Running at its heart is a simple sport which can be enjoyed individually or – as we like to do – as part of a shared experience. But whenever we attend any kind of mass-participation event, we have a collective environmental impact on our towns, cities, rural areas and trails. From the fuel we use to get ourselves to the event to the litter and waste produced, we all have a responsibility to reduce our carbon footprint globally.
As event organisers, we recognise that it is our responsibility to help shape a much-needed change in the way in which event organisers and attendees address environmental issues associated with mass-participation events. So, following hours of research and conversations with many other organisers (including London Marathon Events) we have published the following policy to explain how we aim to do tackle climate change at aat-events.
We organise a number of closed-road, trail and triathlon events – which each have subtle differences in how participants behave and take on water, and the amount and kind of waste produced. As such, we will use different methods to achieve our goals across our events so that the quality and safety of the event is not compromised. A detailed explanation of all methods/event policies is available to read at aat-events.com.
MERCER SURREY HALF MARATHON
WATER & PLASTIC POLICY
Mercer Surrey Half Marathon is a large, complex event attracting up to 6000 runners and thousands more spectators.
In 2019 aat-events introduced branded reusable cups to all entry forms and event day registration desks for the affordable price of just £3.50. At the 2019 Mercer Surrey Half Maraton though, 18,000 bottles (250ml) of water were still used on the course and at the finish line.
With the aim of reducing 10,000+ bottles from the event – without compromising the ease at which runners can access water (on the course and at the finish line), we will be taking a number of actions (detailed below) in order of “reduce, re-use and re-cycle”. The biggest impact we can make is to first reduce total demand for both plastic and water. Whatever minimal amount of plastic is essential to the event should then be re-used wherever possible and then finally recycled.
We ask all of our event attendees to support us in achieving the goals outlined in this policy and to please help us make these small changes that can make a big difference.
“Large-scale change truly starts with the individual. We urge all runners to consider managing their own water supply. This is the least wasteful and most environmentally-considerate method for runners to take on the desired/required amount of water with relative ease.”
– Hollie, Event Manager.
To meet the goals outlined in their environmental policy, organisers pledge to take the following actions:
- Reduce the number of water stations reduced from 5 to 3.
- To urge all runners to manage their own water supply / encourage the use of reusable cups, bottle belts and hydration packs. All of these items will be available to purchase from the Fitstuff pop-up shop in our event village on race day. We do however recommend that you purchase these items from their Chapel St. store before race day to train in all your race day kit.
- Educate and encourage runners to make more sustainable choices. Those who do rely on water provided by the event are strongly encouraged to consume the full amount of water contained in each bottle taken. Too often only a few sips of water are taken on from a full bottle before it’s then discarded. Another full bottle is taken again at the next station – which not only wastes water but creates an unnecessary demand for excess plastic. It is important to try and sip (not gulp) water – so if you cannot comfortably take on all water at once, consider running with a bottle belt (or hydration pack) so that you can comfortably carry water for longer.
- Introduce a “refill only water station” to encourage the actions described above. The refill station will be the final water station out on the course – if you intend to drink between 15km and the finish line (final 4 miles), keep hold of your bottle or refill your existing vessel.
- To encourage runners to present existing vessels at the finish line to be re-filled. Compostable cups will be available as an alternative option.
“Our long term aim is for the event to become plastic bottle free, but to achieve this we need the support of the running community. We don’t have much time to address the climate crisis. With that in mind, know that the fastest way we can achieve plastic-free status at the event is for runners to take responsibility for carrying their own water – with the assurance that, as responsible organisers, we will provide enough water to top up individual supplies.”
– Hollie, Event Manager.
MERCER SURREY HALF MARATHON
TRAVEL & POLLUTION POLICY
With an overwhelming percentage of participants living in the local area, we continue to encourage all particiapants to walk, run or cycle to the event. We have ensured that bike racks, shower and changing facilities are all available at the venue for event attendees to make these options more viable.
We strongly encourage participants to take public transport to get to the event. We deploy signage and a team of volunteers to Woking Station to help and encourage people to make the short 10-minute walk from the station to event venue.
With exceptions granted to blue-badge holders, there is no on-site parking offered. Those who travel by car are strongly encouraged to share lifts – which can be arranged via the official facebook event.
A lead car is still considered essential to the operational success of the event. However we request that Vehicle Sponsors supply hybrid or fully-electric cars to reduce pollution associated with the event and to provide a more pleasant experience for runners at the front of the pack.
WE WELCOME YOUR IDEAS.
We welcome all ideas from our runners for making our events more environmentally considerate. Please email hello@aat-events with your ideas.