While training for a big athletic event may keep your body healthy, most competitions aren’t keeping the planet healthy. Plastic cups, bottled water, energy-gel packets, "victory food" served on plastic plates, and the impact of thousands of people racing across a scenic route are all part of the environmental mess of race-day waste. Thankfully, some races are making an effort to clean up. Here are three ways to find them:
Athletes for a FitPlanet offers consultations to race directors who are working towards carbon neutrality, zero site degradation, and zero waste to landfill. They also help “green the event supply chain” by working with sponsors and vendors who adopt environmentally responsible practices. The company keeps a searchable list of races that have made an effort to become more sustainable. USA Triathlon recently partnered with FitPlanet, and has hired the company to green its four championships this year. The Council for Responsible Sport certifies events based on five categories: waste, climate, materials and equipment, community and outreach, and health promotion. Races earn one of four levels of green certification based on their achievements in each category.
The "Greenteam" of Runner's World magazine publishes a list of eco-friendly races on their Web site. They also provide race directors with a list of green alternatives to race essentials and suggestions for runners wanting to reduce their footprint.