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Green Turns into Silver at Ohio’s Air Force Marathon

December 13, 2019

The growing race earns silver level certification from the Council for Responsible Sport for social and environmental responsibility

Portland, OR — December 13, 2019 – The 2019 Air Force Marathon has officially achieved silver level responsible sport certification, the Council for Responsible Sport (Council) announced today. Held September 19-21, 2019 in Dayton, Ohio, the weekend of events consisted of a marathon, half marathon, 10k, 5k, and 1k kids races that served as an avenue for affecting environmental action in the greater Dayton community.

Hosting over 12,000 participants this year, the Air Force Marathon is now one of five certified responsible events in Ohio out of over 170 total certified events worldwide. By committing to incorporating tactics to prevent and divert waste, water conservation strategies, and carbon offsetting initiatives, the event organizers have set a new precedent for sustainable sporting events in the Dayton community.

Brandon Hough, Air Force Marathon director said, “We are extremely excited to achieve this status and to work with the Council for Responsible Sport in obtaining a more environmentally friendly event. We’ve worked hard to educate ourselves, and in turn educate those on our base and in our community, to make a positive impact on our environment. We are looking forward to using what we have learned and building upon it to continue creating a cleaner environment and a more unified community as the Air Force Marathon.”

As part of the certification, event organizers created and launched a three-year plan to minimize the environmental harm resulting from event operations while communicating positive messages to attendees through their environmental and community efforts. Organizers made good on their promise of prioritizing waste reduction throughout the event by recycling mylar blankets, extensively advertising compost and recycling bins, tracking the climate-changing greenhouse emissions of the event, and promoting emissions reduction initiatives to attendees.

Event organizers earned credit for implementing 36 of the best practices recommended in the Council’s Responsible Sport Standards (version 4.2) across five categories for social and environmental responsibility: planning and communications, procurement, resource management, access and equity, and community legacy. The two-year certification was awarded based on written documentation of efforts, the submission of plans, policies, and results, interviews with organizers, and an on-site assessment of the event from an independent, third-party verifier.

Social and environmental highlights from the race weekend that earned credit towards certification include:

  • Developed guidelines for decreasing the event’s environmental footprint, including waste reduction and water conservation scheme
  • Developed a formal 3-year plan to improve event’s impact on and involvement with local community
  • Worked with HighTech Signs to source 100 percent post-consumer recycled material for printed event signage
  • Utilized ‘Water Monsters’ to serve in bulk, replacing single-use plastic water bottles.
  • Partnered with a local company, GoZero, to incorporate compost bins alongside landfill and recycling bins for the first time
  • Provided drop off locations for used shoe donations for the international water purification nonprofit, WaterStep
  • Provided a mobility clinic for differently-abled athletes run by Paralympian gold medalist
  • Worked with local company, Green Speed, to provide compostable service wares for vendors
  • Established an educational space at the Expo to help teach the attendees about the impacts of pro-environmental waste disposal as well as local river clean up in the Miami Valley
  • Partnered with local transit authority to provide event bussing and subsidized transit to event participants
  • Donated leftover unserved food to local organization, USO, as part of a food drive
  • Began work on a multi-year legacy project to improve a shared running trail on the Wright-Patterson Airforce Base with lighting, a water fountain, restrooms and trail maintenance

“The Council was impressed by the intentionality the Air Force Marathon organizing team brought to the certification effort” said Shelley Villalobos, managing director of the Council. “The event demonstrated a genuine willingness to rethink operations and decision-making with an eye for the broader implications of those decisions and a desire to improve. They were ambitious and deserve recognition for this well-earned certification.”

About the Council for Responsible Sport: 

Since 2007, the Council for Responsible Sport has been helping people measure and manage the social & environmental impacts of their events. Responsible Sport certified events are some of the world’s leading examples of responsible sport in action. The Council’s vision is a world where responsibly produced sports events are the norm and its 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. The current version of the Council’s Certification standards (v.4.2) was developed by an outside working group of both sustainability and sport industry experts, reviewed by a wide range of stakeholders throughout 2013 and implemented in January 2014. For more information, go to: www.CouncilforResponsibleSport.org

About the Air Force Marathon

 The Air Force Marathon takes place every year, the third Saturday of September. Our weekend events include an expo, a pasta dinner, a breakfast and a Tailwind Trot 1K Kids’ Run, 5K, 10K, Half Marathon, Full Marathon and Challenge series. We are hosted at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio. Each year we have a featured aircraft with a military flyover. We are where perseverance and pride take flight!