Wharf to Wharf Earns Gold Level Certification from Council for Responsible Sport

December 12, 2019

The “best little road race in California” joins only two other state events, the California International Marathon and Los Angeles Marathon in achieving the recent status, highlighting a commitment to the community and environment.

SANTA CRUZ, Calif. – (December 12, 2019) – During the 47th running of Wharf to Wharf presented by Sutter Health another race was also being run by its organizers. Along with the 16,000-plus who enjoyed one of the most iconic races in the country, undertaking a six-mile journey from the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk to downtown Capitola, organizers were undergoing a rigorous certification process to further its commitment to the local community and its environment with the Council for Responsible Sport.

Today, the event has announced that it achieved the Gold Level of certification, becoming the first event in Santa Cruz County and Santa Clara County to achieve the status as well as joining 22 U.S. running events since 2009 to be certified at this noteworthy level and only the third in the past five years in the state of California, joining the California International Marathon and the Los Angeles Marathon. Along with the Council for Responsible Sport, the race also partnered with Blue Strike Environmental to ensure sustainability efforts were organized smoothly.

“Our incredible community and region are known for their environmental stewardship, but applying best practices to a running event has both logistical and financial challenges when serving 16,000-plus runners. We proudly join an elite group of events to achieve the Council’s Gold level status, an accomplishment that everyone involved from staff to volunteers to the runners can all take a well-deserved bow,” said race director Scott McConville.

In addition to its longstanding commitment to the community by donating $6 million over its 47-year history, the race partnered with PATHWATER, the first purified water in reusable and recyclable aluminum bottles, to replace more than 32,000 single-use plastic bottled water at the finish line. PATHWATER bottles are aluminum, which is the only material that offers 100 percent endless recyclability, as long as it’s put back into the recycling system. Moreover, 75 percent of all aluminum ever produced is still actively in use today.

“Our partnership with Wharf to Wharf was our biggest race collaboration and to see it come to fruition on such a large scale with lasting environmental impact is a testament to the race organizers and community that we can apply best practices to the running industry,” stated PATHWATER co-founder and CMO Ali Orabi.

Wharf to Wharf applied for 53 points of the Council’s 61 total points it measures, achieving 46 of them to earn its Gold Level certification. Among the 46 points the race earned were for a commitment to replace single-use plastic water bottles, enhanced efforts to divert waste from the landfill, measuring and offsetting the climate-changing carbon impacts of event operations, and providing participation opportunities plus year-round financial support for underprivileged youth. The Council’s five sections of measurement include Planning and Communication, Procurement, Resource Management, Access, and Equity and Community Legacy.

“To achieve the gold level on a first attempt is a rare accomplishment. While the Wharf to Wharf Race clearly has solid social ties to the local community in Santa Cruz County as evidenced by strong turnouts year after year and the generous support it provides youth running programs, the Council was impressed by the race’s willingness to rethink its approach to waste prevention and waste diversion from the landfill. The race and its patrons have a lot to feel good about on both the social and environmental fronts,” added Shelley Villalobos, managing director, Council for Responsible Sport.

To learn more about Wharf to Wharf’s Sustainability efforts visit: https://wharftowharf.com/wharf-to-wharf-race/#tab-sustainability.

To share and follow along with the event use hashtags #WharfToWharf #ResponsibleSport

The 48th annual presentation of the Wharf to Wharf Race will be Sunday, July 26, 2020. Registration will open Spring 2020.


Widely acclaimed “The best little road race in California”, Wharf to Wharf is the biggest summer event of its kind on the West Coast infusing more than 8 million dollars into the Santa Cruz County economy. The Race is produced and administered by Wharf to Wharf Race Inc., a California nonprofit chartered to promote running as a means to health and fitness. Since its inception in 1973, the Race has contributed more than $6 million dollars to Santa Cruz County youth sports programs in general and the running community in particular. Learn more at: https://wharftowharf.com


Since 2007, the Council for Responsible Sport has been helping people measure and manage the social & environmental impacts of their events. Its 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


PATHWATER is the first beverage company to introduce reusability with a new hybrid that combines purified water in a reusable bottle. The PATHWATER bottle is solving the dilemma of single-use plastic bottles by creating a superior option that is environmentally friendly. When taken from the refrigerator section, the bottle makes for an extremely cold drinking experience, unmatched by plastic water bottles. PATHWATER is on a dedicated mission to provide solutions to the plastics crisis for bottled water consumers and to disrupt the beverage industry as a whole.

PATHWATER’S three main goals are: (1) to provide a sustainable option to reduce and reuse; (2) to educate others about the plastics crisis; and (3) to change a stagnant, polluting industry of single-use plastics. PATHWATER is the first in the beverage industry to offer reusable packaging bottled water that finally puts people and the planet before profits. Visit www.drinkpathwater.com for more information.


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