Bad publicity is bad publicity. Running events have their own share of paparazzi, some of them we love because they take photos of us while we are in action, photos we can upload on our social networks and be proud of. But some paparazzi can be critical and we have seen photos of hydration stations with no runners or marshals but with a lot of used cups on the road. These photos have even made it to the international news.
|The New York Marathon has it's own share of trash problems too.|
But this doesn't mean we should not do anything about it here.
We all know that the cups do get cleaned up after the race but the keyword is “after”. Nobody actually cleans up during the race because there are a lot of runners coming in for their hydration; and for the marshals to weave through them, picking up the cups on the road can be annoying and even dangerous. So runners rush by, drink, throw the cups on the road and the marshals wait for the race to finish so they don't get trampled on, before they clean up.
|We can start by using|
hydrapaks and bottles.
Now, there are two ways to lower the risk of having photos of littered hydration stations from leaking online. One is for runners to bring in their own bottles or hydration packs so that no cups will be needed in the hydration stations. Runners will just have to fill their bottles from the water or hydration source. Now, not all runners are comfortable running with bottles or hydration packs, and runners who are very conscious of their time do not want to spend precious minutes lining up for a refill. So that is something that is a bit hard to ask for runners, although it has been done in trail races here in the Philippines, but in road races where speed is the main goal, anything that keeps a runner from breezing through is considered a nuisance.
The other way is easier and simpler but it takes a lot of discipline from runners. So what do we do to make sure that hydration stations do not look like mini dump sites during a race? Well, we have to shoot that cup in the trash bin! It's a very simple solution but really, it is all that is needed to solve the problem. It is easier to just throw the cup wherever after drinking from it but if the trash bins are numerous enough and are spaced evenly so that runners don't have to crowd to throw the cups, then runners will have no excuse at all and no reason why they could not throw the cups in the bins.
|Seriously runners, if this dog can shoot that kalat, surely we can train ourselves to do the same!|
To all runners out there, if we have the discipline to train hard for races, then we also have it in us to condition ourselves to throw cups where their supposed to go. Ask your race organizer to provide enough trash bins and to space them well to avoid crowding.
In the end, our goal should be to minimize waste and if we can take the time to bring our own reusable hydration containers, then all the better for us and the environment. Remember, we run for a healthy body but we must not forget how important it is to run in a healthy environment.
Tetra Pak RFR - Recycle.Feed.Run
If you want to help more, join the Tetra Pak RFR – Recycle.Feed.Run on November 18, 2012. By joining this event, you will participate in a massive effort to recycle Tetra Pak packaging, feed underprivileged children and run a green race.
Learn more about the event and how to register here.