> The 33rd Presentation > Special Interest > GOING GREEN



The Big Sur International Marathon takes place on coastal Highway One which showcases one of the most scenic and pristine stretches of coastline in the country. 

We welcome runners and walkers to join us in April for a chance to run or walk along the "ragged edge of the western world."  Because our organization understands the importance and urgency of developing ecologically and environmentally sound practices surrounding our events, we are taking steps to increase our environmental sustainability.  Our events impact the surrounding Monterey Peninsula communities and our efforts to "reduce, re-use, and recycle" go a long way towards keeping our destination cities both "green and pristine.

The Offset Project

The Big Sur International Marathon would like to thank the Offset Project for their involvement with our events. Click HERE to see TOP's Case Study.

Big Sur Marathon Course

What We Are Doing

Below are some of the measures taken to divert waste, in turn saving us money by reducing hauling costs and disposal fees:

  • Recycling bottles, cans, plastic and cardboard.  In fact, there are no trash cans this year at the finish
  • Composting food waste, including utensils, plates, and clear cups
  • Diverting wooden pallets for reuse
  • Donating leftover food
  • Donating abandoned clothing for reuse
  • Encouraging participants, especially our walkers, to take part in our "BYOB REFILL" program which reduces the number of paper cups used on the course
    Other environmental choices with a positive impact include:
  • Product selection, such as the purchase of compostable plates, cups, and utensils
  • Choosing biodegradable toilet paper for use in porta-potties
  • Using a triple green certified printing company for all printed materials
  • Going paperless - 100% of registration is done online
  • Offering a "Virtual Goody Bag" in lieu of the traditional goody bag stuffed with thousands of pieces of paper, much of which gets tossed in the trash
  • Producing a Virtual Results Book viewable online
  • Renting/borrowing tents, fencing, vehicles (re-using, rather than purchasing)
  • Reducing our carbon footprint by encouraging participants to come to the event via "Pickup Pal," a free carpooling service.
Cups to Compost
Check out this video for proof that it really does work!

What People Are Saying

“The Big Sur International Marathon’s Green Team has raised the bar in zero waste efforts,” stated Kristin Cushman of The Offset Project, who helped guide the waste diversion program.

William Merry, General Manager of the MRWMD noted, “The logistics posed by the course of the Big Sur Marathon make it a particularly challenging coordination issue, and costs for recycling and waste pick up are no doubt higher because of that than at some other marathon course layouts. Yet the marathon’s leadership has worked over the last 10 years, one step at a time to persistently move forward with recycling, reduction of litter and reducing waste, thereby leading the way for other marathons and large venue events to reduce their waste.”

“This is a remarkable accomplishment for a race of this size,” added Bruce Rayner, Chief Green Officer of Athletes of a Fit Planet, the environmental services company that provided consulting and on-the-ground support to the Big Sur International Marathon.

Big Sur's ReFill Program

The Marathon's BYOB REFILL program (bring your own bottle)represents an effort on the part of race organizers to reduce the usage of paper cups at aid stations.  If you wish to participate, you can carry one or more bottles that can be refilled at the BYOB stations on the course.

While not mandatory for runners, REFILL is a great alternative for those out there to enjoy the beauty of the course.  We strongly encourage all walkers to participate in REFILL.