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Posted: November 1, 2009  : Add to Mixx! Subscribe to stories like this

(RWire) Athletics: Big Sur Half Marathon Leads the "Green Way" with Virtual Goodie Bags

Overwhelmingly positive response to first-ever "distribution"

CARMEL, Calif. - (October 29, 2009) - The Big Sur Half Marathon on Monterey Bay - slated for Sunday, November 15 - leads the way with the first-ever distribution of virtual goodie bags. Sent last week to an audience of race participants, sponsors and mail list recipients, the response has been overwhelmingly positive.

A long-time race tradition, runners receive a packet, usually in a plastic bag, filled with literature and paraphernalia from other races, retail outlets and sponsors. Unfortunately, much of the information is discarded because it is not of interest to every participant.

"The idea behind creating a virtual goodie bag was to allow the runners to view and print or use only the information they want," said Julie Armstrong, marketing communications director of the Big Sur Marathon organization. "This way we're greatly cutting down waste and saving printing and mailing costs for sponsors."

Runners have responded with the following comments:

"Awesome, Awesome, Awesome! Good for you guys for making a BIG change! I hope all the races follow in step with you. I always feel so guilty carrying out a bag of paper, especially after doing something so healthy for me! Congratulations for taking a big stride in the "green" direction. Thank you." - Krystal Brandt

"Congratulations! This is the first one ever and I've always wanted this. Thank you for leading the pack!!" -Kiyoko Ikeuchi

"I can print the coupons that I will actually use. It's a new (electronic) world." -Carol Hansen

"Kudos to the whole team! This is brilliant and really well done. We're less likely to just chuck the whole bunch of paper into the trash because we don't want to wade through it. I love that Big Sur is leading the way on this environmentally-friendly front. Thank you!" -Mimi Hahn

The virtual goodie bag is just one of many initiatives undertaken by the Big Sur Marathon organization as it applies for certification from the Council for Responsible Sport, a non-profit group that provides independent, comprehensive certification standards for sustainable athletic events. The categories evaluated include Waste, Climate, Materials & Equipment, Community & Outreach and Health Promotion.

In addition to the virtual goodie bags, the Big Sur Half Marathon will be composting race food and cups, recycling timing tags and expo materials, donating discarded clothing, offering an online rideshare program, purchasing sustainable products, allowing for purchase of carbon offset credits, continuing with its innovative BYOB (Bring Your Own Bottle) on course water refill station, and more.

"The virtual goodie bags are a great public introduction to our greening efforts as we head into this year's Half Marathon," Armstrong added. "We'll be continuing to expand on this for our marathon and other events. We want to be sustainable for the long term."

To view the virtual goodie bags and runner comments, visit: www.bigsurhalfmarathon.org.


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