Sustainability

We have an environmentally conscious board and a director specifically devoted to tracking our sustainable efforts and searching out ways for us to make our race as green as  possible.  Our goal is to set an example for our participants and other events by minimizing our carbon footprint and being as environmentally friendly as possible while still putting on the best race for our participants. The marathon’s efforts have not gone unnoticed with a recent invitation from the Council for Responsible Sport to become a founding member of Sports Events Community of Practice to help lessen the carbon footprint of other sporting events. The Williams Route 66 Marathon also received ReSport Certification from the Council for Responsible Sport for its efforts in 2011.

 

 

Working to Provide a Green Race

As organizers prepare for the seventh running of the Williams Route 66 Marathon, presented by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Oklahoma, special attention is paid to incorporate sustainable efforts where feasible.

“We have an environmentally conscious board and one member specifically devoted to tracking our sustainable efforts and searching out ways for us to make our race as green as possible,” said Chris Lieberman, executive director of Tulsa Route 66 Marathon, Inc.  “Our goal is to lessen our carbon footprint and be as environmentally friendly as possible while still putting on the best race for our participants.”

The marathon’s efforts are leading the way for other racing events by serving as a founding member of Sports Events Community of Practice at the request of the Council for Responsible Sport. The newly formed committee will evaluate ways sporting events can reduce their carbon footprint.

In November 2011, the marathon board applied for 25 certification credits in categories from waste management to community impact and health promotion. The Williams Route 66 Marathon received ReSport Certification from the Council for Responsible Sport. To qualify for certifiction, the marathon showed participation in six categories: waste; climate; equipment and materials; community and outreach; health promotion; and innovation.

Efforts that were taken to provide a greener race include:

  • Reducing the use of supplies like paper and plastic as much as possible.
  • Providing avenues for runners to participate such as recycling, opting out of receiving a participant shirt, and recycling used running shoes at the event.
  • Offering a bike check at events and carpool, shuttle opportunities.
  • Option for runners to purchase AEP PSO Renewable Energy Credits (RECs) during registration at the Tulsa Masters Recyclers booth at the Health, Fitness and Sustainability Expo.

Keeping Tulsa’s Air Clean

Breathing…something we often take for granted.  Especially in Oklahoma when the clean fresh air comes “sweeping down the plain.”  The air quality in the Tulsa area is doing fine – on most days, that is.  Hot, windless summer days in the Tulsa area is a different story.

When the wind is still and the temperature hot, ground-level ozone pollution can build to make the air we breathe unhealthy.  Ground-level ozone is a summertime problem for many metro areas throughout the U.S.    When conditions are ripe, ozone levels in the Tulsa area can measure as high as in places like Los Angeles and Houston.   Tulsa doesn’t have as many unhealthy air days as those areas, but when ozone levels are high – the Tulsa Area Ozone Alert! Program kicks into action.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency sets the acceptable levels for ground-level pollutants.  Areas not meeting those standards are placed in nonattainment or on the “dirty air list.”   Nonattainment status is a federal designation which places various constraints on economic development and the cost of living for the area.  For example, it becomes more expensive and more difficult for businesses and industries to develop or expand in a nonattainment area.  Additionally, the public in an area on the EPA’s dirty air may be required to use a more expensive, cleaner burning summer gasoline.

For the past 21 years, Tulsa’s Ozone Alert! Program has helped to keep our air clean.  And although ozone levels have been improving, federal ozone standards are becoming more and more strict – placing Tulsa very nearly into nonattainment.

After record-breaking weather patterns during the summer of 2011, the north Tulsa area ozone monitor has recorded levels significant to push the metro area into a probable violation of the EPA ozone standard. Because our ozone design value is higher than the EPA standard – the Tulsa area is eligible for a nonattainment designation.

Nonattainment is a process – typically one to three years before the final designation would occur.  As in previous years, a delay in federal process affords us opportunity to continue to improve our ozone levels and regain compliance of the standard.

 

Ground-level ozone isn’t supposed to be breathed.  It is naturally found in the earth’s upper atmosphere – but is formed by man-made pollution at ground level.  We often say ozone is ‘Good Up High but Bad Nearby.”

The effects of ozone air pollution include shortness of breath, chest pain when inhaling deeply, and wheezing and coughing. Long-term, repeated exposure to high levels of ozone may lead to large reductions in lung function, inflammation of the lung lining and increased respiratory discomfort.

Tulsa’s Ozone Alert! days typically occur May through September.  When an Ozone Alert! Day is issued, it is a forecast that ozone conditions are likely to be very high and unhealthy.  The Alert! becomes two-fold in purpose.  Individuals with compromised respiratory systems, (such as elderly or small children) should stay indoors as much as possible. Ozone Alert! Days are additionally intended to notify the general public to take action to reduce ozone forming emissions.

During ozone alert days, citizens are urged to take the following precautions:

  • Drive less.
  • Avoid long idle times.
  • Carpool.
  • Refuel in the evening.
  • Do garden chores gasoline-free.

How participants and visitors can help

Reducing your carbon footprint as a visitor is easy with online resources that can help you find alternative housing and make travel plans that reduce the number of cars on the road and carbon emissions in the air on race day.

Carpooling

The Green Traveler website can match you with a carpool option based on your zip code and destination.  To reward your efforts, the marathon even offers special VIP parking for runners who carpool to the race. To make an even greater impact, participants from out of town are encouraged to find other participants from your area to make the trip to Tulsa. We encourage you to use social media tools to find other participants from your area.

Bike Check

For locals who would prefer to bike to the start line, Lee’s Bike Shop will be managing a bike check at Veterans Park. The bike check will be available prior to the start of the Saturday and Sunday races. Sunday race participants can ride the VIP buses from the finish line to the start line after checking their bike.

Housing

Another way to reduce your carbon footprint is through housing alternatives found on sites like Vacation Rentals by Owner. Search Tulsa listings to find a reasonably-priced place to stay near the downtown race start and finish areas. By renting someone’s house for a couple nights you’ll help reduce the amount of energy and waste that results from overnight hotel stays.

Recycling

Besides the recycling efforts the marathon will have in place during race weekend, we encourage all participants to recycle their clothing and shoes for nonprofit use.

Runners and walkers who wish to donate their retired running shoes can bring them to the Health, Fitness and Sustainability Expo, presented by St. John Health System, where they will be collected at the Tulsa Masters Recycling booth and donated to the Day Center for the Homeless. AEP PSO Renewable Energy Credits (RECs) will also be available for purchase at the Tulsa Masters Recycling booth.

Additionally, discarded clothing articles along the race route will be collected by Youth Services of Tulsa.

Cup-Free Water

HydraPouch specialized for the Williams Route 66 Marathon

The board of directors of the Williams Route 66 Marathon is proud to continue offering cup-free racing in this year’s race, and we encourage participants to choose to race cup-free. It’s easy, it’s fast, and it’s already happening at other major road races including the BolderBoulder , the Madison Marathon, the Estes Park Marathon, and hundreds more marathons and half marathons across the country.

Carry the personal hydration device of your choice (hand held bottles; hydration belts; or the device from one of our sponsors, the new HydraPouch personal hydrator), and fill it in about one second from self-serve coolers at every aid station. We’ll still have pre-filled cups available at our aid stations, but we hope you’ll help us take this big step towards eliminating cups by choosing to race cup-free.

Both Gatorade and water will be available in these coolers, which will be located at each aid station. Volunteers will place the coolers immediately prior to the cups at the stations, so participants wishing to take advantage of the cup-free option should veer to the side as they are approaching the aid stations.

The Tulsa Master Recyclers will be selling HydraPouches at a discount at the Health, Fitness and Sustainability Expo. A limited number are available at a special 10% discount below the retail price. Click here to order today! In addition, HydraPouch will contribute $2 to the Williams Route 66 Marathon for each HydraPouch sold. Try one and see why Jeff Galloway calls HydraPouch the “most effective hydration device a runner can carry.”

 

Green Tickets

With the help of AEP Public Service Company of Oklahoma, the Williams Route 66 Marathon is offering renewable energy credits. During online registration, participants can purchase a “green ticket” for $5. Runners purchasing green tickets will receive an honorary e-certificate, acknowledging their commitment to renewable energy. With the green tickets, AEP PSO will acquire renewable energy, powered by the wind that comes sweeping down Oklahoma’s plains. The energy will be used to power the Williams Route 66 Marathon’s Health, Fitness & Sustainability Expo. Additional renewable energy will be used to power the necessary electricity along the course on race weekend.

Green tickets will also be available for purchase at the expo on Nov. 16-17 at the Tulsa Master Recyclers booth.

List of Achievements and Efforts

  • ReSport Certification from the Council for Responsible Sport
  • Specific position created for Director of Sustainability
  • Waste & recycling stations for:
    • Recycling of plastic and aluminum
    • Recycling of Heat Sheets
    • Recycling of Bib Numbers
    • Composting of food waste at Finish Area
  • Recycling of paper at packet pick-up
  • No paper based registration
  • Packet stuffing done by local Tulsa Area United Way (TAUW) member agency Youth Services of Tulsa (YST)
  • Green chemicals in portable tiolets
  • Bike check for those wishing to ride their bike to the race
  • VIP parking for carpooling (first come-first served)
  • Clothing discarded on the race course picked up by and given to TAUW member agency (YST)
  • Excess food waste from pasta party given to non-profit
  • Used running shoes collected at Expo for local TAUW member agency
  • Green tickets $5 to purchase carbon offsets from AEP PSO
  • Expo features Tulsa Master Recyclers Association and other speakers on “green efforts”
  • Founding member of Council for Responsible Sport’s Community of Practice