Tips for Sustainable Trail-Running

By Kelsey Emch, Public Relations Specialist at P3R. Photo credit: P3R

Kelsey Emch, P3R

Each year P3R, the engine behind Pittsburgh’s greatest races and runs, works with community partners to make our running events more environmentally friendlier and sustainable. Since 2019, we have worked with the Pennsylvania Environmental Council to offset the carbon footprint at the GAP Relay presented by UPMC Health Plan, making the event one of the greenest running events in the nation.

P3R hopes that after our events, runners continue to think about how they can adjust some of their running habits to be more sustainable and better for the planet. Below are seven ways you can be a more sustainable runner.

Keep the trails beautiful and clean

Be mindful of any waste you generate during your run, and don’t be tempted to litter when you can’t find a trash can. For longer runs, consider attaching a small mesh trash bag or other bag to your race belt. During events, carry your gel packets or other trash until the next aid station.

Consider plogging on your next training run

Plogging, which is a Swedish term for jogging while picking up litter, is an easy thing you can do to keep the trails where you live beautiful. Simply grab a small bag and gloves on your next run and collect any trash you see. Or try challenging yourself to pick up at least one piece of litter for every run, hike or run you do.

Use reusable water bottles

Instead of using disposable water bottles on your runs, invest in a refillable water bottle to use during your training and on race day.

Choose running over driving

Instead of automatically driving somewhere, consider if you could run instead. Whether you are going to work, the grocery store, doctor or happy hour, you may be able to get a workout in while also choosing a form of transportation that’s better for the planet.

Donate or reuse old shoes and running gear

When your running shoes get worn out, don’t throw them away. Find a place to recycle them. Also, avoid throwing out your old running gadgets, such as running watches, fitness trackers, and other tech devices that help you on your run. You may be able to sell your old gear or drop them off at special recycling events.

Support events that are committed to sustainability

When you choose your next race, find ones that are committed to sustainability and hosting “zero-waste” events.

Think about your travel to and from the race

Carpooling, buses, biking, and walking are all ways you can travel to the venue while reducing your carbon footprint.