A resolution encouraging the organizers of the Country Music Marathon and Half-Marathon to continue their efforts to implement sustainable practices for future races.

WHEREAS, the tenth annual Country Music Marathon and Half-Marathon will be run on April 25, 2009; and

WHEREAS, more than 30,000 participants and 100,000 spectators took part in the 2008 Country Music Marathon, making it the largest athletic event of the year in Nashville; and

WHEREAS, the organizers of the Country Music Marathon have taken steps to make the event more “green”, including the placement of recycling bins, the promotion of online registration, and the use of electronic confirmation sheets; and

WHEREAS, the Council for Responsible Sports and Runner's World magazine have set forth a number of recommendations for making marathons and similar events more environmentally friendly; and

WHEREAS, the Metropolitan Council wishes to commend the organizers of the Country Music Marathon and Half-Marathon for the sustainable practices they have implemented for the 2009 race, and encourage the organizers to further increase their efforts in future years.


Section 1. That the Metropolitan County Council hereby goes on record as commending the organizers of the Country Music Marathon and Half-Marathon for their efforts to make the race more “green” and for promoting the sustainable nature of the event, and encourages the race organizers to continue implementation of sustainable practices for future races. Specifically, the Metropolitan Council encourages the race organizers to consider the following practices:
1. Travel locally: City officials, marathon planners and participants should be urged to create destination vacations around the marathon. Whether by air or car, traveling creates an enormous environmental impact. Combining activities at one destination reduces that impact.
2. Eliminate plastic bottles: Instead of giving runners individual-sized plastic bottles of water as they cross the finish line, organizers should consider alternatives such as use of a “water bubbler” wherein lengths of PVC pipes are connected to standard push-button water fountains connected to tanks of water.
3. Avoid paper cups: Marathons use thousands of paper cups at watering stations and finish lines. But paper cups cannot be recycled or composted because they’re lined with wax. Organizers should consider more environmentally friendly alternatives such as biodegradable cups.
4. Medals: Traditional metal-based medals require substantial amounts of fossil fuel in their production and are often imported from China and elsewhere. Organizers should consider alternatives such as recycling items like old bicycle cogs into a medal. Or, have local artists fashion awards out of local wood, clay or recycled glass. The Harpeth Hills Flying Monkey Marathon in Percy Warner Park, for example, provides medals made of wood -- far more environmentally friendly than metal.
5. Food: Rather than providing individually-wrapped processed foods such as energy bars, etc., organizers should consider eliminating packaged foods and instead provide organic and local produce. The foods at the Richland Creek Run finish line are locally donated bananas and bagels. The Austin (Texas) Marathon finish line is located within a farmers market with organic and local produce.
6. Timing chips: While most timing chips are reusable, a new disposable variety has recently come into use. Unfortunately, disposable chips contribute harmful metals to landfills.
7. Pace vehicle: Replace pace cars with bicycles.
8. Electricity: Generators are often used at start and finish lines to power sound systems, clocks and other machinery. But innovative races use solar energy and bio-diesel to power their generators.
9. Bags: Instead of the customary plastic bag that participants receive containing t-shirts, bibs and instructions, many races give out reusable bags. For example, the Richland Creek Run organizers give out reusable grocery totes containing runners’ bibs and instructions.
10. Transportation: Race organizers should continue to locate the start and finish lines near public transportation systems. Organizers should consider providing discounts or other incentives to participants who carpool or bike to the race.
11. T-shirts: Many races provide participants with a cotton t-shirt. However, cotton is a water intensive crop and, unless organically grown, requires pesticides. Synthetic shirts are no better, requiring significant amounts of fossil fuels for production. Organizers should consider alternatives.
12. Promotion: Eliminate promotion techniques that waste resources, such as paper flyers, etc.
13. Seek certification: Organizers should seek certification of the Country Music Marathon as a “green” marathon from Council for Responsible Sport. Nationwide, only nine athletic events have achieved such certification. Among them are this year’s Austin (Texas) Marathon and last year’s Nike Women’s Marathon in San Francisco.

Section 2. The Metropolitan Clerk is directed to send a copy of this Resolution to the offices of the Country Music Marathon and Half-Marathon located on Great Circle Road in Nashville, Tennessee.

Section 3. This Resolution shall take effect from and after its adoption, the welfare of The Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County requiring it.

Sponsored by: Mike Jameson, Jason Holleman


Referred: Rules & Confirmations Committee 
Introduced: April 21, 2009
Adopted: April 21, 2009
Approved: April 23, 2009