US Trail Running Conference Webinar Shares Sustainability Initiatives For Race Directors

Announcement from American Trail Running Association partner US Trail Running Conference. 

In this unique virtual education series, trail running event management experts offer ways for race directors to reduce waste and achieve a zero carbon footprint.

The fifth webinar in a nine-webinar series produced by the US Trail Running Conference and presented by the leading trail registration platform UltraSignup, was hosted Thursday, May 27. The session subject: Sustainable races – current best practices and future developments, presented four industry leaders that are actively engaged in encouraging race directors to produce sustainable trail races.

Active at Altitude, organizers of the US Trail Running Conference and the webinar series, reported 100 race directors and event organizers registered for the webinar, representing more than 30 states, as well as Canada, Macedonia, Portugal, and Romania. This sustainability session was sponsored by ATRA member Marathon Printing, who provide race bibs and stickers for many trail races in North America.

The sustainability four panelists were Steve Aderholt, One Step Events, Celia Santi, GU Energy Labs, Bruce Rayner, Athletes for a Fit Planet, and Keith Peters, Council for Responsible Sport. Aderholt, Rayner and Peters each shared key factors that they recommend to help race directors achieve enhanced levels of sustainability for their trail races. Santi shared information on the TerraCycle Performance Nutrition Brigade initiative that is completely free to race directors and organizers, and is available for all brands of single serve nutrition wrappers.

Aderholt suggested, “The four main areas to focus to enhance sustainability at races are recycling, compost, local environmental issues, and carbon offsets.” He recommended getting educated on what is recyclable and compostable, and having different processes for front and back-of-house operations. Lastly he detailed the factors where carbon offsets could be practically used, and how to include this in race operation planning.

Santi gave a visual example of how the TerraCycle Performance Nutrition Brigade program functions, and how the program could be extended to other facets of the trail running community outside of races to further increase diversion of gel and energy wrappers away from landfill.

Rayner posited that the most important thing was to, “focus on a few things and do them well.” He recommended focusing on purchasing, waste stations, and water conservation & zero plastics. He also advocated for recruiting a sustainability captain, and to acknowledge and measure the carbon footprint for every race. He further shared the impact of using petroleum-based products and the impact this could have on reducing waste and carbon footprint.

Climate Action

Zoë Rom, Trail Runner magazine.

Peters gave kudos to Zoë Rom and Trail Runner magazine for publishing the second ever green issue of the magazine in the spring 2021 issue, and encouraged race directors to share their sustainability stories with Rom. He shared successes that race directors are achieving and suggested these be introduced across the sport. Examples included cups to compost, heatsheet blankets to boards, and plastic bottles to fabrics. Peters also commented on the importance of researching upcycle and recycle projects that can significantly reduce waste and divert items from the landfill.

“This webinar offered some great ideas for race directors to implement sustainability measures for their events and in doing so, embark on a greener and more environmentally friendly path,” said Nancy Hobbs, executive director of American Trail Running Association. “We all want to do better when it comes to the care of our planet and having a toolkit with actionable steps from these webinar panelists will certainly help in this mission.”

Each webinar is presented by industry leaders in their respective fields, and offers information that can boost a race director’s knowledge and afford insight into innovative practices to implement at their events. Every participant receives a best practices resource document after each webinar that details key actionable items, while there will be an opportunity to follow up on deliverables through an online forum, and in-person or remotely at the 2021 US Trail Running Conference to be held October 27-30, in Fayetteville, Arkansas.

The sixth webinar in the series is scheduled for June 17, at 11.00 am MDT, and is focused on race courses – safety, limits, marking, etc. Panelists include 2011 World Mountain Running Champion Max King who is also a race director, and trail running camp organizer, Tiffany Hoover, Assistant Recreation Superintendent at City of Fayetteville Parks and Recreation, and Amy Rusiecki, race director, Vermont 100. Race directors, event organizers and anyone interested in attending can register for the session as a stand-alone, or for the complete series at a discounted rate. The recordings of the first five webinar sessions will also be available for anyone that registers for the complete series.

More information about the US Trail Running Conference webinar series:
For details on the webinar series and to register, go to
Contact Event Director, Terry Chiplin for further information,, or 303-304-9159

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