We Say NO to Plastic

When I go for a run, I create absolutely zero waste. I drop no litter, I don’t use any single use plastic and leave no trace on the environment. But when I enter an event, I leave a mound of waste from water bottles to gels, race numbers to cable ties (you don’t see these but a race organiser will use 1000’s!) and something needs to be done!

We’re ambitious with all of our ideas at the Bolton Marathon. And probably one of the biggest challenges we’ve set ourselves is removing single use plastic from the event.

Most single use plastic is 100% unnecessary. There are exceptions, which I’ll highlight shortly, but for the most part, single use plastic is used throughout society for ease and convenience.

To remove single use plastic, we need to work harder and perhaps not the easiest and most convenient way. The team and I are used to a bit of graft so that doesn’t scare us! But we also need our runners, volunteers, spectators, events sponsors and partners to all get right behind our plan. I’m pleased to say that we’ve received only positive comments about our sustainability aims and I hope it will continue.

However, I don’t want to preach to the converted! The challenge we face between now and May 2021 is to get others on board and help make a difference.

As a race organiser, we want to deliver the best experience possible. From a runners perspective, you want things as easy as possible so that you can get the best time, less to think about etc… BUT to achieve the removal of ALL unnecessary single use plastic we ALL need to change what we do. That will mean no water bottles with a sports cap on that’s easy to drink and then throw on the ground. You will have to think about where you put your litter (make no attempt to get it in one of the many bins and we will disqualify runners) and you won’t receive a “traditional” race number as it’s made from non-recyclable, recycled plastic – therefore single use!

We want to see all of these changes made at events worldwide. With millions of people taking part in events, just in the UK, all receiving a plastic race number, our reusable fabric solution will stop thousands of tonnes of plastic going to landfill or incineration. And that’s just the difference we can make through changing race numbers! But as with every ambitious plan, someone has to stick their head above the parapetĀ and be the first to show it can be done. And that’s where we come in. Other events have worked to reduce their environmental impact, but none have pledged to remove single use plastic because it is hard. But it is possible.

So what can you do?

Join us! Be a part of the Bolton Marathon. Our Twin Towns challenge starts on Thursday 01.10.2020 and is a virtual event that lasts up to race day, and then be a part of the actual event on 16.05.2021 and make history by taking part in the first single use plastic free road marathon in the UK (possibly the world!)


When is single use plastic necessary?

Single use plastic does have some good uses, mainly in the medical profession. Clearly where hygiene is vital, a reusable product may not be suitable and medical stations at event we will never jeopardise the safety and care for our runners, volunteers and staff BUT we will still have an emphasis on reducing single use plastic where there is no impact on care. For example essential water can still be supplied without using plastic bottles.

We’ve faced many challenges over the last 8 months and we’re always better facing challenges together, so join us as we do our bit to make a difference and be part of the first single use plastic free road marathon in the UK!