The Eugene Marathon became the first race in Lane County to “Go Green” and was recognized in 2008 by Runner’s World magazine as one of the “Top10 Greenest Races in North America.” Since then, we have continued to consider best practices in our everyday decision-making. In 2016 we became the first race in the Northwest to achieve Gold Level Certification from the Council for Responsible Sport, and we have kept maintained our efforts to earn Gold again in 2018.
Being green doesn’t always mean recycling, reducing water waste and conserving energy. It also means providing access to our participants, giving back to our community and creating an environment that is inclusive and welcoming. Check out our commitment to inclusion.
The 2018 Marathon
Goes for the Gold
In 2018 the Eugene Marathon was awarded Gold Level Certification by CRS for the second time. We first partnered with the Council for Responsible Sport (CRS) in 2016. The objective of CRS is to provide biennial independent verification of the socially and environmentally responsible work event organizers implement.
By successfully employing 48 distinct best-practice standards and completing a rigorous documentation process, the 2018 Eugene Marathon used 100% renewable energy, diverted or repurposed over 75% of event waste and generated more than $1.4 million in positive economic impact to Eugene and Springfield.
Here are just some of the green initiatives that we have made best practices in event operations to make the Eugene Marathon both environmentally sustainable and socially responsible.
On-Site Waste Management: Eugene Marathon took a variety of approaches to diverting waste from landfills. Difficult to manage materials like the thousands of cups along the course were composted, and extra medals were recycled locally at Schnitzer Steel. Waste Free Oregon worked with EM before, during and after the event to sort waste for recycling, compost and trash, limiting how much garbage went directly to landfills. In total, 75% of waste was diverted in 2018.
Bottled Water: We’ve worked hard over the years to reduce our dependence on bottled water. In 2018 16 of our 18 water stations used the city’s water supply to hydrate runners. Our water sponsor, Earth2O, provided reusable jugs at two water stations where a city water source was unavailable. Since 2016, we have also provided reusable water bottles to all participants at the finish through a sustainability partnership with the City of Eugene.
Goodie Bag: Participants received a reusable, shopping-style “green” goodie bag pre-packed with refueling food at the finish line. Aside from being a great souvenir, the bags can be reused long after the race is over.
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: In 2018 the Eugene Marathon coincided with the rollout of the Peace Health Rides bike share program. Peace Health Rides offered marathon participants reduced fare for rides on race weekend to encourage alternative transportation. 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.
Donations: Following the race we donated all leftover food, discarded clothing and extra race shirts to the Eugene Mission. 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.