Making a Marathon Green

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One of the things I notice often when I go for a run is litter. I’ve bored many friends with my concept for a Dunkin Donuts anti-littering education campaign inspired by the countless discarded coffee cups on the side of roads. When I was little, I considered litterbugs to be very bad people. Now, I think there should be a name for people who don’t recycle — maybe non-recycler-bug.

I remember a high school social studies teacher pontificating on why he does not recycle, complaining about rinsing peanut butter bottles. (Great role model, huh?) I hope that he is stuck in a room with all of the accumulated peanut butter bottles that he did not recycle over the years.

I do my best to educate myself and follow best practices for the environment. I happily support organizations and companies that do the same. That is why I was so excited to hear about the ING Hartford Marathon on October 11, 2008 which is committed to being as green as possible. That last statement may imply that I am actually running in this event and I am not, but I still wanted to make sure you know about it.

ING Hartford Marathon is only one of five races in the United States participating in The Council for Responsible Sport Pilot program to be a model for marathons across the country for their environmental-friendly programs.

Here are just a few examples of what they are doing (this info is taken from their web site):

  • Participants receive reusable non-woven drawstring goodie bags, eliminating the waste of more than 10,000 plastic bags.

  • The ING Hartford Marathon’s participant food menu reflects both in-season, locally-grown foods as well as 100% organic favorites from Whole Foods Market.

  • Their green partner, United Technologies Corporation, designed and built a 40-person water bubbler for the finish line. This innovation will save 10,000 plastic bottles from the local landfill each year.

  • Their title sponsor, ING, will plant 26 trees along the race course as part of its global ING Plant-a-Tree Campaign. This will not only make the course greener, but will help support Hartford’s urban forest and keep our air cleaner year-round.

  • Their race merchandise is made of bamboo; the water cups are recyclable and made of sugar cane, and all materials were planned with a pre-cycle outlook to minimize paper use.

They also offer some tips for what you can do:

  • Car pool or bike to the race. Better yet, try occasionally running or cycling to work.

  • Use refillable water bottles when you’re exercising.

  • Recycle old running shoes through shoe recycling programs, available across the country.

  • Hold onto those wrappers. Dispose of in clearly marked containers along the course.

  • Buy sports drinks in bulk to conserve on packaging and recycle those bottles.

  • Seek out events that make an effort to be more green or raise money to support environmentally friendly causes.

  • Carpool to events when possible.

If you are looking for an entertaining read, chock full of great tips on ways to live green, you should check out “Green Chic”. Author Christie Matheson, is both tr


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