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Tips for Hosting an Eco-Friendly Race


Have you ever been out for a run in the woods and come across a plastic wrapper someone has left behind? You are not alone, some runners will even carry a bag with them to pick up the trash they see along their route. Nature shouldn’t be mankind’s dumpster, and while you can’t force other people to respect the outdoors, you can still make an effort to do your part. With recycling becoming more prominent in recent years, it’s getting easier to cut down on litter. Here are some tips to host an eco-friendly race that will reduce your carbon footprint.

  1. Go Paperless

    • Hopefully, you are already using ITS YOUR RACE as your registration platform. If so, offer 100% paper-free registration to participants. All their information will remain online, the only paper they will receive at the race is their bib. After the race, encourage runners to recycle their bib safety pins. Try advertising solely with digital platforms (pro-tip: This will also be cheaper). If you absolutely have to use paper, purchase recyclable paper, or get creative! Some companies will sell you a biodegradable paper that contains seeds. Print a flyer or a brochure on the biodegradable paper and let people know at the bottom of the page that they can plant it in their backyard.

  2. Source Food and Water Responsibly

    • Purchase recyclable plastic cups and have a recycling bin nearby. Encourage runners to bring their own water bottles as well. Reusable water bottles can even be a part of your green swag. For food, reach out to local farmer’s markets and see if they want to help sponsor your event. If you don’t have any farmer’s markets in your area, try to buy in bulk to lower the amount of packaging. Consider food that does not require a plastic covering such as apples or bananas. If you’re passing out goodie bags at packet pickup, use a recyclable paper bag or a burlap one. If you have leftover food, donate it to the local food bank. 

  3. Ride Share!

    • An easy way to entice people to come to your event is to provide a rideshare program. It’s good for the environment and good for your turnout! Ridesharing helps out-of-town people that may not be familiar with the area, and also locals who don’t want to deal with parking. If there are local transportation companies, contact them to see if they want to sponsor your event. Runners will love the added social component as they share a ride with fellow participants.

  4. Green Giveaways

    • Giveaways should be useful, otherwise, they will just end up in the trash. Try to give away prizes such as coupons, gift cards, or cash. Go virtual with your giveaways, give electronic gift cards, or email other offers. You can get even more creative with your prizes! Hand out potted plants or saplings to the winners, instead of giving them a medal. If you don’t want to forgo the medal, make it out of wood or recycled materials. As tempting as it is to have a bunch of polyester shirts made up, resist the urge. Try using more sustainable alternatives like bamboo, organic cotton, or even recycled plastic bottles.

  5. Donate!

    • While hosting the run, have people bring their old, gently used clothes and running shoes. Encourage your participants to reduce, recuse, and recycle their unwanted clothing with non-profits like the American Textile Recycling Service or Recycle for Change.

There are countless ways to help the environment, you just have to be resourceful with your solutions! This list is by no means exhaustive but hopefully has inspired you to start implementing a few changes at your next race. Small changes can make a big impact on the environment.  If we all work together to be more eco-friendly at our events, we can help to make our planet a better place.

About Innovative Timing Systems, LLC: Innovative Timing Systems, LLC is a privately-owned company, providing leading-edge sports timing solutions and race timing services through a network of over 500 locations around the world. ITS provides advanced chip technologies, race kiosks, large athlete displays, live web updates, automated race photos, social media integration and mobile apps. Founded in 2008, ITS is headquartered in St. Louis, Missouri and has sales, support, and engineering facilities in numerous locations around the world.

About ITS YOUR RACE: ITS YOUR RACE is the leader in online event management. An all-inclusive endurance event platform, ITS YOUR RACE offers easy registration and results with custom features including sponsorships, advertising opportunities, GPS tracking, athlete photos, finisher certificates, fundraising, and more. Over 10,000 events have chosen ITS YOUR RACE.

Innovative Timing Systems is a registered trademark of Innovative Timing Systems, LLC. RaceTimes is a trademark of Innovative Timing Systems, LLC.

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