My Not So Secret Diary

Plastic Waste At Races

Plastic Waste At Races
Just about to embark on a trail half marathon back in August!

Plastic bottles at races seem to be an increasing problem or maybe it’s just that we are becoming more aware. I’m aware that a lot of races that I’ve participated in have moved away from bottles, and instead use compostable cups with easy access points to collect the used ones. Perhaps not so much on short races, but certainly on long ones the best option would be taking your own bottle or maybe a reusable cup for the water stations. I’m aware this is encouraged at longer races and I can’t see it being a problem when you are carrying a bag of some kind. I have a lovely rucksack I use mostly for trail running or running long distances. It isn’t heavy, but means I can load up with plenty of water and sweets and I also have somewhere to put my rubbish! I’d looked for ages before buying one, as they can be so expensive, but I got my Aonjie one for about £20, it’s lasted so well, and is so comfortable, PM me if you want me to send you the link.

A couple of months ago I ran a 10k where we were supplied with plastic water bottles which were handed out at the half way point. It was surprising because the amount of water was actually too much for me mid-run and I drink quite a lot of water. It felt a waste to just bin them straight away, but many did. I ran with mine for longer but then realised there was no where to deposit them. We were told to toss them to the side of the road to be collected by marshals later, but the throwing of them turned them into missiles as they were thrown half full into the curb, sometimes bouncing back under the feet of the runners. With thousands of runners this was a potential hazard. As were the bottle lids that were dropped by some runners as the bottles were opened which became really tricky underfoot. This of course is without mentioning other waste that gets dropped like gel sachets and wrappers.

I know this event, as well as the half-marathon event by the same organisers choose to provide water bottles, perhaps due to their sponsors, but it doesn’t sit well with me in this day and age that the use of single use plastic is promoted in this way to such a captive audience. I also think that as a potential hazard, that organisers should be thinking about providing alternatives for the safety of the runners. As a runner, I don’t want to trip and fall at any time, but especially when running in such close proximity to so many other runners, which could make any accident much worse.

So it looks like some events might be changing the way they do things, I thought this article from the BBC was quite interesting.

As always, thanks for reading!