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

Sustainability Report: RF Events Super 5K 2017

Date: February 5, 2017
Event company: RF Events, Ann Arbor MI
Location: Novi High School, Novi MI
# Attendees: 2,000 runners
Zero Waste Team volunteers: 5 (plus 3 more at takedown/cleanup)

Race Overview

The Super 5K is held every year on the morning of Super Bowl Sunday. As it’s usually cold, runners gather inside Novi High School before the race, and then go inside again afterward for awards and post-race food (hot dogs,  meatballs cookies and bananas). The total number of runners, spectators, and staff is usually around 2,000.

After the 8:30 a.m. start it’s quiet in the main area for about half an hour. Then it’s a mob of people eating and hanging around until about 10:30. With so many people eating and then leaving in such a short time, control of the waste streams can quickly be lost, as happened in last year’s DWD Hell race. How were we going to avoid a costly fumble?

Super 5K - crowd eating.jpg

Continue reading “Sustainability Report: RF Events Super 5K 2017”

How to Win Gold in Austin: Go Green!

The Austin Marathon is recognized as one of the “greenest” races in America, and in 2016 earned Gold level certification from the Council for Responsible Sport. Check out the story below, along with some other green sporting initiatives in Texas, courtesy of the GreenSportsBlog!


Texas is not the first state one thinks of in terms of Green-Sports leadership. But the Lone Star State is starting to move in that direction. In today’s TGIF News & Notes column, we take a look at last month’s Austin Marathon from a sustainability standpoint, courtesy of the Council for Responsible Sport. We also examine the greenness, or lack thereof, of the Men’s Final Four, hosted by Houston. Finally, we leave Texas to check in with our favorite team in the Green-Sports world, Forest Green Rovers of English soccer, and their recently-launched contest to design its new “eco-stadium.”


The Eugene, OR-based Council for Responsible Sport has “supported, certified and celebrated responsibly produced sports events” since 2007, with marathons and half marathons forming the core of the group’s work.

The Austin Marathon and Half Marathon became an early pilot partner of the Council back in 2008…

View original post 1,175 more words

Great Event, But Where’s All the Trash?

Reblogged from my personal blog, RunBikeThrow. This post originally appeared on April 25, 2015. This event opened my eyes to what was possible regarding Zero Waste at a race, and set the stage for establishing a similar program at RF Events in 2016.


Last Sunday was another “first” in my adventures in running – an early morning two-hour drive to Grand Rapids and the Gazelle Girl Half Marathon & 5K.

Photo from Gazelle Girl website

So, one might wonder why a manly man like me would be part of a female-only race. Well, I was not there to take part in the race, but to pick up after it. Yes, I was on the waste collection and sorting team. A minor version of Mike Rowe doing a Dirty Job. (Being called the “Green Team” didn’t mean we got to keep our hands clean.)

What kind of stuff gets tossed out at a race? Some of just about everything. But the main categories are food waste, cups, water bottles, and Gu / energy bar wrappers. Any large event generates a lot of all of that, and the Gazelle Girl had over 3,500 runners, plus spectators.

What made…

View original post 273 more words

Sustainability Report: Bigfoot Snowshoe 5K/10K 2017

Date: Saturday, January 21, 2017
Event company: RF Events, Ann Arbor MI
Location: Timber Ridge Resort, Traverse City MI
# Attendees: 480 runners, about 100 spectators
Zero Waste Team volunteers: 4

Race Overview

The Bigfoot Snowshoe 5K/10K is one of two RF Events races held in the Traverse City area. It’s a popular race, in part because it’s a qualifier for the National Championship Snowshoe race, but there are plenty of people who go out just for fun.The resort provides one of their lodge buildings to keep people warm and for serving post-race food. Traverse City is a very “green” city and we were determined to hold up our end!

Continue reading “Sustainability Report: Bigfoot Snowshoe 5K/10K 2017”

Sustainability Report: Run Woodstock 2016

Date: Sept. 9-11, 2016
Event company: RF Events, Ann Arbor MI
Location: Hell Creek Ranch, Pinckney MI
# Attendees: approx. 2,000
Zero Waste Team volunteers: Varied

Race Overview

Run Woodstock is the largest RF Events race of the year, with distances from 5 miles to 100 miles and everything in between. It’s also a weekend of camping, live music, and self-expression enjoyed by both runners and non-runners. The fun begins at 4 p.m. Friday, with the 100K and 100-mile start.

With over 2,000 weekend residents at Hell Creek Ranch, staying on top of the generated waste (collecting, sorting, properly storing) promised to be a challenging effort. But any improvement over previous years, where all waste went to the landfill, would be a win.

Continue reading “Sustainability Report: Run Woodstock 2016”

Paper Cups at Events: Recycle, Compost, or Trash?

Ah, paper cups. You see them at every running event, being handed out at aid stations to perspiring runners, who slug down the contents and then toss them down, sometimes in a waste bin, but often just in the road, or wherever.

What happens to them afterward? Your average runner has no idea. Trash collection is someone else’s problem – they’re here to run! But if you’re part of the event staff, and you want to do right by the environment, what options do you have? Keep reading …

Sustainbility Report: RF Events Red Carpet Run

For blog - Red Carpet Run 2016

2016 Results to Date

Chart - Percent Diversion through Red Carpet Run

2016 Eugene Marathon Earns CRS Gold Sustainability Certification


From the website of the Council for Responsible Sport:

Eugene MarathonThe Council announced today that the 2016 Eugene Marathon, Half Marathon and 5K held May 3 in Eugene, Oregon proved its commitment to producing a world-class event in a socially and environmentally responsible way by achieving gold level certification. This was the first time organizers sought certification for the marathon.

Read more at the CRS website here.

Plastic at Races: How You Can Keep It Out of the Landfill, or Worse

Man, is there a lot of plastic at running events.


It’s hard to beat the convenience of a disposable water bottle after a race. You’re hot, tired, and above all, thirsty. If they’re holding out a water bottle and the finisher’s medal together, guess which one I reach for first.

Plastic has its advantages. It’s lightweight, durable, and cheap – hard to beat when you’re supplying an event with thousands of people. And most of it is recyclable. So what’s the problem?

Continue reading “Plastic at Races: How You Can Keep It Out of the Landfill, or Worse”

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