A (mostly) Plastic Free Miami Marathon & Half Marathon
Marathons and half marathons across the globe are starting to rethink how to be more sensitive to environmental concerns generated by their events. Although many have already diminished their use of plastic bottles, many have switched to cardboard cups which, although they seem like a better alternative, are still lined in plastic. Most races continue to generate not just an overwhelming amount of litter, but miss the opportunity to be a rallying point and (very) visible representation of how seemingly small edits to our choices could incrementally benefit our sustainability. If music festivals like Ultra can figure out how to start reducing their waste more consistently, marathons and half marathons can also find a way to reduce plastic and waste while maintaining a sponsorship and financial model that makes them viable.
A few examples for your reference…
- The Grand Teton Half Marathon had no cups on the course (none!), but provided each runner with a reusable 'hydrapouch' they could use to refill from water or electrolyte drink stations along the way. (see page 7 here)
- The Chicago Marathon, which is the only one of the world’s six major marathons that has been certified by the Council for Responsible Sport, offers participant shirts that are made from recycled material. The ribbon on the finisher medal can also be recycled.
- The 2019 London Marathon famously handed out edible seaweed water pouches instead of using cups (see here).
The list goes on. So…
Unfortunately, Miami is at the center of the sea level rise and climate change conversation. And our Marathon & Half Marathon, which welcomes 20,000+ runners from the region, should be setting an example focused on sustainability. We – much more than cities like London – should be leading on the global stage with regards to what mindful and sustainable large-scale events of this nature look like. As such, we urge the Miami Marathon & Half Marathon to:
- Replace all cups along the course and at the finish with another solution
- Replace as much as possible with natural compostable or recyclable materials
- Consider and propose other sustainable solutions to roll out over the next years.