Learn about four companies and how they’re helping race directors achieve their environmental initiatives.
Running race participants are increasingly concerned about the health of the playgrounds they train and race on. In response many event directors are becoming more mindful of reducing the impact of their events on the environment. These four entrepreneurial small businesses have stepped up to the challenge by offering creative solutions for race directors to achieve that goal.
Virtual Race Bags
“Emptying the contents on the hotel room table, it was startling to find only two small samples and the rest a pile of waste,” Chris Bradle, the founder of Virtual Race Bags, recalled after receiving a traditional goody bag at a recent marathon. “Multiply the 20 pieces of paper in one bag over 20,000 runners and you have a mountain of waste.”
It’s a concern shared by environmentally conscious runners all over the country and one to which Bradle found a solution. Virtual Race Bags headquartered in Charlotte, N.C., delivers all the usual offers and coupons in a digital format before and after the race. Runners can click around the virtual bag and redeem sponsor deals using simple technology most of us are now accustomed to, while producing next to zero waste.
The race shirt is a ubiquitous part of any endurance race. But how many racers actually wear their race tee after the event? Combined with the production costs, it’s a major source of waste and Brunswick, Maine-based Atayne has made its mission to cut down the environmental impact of custom apparel.
All Atayne’s shirts are made of recycled materials, diverting 10 plastic bottles from landfills with each shirt. While some local custom apparel companies tout shirts made from recycled materials, they are often imported from overseas. By sourcing its materials in the U.S., Atayne reduces the polluting transportation costs of international shipping.
“The average shirt travels 8,000 miles, an Atayne shirt travels under 600 miles,” said Jeremy Litchfield, founder of the company..
In addition to producing sustainable apparel the company accepts your used polyester shirts for recycling and coordinates “trash running” groups to clean up popular running areas.
FitFul, headquartered in Delray Beach, Fla., is a company bringing a healthier, more sustainable alternative to the traditional post-race binge. FitFul offers organically grown foods served up in a recyclable box, in lieu of loose foodstuffs, plastic cutlery and disposable plates, which often litter the finish lines.
The Marine Corps Marathon used them last year and reported much less waste and trash because competitors took the container home with them.
“We also try to ship via rail to the races where possible, reducing the CO2 emissions on the environment,” said Chief Operating Officer Paul Mackay, who endeavors to cut the environmental impact all the way through the supply chain.
This company’s mission will ring true to anyone who’s run at the back of the pack at a major running event and ran over a carpet of crushed paper cups. HydraPouch based in Boulder, Colo., offers races a solution to eliminating paper cup waste at their events. The HydroPouch is a portable, refillable and flexible plastic container that is easier to sip from without spilling. To complement its reusable cup, the company has also developed a high flow liquid dispenser, HydraPour. These dispensers are attached to jugs of water or sports drinks used at aid station. Athletes can quickly refill their bottles without fear of losing precious seconds … or drops.