Friend-of-Fit-Planet Sarah Groff will be running the North Hampton MA 5K this Saturday at 12:30 pm. Check it out here.
All the News That’s Fit
FitPlanet works with a lot of events, both big and not-so-big, all over the USA and overseas as well. When we help them achieve great results and they get recognized for their efforts its particularly gratifying. Here’s the latest news about the Competitor Group’s Rock ‘n’ Roll San Jose Half Marathon.
While I normally believe that reducing consumption is the best way to be green, regardless of the activity, there are some areas where skimping can be counterproductive.
If you are training for a marathon, or really for any distance, you should get new running shoes on a regular basis. I’ can’t say exactly how many miles your shoes will last, but I can tell you that, no matter how good the shoes are, the essential cushioning will eventually wear out. And running on shoes that don’t absorb the pressure you apply with each step can do serious damage to your limbs and joints.
So how do you keep up this level of consumption while sticking to a green training plan? Remember: reduce, reuse, and recycle. While you can’t reduce the number of shoes you wear, you can still reduce in other ways. A number of manufacturers are looking to reduce the amount of packaging used in getting the shoes to customers. Brooks has eliminated a number of elements in their boxes – less tissue paper, for example . This savings adds up over the thousands of shoes they sell.
Reuse? A bit tougher, though I keep the recently retired running shoes
for days when I have to go out in the rain. Also, my local chain of running stores, Jackrabbit Sports, collects used shoes and sends them to a charity in Haiti. You may not get any more training runs out of the shoes, but the same shoes may still make a big difference to someone in need. Keep in mind, however, that a pair of shoes that is no longer wearable does not make a suitable gift for a charity. For more on that idea, I suggest you read the relevant FAQ from Shoe4Africa.org.
The key tactic here is to recycle. The folks at Nike have taken the lead with their Reuse a Shoe program. Essentially, they accept used running shoes at hundreds of locations, separate them into their component parts, and use the materials to make running tracks, basketball courts and tennis courts, which they donate to schools. This has kept over 25 million pairs of shoes out of landfills.
What can you do about all of this? Have your running club sponsor a used shoe drive – who doesn’t have a pair of old running shoes lying around the house? Or encourage a youth group to do the same (this sort of project has high school community service written all over it). If you want to go the extra mile, you might write to the manufacturer of your favorite brand of shoes and encourage them to use recycled materials, either in their packaging or in the shoes themselves.
Finally, you could simply run barefoot, but I think this is a classic example of the perfect being the enemy of the good, a problem with so many green issues. Unless you’re Zola Budd, I’d suggest you think twice before losing the shoes completely.
In addition to Nike and Shoes4Africa, there are many shoes recycling programs across the country that you can tap into. Here are just a few that FitPlanet has worked with…
Sustainable World Fund’s Rerun Sports Shoes program
Give Your Sole
Soles 4 Souls
During marathon training, which I admit is a year-round activity, I workout six days a week. So that could mean six shirts, six jog bras, and six pairs of socks to wash and dry every week. That’s the equivalent of an extra load of laundry week, or 52 extra loads a year.
I have found the key to keeping clothes stink free (or low stink) is to make sure they dry out between workouts. I do all my workouts from home which eliminates the post-workout sweaty gear getting stuffed in a bag to brew in a hot car. As soon as I get home I hang my sweaty clothes up to dry.
Through a remodeling quirk in my old New England home, I ended up with a one-foot wide-by-three-foot-long closet next to my shower. Go figure. So I put hooks along one wall and this serves as an ideal place to hang workout clothes between workouts. To allow for adequate ventilation I drilled holes in the door, so now the tiny closet is like a big locker. See the photo below.
This allows me to wear the same exercise apparel on repeated outings during a week. The shirt I bike in Monday is the same shirt I run in Tuesday and bike in again on Wednesday. Some weeks that shirt may get in a fourth workout on Thursday. It depends on the time of year and when it starts to get stinky. Like most folks I sweat more in the summer than in the winter.
According to at least two sources, about 75% to 80% of the environmental impact of an article of clothing comes from washing and drying. So by giving your clothes a second or third workout before washing you can significantly reduce your carbon footprint.
When my workout clothes do get washed it is in a front loading washer. The washer does an incredible job of spinning excess water out of the clothes, which makes drying quicker, which saves even more energy. I almost always hang my clothes to dry. In the summer I use clothes lines (see picture below) and in the winter I hang the clothes on hangers on a rod in my furnace room. As my uncle use to say “let God do the drying.”
Your clothes will certainly suffer less wear and tear if they are line dried and all the wicking performance clothes we wear does not need as much time in the drier as it probably gets.
But as I first mentioned the biggest key to lowering the carbon footprint of your clothing is to wear your workout gear more than once (or twice). Find a place to put up a few hooks to easily hang your clothes to dry between wearing and use the time saved from not doing that extra load of laundry for something else, like extending your workout . Or even better still, for a little power resting.
By Christopher Stevens
Since my fellow Green Team Member Allison Lassoe wrote about staying hydrated during the race, I thought I would write about staying hydrated during training. In many ways, it can be easier to make this a green aspect of being a marathoner. After all, you have only so much control over how the race organizers hand out water, but you can decide how you get what you drink during a long run.
I train in New York’s Central Park. Among its many, many virtues are the plentiful water fountains. From about March to November, they keep the runners, cyclists and less active park users from having to bring water with them to the park. There are 150 water fountains spread out through the 843 acres of park, and some of them form natural places for runners to congregate. One of my favorites can be found at the entrance at 90th Street and Fifth Avenue. As you can see from the picture above, runners use them both for drinking and for refilling any bottles they bring with them. If you look carefully, you can also see that there is a special fountain at the side for dogs.
So, if you’re training somewhere like Central Park, with plenty of water fountains spaced at regular intervals, there is no need to bring bottled water with you, or, worse, buy a bottle from one of the vendors – I am always puzzled when I see people doing that.
But what if you don’t train somewhere with well-maintained fountains? Get one installed. It may seem daunting, and it isn’t going to happen everywhere, but unless someone asks, your local parks department is unlikely to act on its own. The one pictured below is on the west side of the Park and was donated by the “Marathoning and Pasta Club”.
Maybe a local sponsor/politician/philanthropist might be convinced that installing a water fountain in the park where you run would be good for runners as well as good for the planet, considering that it could reduce the number of empty water bottles that end up in the landfill. While this might not be the most conventional way to make your training greener, marathoners don’t always stick to convention.
One of the classic images of a marathon is a water soaked street plastered with crushed cups. It is easy to do the math 25 water stops X 35,000 runners = 875,000 cups all used for a few sips of water.
I have used, crumpled, and tossed more than my share of cups in 38 marathon and countless other races. For a number of years and races I have made a decision to carry a hydration pack first because I found I could not drink enough in small sips at aid stations, second to guarantee that I have the sport drink of my choice and third I feel better about using about half the cups I would otherwise use.
I have typically taken a water cup at every other aid station, but I can usually only manage a few small sips, but my stomach does appreciate the mix of sports drinks and water.
For the Marine Corp Marathon I will be using a hydration pack as much as possible. On an average marathon I guess I drink 70 ounces of water and sports drink. I may need to stop a couple of times to fill up but each refill should only take a minute or two, not much different than a little walk break. But I already know that I save more time by carrying my own drinks and not having to weave in and out at every aid stations. It is nice to think about a marathon not being associated with aid stations of spilled water and a litter of cups.
I am really excited to know about all the Marine Corp Marathon is doing to reduce and recycle waste. The MCM reduced waste by 32% in one year. Now, if only I could do the same with my time.
Have your own ideas about reducing cup and water waste on the race course? Comment below.
On October 31, 2010, I will run my eleventh marathon. Growing up, I was not athletic. Indeed, you could say I was whatever the opposite of a high school track star would be, and I used to think that running marathons was something that other people did, people with a little more get up and go.
My brother ran the New York City Marathon every year, but in 1998 he injured his foot. I figured that the family should at least be represented at the event, so I volunteered at the finish line. As I watched the runners come through, I thought “I could do this.” I joined the New York Road Runners Club, and the following November I finished my first marathon.
I ran the race again in 2000, and in 2006 I ran the Marine Corps Marathon instead, just to keep things fresh. I now alternate between the two events.
When I started to train for my first marathon, the NYRR had a great way of making the training seem doable. In addition to their regular race calendar, they scheduled a half marathon for the time in the summer when you should be able to run at least 13 miles. Later, they would have an 18-mile race, and finally a 20-mile training run. The increments between each race are not huge, but they build up to what is a big goal: running 26.2 miles.
People who want to be ‘greener’ can approach that goal the same way. Just as you would not decide one day to run a marathon and expect to be able to go the full distance the next weekend, you can’t decided to be green one morning and wake up the next day generating no pollution and eliminating your carbon footprint.
You start with simple steps. Maybe you replace an incandescent bulb with a compact florescent lamp (CFL) and use less electricity. Don’t even feel you have to change every light bulb in the house – just try one lamp and see how it feels. Once you get used to that, try switching out another, and so on, in the same way you might go for a four mile training run one week, and try running five the next.
You might even discover that some of the things you are doing are already green. With any luck, you will look at some of the suggestions I’ll make over the next few weeks and realize that you are already training “green”, a bit like Moliere’s Bourgeois Gentilhomme who was so excited when he learned that his entire life he had been speaking in something called “prose.”
Maybe you already carpool to races. Or skip the bottled water when there’s a water fountain nearby. Or carry your own reusable bottle. Being green doesn’t mean you have to completely transform your life any more than becoming a marathoner involves a complete change in your personality. But once you make those changes, you’ll be proud of what you have become.
After my first marathon, I realized that if I could run 26.2 miles, anyone could do it with enough training (those with bad backs and injured knees excepted, I suppose). And if I can make my training greener, so can you.
I am very excited to be part of the MCM Green Team Challenge. Although I am always trying to be “green” sometimes the excitement of a marathon takes me out of my best green routine. For the 2010 Marine Corp Marathon I am ready to go for a “Green PR”.
My personal environmental initiatives involve bicycling for transportation as much as possible. Even though I live in a rural part of the Berkshires in Western Massachusetts I can go for a week without driving my car. I do all the easy green things like recycle and use compact florescent light blubs. I had an energy audit of my house, which inspired me to get a more energy efficient refrigerator cutting my energy use by a third. I also hang my clothes outside to dry all year long and I carry a reusable water bottle to fill up when needed.
Recently I donated all my marathon metals to Medals4Mettle. It was harder than I thought to part with them, but it felt good to know they were going to people who have struggles that they overcome on a daily basis and don’t get medals. When a race has a shoe recycling program I make a point of bringing in my old shoes. Again these are simple things runners can think about doing.
When I train I never drive my car to run or to bike. I have run over 37 marathons and that has upped my carbon footprint. Although I would love to run in more places I have tried to limit the number of plane trips I take to marathons. To travel to the MCM I will be biking, taking trains, or other public transportation.
When running I always carry a hydration pack, and supplement with some water cups on the course. But for MCM I will only be using a hydration pack and refilling as needed.
As I mentioned I have run 37 marathons to date and have more planned before the end of October. I ran my first marathon in 2002, but in the past two years I have run a marathon a month, with the goal of having a Boston Qualifying time as often as possible, I think I have run 21 qualifying races. I am also trying to run marathons I have not run before. Luckily there are a lot of great choices within driving distance.
I have found that only running three days a week and cross training three days has made me a stronger runner and less prone to injuries. I follow the FIRST Train Plan. Also getting to bike three days a week allows me to run errands on my bike while getting in a workout.
I am a proud member of the Marathon Maniacs and have enjoyed being part of a great running community. Running a marathon is a great achievement and the Marine Corp Marathon, being the “People’s Marathon,” is certainly a marathon highlight for anyone.
I am proud to be representing all runners who strive to be green in life and in races and having the MCM focus on green running will make it an even better experience for everyone (and the planet).
Thinking about being “green” is like thinking about running a marathon, you should not think “how am I going to stop global warming?” the same way you don’t think “how can I run 26.2 miles?”
You start training to run a marathon by getting out of the house for a 10 minute walk and you start being more environmentally active by using one compact florescent light blub. When you realize the first step doable then focus on the second step and one day you are leaving less of a carbon footprint and crossing under the finish banner.
The Marine Corps Marathon and FitPlanet are pleased to announce that Allison Lassoe, of Shefield Massachusetts, and Christopher Stephens, of New York City, have been selected for the Marine Corps Marathon Green Team.
The two were chosen based on their commitments to training and racing green from among the entrants in the Green Team Challenge. As members of the MCM Green Team, Lassoe and Stephens will blog on the FitPlanet Green Team page about their training. Also, they will participate in a Green Team press conference at the Marine Corps Marathon Expo on Friday, October 29.
For being selected to the Green Team, Allison and Christopher will receive a free entry in the 2010 Marine Corps Marathon, a pair of Brooks Green Silence, a performance racing shoe made from recycled and other earth-friendly components as well as a Nathan Hydration Pak that they will wear during the Marine Corps Marathon. Brining your own bottle helps conserve water and reduce waste.
In addition, the carbon emissions from their travel to and from the race will be offset by NativeEnergy, a recognized leader in offering services that reduce carbon emissions. Other prizes include a tote made from MCM recycled banners by Prior Life and other items from MCM sponsors such as Dasani.
Our hope is that Allison’s and Christopher’s blogging will inspire and motivate other runners to consider the environment as they train for and run the 2010 Marine Corps Marathon.
Competitor Group sets high green standard for large-scale races at 2010 Seattle Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon
Seattle race composts 550,000 cups from start to finish. Competitor Group partners with FitPlanet to create sustainability program for the Rock ‘n’ Roll Series..
Here’s the release that FitPlanet issued on Friday July 30…
July 30, 2010 – Athletes for a Fit Planet LLC, a leading provider of environmental services to athletic events, is excited to announce that the Seattle Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon & 1/2 Marathon has set what FitPlanet believes is a new industry record for “greening” large-scale road races by composting 550,000 aid-station paper cups weighing 2.4 tons. The race, which took place June 26th and included more than 21,000 runners, was able to divert 9.6 tons of waste from landfill.
“We are very pleased with the greening efforts at this year’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Seattle Marathon & ½ Marathon,” said Anton Villatoro, Vice President of Operations, Competitor Group Inc., which owns and operates the 14-race Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series. “This is just the beginning and shows what’s possible as we make a commitment to embark on our journey towards sustainability.”
The Seattle Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon & ½ Marathon recycled and composted 68% of the 14.2 tons of waste produced on race day. (See chart below.) This included recycling 5.8 tons of plastic, paper, cardboard and other materials, and composting 3.8 tons of food and compostable materials including the aid-station cups. The recycling effort included collecting over 50,000 plastic bottles at the finish line festival at the Qwest Field, home of the Seattle Seahawks.
“The total amount of waste sent to the landfill was just 0.42 lbs per runner, which is a significant accomplishment,” said Bruce Rayner, FitPlanet’s Chief Green Officer. “Anything under half-a-pound is world-class performance for a race of this size.”
Rock ‘n’ Roll Seattle’s commitment to sustainability went beyond the race to include the two-day Health & Fitness Expo at Qwest Event Center. The expo hosted more than a hundred retailers and thousands of visitors over two days and recycled over 5 tons of cardboard, paper, plastics, metal, and other materials, according to Juan Escalante, General Manager, ARAMARK Sports, Entertainment and Conventions, at Qwest Field and Event Center, which manages the complex’s facility services and recycling program.
“Integrating such a comprehensive waste diversion plan into a race of this size and complexity required significant coordination between race operations, waste services providers, facilities management at Qwest Center, and of course the race-day volunteers,” said Rayner. “What we accomplished is a testament to Competitor Group’s commitment to sustainability.”
The Seattle Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon’s green program kicks off a formal relationship between Competitor Group and FitPlanet to develop a long-term sustainability plan for greening the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series and other Competitor Group events.
“Competitor Group is committed to making our events more environmentally sustainable,” said Villatoro. “We are looking forward to working with FitPlanet to create a long-term plan that we’ll roll out over time at all our events.”