Unfortunately we did not complete the trifecta and discover any rock n’ roll during Atayne’s most recent trash run at the RunTerra race in Gaithersburg, MD. But as the blog title suggests, we did come across plenty of evidence of sex and drugs. While running for trash, you find some remarkable objects. Previous trash run discoveries included a fully functioning iPod, a toilet seat, and a highly alliterative DVD. (If only the DVD content lived up to its title. Mike?) On this trash run, we encountered less interesting finds, but did come across many condom wrappers and empty beer bottles. Oh the joys and excitement of running for trash.
On a more serious note, we had yet another successful trash run. Nearly 20 volunteers (ages 8 – 40) came together to run for trash and prevent recyclable material from going into a landfill. We estimate that 75% of the event’s waste was recycled. One of our best performances yet!
While the volunteers were instrumental in making this happen, the race organizers took many steps to make our jobs all that much easier. Being the inaugural event for RunTerra, the number of runners was relatively small–about 250. But having managed the waste for similarly sized events, the RunTerra organizers did a great job of reducing the waste generated by the event through smart choices made during the planning process. By far the best way they were able to reduce waste was by handing out reusable bottles of water at the end of the race instead of bottled water. (One of the biggest sources of waste at most races is plastic bottles. The scary thing is, most of the time they do not get recycled.)
In addition to reducing their material usage (remember reduce is the first and most important of the 3 Rs), they took some other steps to make for a much less impactful race. Some of our favorites:
- Recyclable cups (paper with no waxy lining) at the aid stations
- A tree planted in honor of every participant and volunteer
- Attaching the race to an environmental expo for participants to learn other ways to live a more environmentally responsible life
Was everything perfect? Well no, but sustainability is a journey not a destination. The organizers of the race did a great job of creating the framework for a less impactful event.
Before closing, I want to do one of the more enjoyable parts of trash running, unveiling the new terminology developed while engaging in the sport. Here are a few more to add to your trash running vocabulary:
- Trashlek – Much like its “cleaner” cousin the Fartlek, the Trashlek is a great aerobic training technique. It involves a light jog to a piece of trash and then a hard-paced sprint to put the trash in the appropriate receptacle. A moving retrofitted trash collecting jog stroller or stationary trashcan does the trick. This is a great substitute for boring and less environmentally beneficial track workouts.
- Dumpster Break – A bathroom break while trash running. No explanation needed.
- Getting Trashed – Any injury that occurs while trash running, especially one that involves hand, arm or knee contact with the ground. A very common one is clipping your foot on a guardrail and taking a digger while returning to the road or path after going deep for a piece of trash.
As always, keep it clean!