The City of Eugene is known as the “Emerald City” and we think it’s important to do our part to keep things green! After our first race in 2007, we began to focus on green, environmentally responsible ideas we can use each year to help minimize the impact that comes with an event of our size.
These initiatives include reducing our dependence on paper by utilizing online registrations, hiring local waste management companies to help ensure that we divert as much waste as possible from the landfill and developing a charity program to assist the local area.
By employing these and other conscientious methods, we became the first race in Lane County to “go green!” In November 2008 the Eugene Marathon was recognized as one of the “Top 10 Greenest Race in North America” by Runner’s World magazine.
Each year we strive to better our efforts and apply new green strategies to keep things “Green in Eugene.”
The 2016 Marathon
Goes for the Gold
For the 10th running of the Eugene Marathon in 2016, we took the next step and partnered with the Council for Responsible Sport, an organization with the objective of providing independent verification of the socially and environmentally responsible work event organizers are doing.
Thanks to the efforts of runners, volunteers, fans and organizers, the 2016 Eugene Marathon became the first race in the Northwest to achieve Gold Level Certification from the Council for Responsible Sport. With only 25% of all events seeking certification achieving Gold Level or better, the Eugene Marathon joins other prestigious events that have earned the honor, including the PGA Tour’s Waste Management Phoenix Open, the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, the Philadelphia Marathon, the U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials and the Mexico City Marathon.
By successfully employing 45 distinct best-practice standards and completing a rigorous and thorough documentation process, the 2016 Eugene Marathon used 100% renewable energy, diverted or repurposed over 40% of event waste and generated more than $1.3 million in positive economic impact to Eugene and Springfield.
Here are just some of the green initiatives that we deployed to make 2016’s race the most environmentally friendly and socially responsible one yet.
On-Site Waste Management: We employed Waste Free Oregon and “master recyclers” to help divert at least 40% of the garbage generated by our event away from landfills. WFO worked with us before, during and after the event to ensure we took the necessary steps to achieve such a high diversion rate. Learn more about the amazing work they do to help keep Oregon “waste free.”
Bottled Water: We’ve worked hard over the years to reduce our dependence on bottled water by over 33%. Now most water stations use the city’s water supply to hydrate runners, not only eliminating the bottles themselves but also the transportation that goes into providing water to 18 separate stations around Eugene and Springfield. Our water sponsor, Earth2O, provides reusable jugs at other water stations.
Goodie Bag: Participants received a reusable, shopping-style “green” goodie bag pre-packed with refueling food at the finish line. Not only great souvenirs, they’re also useful far beyond race day.
Signs & Printing: We made every effort to reuse signs and banners from previous years. We continually work with local marketing agencies and printing shops to print brochures, maps and handouts using green products whenever possible.
Alternative Transportation: We partnered with the Center for Appropriate Transport (CAT) from the University of Oregon to provide bike valet service within steps of all the action so runners, volunteers and fans didn’t have to drive. We also continue to offer a free shuttle from the Valley River Inn, the Eugene Hilton, Autzen Stadium and the Gateway area on race day. Providing alternative transportation to get to and from the race helps reduce our carbon footprint as well as the stress that participants can face trying to find parking on race weekend. We also encouraged people to use mass transit to get to Eugene by offering Amtrak train fare for 30% off through the month of May.
Donations: Following the race we donated all leftover food, discarded clothing and extra race shirts to charities in need. We also facilitated many opportunities for participants to bring their old running shoes for donation to Soles4Soules, an international organization we work with year-round to “wear out poverty.”
Charity Partners: We understand that sustainability is more than just environmental awareness. It includes taking care of the local community as well. That is why we continue to partner with charities on a variety of levels: international, local chapters of national organizations and non-profits dedicated exclusively to Eugene and Springfield. Visit our Eugene Has Heart webpage for more information about our charity partners.
How to Reuse or Recycle Items from the Eugene Marathon
Race Bibs – Check out these clever ways to re-purpose your race bib.
Race Shirts – Send old shirts to charities, make a race t-shirt quilt, and check out even more ideas from our race partner, Active.com.
Medals – Donate your medal to charity, check with smaller local races who sometimes take old medals or make a wind-chime.
Space Blankets – Good for reflecting light in indoor gardens. Also makes great Halloween decorations or can be used as packing material.
Goodie Bags – Take it shopping, use it at the beach or make it your new gym bag!
Shoes – Donate your used running shoes to Soles4Souls, an organization we work with year-round to “wear out poverty.” Drop them off at one of our events (preview runs, local running stores or race weekend at the Health & Fitness Expo).
Gel Packets – Roll your empty gel pack and put it in your pocket to drop in the next available trash bin. These are the hardest clean-up item for the marathon crew.