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5 Races That Are Reducing Their Carbon Footprints

Earth Day is April 22! In celebration, we’re highlighting triathlons around the country that are stepping up their efforts to help the environment.

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Earth Day is April 22! In celebration, we’re highlighting triathlons around the country that are stepping up their efforts to help the environment. Presenting five races that are thinking creatively to reduce their carbon footprints.

Ironman Boulder

June 11, 2017, Boulder, Colo.
Ironman.com

Boulder is a health-conscious town, and this race has always been one of the greenest in the Ironman series. In fact, the 140.6-mile race just received notification that its 2016 environmental efforts earned it “Evergreen” certification from the third-party Council for Responsible Sport. It’s the highest level awarded by the council, and Ironman Boulder is only the ninth event (and first triathlon) to reach that level. The race’s eco-friendly initiatives covered everything from waste, water and energy to transportation and food donations. Ironman has rolled out some eco-friendly initiatives across the entire North American series (using compostable cups at aid stations, donating leftover nutrition to local food pantries and shelters), but Boulder has been a guinea pig of sorts. “Boulder was a race market that already demanded unique environmental efforts and presented an opportunity to go further,” says Keats McGonigal, senior regional director for Ironman. “We are planning to take lessons learned from this race’s achievements to see what might be scalable at other events across the series.”

Photo: Ironman

A few of 2016 Ironman Boulder’s green initiatives

  • Diverted 80 percent of waste from landfills
  • Collected and recycled 54 bike tubes, 26 bike tires and 64 CO2 canisters from athletes
  • Donated 5,621 pounds of unused perishable food and 9,022 pounds of bottled water to the Community Food Share in Louisville, Colo.
  • Eliminated the use of on-course sponges to prevent 400 gallons of water run-off
  • Coordinated with Boulder “B-Cycle” to offer credits to athletes and spectators and minimize race weekend vehicle use

WIN for KC Triathlon

July 29, 2017, Smithville, Mo.
Sportkc.org

This women-only sprint tri in Missouri has worked hard to achieve gold-level status with the Council for Responsible Sport. Its efforts include paperless registration, strongly encouraging athletes to carpool to the event, donating gently used sneakers to the charity Soles4Souls, utilizing compostable cups and plates, and composting food waste.

Marin Triathlon

Oct. 28–29, 2017, Marin County, Calif.
Marintriathlon.com

Located just across the Golden Gate Bridge from San Francisco, Marin hosts Olympic, sprint and kids’ triathlons, and race organizers are trying to be zero waste and carbon neutral. To help achieve those goals, all power is generated by solar energy, all paper products are post-consumer recycled, all utensils and cookware are compostable, and all beverages served (coffees, teas, etc.) are organic and fair trade.

Deuces Wild Triathlon Festival

June 3–4, 2017, Show Low, Ariz.
Deuceswildtriathlon.com

Made up of long-course, sprint and XTERRA triathlons, Deuces Wild has made a commitment to minimizing its unusable waste. To that end, all food waste, plates, napkins, utensils and cups are composted to become a soil additive; there’s only digital registration and information packets (no paper); and registration provides the option to decline a race shirt. Racers are also encouraged to use the Carbonfund calculator to determine how much carbon they used to get to the race, then make a donation to offset their environmental impact.

Musselman Triathlon

July 14–16, 2017, Geneva, N.Y.
Musselmantri.com

This summer race in the Finger Lakes features a half-iron, sprint and super sprint, and the organizers of Musselman have made the race more and more sustainable over the last decade. They’ve thought through everything, from providing sustainable fruit to athletes that’s sourced from a local family-owned company to giving athletes locally made finisher medals. Musselman also uses recyclable bib numbers and participant race shirts made from bamboo. Athletes can use an online, interactive map to set up carpools to the race.