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Happy Planet Running

Run a great race. Leave no trace.

HPR Mission

Running is good for people. It should be good for the Earth, too!

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This site promotes and supports running events that are environmentally friendly, energy frugal, and as waste-free as possible, while providing a great experience for everyone involved – runners, spectators, and volunteers.

Sound good? Are you hooked? Browse this site and find out what’s happening with sustainable running. And if you know something we don’t, please give us a holler and enlighten us!
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Featured post

The GSB Interview: Jamie Simon, Greening the LA Marathon

GreenSportsBlog

The Skechers Performance Los Angeles Marathon is one of the biggest in the United States, drawing 25,000+ runners from all over the world each year. The race passes through four cities, each with their own sustainability (recycling, composting, etc.) protocols and vendor contracts. Getting all four cities to pull together to deliver as sustainable an event as possible is a logistical challenge of epic proportions. To find out how they’re going about it, GSB talked with Jamie Simon, the Sustainability Consultant for Conqur Endurance Group, the event organizer.

GreenSportsBlog: Jamie, thanks for joining us. How did you get involved with Conqur Endurance Group?

Jamie Simon: I joined Conqur Endurance Group as a sustainability consultant. Before that I had been sustainability director of Red Bull USA

GSB: That must’ve been fascinating. When were you there?

JS: From 1999-2009, with the last two years in the sustainability role. The…

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Hightail to Ale: Zero Waste in the Rain

Sustainability Report: Hightail to Ale 5K
Date: May 5, 2017
Event company: RF Events, Ann Arbor MI
Location: Atwater Brewery, Detroit MI
# Attendees: 2,900 runners
Zero Waste Team volunteers: 4, plus basketball team members

Hightail to Ale is one of the “Thirsty 3” series that celebrates great beer, wine, and cider in southern Michigan. It takes place on the streets near the Atwater Brewery in Detroit, bringing several thousand runners out for a Friday night beer party with a 5K thrown in.

Waste comes mainly from the post-race party, where free beer is distributed to runners, and food trucks serve up barbecue and other local fare.

Last year the post-race waste hit us hard and fast, from the food trucks, water bottles, and thousands of cans of beer given free to finishers and sold to spectators. There was no time to weigh it, and the recovered cans disappeared from the recycle dumpsters the next day. We were determined to do better this year, despite the forecast for chilly temps and constant rain. How did we make out?
Continue reading “Hightail to Ale: Zero Waste in the Rain”

Gazelle Girl Race Achieves 98% Diversion and Saves 2,000 lbs. From Landfill

The Gazelle Girl has done it again! Not only does this annual women’s race get more popular each year, they find new and better ways to make it more environmentally friendly. This was the event (2015) that sparked my involvement in Zero Waste at races, and led to the creation of Happy Planet Running. I was pleased and proud to be a part of it again this year!

Read on to see what was new this year with their waste management and what their vendors are doing to make sustainability a mainstream, everyday practice.

Continue reading “Gazelle Girl Race Achieves 98% Diversion and Saves 2,000 lbs. From Landfill”

Trail Marathon: A Great Anniversary Present

Happy Anniversary to RF Events! Despite the threat of lousy weather, the races went on, and the results were great both for the runners and for the environment. See below how we did vs. our very first Zero Waste event at this race last year.
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Mars Shows Earth How to Go Green!

GREETINGS, EARTHLINGS. Now that we have successfully invaded and occupied Earth, we will show you that we love it more than you do. Case in point: we came to Dearborn last Saturday – Earth Day – and ran one of the “greenest” marathons on the planet.

Continue reading “Mars Shows Earth How to Go Green!”

Recycling Marathon Heat Blankets: There Are Ways!

When I crossed the finish line of my first marathon back in 2011, I was handed a thin, light foil blanket. A runner’s body temperature begins to drop rapidly after stopping, and this was to retain some body heat until things stabilized.

It was over eighty degrees and sunny that day, so there was no danger of hypothermia. Still, I took the blanket as a first-marathon souvenir. But last month’s local marathon was wet and chilly, so the runners appreciated them, although they created a disposal issue.

The blankets are made of Mylar, plastic vapor-coated with aluminum. Both materials are recyclable by themselves, but together they are not. And when people started discarding them en masse, the volume quickly overloaded the receptacle. The Zero Waste team decided to collect them in the chance we could keep them out of the landfill.

A2 Marathon 2017 - Blankets and Overflowing Bin.jpg

We ended up with several large bags stuffed with Mylar blankets. What could be done? After some research we identified one bad option, one good (but costly) option, and one that didn’t help for this year but might for future events. Which one did we choose? Read on to find out!

Continue reading “Recycling Marathon Heat Blankets: There Are Ways!”

How to Make a Zero Waste Team Deliriously Happy

Hooray for runners! Not only are they cool people, they care about the environment. Every runner I know supports Zero Waste, and we’ve received many, many thank-yous and compliments from race participants.

And yet they do some things that make a Zero Waste effort more difficult. I know it’s not intentional; it’s more a lack of understanding how labor-intensive the process is.

A runner’s involvement with trash ends when it’s put in the bin or tent, but the Zero Waste team has to ensure it all goes in the right place. Final sort consumes a lot of time just when we’re trying to pack up and leave. Every saved minute helps!

Here are a few things all runners can do to help an event’s sustainability team. Trust me, we’ll love you all the more for doing them!

Continue reading “How to Make a Zero Waste Team Deliriously Happy”

2017 Ann Arbor Marathon Achieves 96% Landfill Diversion

Date: March 26, 2017
Event company: Epic Races, Ann Arbor MI
Location: Downtown Ann Arbor, MI
# Attendees: 2,500 runners + staff + spectators
Zero Waste Team volunteers: 4

Race Overview

The Ann Arbor Marathon is a 5K, 10K, half marathon, and full marathon that takes place in downtown Ann Arbor and surrounding neighborhoods. Despite a chilly and rainy forecast, a large number of enthusiastic runners showed up and sprinted past Happy Planet Running’s “Ground Zero” sorting station on Main Street about one mile into their various races.

The rain held off until about 10:30, but conditions deteriorated steadily afterwards. By early afternoon, everything and everyone was wet and cold. And the Zero Waste effort was short by two key volunteers. Final cleanup promised to be no fun whatever – but it was a walk on the beach compared to what I found the next day!

Continue reading “2017 Ann Arbor Marathon Achieves 96% Landfill Diversion”

Sustainability Report: Pi Day 5K 2017

Date: March 14, 2017
Event company: Epic Races, Ann Arbor MI
Location: Hudson Mills Metropark, Dexter, MI
# Attendees: 300 runners + staff + spectators
Zero Waste Team volunteers: 4

Race Overview

The Pi Run is an annual event held on 3/14. Its name celebrates both pi, the number, and pie, the food. About 250 runners showed up to run a chilly 5K at Hudson Mills Metropark, with the option of a “pie in the face” at the finish line. Then they enjoyed pizza and Achatz Four Berry pie.

A few (fool)hardy souls signed up for the “Pi Division” and ate a (large) piece of pie BEFORE running the 5K. No hands allowed, and the more left on the plate, the higher a time penalty suffered. But they got to start before everyone else, so they could vomit in relative privacy!

Pi Run - Pi Division eating

This was the very first Zero Waste event for Epic Races, where they wanted to use their two newly purchased Zero Hero tents. Happy Planet Running was happy to assist, and Jeff even ran the race – Pi Division, of course! (Above, in black cap and yellow wind vest.)

Continue reading “Sustainability Report: Pi Day 5K 2017”

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