How “Green” are Marathons

With the New York City Marathon just are the corner, on Sunday to be exact, the question comes up as to how green marathons might be.

According to an article on Mother Jones, marathons generate a lot of waste.  Especially for running, which might appear as one of the most low environmental impact sports, large-scale marathons generate the same if not more waste than other athletic events.

Large-scale marathons generate thousands of paper cups that provide water for runners and numerous energy packets that come in the form of gels and beans to give runners an extra energy boost.

In response to this growing marathon waste problem, the Council for Responsible Sport was founded in order to help encourage sustainability at sporting events.  Events are judged on 41 different elements according to the council’s sustainability guidelines.  If an event reaches 22 of the 41 they are “certified” and if an event reaches 38 it is deemed “evergreen.”

The Marine Corps Marathon was certified in 2009 ans 2010 and the Chicago Marathon was certified in 2010 and 2011.  Neither the Boston Marathon nor the New York City Marathon have ever been certified sustainable.

This year the New York City Marathon will bring in more than 47,000 runners.

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