Chevron Houston Marathon Race Weekend Earns Gold Level Sustainability Certification for 5th Consecutive Year
Houston (June 22, 2017) – The Council for Responsible Sport announced today that the Houston Marathon Committee (HMC) has been awarded the Gold Certification for the fifth consecutive year for its achievements while hosting the 2017 Chevron Houston Marathon and Aramco Houston Half Marathon.
The HMC earned credit on 46 of the best practice standards offered in the Council’s certification program for social and environmental responsibility at sporting events. Certification, which is awarded in two-year increments, is achieved by complying with standards across five categories: planning and communications, procurement, access and equity, resource management and community legacy.
The HMC earned Gold Certification in 2013-14, 2015-16, and now in 2017-18. In 2012, the HMC became the first sports organization to earn dual certification from the Council for separate events conducted on consecutive days (2012 U.S. Olympic Trials Marathon; 2012 Chevron Houston Marathon), and the HMC has now achieved the Gold level every year since.
“Clearly there is a long-standing commitment to the certification standards as a strategic sustainability framework by the Houston Marathon Committee and event staff,” said Shelley Villalobos, managing director at the Council for Responsible Sport. “They’re really ‘walking the talk’ of event greening, and it’s made possible by the fact that this race is truly a product of a broad community effort. It’s an example to be studied and celebrated.”
The three-day event weekend diverted 77 percent of its unavoidable waste, an achievement stemming from a partnership with Waste Management and a broad effort that included waste-sorting stations overseen by long-time sustainable event experts from ‘Athletes for a Fit Planet.”
“The Council for Responsible Sport provides guidance and mentorship to help event organizers reduce waste, implement best sustainability practices, and commit to social legacy initiatives,” stated Wade Morehead, Executive Director of the Houston Marathon Committee and Foundations. “What began as a conscious, planned initiative to improve our sustainability efforts, has evolved into an infectious way of thinking within the organization top to bottom, and now it is inherent when planning and executing the event.”
Other examples of efforts made by the HMC includes donating leftover unopened refreshments to the Houston Food Bank, collecting and distributing clothing left near the start line to Houston Star of Hope, and partnering with the METRO transit authority to offer participants free rides on Houston’s METRORail light-rail on race day to avoid emissions and congestion from personal vehicles. Additionally, race officials utilize the City of Houston fire hydrants for water and over 400,000 compostable cups instead of providing bottled water at refueling stations along the course.
“The last five years have proven to be an amazing journey,” said Lisa Doughty, Director of Public Affairs at Waste Management. “Year after year looking for new and innovative ways to optimize the materials collected: while creating a bigger, better, more sustainable event. Today’s Gold Certification is proof-positive evidence of what happens when we all work together with the same goals in mind. It is a pleasure to partner with the Houston Marathon Committee and we applaud them for another successful year.”
Reducing barriers to participation was another area where the event earned credit. The Houston Marathon Foundation engages local youth in healthy training and life skills through its We Run Houston after-school running program, providing direct and in-kind support ranging from stipends for coaches, training gear, transportation, and free entry fees. In 2017, over 1,500 youth were directly supported with over $42,000 in donated value to youth who attend schools where 85 percent or more students qualify for free and reduced lunch.
About the Houston Marathon Committee, Inc.:
Established in 1972, the Houston Marathon Committee, Inc. (HMC) annually organizes the nation’s premier winter marathon, half-marathon, and 5K. Over 250,000 participants, volunteers and spectators make Chevron Houston Marathon Race Day the largest single-day sporting event in Houston. A founding member of Running USA, the HMC conducts IAAF rated events that retained Gold Certification from the Council of Responsible Sport and was awarded the AIMS Green Award for industry-leading sustainability initiatives. Race Weekend generates over $50 million in economic impact for the region annually. In 2016, the Run for a Reason Charity Program raised $2.3 million, while the Houston Marathon Foundation supported youth and community running initiatives. Televised annually by broadcast partner ABC13, 2016 was the first time that the event was syndicated live nationally and internationally on ESPN3 and the Longhorn Network. Host to 16 U.S. Half Marathon Championships since 2005 and the 1992 women’s Olympic Trials Marathon, the HMC also conducted the 2012 men’s and women’s U.S. Olympic Trials Marathon.
About the Council for Responsible Sport:
The Council’s vision is a world where responsibly produced sports events are the norm and its mission is to provide objective, independent verification of the socially and environmentally responsible work event organizers are doing and to actively support event organizers who strive to make a difference in their communities. The current version of the Council’s Certification standards (v.4.2) was developed by an outside working group of both sustainability and sport industry experts, reviewed by a wide range of stakeholders throughout 2013 and implemented in January 2014. www.CouncilforResponsibleSport.org