Green Means Go!
Incorporating environmentally and socially responsible practices is an important part of the planning and production of Grandma’s Marathon. We’re committed to hosting a sustainable event to ensure Grandma’s Marathon can be enjoyed year after year by thousands of new runners.
The natural beauty of Duluth and the North Shore of Lake Superior are central to Grandma’s Marathon. We recognize the importance of preserving our environment and the impact that our event has. Our organization continually reviews best practices and implements new strategies based on the latest climate research and technology. We are committed to minimizing our carbon footprint by basing our actions on sustainability principles to protect our environment and our future.
Committed to Action
In the summer of 2019, Grandma’s Marathon signed on as a signatory of the United Nations Sports for Climate Action group. The Sports for Climate Action initiative calls on sporting organizations to acknowledge the contribution of the sports sector to climate change and our responsibility to strive towards climate neutrality. Grandma’s Marathon adheres to the initiative’s five principles: undertaking systematic efforts to promote greater environmental responsibility, reducing overall climate impact, educating for climate action, promoting sustainable and responsible consumption, and advocating for climate action through communication. As a signatory, we are committed to achieving the net-zero greenhouse gas emissions goal by 2040.
Grandma’s Marathon uses Green Stations at our event(s) to assist in the efforts of our staff, volunteers, participants, and spectators to properly sort materials in order to minimize the event's overall waste.
BY THE NUMBERS
- 886 pounds of extra finisher medals recycled in 2019 and 2020
- 2,137 bibs recycled by Grandma’s Marathon in 2020
- 2,700 pounds of food waste composted in 2020
- 7,520 pounds of cardboard and plastic recycled in 2019
Grandma’s Marathon offers a free bike valet on race weekend, encouraging the use of active and eco-friendly transportation. The Duluth Transit Authority (DTA) also offers runners free bus rides on race day.
An estimated 234,000 pounds of CO2 are avoided by busing 20,000+ runners to the start line each year, and our partnership with North Shore Scenic Railroad makes Grandma’s Marathon one of, if not the only marathon in the world where participants can ride a train to the start line. Each year, more than 1,000 runners use the train to get to the race start line.
Goodwill Industries of Duluth is the official clothing recycler of Grandma's Marathon. Runners are encouraged to discard unwanted clothing items at the start line and along the racecourse to be collected and donated to Goodwill. In 2021, our participants discarded 1,984 pounds of clothing that were then donated to Goodwill. Goodwill also sends any leftover race finisher shirts to textile streams to be repurposed into other products.
Grandma’s Marathon donates leftover banners and finisher ribbons to various places to be repurposed, and leftover food is donated to local food shelves such as Chum, Damiano Center, and Ronald McDonald House.
Grandma’s Marathon avoids an estimated 148,000 plastic bottles by supplying water on the racecourse via water trucks and fire hydrants. In 2022, Hiccup will provide Grandma’s Marathon with 26,000 silicone cups that were used as an alternative to single-use cups at one water station.
Grandma’s Marathon is working to install solar panels at its Canal Park office building by 2023 in an effort to reduce its carbon footprint. In addition, our organization's policy of busing runners to the marathon and half marathon start lines saves approximately 234,000 pounds of carbon from being emitted into the atmosphere from individual drivers.
NEW: Offset your travel
85% of our total event carbon emissions come from participant travel. Whether you're driving, taking the train, or flying in, you'll be able to offset your travel emissions to ensure the Grandma’s Marathon course stays beautiful for future generations of participants. Our partnership with NCX allows you to offset your travel through an exchange which directly supports family forest landowners in Minnesota. Learn more about NCX here.
Why Carbon Offsets? Find out here.
How You Can Help
ON RACE WEEKEND
- Ride the bus! Participants can ride the DTA for free on race day just by showing their official race bib. NOTE: Be sure to utilize the DTA Trip Planner to get around Duluth for the weekend).
- Take advantage of our free bike valet. It’s perfect for spectators who want to avoid heavy traffic and enjoy a scenic view of Duluth!
- Participants — Discard of your unwanted clothing at the start line(s) and along the racecourse to be collected by Goodwill.
- Look for the Green Stations located throughout the event where Green Team will assist you with placing your waste in the proper container.
THROUGHOUT THE YEAR
- Make your running clothes last longer by taking care of them and when you do need to purchase more prioritize items made sustainably.
- Donate old running shoes and apparel to Goodwill to be textile recycled.
- Commit to not using single-use water bottles during your training and carrying what you can on your long runs
- Take up “Plogging” – Picking up litter while jogging!
- Choose to offset your travel to our event by buying carbon offsets online here.
- Choose Local races! One of the biggest environmental impacts from major running events is the emissions caused by participant travel.
Tell us how we are doing...
Let us know any feedback you have on our sustainability efforts. If you have ideas on things we can be doing better, how to better communicate, or suggestions on initiatives you would like to see, let us know. Sustainability isn’t a race that you finish alone, it takes a whole team.