Saturday, May 25, 2019

Kudos to Manitoba Runners' Association

Kudos to Manitoba Runners' Association for their fine leadership in our effort to reduce the carbon footprint of running events in our province.  MRA is the sport governing body for Road Running in Manitoba.  The board is composed of nine volunteers who work year round to ensure road racing and trail events meet the highest standards in terms of safety, fairness, and amenities for participants. An MRA sanctioned event means the course is accurately measured and meets all rules and regulations of the MRA.

What does this mean to the average runner?

It means the best payback for your hard earned dollars.  It means you are supporting a grass roots organization that improves the quality of life for all Manitobans, young, old, and differently abled. It means there will be toilets on the course (and we know that's really important!) and water stations. Now, in 2019,  it means the event you run is working towards a carbon neutral status.

How are they doing this? Good question!

In brief:

MRA has purchased thousands of compostable cups which they will sell to all sanctioned event at cost.  They also collect and store the cups at their facility to be professionally composted in bulk at the end of the season.  The cups are made from Polyactic Acid, a bio-plastic made from natural sources. The cups must be professionally composted; they will not break down in a backyard composter or in a landfill.  This action would be cost prohibitive for a single event, but together, we can make a huge difference.

Kids like bibs!  MRA is collecting non-recyclable bibs at the end of each event to be reused at youth running events such as the famous Ice Cream Run. The single use bibs typically end up in the landfill so even if they are used twice it helps.  (ed note... I have about a thousand that I'm willing to donate:)

Many event will hand out ribbons for children runners.  Let's face it, ribbons don't hold much appeal even for kids. Typically they were tossed or not even accepted.  MRA has replaced ribbons with 'wooden nickels'. A wooden nickel is a reusable token that all child runners receive in place of the standard ribbon.  Children turn in the wooden nickel at the MRA tent for a chance to win a prize to be awarded at the Manitoba Marathon Expo. The nickels are reused or the children have the option of keeping the nickel.

MRA has stopped using plastic bags for race kit pick-ups and encourage other events to do the same.  Kit bags are often stuffed with coupons from sponsors which events want to honour as sponsorship is very important. MRA encourages events to have coupons available at kit pick-up for registrants to select if they choose, but not impose by stuffing the kit-bag.

MRA does not distribute paper copies of their minutes, agendas, or reports.  They have gone completely electronic.

We thank MRA for their leadership.  They have started the conversation.

Race Directors...what will you do to reduce your event's carbon footprint?

It's a good day to be alive.