Monday, 18 January 2010

Road race litter

Water sachets littering the ground at road races is a pet-hate. I was reminded of this at the New Year's Eve 10km in Pretoria and again last night when I was reading the most recent issue of The Modern Athlete, a free running newzine. A runner wrote in and her comments echoed mine exactly.

When I do road races, I grab sachets at the water points, sipping as I run. I tuck empty sachets into my shorts and then either throw them away in bins at the next station or I just hang on to them until the end, where I can put them into trash bins.

I'm always amazed to see sachets tossed into road-side drains and flung into bushes - many littering the ground two kilometres or more along the route from the water point. And at 'road runs held on trails' - like Voortrekker Monument 21km and Harrismith Mountain Run... I've told people off - politely - for throwing their sachets on to the ground (I usually pick it up, run after them and hand it back - with a smile). I have visions of little impala with plastic sachets stuck in their throats!

Having marshalled at road races I have picked up hundreds and hundreds of sachets after the race and, like the letter writer, I just don't see why people can't throw the packets into bins, discard within zones before and after water points or hold on to them until the finish.

Dropping sachets on the road is littering, even if people are meant to be cleaning up behind the race. They shouldn't have to clean up after runners! And they certainly won't get everything, especially the packets tossed way off the road (that morons throw them in out of reach spots in the first place boggles my mind!).

Please think about this next time you do a road race and please do not throw your sachets on to the road - hold on to them or throw in bins at the next waterpoint.

Lastly, please pass this message on to your running friends too.

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