It was a committed principle of the founding of our event, if the Half Moon Bay International Marathon was going to be a success, we had to make preserving the environment along our beautiful part of the world a top priority. The original inspiration for this race was to showcase the natural beauty of the Half Moon Bay coastline, or what we called, "26.2 Miles of Running Heaven". We understood that to gain the support of our local community, we needed to show that we were dedicated to creating an event that honored and respected the landscape.
We looked to the Big Sur International Marathon and their superior “Green” practices as a model of how to make our event an environmental success. Following their example, we employed Athletes for a Fit Planet to guide us on our path to becoming certified through the recognized, non-profit organization for events, the Council for Responsible Sport (CRS). Our declared objective was to earn Gold Certification to the CRS standard. We applied for a total of 33 out of a possible 42 credits. For a list of the CRS credits we applied for click here.
We believed that through the certification process, we could not only show our community how dedicated we were by creating an event that preserves the natural beauty of our course, but demonstrate how the race can enhance the environmental mindfulness of its participants and bring the sport of running, with all of its health benefits, to a wider audience.
As this was our first year, we had a lot to learn! There were things that we did right the first time, and there are areas that have room for improvement in following years. Overall, the race’s green initiatives were a success and we are proud of our efforts:
Here are just two examples.
- We diverted 87.5% of our waste from landfill through our diligent recycling and composting efforts.
- Based on the results of our post-race survey, participants were very complementary about our sustainability efforts. Here is the tally of 228 responses to the question: Please rate your post race experience of our green efforts:
- Excellent: 46.1%
- Good: 39%
- Average: 5.3%
- Below Average: 0.4%
- Poor: 0.9%
- Not Applicable: 8.3%
In some of our feedback, we received suggestions for things that we were already doing (i.e., using compostable cups, donating unused products) which shows that we need to speak louder about what is already happening. Next year, we will upload our credits to our website and post on Facebook/Twitter about our specific efforts so that the participants can easily access this information.
One area that was surprisingly successful was transportation. From the survey, we learned that 33.8% of people carpooled, 8.7% walked, and .04% rode their bikes. Though this was a success, 53.2% of people drove alone. We would like to see this number below 50% next year and will make efforts to improve our promotion of ride sharing.
It was our intention to expand our efforts to reduce our carbon footprint. We had plans to have a solar power trailer as our main source of power this year, but unfortunately that did not come together in time. We intend to use solar power in 2012. We also plan to initiate a program to offset the carbon footprint from transportation by offering participants the option of purchasing carbon offsets during registration.
All in all we are very proud of our efforts and staying true to our focus on putting together a world-class event while respecting the beautiful environment we live in. We expect to receive final notification from CRS as to our status shortly and will broadcast the results as soon as they are available.