There’s no better time to jog your memory about eco-friendly running habits.
By PAIGE TRIOLA
APR 18, 2019
THE OPEN ROAD IMAGESGETTY IMAGESWhat comes to mind when you picture your perfect running backdrop? Maybe a trail winding through a sun-dappled forest, a vast expanse of white, sandy beach, or a long stretch of road with white-capped mountain peaks on the horizon. There are so many beautiful places to run in the world, and Earth Day (this year on April 22) serves as a great reminder of our need to celebrate and protect them.
While it’s easy to view running as being entirely harmless to the planet, there are a number of ways you can step it up when it comes to adopting more eco-friendly running habits--and breaking some bad ones.
“Running is one of the lowest impact sports in terms of the environment. All you need is a body,” says Shelley Villalobos, managing director of the The Council for Responsible Sport. “The impacts start to come into play when runners do things like rely on single-use plastic bottles for hydration, litter their energy gel and bar wrappers, and, most impactful from a climate perspective, when they travel cross-country for events without compensating for the greenhouse gas emissions of their air travel.”
Every runner can take steps to be a little greener this Earth Day—just ask the environmental professionals, race directors, and athletes themselves who are leading the way by enforcing sustainability in the running community.
Take Some Trash Off the TrailsPeter Maksimow, outreach and partnership specialist of the American Trail Running Association, believes that small efforts to be a greener runner beyond Earth Day can gradually evolve into bigger commitments. Some of his many duties involve educating the public on proper trail running etiquette and “Leave No Trace” principles, and he makes sure to practice what he preaches on a regular basis.
“I have a hashtag, #JustOnePiece—pick up just one piece of trash when you’re on the trail. And hopefully, that one piece leads to 10, and then a whole bag full,” Maksimow says. He started a Colorado Springs-based Facebook group, Pikes Peak Ploggers, that’s dedicated to doing just that. Members share photos of themselves running the scenic trails of Pikes Peak while “plogging,” or taking part in the growing trend of picking up trash while on their runs. “It makes people more aware of the problem,” says Maksimow. “I plog every single day.”