Again this year, The Great Race - taking place on Sunday, September 27 - is placing a top priority on practicing environmental stewardship and expanding its effort to "grow greener."
"The Great Race remains Pennsylvania's largest 10K, so we look to set an excellent example for all races in the Commonwealth," said Mayor Luke Ravenstahl. "Our green initiative involves everything from collecting plastic containers and orange peels at the finish line to encouraging race participants to car pool. We were extremely pleased with the outcome of our efforts in 2008, and we're expanding our ‘green' initiative this year."
Last year the Richard S. Caliguiri City of Pittsburgh Great Race presented by Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield - which attracted more than 11,500 participants - partnered with the Pennsylvania Resources Council and City of Pittsburgh Recycling Division to create a "Green Team" presence. The "Green Team" gathered more than 900 pounds of orange and banana peels to become compost and collected more than 8,000 plastic water bottles. The team also collected 10 cubic yards of cardboard - the majority from boxes used to deliver refreshments or items for the runners' packets. Other effort also included printing race applications on recycled paper using soy inks and recycling all leftover print materials.
In addition to repeating all "green" activities initiated last year, race organizers are introducing the following new activities in 2009:
"While 2008 marked the first year for a partnership with PRC, The Great Race has always focused on the environment by doing things such as using shuttle buses to transport runners and walkers to the start line and encouraging online registration," said Race Director Mike Radley. "We're pleased to expand our efforts in 2009, and once again in the spring we'll plant trees along the Eliza Furnace Trail as an ongoing reminder of The Great Race's commitment to the environment."
Installing a recycling station at the two-day Great Race Expo (collecting materials on site as well as educating participants about recycling/composting activities at Point State Park)
Using compostable cups at all water stops along the 6.2-mile course route and recyclable cups at the start and finish lines
Composting thousands of pasta salad containers/napkins/forks at finish line
Substantially reducing the quantity of applications printed and increasing promotion of online registration (replaced early bird application with "save the date" postcard and decreased quantity of other print materials)