On Sunday, October 7, over five hundred people participated in Limerick’s first Zero Waste Race – the annual St Michael’s Rowing Club (SMRC) Urban Run.
Alongside Limerick City and County Council, organisers had committed to the reuse challenge after last year’s run that saw the course littered with half full plastic bottles.
Urban Run organisers acknowledged that the operation of the cups could have ran smoother, but that ultimately there was very little waste left compared to previous years.
St Michael’s Rowing Club Captain Brian Richardson described the event as a “win-win’ for everyone involved.
“St. Michael’s Rowing Club is conscious of respecting and celebrating the fabulous resource that is the Shannon River.
“This is just one way that we have decided we can help by reducing the amount of disposable plastic bottles required in our urban run – reducing the need to plastic bottles of water and reducing the amount of litter they need to collect after the run,” Brian said.
Richardson contacted Limerick City and County Council’s Environment Awareness Officer for guidance and assistance on how to organise the ‘Zero Waste Race.’
Racers who were serious about the 10k route were asked to provide their own water bottles for the run, with only one water station in place on the course. The 5k route had no water station available for the runners.
The station, run by volunteers, used the new #RunReuseRefill cups which were then collected to be washed and reused again.
The cups were funded by Limerick City and County Council who intend to make the cups available to other organisations for similar use.
Environment Awareness Officer Sinead McDonnell will use the Urban Run as a case study to develop the #RunReuseRefill model and improve future events.
“We are delighted to support St Michael’s Rowing Club with this fantastic reuse initiative.
“It is wonderful to see a club taking on an environmental issue and coming up with solutions and being prepared to trial them,” she said.
Mayor of the City and County of Limerick, Cllr James Collins praised the initiative that will help develop environmental policy for similar events in Limerick.
“I want to applaud St Michael’s Rowing Club for doing something about the amount of rubbish left following last year’s run and help make a difference for our city and our environment.
“I would encourage other clubs and groups to get on board and do the same.”