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.
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.
A beautiful day for a triathlon, from mini-sprint to Olympic distance, at the Island Lake Rec Area. And with restrictions lifted, nearly 500 athletes turned out. And the classic Epic Races food was back, with pancakes, breakfast burritos, candy, and even ice cream. The Zero Waste effort would be put to the test!
We set up a single main station where people put all their waste on a table, to be sorted by the Green Team. Due to the course layout, we had to set it up a bit farther from the post-race food tent and gathering area. So we put a couple of “all waste” bins in that area and periodically took them to the main station for sorting. Transition waste was minimal – just a few paper cups and small trash.
For most of the event, everything went smoothly. We got a bit jammed at the end, leaving some bags to be sorted after the event. Many thanks to Epic staff member Alise, who cheerfully pitched in and stayed late to lighten my load. One other help was using the half-size disposable water bottles, which reduced recycling volume and saved time emptying out the half-full ones.
Landfill waste was a bit heavier than usual, due in part to food-soiled aluminum foil and ice cream wrappers, aided by the park’s removal of their own trash cans. So we ended up with several diapers and even a raw chicken breast! Not sure why anyone would bring that, let alone an athlete. One of life’s little mysteries.
Still, we achieved over 90 percent landfill diversion! Report is below. (Click to enlarge.)
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.)
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!
Fall has officially arrived, and it’s peak season at the cider mills. Combine a race with terrific apple cider, pancakes, and live music, and you have a recipe for a very popular event. And so it has proved for the Scrumpy Skedaddle at Almar Orchards. When even the race director (right of stroller) gets into the act with her new baby, you know it’s gotta be good!
Going compostable has reduced overall waste and simplified things for the Zero Waste team, but there’s still plenty of work for them to do. And the very lives of the orchard’s pigs depended on our diligent collection of the leftover food (just ask them). Did we leave the event clean and pigs stuffed? See below!
This year’s Super 5K had decent weather and a good turnout, with football regalia all about, and a visit by the Detroit Lions mascot. The Zero Waste effort scored big overall, but had several annoying fumbles by the runners. I think we had more pint glasses broken than points scored in the Super Bowl!
What’s one way to really appreciate a hot Thanksgiving Day dinner with family and friends? Run a cold 5K in the morning!
This Thanksgiving Day 3,400 runners toed the line in downtown Ann Arbor for a turkey trot and warmed up with cookies, coffee, and hot chocolate afterward. So despite hand and feet-numbing cold, the Zero Waste team had to be on the job. Last year we kept the total landfill trash under three pounds and achieved 99 percent diversion Could we repeat it? Find out below!