Aid stations are the perfect antidote for physical and mental fatigue. I’ve contemplated calling it quits many times during a race, but the energy garnered from one always keeps me going. While aid stations are typically a welcome relief for runners, they can also be a source of great environmental waste; though they don’t need to be.
There are many practices race directors can do to lessen a race’s environmental impact, and eliminating single-use paper cups is one such approach. Instead runners pack a small collapsible cup during the race (or just rely on a hand-held or hydration vest). I’ve used collapsible cups in several races and it’s easy and I felt good knowing I wasn’t contributing any additional waste.
When I found out my favorite local racing company was going cupless, I reached out to Renee Seker, one of the three founders of Go Beyond Racing, to learn more about their decision as a way to encourage other race directors to follow their lead.
What inspired you to go cup-free?
We are trail runners and love being in the woods. We are always looking for ways to lessen our races’ impact on the environment. For the last few years, we’ve purchased compostable plates, cups, bowls, and silverware, and even paid for carbon offsets for the shipping of those items. Talking with you at our Go Race Series, where you volunteered, inspired us to look for additional ways to do good. We were looking for what the next step could be and decided that cupless races were best. [Continue Reading]