This week we feature reflections from everydaytrash.com friend Ryan Hicks after running his first half marathon. Congrats to Ryan finishing in just a hair over two hours! We have side cramps just thinking about it.
On Sunday, my brother Rob, his fiancée Alison and I ran our first half marathon in Vancouver, BC. While it was a fantastic experience which I’m sure we will all do again soon, as newcomers to this sport we had to marvel at the litterbug behavior on display.
In general my impression of the typical runner is someone who is affluent, urban, progressive, and if not outright environmentally minded then certainly civically engaged. For example the typical runner would never consider littering during an everyday neighborhood training session, once in a crowd of 15,000 runners, all sense of personal responsibility gets thrown out the window. This was especially evident at every hydration station, where little plastic cups so thoroughly covered the street that Rob said “that’s not fortune cookies!” in his best Short Round accent. Elsewhere in the run you could find hundreds of discarded power gel packets and energy bar wrappers, despite there being a trash can every half-mile or so. Is it a sense of entitlement that you can’t hold on to your empty foil packet while you run a couple hundred feet to the trash can or is it a lack of personal responsibility that comes from being a part of such a large group? Even more surprising than the beverage and food containers were the discarded gloves, hats and outer layers of clothing that were frequently kicked aside during the run. Rumor has it that it’s a common practice for runners to buy a few outer layers at Good Will that are meant to be discarded mid-race.
On the bright side I was very impressed with Brita’s sponsorship of the festival, which meant zero plastic water bottles were available at hydration stations and at the start/finish lines. I also admired a used running shoe donation center. Considering that serious runners replace their shoes every year or so, a donation center makes great sense. I have two old pairs in the back of my closet that I would have gladly donated had I known about this program.
Photo by ALaws via Flickr.