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Steps Beach to Beacon makes to make 10K race eco-friendly

With more runners and spectators, organizers are trying to reduce the carbon footprint of Beach to Beacon.

CAPE ELIZABETH, Maine — In 2012 the TD Beach to Beacon 10K received a "Silver" status from the Council of Responsible Sport. Since then, organizers have been going the extra mile towards making the event carbon-neutral. In 2014, the race was certified "Gold," and in 2016 "Evergreen," the highest awarded by the organization.

But getting to "Evergreen" takes effort, weeks, and months of planning. There are only a handful of events, 14 according to its website, that has qualified for top status.

This year Beach to Beacon is attempting to recertify and are trying to qualify for more credits with the Council of Responsible Sport. How do you get certified? It boils down to waste, water, and carbon footprint.

Organizers are working with Clynk to collect plastic Poland Spring water bottles. The redemption value is donated back to The Telling Room, the charity benefiting from this year's race.

Then there is carbon footprint. With more than 6,000 runners and thousands of spectators and volunteers, all traveling to Cape Elizabeth, vehicle emissions add up. Participants are encouraged to carpool or ride their bikes to Fort Williams. A shuttle will be provided to get runners to the start line

“We introduced the bike valet service with Bike Coalition of Maine a few years ago, which is a great addition to the race," said Bruce Rayner. Rayner is a consultant for his company Athletes for a Fit Planet and manages all of the sustainability initiatives of the race. "Three-hundred bikes we are expecting this year, maybe more."

Credit: NCM

ReVision Energy will be providing clean solar electricity with a specially designed trailer. It is retrofitted with solar panels and locking cubby holes with two 110-volt outlets. Co-founder Phil Coupe says it costs about $20,000 in hardware and labor to make one trailer and it isn't just being used for B2B.

"We built three of the trailers... that we shipped to Puerto Rico in the wake of the Hurricane Maria disaster to provide emergency portable solar power," said Coupe. "This fourth one didn’t need to go down, but we have it at the ready to donate to the next disaster somewhere across the world.”

Credit: NCM

ReVision Energy will also power the sound system for the award ceremony using solar energy.

Credit: NCM

The 6.2-mile race in recent years had large balloon mile markers. A new partnership with Sea Bags will replace the markers with recycled sails. 

“We talked about what we can do and what they can do, and we came up with something that we are really excited about," said Sea Bags CEO Don Oakes. "I think it is very mission sensitive to both of us so it’s a great fit.”

Credit: NCM

Sea Bags designed two 37-by-29-inch panels which will be stitched together and placed on a metal stand along the route. After the race, the six mile markers will be turned into totes, similar to the company's flagship item. The totes will be auctioned off and sold to the highest bidder. The proceeds will be donated to The Telling Room.

“We make totes all day long and accessories, so this was an interesting project for us and one that came together really quickly,” said Tara Knupp the Product Line Manager at Sea Bags. “[It's] much better for the environment. And the sails that we are using are recycled as well.”

Part of the certification process measures an event’s economic impact on the region. There are ways participants and others could help out. Staff will accept clothing and shoe donations. The donated items will benefit the Preble Street Resource Center.