Organizers improve performance to earn gold level certification from the Council for Responsible Sport for social and environmental responsibility
Eugene, OR—April 29, 2019—The OUC Orlando Half Marathon and Lake Eola 5K, held December 2, 2018 and hosted by Track Shack Events has achieved Gold Level Certification from the Council for Responsible Sport (Council) by improving performance from its first certification effort at the silver level in 2016. Organizers earned credit for implementing 45 of the best practice standards offered in the Council’s certification program for social and environmental responsibility at sporting events, up from 41 achieved in 2016. The half marathon and 5K, which hosted over 4,200 participants in 2018, is one of two certified events in Florida out of over 160 total certified events worldwide.
“We share OUC’s vision for a sustainable environment. Working side by side with the community relations team and technicians as well as Keep Orlando Beautiful allows us to deliver on the very best practices of responsible event management,” said Race Director Jon Hughes. “Our sport plays a leadership role in educating the community and demonstrating ways we can all reduce waste and emissions. There’s plenty of work yet to be done.”
Between the 2016 and 2018 certifications, organizers made several changes to the operations of the event weekend to minimize environmental harm and communicate positive messages to attendees. A ‘community matters’ area was added to the physical footprint that saw participation by several partners including an electric vehicle demonstration by title sponsor OUC the Reliable One, and booth engagements by Keep Orlando Beautiful, Clean the World Foundation, State Farm Neighborhood of Good, and Keep Winter Park Beautiful.
The certification is valid for two years and was achieved by complying with criteria across five categories: planning and communications, procurement, resource management, access and equity and community legacy. Social and environmental highlights that earned credit towards certification included:
Use of “E-Race Bag” containing race info, course map and local deals eliminated the use of approximately 75,000 pieces of paper
Using water from OUC hydrants for water stops eliminated the need for and use of 2,700 plastic gallon jugs.
Established a clean-up or ‘plogging’ run along part of the half marathon course that saw participation from 45 community stewards who picked up 40 bags of trash
720 pounds of orange and banana peels were collected at the event--the organic material was returned to the soil via composting at the Mead community garden site in Winter Park, Florida.
All exhibitors and vendors were asked to help separately collect plastic film, which can be recycled, but not through traditional mixed material recycling. Large bags totaling about 20 pounds were recycled via Publix grocery stores.
Beginning in 2019, participants will be offered the opportunity to offset the climate changing greenhouse gas emissions of their travel to and from the event during the registration process by supporting We Are Neutral, a Florida based company organizing on-the-ground emissions reductions projects in Florida.
“The Council for Responsible Sport congratulates Track Shack and its partners on improving from silver to gold level certification of the OUC Orlando Half Marathon and Lake Eola 5K this year. It’s refreshing to see a group of partners become increasingly enthusiastic and creative about not only enacting sustainable practices at their events, but also about really spurring a dialogue that enables local awareness and action on issues like transit, renewable energy, water conservation, and waste minimization.” said the Council’s managing director, Shelley Villalobos.
About the Track Shack Family of Companies:
Track Shack of Orlando opened for business in 1977 as a small retail operation that focused primarily on selling running shoes and apparel. After 37 years in business, Jon and Betsy were awarded Florida’s Retailer of the Year 2015 by the Florida Retail Federation. Track Shack Events (TSE), a sister company, is a sports marketing company that specializes in marketing, management and production of active participation events. The mission of Track Shack is that each event produced will benefit the entire community - runners, sponsors and charities. The award-winning professional staff has earned (TSE) a reputation as one of America’s top sports marketing companies. Jon and Betsy Hughes, co-owners of Track Shack and TSE ensure that both businesses sup-port charitable causes, in particular charities that benefit youth and youth athletics. These traditions lead to the creation of Track Shack Youth Foundation in 1994. The Foundation was established as a 501 c(3) organization with the purpose of promoting health and fitness with an emphasis on youth programs. The Foundation has contributed over $2 million into this community.