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Happy Planet Running

Run a great race. Leave no trace.

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A Very Nice Tri: 2022 Stegosaurus Tri Sustainability Report

Summer triathlon season kicked off around here with the Stegosaurus, the first in the T-Rex series of sprint triathlons.

This was about as smooth an event as I’ve been a part of. The weather was perfect, water temperature comfortable, and everything seemed to go well, including the Zero Waste effort, with less than half a pound of landfill. Just one glitch: volunteers were in short supply, as with most events I’ve worked this year, so my wife Joyce came along to help. She held down the main station while I worked the satellite station in the post-race party area.

Recycle. Or he’ll eat you.

Total waste at these events has dropped significantly, in part due to pandemic-induced lowered attendance, but also due to less material use. T-shirts are now an optional extra, which reduces cardboard, and the packaging for the medals has been reduced by going local and lighter. In fact, this event’s medals were hand-cut by one of the staff!

They all fit in one box with no tape or strapping, and NO plastic wrap! Plus handmade = cool.

Also, post-race food did not include sandwiches or pasta. Instead, athletes got bags of Chex Mix and cookies. I heard no complaints.

About the only dilemma I had is an ongoing one – what to do with the dead inflatable dinos (along with dead inflatable Martians). I’m not counting them as landfill because I’m convinced there’s a recycling solution out there somewhere. I’ll keep you posted.

“biked” and “zero wasted”! Waterloo G&G Sustainability Report

A beautiful cool spring day, perfect for a gravel road bike race, with beer and hot BBQ afterward. What more could one ask for? How about a bike repair shop that offers house calls? And making the event sustainable, with a 99 percent landfill diversion rate?

Such were the happenings at this year’s Waterloo G&G race in the Portage Lake Recreation Area and nearby roads. This year the race management transitioned from Epic Races to Tris4Health. Many thanks to the new organizers for deciding to keep the event Zero Waste and hiring yours truly to do the job.

Epic Races owner Eva Solomon ready for the 50K. She got to actually enjoy the race this year!
Continue reading ““biked” and “zero wasted”! Waterloo G&G Sustainability Report”

The Flagship Race Rocks On! Trail Marathon Weekend 2022 Sustainability Report

Cupless races rock.

That pretty much sums up the Zero Waste effort at Trail Marathon Weekend this year. A great weekend of running out in nature, and minimizing our environmental footprint. Pretty hard to top that.

Back in 2016, this was the first Zero Waste race RF Events put on, thanks in large part to a grant from the Can’d Aid Foundation, set up mainly for recycling aluminum cans but happy to support a larger goal. That year we processed nearly 500 lbs. of total waste, with only 46 going to landfill – crazy good for a first effort. And it only got better from there. Have a look at the results since then, with big drops in overall waste along with steadily improving landfill diversion from 90 percent to nearly 99 percent.

Continue reading “The Flagship Race Rocks On! Trail Marathon Weekend 2022 Sustainability Report”

Abduction Alert! Martian Invasion of Races Sustainability Report

Hello, Space Force? I’d like to report an alien abduction.

How many? Nobody. I’m pretty sure all the runners at our race last Saturday got home safely. But something is definitely missing. You see, I worked at the race, and I collected nearly five hundred pounds of waste. But at the end, I could account for only seven pounds. Yes, that’s right. Over four hundred pounds of trash is missing, and I think Martians stole it.

Continue reading “Abduction Alert! Martian Invasion of Races Sustainability Report”

Ann Arbor Goddess 5K Sustainability Report

The Ann Arbor Goddess returned to downtown Ann Arbor after three years. An event that has raised over $190,000 for women-focused charities, it features a 5K, kids run, and a “Chocolate Mile” with treats supplied by Willy Wonka in person. And Congressional representative Debbie Dingell was handling out medals at the finish line. With all that going on, Epic Races just had to make it sustainable. Don’t make the Goddess angry!

Continue reading “Ann Arbor Goddess 5K Sustainability Report”

Wearin’ O’ the White: Shamrocks & Shenanigans 5K Sustainability Report

Dear St. Patrick: Great job with the snakes and all. Anything you can do about snow?

The Shamrocks & Shenanigans 5K took place on a day where, unofficially at least, spring took over. But that was in the afternoon. Race morning was a final blast of winter fury – cold, windy, and snowing. Still, the show went on, and lots of brave, green-wearing souls showed up to run, so the Zero Waste team was there too. Gotta job ta do, laddies!

Zero Waste volunteer Nick holds down the fort. I need a coat like his!

The Zero Waste station was set up in the parking lot near the finish line. With a pretty fierce wind, I did not set up a pavilion, and my tall sign blew over, so the setup was very minimal. No problem, as the runners easily found us when they had something to toss. We also patrolled the 5K starting line on Main Street. Several runners were holding coffee cups, but made no attempt to give them to us. I think this is the first race where I saw people starting still holding their coffee!

Total waste was way down from 2019, the last time this event was held – 38 lbs. total vs. over 100 the other three years measured. Several things contributed: slightly lower attendance, pint glasses and T-shirts being optional instead of included, and the weather conditions, causing many to leave quickly or head inside to Conor O’Neills. Landfill waste was minimal – just some tape and a few ice cream lids. Like previous years, we gave out ice cream (!) to the kids after their 1K run. Most chose, however, to take it back home rather than eat it there.

By afternoon the sun was out and the snow was gone, leading to several warmer days ahead. Nature will have her little joke.

Easy as 3.14159: Pi Day 5K Sustainability Report

For the first time in several years, Epic Races held their “Pi Day” race in person. (Technically two days early, but hey, it’s running plus pie. Sign me up!) Despite cold temps (13 degrees) and wind, about 200 people showed up at Hudson Mills Park to run the 5K or the kids race.

The race was held at the open-air pavilion instead of the activity center, which was hosting another event. So I did not feel the need to police their trash cans. And most people left right after the race, meaning there wouldn’t have been much to capture.

Post-race food was pancakes and hot chocolate. The finisher pies were individually boxed and most people took them home, which meant less waste at the event.

The biggest source of food waste was from the “Pie Division” runners, who had to eat a pie before they ran the 5K – hands-free, of course. Quite a bit of half-eaten pie was left over. In an inspired move, the contestants were given old T-shirts to wipe their faces with instead of disposables. They could either keep the shirts, or return them to be washed and reused.

Continue reading “Easy as 3.14159: Pi Day 5K Sustainability Report”

2022 Super 5K Sustainability Report

The Super 5K was back on Super Bowl Sunday! Unfortunately, we were unable to secure a formal Zero Waste team, yours truly being out of town and other captains also unavailable. So the RF Events staff stepped up and did its best.

The good news is we recovered 110 pounds of race waste, most of it cardboard from pint glasses and hats and such. There was also about ten pounds each of food waste and compostable containers, and general recycling like water bottles and cups. TerraCycle items – hand warmers, snack bag wrappers, race bibs, and small plastics – contributed a small amount.

No official landfill, as everything that couldn’t be easily recovered was left in the school’s trash cans. So the recovery percentage is effective N/A. Still way better than nothing. We’ll call that a win, even if the Detroit Lions were once again watching from the stands or TV.

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!
Continue reading “Chilly and Chili: Bigfoot Snowshoe 5K/10K Sustainability Report”

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