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Happy Planet Running

Run a great race. Leave no trace.

Author

RunBikeThrow

By day, I'm a mild-mannered Director of Training at a software company in Ann Arbor, MI. By night - I sleep, mostly. In between, I do other things I feel the need to write about. Check out fitnessat50.net to view my thoughts on running, cycling, Aikido, and other things that keep me going.

Nothing “Shady” Here! Island Lake Triathlon 2022 Sustainability Report

The first Epic Races triathlon for 2022 took place on a gorgeous morning with good water conditions. Several race options are offered, from mini-sprint to Olympic distance, with hot food, ice cream, and Smooj hard smoothies at the finish. Everything seemed to go smoothly, with no hidden trash cans to surprise me at the end. (Not that it’s ever happened.)

I set up one Zero Waste station in the post-race party area by the food tents, with All Waste boxes on tables facing front and rear. I put additional All Waste boxes at the two exits to transition, moving one to the Run ramp when I observed runners tossing cups onto the grass there. Aid station bags were reasonably well sorted.

I would never bet against a guy with a bike like that.
Continue reading “Nothing “Shady” Here! Island Lake Triathlon 2022 Sustainability Report”

Ale’s Well That Ends Well! Hightail to Ale 2022 Sustainability Report

Hightail to Ale is one of those iconic examples of the truism, “If you provide beer, they will come.” Held at the Atwater Brewery in Detroit, runners enjoy a 5K along the riverfront, followed by free beer after they finish, along with live music and food from Simply Spanish, Little Caesar’s, and Atwater.

Attendance was down from previous years, but still healthy, and there would be plenty for the Green Team to handle. Along with beer cans, there were snack bags of chips and cookies, water bottles, food waste, plastic wrap from medals, and cardboard from multitudinous boxes.

I set up one station in the parking lot that held the food trucks and the band, and another on the street that served the line for the beer.

Ellen working the station serving the beer line.

So far, so good. But what would an event like this be without a crisis or two?

Continue reading “Ale’s Well That Ends Well! Hightail to Ale 2022 Sustainability Report”

She Runs Grand Rapids Sustainability Report

Here’s a great report from the 2022 She Runs Grand Rapids, produced by Green Team captain Chelsea Brehm. In 2015, this event (known then as the Gazelle Girl) was where I learned what a first-class Zero Waste event was like. Over 3,000 runners, and the landfill didn’t fill a shoe box! That led to me taking the processing back to Ann Arbor, successfully starting a Zero Waste program at many races, and from there to creating Happy Planet Running.

Every year it’s been held since then, I’ve returned as a volunteer as my way of paying back what I’ve learned. And this was one of their best years ever in terms of waste management. Along with increased use of TerraCycle boxes this year, the aid stations used reusable silicone cups from Hiccup Earth instead of disposables.

See below for the results and some great photos. (Chelsea and I are sorting the “rogue trash can” we found on the street leading to the finish line.) Check out her report below!

Continue reading “She Runs Grand Rapids Sustainability Report”

One Piece at a Time

(Note: This is also posted on my personal blog, RunCoffeeWrite, because, well, because I have the power.)

Went out for a club run yesterday morning, and I had garbage on my mind.

Come on, admit it. You went there.

Perhaps I should say, “litter” instead because, after all, I’m the Zero Waste guy, who reduces, reuses, and recycles (and composts) as much as possible before anything goes into my landfill bin. And I’d just completed five proposals for serving events in the area. So I was well prepped for what happened on said morning run.

Our route took us through one of the local parks along the Huron River. As I entered the park again on my way back, I saw a piece of litter on the path and stopped to pick it up. Then I saw another, and a third. I’d intended only to pick up those few items, but then in one of those “God will provide” moments, I spied a plastic bag caught in a bush.

And so the rest of my run turned into a plog. With no target pace or other training goals to worry about, I made it a game; I’d pick up any piece of litter on the path or sidewalk within a few feet of me, and at the end count how many I had.

It was just over two and a half miles back to the studio, through the park and into downtown Ann Arbor, and during that stretch I picked up…how many items? Have a guess! Here’s a photo to help you. Feel free to do a quick count if you like. Go ahead, I’ll wait.

Continue reading “One Piece at a Time”

Against the Wind: Holiday Hustle 2021 Sustainability Report

Weather for this year’s Holiday Hustle 5K at Monument Park in Dexter, MI: Temperature in the mid-30s, with rain and snow flurries, and winds gusting to 50 MPH. Still over 1,000 runners braved the conditions and finished the race. And, as usual, Santa put in an appearance, and even put in some overtime. I think the FAA grounded his sled.

Due to the high winds, the event team did not put up their usual tents, or the start/finish arch. Registration was inside a fitness store, and volunteer check-in at a sheltered picnic area. With the race “footprint” thus much reduced, we set up a Zero Waste station close to the finish line, where the water bottles and post-race treats were handed out. It turned out to be an ideal location for directing runners to where everything was this year. As it was in the open, though, the team suffered from the weather.

Zero Waste Team members Bridget, Amelia, and Julia braving the icy winds. Note the lower sign (even then it blew off once). And we put bricks in the All Waste boxes to keep them on the table.

Continue reading “Against the Wind: Holiday Hustle 2021 Sustainability Report”

Downtown Ann Arbor Turkey Trot Sustainability Report

Despite a chilly rain, the downtown Ann Arbor Turkey Trot 5K and kids run took place on schedule, with a good crowd on hand. And despite the conditions, the Zero Waste Team had its best Turkey Trot to date, with less than one pound of landfill!

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Epic Races – The Original Ann Arbor Turkey Trot 2021 Sustainability Report

The Original Ann Arbor Turkey Trot takes place at Hudson Mills Metropark, on a paved path with some challenging slow climbs. Runners can choose the 5K, 10K, or the “Iron Turkey” option for those brave enough to run both. There is also a one-mile kids run and a 200-yard dash for the youngest runners.

Of course turkeys are patriotic by nature. Ben would be proud!

The post-race area had a smaller “footprint” than previous years. We set up food, awards, and the Zero Waste Station on the concrete patio near the park building rather than out on the grass. It was a good choice on a cold morning with rain expected.

Continue reading “Epic Races – The Original Ann Arbor Turkey Trot 2021 Sustainability Report”

Bonfyre Trail Fest 2021 Sustainability Report

A chilly fall morning, with the promise of fires, live music, food, and beer later on? Sounds like a perfect setup for a trail run. And so it was, with 750 athletes traversing various distances on the DTE Energy Foundation trail system near Chelsea. Naturally, we had to make sure it was all environmentally friendly, and boy did we succeed, getting as close to Zero Waste as about possible.

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Ann Arbor Marathon 2021 Sustainability Report

The Ann Arbor Marathon was back this year, with a good turnout, and the threatened rain politely held off until the afternoon. Good news for runners, and especially the staff: if you think running in the rain for hours is no fun, just try standing around in it. Either way, the Green Team was there to make sure we’d be environmentally friendly!

Continue reading “Ann Arbor Marathon 2021 Sustainability Report”

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