Marathons, and related races, can be messy affairs.  Runners bring extra clothes that are discarded along the course, cups of water are tossed to the ground and food wrappers abound.  Grandma's Marathon recognizes this and is working towards becoming a zero waste event.

Grandma's Marathon is working with Waste Management to host an eco-friendly marathon each year and they state that green initiatives are an important part of the operational planning of race weekend.   According to organizers:

A sustainable marathon creates partnerships with companies committed to environmental stability, and provides opportunities for participants and volunteers to practice sustainability.

Their current sustainability initiatives include practices like composting all food waste and organic materials, donating unused food to local food shelves, and recycling used sponges to be made into carpet-backing. Larger initiatives include transporting over 15,0000 runners to the starting lines via buses and trains.

I admit that when running the Garry Bjorklund Half Marathon, I've worn a long sleeve shirt at the start of the race, then tossed it to the side of the road once I warmed up.  There are many runners who do this, which is why a recent partnership between Grandma's Marathon and Goodwill Industries is so cool.

This partnership includes the retrieval of all apparel items that are discarded by runners along the race course, which will then be donated locally to Goodwill.

If you attend the Essentia Health Fitness Expo, you are encouraged to bring your old running shoes to be refurbished and then distributed to people in need around the globe. Grandma's Marathon states that last year, approximately 2,600 pairs of shoes were collected, and the amount of shoes that are donated has grown every year. This effort is executed in partnership with Toyota.

Follow the link below to get even more information on how you can help Grandma's Marathon become a zero waste event and for details on all their races.