This year The Great Race placed a top priority on practicing environmental stewardship, and preliminary figures concerning material collected throughout "Great Race Week" confirm it was a successful effort.
"The Great Race remains Pennsylvania's largest 10K, so we looked to set an excellent example for all races in the Commonwealth," said Mayor Luke Ravenstahl. "Our green initiative involved everything from collecting plastic bottles and orange peels at the finish line to encouraging race participants to car pool. We are extremely pleased with the outcome of our efforts this first year, and we're already planning to expand 'green' activities for next year's race."
The Great Race attracted more than 11,500 participants - the largest field since 1990 - and the Junior Great Race 710 children and their families.
Race organizers partnered with the Pennsylvania Resources Council and City of Pittsburgh Recycling Division to create a "Green Team" presence at the 31st running of the Richard S. Caliguiri City of Pittsburgh Great Race on September 28 as well as the Dollar Bank Junior Great Race, which kicked off a week of activities on September 21.
"We focused our attention primarily on collecting materials at Point State Park since it serves as the finish line and gathering space for both The Great Race and the Junior Great Race," said Race Director Mike Radley. "Since Sunday we've received a tremendous amount of positive feedback from participants saying that they appreciated having an opportunity to sort materials for recycling and composting."
According to preliminary figures compiled by the Pennsylvania Resources Council and City of Pittsburgh Recycling Division, 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.
"While people are becoming more and more familiar with recycling efforts at large-scale events, The Great Race provided additional opportunities to keep materials out of a landfill," said PRC Regional Director Dave Mazza. "Orange and banana peels will become compost, and we even collected the numbered bibs, made of polyethylene fibers, for recycling."
Other efforts included printing race applications on recycled paper using soy inks and recycling all leftover print materials.
"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 Radley. "We're pleased to expand our effort, and in the spring we plan to plant trees along the Eliza Furnace Trail as a constant reminder of The Great Race's commitment to the environment."
In addition to presenting sponsor Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield, 2008 Great Race sponsors are Dollar Bank, Allegheny General Hospital, Dick's Sporting Goods, Thermo Fisher Scientific, essential2Pittsburgh, KDKA-TV, Q92.9 FM, 96.9 BOB FM, Pittsburgh magazine, Port Authority, Southwest Airlines, V8 Fusion, Wise Snacks and ARAD.
Wednesday, October 1, 2008
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Office of Mayor Luke Ravenstahl
512 City County Building | 414 Grant Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15219
telephone: 412-255-2626 | facsimile: 412-255-2687