Virgin Sport, part of the UK-based Virgin Group and organiser of London’s largest half marathon, has reported that it has eliminated 500,000 plastic bottles from across its three UK races.
In addition, the race sponsor has replaced 25,000 plastic kit bags with cotton tote bags, including 10,500 bags at the Asics 10K race.
The organiser is set to cut 65,000 plastic bottles from the Oxford half marathon, held on 13 October. Water will be available in recyclable cups.
Earlier this year, the Hackney half marathon became the largest race in the UK to eliminate single-use bottles from the race route.
“We’re proud to be the first mass participation event organiser in the UK to move away from plastic and develop a more sustainable strategy for keeping our runners hydrated,” said Jessica Frey, CEO, Virgin Sport. “In 2019, we have successfully eliminated plastic kit bags and single-use plastic bottles from all our races.”
Other race sponsors have looked to launch sustainable initiatives at the races. For example, Magenta UK has reduced the amount of PE used in the lining of its paper cups by 51%.
In another case, Just Water uses a bio-based plastic made from sugarcane in the cap and shoulders of the FSC-certified paperboard package.