12th, 2014, Shelby Farms Park will be hosting the greenest race
around for the second year in a row: the Greenline Half Marathon.
is built-in to the Park’s mission, management, and programming. Though thinking
green is part of our DNA, it takes vigilance to ensure sure that sustainability
remains at the forefront when planning events. Registration, catering,
transportation -- all of these things can contribute to an event's carbon footprint.
Wilson, Events +Programs Manager for SFPC, recognized the impact and waste that events can create and made it her mission to improve event sustainability. She focused first on the Greenline Half Marathon because of the
13.1 mile impact and its focus on funding the upkeep of the trail that has
helped spur green transportation in the city.
started conversations with the Council for Responsible Sport, a group dedicated to
helping organizations make their events more sustainable, in February of 2012,
and had received their certification by December of the same year. By undergoing
the their ‘ReSport Certification’ process, Natalie was able to divert 92% of
would-be race waste from landfills. Below is a list of all the inventive
changes Natalie implemented to make our Greenline Half Marathon stay true to
WASTE ELIMINATION INITIATIVES*:
Reduce Paper Waste
- Move all registration online to
eliminate paper waste
compostable paper cups at water stations
- Use bicycles, electric vehicles and natural gas powered trucks to plot out
the race, set up water stations, pace the race and monitor the course with
- Eliminate waste from race bags by providing a virtual goodie bag with
discounts and coupons around town
- Turn waste into nourishment for
the Greenline Gardens with an onsite composting program at the race
T-shirts that are composed of ground up coke cans
- Use recycled paper and non-toxic ink on all race bibs (these were the only
paper product given in race bags, everything else was eaten)
Reinvent the Norm
solar energy for 50% of the energy needed for the event in partnership with
- Bring in environmentally sustainable portable potties
post-race parties with locally sourced goodies
checked all the boxes above, making the Greenline Half Marathon the first sustainable
sporting event in Tennessee! We met 44 out of 45 credits possible and achieved
Silver Certification from the Council for Responsible Sport, one of
the first 50 sites certified in the world.
When asked about the process,
Natalie admitted it was “very, very difficult, but… it’s about making a
commitment to our environment”.
As pioneers in sustainable races, we could not have
accomplished a 91.3% diversion rate without creativity and incredible support
from our great partners: Memphis Runners Track Club, Revolve Sportswear, Bluff
City Sports, FedEx, MLGW, International Paper, Rock10, Get Green Recycles and
charities such as the Tennessee Council on Disabilities, Shepard’s Haven, and
Verizon Hope Line.
partnered with Clean Memphis and Memphis City Beautiful to train a group of
developmentally disabled adults from Behavioral Services of Tennessee how to
recycle in their homes. After their training, the group volunteered at the
finish line of the race.
this big did not go unnoticed: nearly 95% of post-race survey respondents said
they noticed event organizer’s sustainability initiatives.
Zero Waste Initiative
Greenline Half Marathon is setting standards for sustainable events and we hope
it can be an example and resource to help other races accomplish the same green
standards. These sustainable practices have found their way into all of our
events around the Park--whether it was replacing 1 million Christmas lights
with LED lights or mowing the cross country trail and leaving the surrounding
grasses alone so that birds can nest in the nearby taller grasses--there are
little efforts each day that are contributing to a more sustainable heart of
Because of the success of her initiatives, Natalie is inspired to keep pushing
the recycled envelope and is pursuing “Evergreen” status-- the highest
certification awarded by the Council for Responsible Sport-- for the Greenline Half Marathon. Ultimately, Natalie
hopes to offer transportation to and from the race, as one of the continued
efforts to ensure Shelby Farms Park’s Greenline Half Marathon remains, and is
increasingly, truly green.
out the Sustainable Site Certification In the News
full list of race regulations and sustainability tactics Shelby Farms Park underwent
to make the Greenline Half Marathon a truly green event can be found here.