Council for Responsible Sport Awards Greenline Half Marathon Silver Certification

January 16th, 2013

2012 event takes full advantage of Shelby Farms Park and Greenline to maximize sustainability initiatives and educational opportunities.

January 16, 2013 – Portland, OR: Council for Responsible Sport Executive Director Keith Peters announced today that the Greenline Half Marathon, held at Shelby Farms Park in Memphis, Tennessee on October 12, 2012, has earned silver certification from the Council for producing the first sustainable sporting event in Tennessee. The event, which benefits Shelby Farms Park Conservancy (SFPC) earned 43 of the 44 attempted credits.

“The staff at Shelby Farms Park is committed to creating a green, sustainable outdoor space for learning, recreation and exercise,” said Peters, “and the Greenline Half Marathon ticked all the boxes. From a solar electricity demo, to on-site composting, to using renewable energy sources to power over 70% of event needs, race organizers clearly took advantage of the opportunity to teach participants and volunteers about sustainability within the context of a fun, competitive foot race.”

Certification from the Council for Responsible Sport is a noteworthy accomplishment – fewer than 50 events worldwide have earned certification, and the Greenline Half Marathon aims to set new standards for the future of sporting events. “We wanted to improve our environmental impact in every aspect of the race – from the cups we used to stock the water stations to eliminating the need for gas powered generators to power race timing,” said Natalie Wilson, SFPC Events and Programs Manager.

It took nearly a year to plan for the intensive certification process. SFPC worked closely with Dian Vaughn, President of Green Events, to gather information about previously certified events, find ways to innovate and to ensure that all factors of the race were taken into consideration. On race day, Vaughnguided the event inspector through every element of the race, making sure that no detail went unnoticed.

Noteworthy Environmental Accomplishments

  • 91.3% of event waste (including the post-race party) was diverted from the landfill through recycling and on-site composting of water cups, utensils and food waste
  • All food served at the post-race party was locally sourced
  • Use of solar powered race timing 

Noteworthy Social Accomplishments

  • SFPC 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.

Nearly 95% of post-race survey respondents said they noticed event organizer’s sustainability initiatives.

SFPC worked diligently to do more than implement the practices – they aimed to share their efforts and to help the public understand the importance of making sustainable choices.

“As managers of the largest urban park in the country, sustainability is at the core of everything we do. This was an incredible opportunity for SFPC to implement international best practices, to set new and innovative standards for future events and to serve as sustainability leaders in our community,” said Laura Adams, Executive Director of Shelby Farms Park Conservancy.



About the Council for Responsible Sport: 

Our vision is a world where responsibly produced sports events are the norm.

Our mission is to provide objective, independent verification of the socially and environmentally responsible work event organizers are doing, and to actively support event organizers who strive to make a difference in their communities. 

Our Certification program provides a comprehensive method for event directors to incorporate environmental and socially responsible initiatives into their events, while informing stakeholders about events that adhere to a rigorous set of standards. Certified events range in size from ParalympicsGB Training Camps held at the University of Bath in the UK, with some 150 athletes participating, to the AJC Peachtree Road Race in Atlanta, Georgia, with 55,077 timed finishers. To date, 45 different events have achieved certification from the Council for Responsible Sport, serving over 606,000 athletes in the process.

The current version of the Council’s Certification standards was developed by an outside working group of 18 sustainability experts and reviewed by a wide range of stakeholders. Certification is modeled after the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED Green Building Rating System, which certifies buildings and materials according to resource conservation and energy efficiency criteria. 

About Shelby Farms Park: 

Shelby Farms Park Conservancy is the 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that manages and operates Shelby Farms Park and Shelby Farms Greenline.

At 4,500 acres, Shelby Farms Park is the largest urban park of its kind in the country. In addition to the large expanse of parkland, Shelby Farms Park Conservancy oversees Shelby Farms Greenline, a 6.5 mile paved rails-to-trail project that connects cyclists and pedestrians to Shelby Farms Park from the heart of the city in Memphis, TN.

Shelby Farms Park Conservancy is responsible for privately fundraising over $2 million (more than 75% of its operating budget) each year to keep Shelby Farms Park and Shelby Farms Greenline clean, green and safe.

For more information about Shelby Farms Park Conservancy, visit

Council for Responsible Sport

Council for Responsible Sport Awards Greenline Half Marathon Silver Certification

Contact Info

Keith Peters

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