Environment is One of the Event's Top Priorities
SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. - (June 22, 2009) - The San Francisco Marathon(tm),
scheduled for Sunday, July 26, 2009, has announced a number of leading
edge "green" initiatives to minimize the impact of the event's 20,000
runners on the environment. In 2007, the event made a conscious effort at
"going green," when most road races were still figuring out how to
preserve precious natural resources.
Since then, The San Francisco Marathon (SFM) became one of the first
races to appear on Runner's World magazine's list of environmentally
friendly events. Last fall, an article in the New York Times ("Saving the
Earth, One Road Race at a Time," 9/24/08) described how in 2008 SFM spent
about $10,000 specifically on environmentally sound operations.
Road Race Management includes SFM as an environmentally responsible
industry leader in its Guide to Greener Running Events. Running USA, a
nationwide membership organization of road running events, noted in its
Running USA Wire news blast how product marketers are tripping over each
other to associate with pro-green organizations, and how SFM "lined up an
impressive list of sponsors to help implement its green plan."
Last year, runners from all 50 states and 56 countries participated in
the San Francisco event's signature marathon (26.2 miles), two half
marathons, and 5K run/walk.
"In an eco-responsible state such as California, our event feels an
obligation to implement ambitious and inventive earth-friendly policies
as an important example and service to our participants," said Sophia Li,
the San Francisco Marathon's Race Director. "Today, we've infinitely
increased our quantities of recyclable and compostable tonnage while
significantly decreasing the amount of waste a race can create. At the
end of the day, our goal is to eliminate all unnecessary waste and
preserve all ecological resources while providing a quality race for our
The amount of garbage alone that a large road race can produce has been
ignored for too long according to some environmentalists: thousands of
pounds of discarded paper cups and bib numbers, water bottles, uneaten
food, paper registration forms, entrant and results sheets, plastic goody
and tote bags, and dumped runner's clothing. The CO2 emissions generated
by thousands of runners traveling to a race, shuttle vans and other race
vehicles, and power generators run by petroleum gas contribute to global
But, the road running industry, with an estimated 8.9 million finishers
annually (2009) in the U.S., is making a dedicated effort toward
environmental responsibility, according to Keith Peters, the President of
Eco-Logistics, a consulting firm that advises road races about greening
their events, and the author of Guide to Greener Running Events.
"Although there's no real count of green races, per se, 67 percent of the
races I've polled have changed their environmental outlook in the past 18
months," Peters said. "This change in outlook can be summed up in just a
few words: Race directors are responding to market trends and media
coverage to reduce their environmental footprints. Races are becoming
more green because the information and resources are out there to help
race directors produce greener events."
From collecting donations by race entrants that are directed at energy
offsets to using alternative fuel options, the San Francisco Marathon is
talking a lead role in this trend:
* SFM's stated environmental policy is: Try to do everything possible
related to the environment and try to set an example by thinking of
innovative ways to address environmental issues.
* At last year's event, SFM recycled and composted 20,000 pounds of
race day garbage. SFM creates and implements recycling plans with all of
* After the 2008 race, 10,000 pounds of leftover food, and more than
1,000 pairs of used running shoes, were donated to local charities such
as the Society of St. Vincent de Paul and Delancey Street.
* Compostable drinking cups only are distributed to runners on the race
course, and before and after the race.
* Starting with this year's race, biodegradable goody bags that can be
reused as runner drop/sweats bags will be distributed to all entrants.
SFM creates reusable tote/equipment bags from old street banners. All
paper entrant lists, on-site results printouts, heatsheets and runner
D-tags (timing chips) will be recycled.
* SFM's entry fees are lower for runners who enter online versus paper
registration, providing an additional incentive to reduce waste.
Approximately 99 percent of SFM's participants register electronically.
All finishers receive an online electronic finisher's certificate rather
than a paper certificate.
* Newsletters and other informational updates are distributed to
entrants via e-mail and the race web site -- another tree-saving measure.
The web site includes a "How Green are You" section that offers race-day
conservation tips such as: Reuse your cup at each aid station rather than
using and discarding multiple cups.
* All unused products from the race are donated to local shelters.
* SFM encourages all race registrants to donate an additional amount
($5.00 this year) beyond basic registration fees towards its Going Green
Initiative. In 2008, the race donated over $5,000 from this initiative to
Native Energy for its pioneering projects to reduce carbon emissions. In
2007, $2,600 was donated to Native Energy.
* Biodiesel fuel blends are used for the event's power generators on
race day. SFM is investigating natural gas options for its spectator and
participant buses to cut emissions.
* The race provides preferred parking for participants who carpool and
bicycle to the race and pre-race San Francisco Marathon Expo
(Friday-Saturday, July 24-25 at the San Francisco Design Center). Race
entrants and volunteers are encouraged to conveniently sign up online for
a carpool through PickupPal. Valet bicycle parking is offered through the
San Francisco Bicycle Coalition.
* SFM provides detailed public transit information for race day and the
Expo on its web site.
* Instead of lead/pace vehicles, SFM uses lead/pace bicyclists.
* SFM has created a 5-year plan for continuing its environmental
efforts. It includes eco-strategies such as partnering with a non-profit
environmental organization via the event's Cause to Run fundraising
program. When the partnership is established, race entrants can raise
money for the partner organization and receive tips and advice regarding
environmentally sound practices.
For more about The San Francisco Marathon's resource conservation efforts
and policies, please visit the event's web site at RunSFM.com.
The 2009 San Francisco Marathon, on Sunday, July 26, starts and finishes
on the Embarcadero at Mission Street, near Justin Herman Plaza and the
Ferry Building. The official starting time is 5:30 a.m. Top runners are
expected to reach the finish line at Embarcadero and Folsom at
approximately 7:50 a.m.
REGISTRATION DETAILS and more information about The San Francisco
Marathon(tm), and all of the marathon's events, are available online at
About The San Francisco Marathon(tm)
The San Francisco Marathon enjoys success as the premier summertime
marathon in the U.S. San Francisco's blend of natural beauty, big city
charm, and perfect mid-summer running temperatures, make marathon running
in San Francisco a truly magical experience. Race events include a full
marathon, two half marathons (choose a half), 5K, and Progressive
Marathon. The event's unique Cause to Run program has raised over $10
million for local non-profit organizations since 2003. The San Francisco
Marathon's Youth Run4Fun running program allows San Francisco's
underprivileged youth, ages 7 to 17, to train for, and participate in,
the marathon's events without cost.
The 2009 San Francisco Marathon is sponsored by CytoSport, Gu Energy Gel,
and Organs 'R' Us. Our partners include Committed 2 Community, The San
Francisco Marathon Training Program, Youth Run4Fun, The Big Rumble, and
the San Francisco Amateur Radio Club.