Head Start

Improving Race Sustainability

August 23, 2021 Race Directors HQ Episode 12
Head Start
Improving Race Sustainability
Show Notes

Making races more sustainable is on more and more race directors’ radar these days - which is awesome. But when it comes to moving from theory to practice, working to affect actual change in your race that has a meaningful impact on your event’s environmental footprint, things sometimes get a little bit confusing.

Where do you even start? How do you benchmark where you’re currently at with your event, so you can measure your progress going forward? What things should you focus on? And what does making progress even look like, when it comes to making your race greener?

These questions and more is what we’ll be discussing today with the help of my guest, Bruce Rayner. Bruce is the Chief Green Officer at Athletes for a Fit Planet and has been working at the forefront of event sustainability for years, having helped countless races, major road races and triathlons as well as local events, become more sustainable by reducing their environmental footprint. 

So if you’re ready to work on making your event more sustainable today, you’ll get a great head start out of the next hour or so.

In this episode: 

  • A look at the progress the endurance events industry has made towards greater sustainability
  • The reasons still holding back race directors from committing more strongly to the sustainability effort 
  • How to start benchmarking your waste and carbon footprint
  • Primary vs secondary waste: what counts as your race’s waste and carbon footprint?
  • Who should cover the offsetting cost for participant travel, the event or the participant?
  • What is carbon offsetting and how can it help events get to carbon neutrality?
  • Asking participants to cover their carbon footprint through their registration fee
  • Are participants willing to pay a “green” surcharge to cover the offsetting cost of their travel?
  • Why it’s important for races to be transparent with participants on what their carbon footprint is
  • The marketing benefit of promoting your race’s environmental credentials
  • How to avoid recyclable waste contamination by getting your volunteers to sort it
  • Recovering and recycling discarded water cups and bottles at aid stations
  • The advantage of using compostable cups vs recyclable paper cups
  • Is cupless racing possible for road races?
  • The role of businesses and local government as sustainability sponsors for races


Thanks to GiveSignup|RunSignup for supporting quality content for race directors by sponsoring this episode. More than 22,000 in-person, virtual, and hybrid events use GiveSignup|RunSignup's free and integrated solution to save time, grow their events, and raise more. If you'd like to learn more about GiveSignup|RunSignup's all-in-one technology solution for endurance and fundraising events visit runsignup.com.

You can find more free resources on planning, promoting and organizing  races on our website RaceDirectorsHQ.com.

You can also share your questions about making your race more sustainable or anything else in our race directors Facebook group, Race Directors Hub.