Zero Waste Station I set up outside to minimize the risk of you-know-what. Still, the job hadda get done. Because after the race, shoers enjoyed hot chili, served in compostable bowls with compostable spoons. (Does anyone else find it strange that something “hot” both in temperature and spice level is called “chili?” Yeah, I didn’t think of it until now, either.)

Water bottles, paper, cardboard, and Sterno cans were recycled, as were the aluminum chili serving pans, after rinsing. Landfill consisted of soiled cracker wrappers (clean ones got recycled), cling wrap, and duct tape. Discarded race bibs, Gu and snack wrappers, marking ribbons, and hand warmers were saved for TerraCycle.

Thanks again to Bay Area Recycling for Charities (BARC) which picked up the collected bags of compostables and recycling after the event, as they have for several years. They have a great thing going up there.

Just a couple of ideas for improvement. The individually packaged saltine squares served with the chili were a pain. I understand the convenience and safety aspects, especially with the pandemic still on, but a number of them got smeared with chili, and a few were tossed into the bins unopened. Pulling them out was no fun at 16 degrees. I wonder how many people would complain if they weren’t there next year, or were available only on request.

I also discovered that the inside trash bins, which I had carefully set aside, had been deployed and used. Fortunately, the additional sorting wasn’t too bad, except for the aforementioned cracker wrappers. Seems appropriate to set up a second station next time.

Finally, I’ll need to bring a spare camera for winter events. I left my good camera at home and relied on my cellphone, which promptly quit and reset whenever I tried to activate its camera. So many thanks to race staffer Nancy for the photo in the snapshot report!

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