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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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Run Scream Run 2021 Sustainability Report

Run Scream Run returned to Wiard’s Orchards after a year hiatus, and the Haunted Village was scary as ever. Attendance, at around 700, was about half the usual total but still had its share of colorful costumes.

Master of Scare-amonies Randy inspiring the crowd to run fast. Real fast.

Some group had held a party the previous night, and the ground was littered with tiny liquor bottles and other trash. As I policed the field I saw one of the orchard’s staffers also picking up trash. I told him to leave his bag by our station and I’d recover the recycling, so that total is a bit higher than actually generated by the race.

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One, Two, Three…Scrumpy Skedaddle 2021 Sustainability Report

Back at Almar Orchards for the RF Events Scrumpy Skedaddle, featuring incredible organic hard cider, and a pancake breakfast provided by Chris Cakes of Michigan. And where I either reached a new high in Zero Waste, or a new low. Depends on your point of view.

Here’s a chance to test your estimation skill. How many syrup packets are soaking in this sink? Answer at the end of the report. I’ll give you a hint – there were 600 registered runners, plus another 100 or so spectators eating breakfast there.

You didn’t count them, Jeff. Please tell me you didn’t.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Firecracker 5K Sustainability Report

Independence Day in Ann Arbor wouldn’t be the same without its traditional 5K event. At least not to runners, and the Epic Races team! And so despite a warm morning and a new location, the show went on without a hitch.

This year’s event, for several reasons, took place at Briarwood Mall instead of downtown Ann Arbor. In addition to the 5K, there were one-mile and 7.5K options, and a short run for the little kids, led by Larry the Ginormous Hot Dog (see the top photo). There was also a “hot dog” division, where the contenders had 76 seconds to eat up to four hot dogs, and then run the 5K. One minute per hot dog was deducted from their finish times. Thankfully, no “cleanup by JC Penney” was required.

Post-race treats included bananas and candy, but by far the most popular were the red, white, and blue frozen “bomb pops”. We were equal to the task, composting the wooden sticks and sending the wrappers to TerraCycle.

The report below has the details and the fireworks-worthy result – under one pound to the landfill, which we tossed into one of the mall’s trash cans. It’s never a bad thing when our total event trash didn’t weigh as much as the mall-related trash in the parking lot!

It was also good to hear from a Briarwood staffer that the mall takes recycling seriously, and redid the roof to reduce energy costs. Way to go!

Flirt with Dirt 5K/10K Sustainability Report

This event represented a first for Happy Planet Running – leaving the Zero Waste station unattended for an entire race. Yes, perhaps a more fitting title for this was Flirt with Disaster, but I don’t get to name the races. I’m just the Trashman.

How did this come about? A very fortunate event – the resumption of live races – combined with a shortage of volunteers and being double-booked on this particular day. But we had a couple of things going for us here. There were only about 300 runners signed up, the event was over quickly, and Flirt with Dirt has a history of producing very little landfill – like one small baggie’s worth. So we gave it a shot.

I set up a single station near the finish line, with a large bin for recycling, smaller ones for compostables and snack wrappers, and pails for landfill. Then I said a prayer and headed off to the other race I had that morning.

I came back to find everything in good order. Post-race sorting was minimal. I’m sure it helped that many, if not most, of the athletes go to multiple RF Events races, and thus are accustomed to our Zero Waste program. All the same, not something I would like to do again, if avoidable.

And the result? The top image says it all. Baggie for the third year in a row! Report below. (Click to enlarge.)

The New Running Reality: Scrumpy Skedaddle 2020

Sustainability Report: Scrumpy Skedaddle

Date: October 4, 2020
Event company: RF Events
Where: Almar Orchards, Flushing MI
# Attendees: 400
Zero Waste Team size: 1

It’s been quite a while since Happy Planet Running has had an event to report about. Since February the great majority of running events have been virtual, and the few live events haven’t had much waste – which is not all bad.

There have been any number of logistical challenges to face. How do you keep people safe at a running event during a pandemic? And how to deal with the limits on the number of people who can be gathered in one place?

The good news is that live events are happening, albeit under very different rules and practices than the year before. We’re adapting and adjusting, as people do! When this crisis has passed, and it will pass, it will be interesting to see which adjustments will be discontinued and which will remain because they’re worth keeping.

Read on to see how RF Events put on a safe, fun 5K at Almar Orchards!

Continue reading “The New Running Reality: Scrumpy Skedaddle 2020”

Ho, Ho, Zero! Holiday Hustle Sustainability Report

The final RF Events race of each year is the Holiday Hustle, and over 2,000 runners braved the cold and came out to run a mile or the 5K. And, of course, we couldn’t lower our Zero Waste standards just because it’s a little cold and dark (okay, really dark). Could we improve on 2018’s landfill total of just five pounds? See below!

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