Kenilworth Half Marathon goes plastic-free

Kenilworth Mayor Alison Firth, who is also with the Plastic Free Kenilworth group, and Peter Bryan, the coordinator of the Half Marathon
Kenilworth Mayor Alison Firth, who is also with the Plastic Free Kenilworth group, and Peter Bryan, the coordinator of the Half Marathon

The 2019 Kenilworth Half Marathon became single-use plastic for the first time.

The race, held on Sunday September 1, started and finished in the Kenilworth town centre and also passed through the grounds of Kenilworth Castle.

Peter Bryan, the coordinator for the Kenilworth Half Marathon, said: “We wanted to improve the sustainability of our race this year. Events like the Glastonbury Festival and some decent sized races have tried to ban plastic, so we wanted to do the same.”

Every runner received two tickets to the first Wasps rugby game of the season, a large 20th anniversary medal, a black and gold long-sleeved shirt and a goody bag.

Mr Bryan added: “With 1,500 runners, we were using 6-7,000 plastic bottles for water, so we looked for an alternative to plastic.

“We investigated some of the alternative methods for getting water to runners as they sped past our water stations, from the runner perspective and from a logistical point of view.

People prepare for the Kenilworth Half

People prepare for the Kenilworth Half

Race officials met with the Plastic Free Kenilworth group and the Leamington Round Table who promote the Regency Run, who had gone down a similar route.

Alison Firth, with the Plastic Free Kenilworth group, said: “The event organisers went all out to make sure this run was as environmentally friendly as possible.”

Mr Bryan added: “Some of the options like water in seaweed pouches weren't practical enough, so we chose to use biodegradable cups, made from cornstarch.

“Unfortunately, these cups need to be processed separately, so Fortress Recycling helped us by providing specific collection bins for the cups to be taken away for processing.”

Biodegradable half marathon race shirts

Biodegradable half marathon race shirts

Severn Trent Water also supported the event by erecting special taps at each water station to fill the refillable bottles provided by Leaders Estate Agents.

Mr Bryan added: “We provided reusable goody bags rather than plastic bags and the race T-shirt was packed in a compostable bag.

“We feel like we've taken some goods steps in the right direction and learned some lessons.”

Water station from Severn Trent

Water station from Severn Trent

Peter Bryan, the coordinator of the Kenilworth Half Marathon

Peter Bryan, the coordinator of the Kenilworth Half Marathon