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Runners resolve to be more environmentally conscious in 2020

Runners aren't just vowing to better themselves in the new year, they're looking to better the planet

Most people set out to make sustainable New Year’s resolutions, meaning that they want to stick to their resolutions over the long term, but some runners are announcing that their resolutions are, literally, centred around environmental sustainability.

RELATED: London Marathon to offer edible water bottles on course

Deena Kastor, American record-holder in the marathon and 2:19 runner says that for a long time her resolutions were about self-improvement, but this year she’s focusing on what she can do for planet Earth. “This year it’s for the health of earth, animals and future generations. I am not using ANY plastic bottles or disposable coffee cups. Sharing here because I travel a lot and want to be held accountable.”

Races, unfortunately, produce a lot of waste. The cups used on course are largely single-use, there are clothes dropped between the start and the finish, and thermal blankets are discarded along the exit. However, some races are taking initiative and working towards sustainability.

Races that are working to improve

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This year’s TCS New York City Marathon was the biggest yet, not just in the history of the NYC Marathon, but in the history of the world. The biggest marathon in the world generates some interesting statistics. 53,627 people crossed the finish line–814 more than last year–and another 578 started the race but, for one reason or another, did not finish. But the statistic that stopped us in our tracks was the “throwaway” sweaters, fleeces, jackets, coats, duvets, hats and sleeping bags people use to stay warm in the pre-race chill: Goodwill NYNJ, a partner to marathon host NYRR, was on hand to collect a whopping 122,760 pounds (55,683 kg) of clothing for distribution to its retail stores–which works out to 2.26 pounds (just over 1 kg) per starter.

New York City Marathon Canadians
Photo: courtesy of NYRR

The 2019 London Marathon also offered a sustainable solution for single-use drinking cups. The event use Ooho! spherical seaweed-based packing for their water. The packaging is edible. The company’s mandate, and the London Marathon’s, is to cut down on waste and work to eliminate single-use plastic cups. The Telegraph reported that the marathon brought in around 30,000 liquid capsules to offer on the course.

How runners can promote environmental sustainability

Run commuting is a great way for runners to get their training done while keeping their personal footprint small. If you don’t love run commuting (getting to the office sweaty, the organization and preparation it can take), consider literally running your errands. If you bring a backpack, you can pick up small items that you need while getting your run done.

Donating your old shoes is another great way to recycle gear.

Lots of runners like a sports drink after a hard workout, especially in the summer months when nothing tastes better than some post-workout electrolytes. Many of these drinks come in plastic bottles, so consider purchasing the powdered version and shake them up in a reusable bottle.