Current Topic: Do trail races result in unnecessary damage to the environment?
I think that trail races result in less unnecessary damage to the environment than they once did. Not only are runners more aware of their physical presence in the woods, but RD’s and runners think about their pre race preparations affects as well. For instance, many of my friends and I choose races we can drive to, and then carpool to races.
Not only are people aware of their carbon foot print before the race, but the are aware of it during and after races as well. Many races are becoming cupless to cut down on paper waste and trash clean up after. I was signed up for Grindstone 100 this year (before the government shut down) and as part of the pre race instructions the RD, Clark Zeland, sent this;
“Cupless! Each year we typically go through approx. 2500 paper cups for the race so we are joining the growing list (see list below) of cupless races across the country in an attempt to produce less waste. Your UltrAspire 6oz cup will be included as part of this year’s race swag which you will get at race check-in on Friday afternoon. Please make sure to carry this on your person during the race for use at aid stations. 2013 Cupless Races:
a. Chuckanut 50k b. Antelope Island races c.Coyote Backbone d. Lake Sonoma 50 e.Miwok 100k f. Pocatello 50m g.San Diego 100m h.Bear Brook Marathon Ultra. I. El Vaquero Loco 50k j. Wasatch 100m”
It has become more typical for most RD’s post trail ettiquitte on their “rules and regulations” page. Packing out all gu’s and other wrappers, and also using the bathroom away from water sources, or digging holes for solid waste are part of these rules.
One of the most notable races, Hardrock, even went as far as taking Leadville off of their qualifying list citing lack of environmental responsibility;
“A note about the 2013 Leadville 100: The Leadville 100 includes many of the features that are important for a HR qualifier: high altitude, long climbs, potential for mountain weather, and more. However, the 2013 Leadville 100 ignored other traits of importance to the HR: environmental responsibility, support of the hosting community, and having a positive impact on the health of our sport. Because of timing, the 2013 LT100 will still be accepted as a qualifier for the 2014 HR. LT100 finishes will not be accepted as qualifiers for the 2015 HRH and beyond.”