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5K

A “Wonder-ful” Event: Canton Liberty Run 2022 Sustainability Report

A perfect day to run the RF Events Liberty run at Heritage Park in Canton. Runners could choose a 5K, or 10K, or both (the Liberty Slam), and enjoy the rest of the Liberty Festival afterward. And Wonder Woman sang the national anthem!

The Zero Waste station was set up near the finish line, where the post race food – bananas, chips, and cookies – were handed out. Total waste was way down from previous years. Part of that was due to lower attendance, but the adjusted total (waste per 100 runners) is trending down as well. Good stuff there.

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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?

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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!

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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.

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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.

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.

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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.

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