Google+ Running in Cork, Ireland: Is there a problem with rubbish at road races???

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Is there a problem with rubbish at road races???

Someone left this message recently...

"Interesting letter on page 31 of the Sunday independent. It should be highlighted and if the letter was over the top it should be said it was over the top. I've no idea if this happens after our road races in Cork but the letter most certainly says it does."

This is the letter...

Now before we circle the wagons and dismiss everything Maurice Fitzgerald has said, let's look at it in more detail.

'Our countryside and cities are being destroyed by marathons and road races and the huge amounts of litter they leave behind'.... Really?? For most road races that are 10kms or less, they don't hand out any water out on the course. Any cups or bottles of water that are given up at the finish line will usually be cleared away and there is no sign afterwards that a race was even held.

'Many runners think the rules regarding litter disposal are suspended when a race is going on, that laws regarding the disposal of rubbish are neither here nor there, as they unashamedly throw their rubbish on the ground for others to pick up'....'Paper and plastic cups are also part of the rubbish of runners who throw them on the ground at will'........Anyone involved in road races will know that's it's impossible to run with a cup of water. You grab a cup...get one or two gulps at most....and then drop it on the ground. All this happens within 50 metres of the water station. The runners know this, the organisers know this. The cups are then picked up once the race has passed. Done properly, there is usually no sign that there was even a water station at that location.

As can be seen above, some of Maurice Fitzgerald's comments are ill informed and he's on a bit of a rant.

However, he does in his defense make one valid point....'Water bottle after water bottle can be seen thrown all over when the race is over'.

The thing about water bottles is that they can be carried and they may be disposed of anywhere. While pacing the Dingle marathon, I've seen plastic bottles hurled into fields which I'm sure delighted the local farmers. In the Clonakilty Marathon, I've seen bottles being flung into the woods and I'd be pretty sure that they are still there to this day. 95% of runners might be responsible and drop off the empty bottle at the next water station but the irresponsible 5% can create a right mess.

Another issue is that of the race or event organiser. Are they all responsible? Will they go out and try to pick up any rubbish left behind?

And if water bottles are top of the list in terms of rubbish then energy gels wrappers are definitely second.

So does Maurice Fitzgerald have some valid points? Do you agree with all of it?...part of it?...or none of it? Should race organisers be held more accountable for any rubbish that is generated?

Click on the Comment link below.


dequarefella said...

THIS was 'Letter of the Week'???? Slow bloody week.

Anonymous said...

To be honest he is exaggerating for the sake of clarity and getting his point across. He has succeed for sure by getting his letter on here.
In my opinion though, he makes a valid point and its something we all as runners should be aware of. Its not only up to the organisers.
If you need to drink water or take gels in a 5miler or 10k then, I'm sorry, you are too slow. Its not going to affect your time if you just put the wrapper back in your pocket or hold on to the bottle till the next bin or the end of race.

Anonymous said...

I would say while there may be some small bit of truth in what he's saying, I think he's exaggerating quite a bit. In my experience the majority of water bottles are generally discarded within a few feet of the water stations like the cups. Most people take water with their gels so these wrappers tend to get discarded near the water stations too. However, we are responsible for our own rubbish. I put my gel wrappers pack in my pockets. If I do carry a water bottle I discard it either at the next water station or at the mile markers - I rarely do carry them though. My marathon experience has been strictly limited to cities though, although I have run shorter races with water stops in the country. I'm always a bit more aware of how I dispose of my rubbish in the countryside.
Looking at Mr. Fitzgerald's address though lead me to wonder if recent races passing through his village have left their mark? Seems to me like he witnessed the aftermath of a race before the cleanup was done and jumped to his own conclusions. We've become a nation of moaners, complaining about everything and never offering any solutions.

Anonymous said...

Ignore, ignore, ignore and please check out the history of letter writing by this gentleman over the past few years !!!.

Anonymous said...

I think if Race Organisers are charging for entry (particularly if they are charging well), then it's reasonable for them to have a small crew to walk, cycle or drive the route afterward and pick up any rubbish they see -it's in their interests for the sake of the local community.

I'm not saying that people should dump rubbish at will when running, but there'll always be a few who unfortunately don't care, so when it comes down to it, if a group is organising a race, they should be expected to leave the place they way the found it after the event (as I said, particularly if there has been a large number of fee paying participants).

Anonymous said...

a crank

Anonymous said...

Agree with last post. Some people love seeing their name in the newspaper. They write letters about everything and anything to achieve this. This man is one of those people. Ignore.

Brian Ahern said...

Can only speak for a recent event that we organised in Bweeng, we had a number of bins on the course but it should be part of the race organiser list of actions to clean up after the race. No matter how many bins are there people will dump bottles, cups etc. I would think once people make an effort to throw them to the side of the road close to the bin at least so that it makes life easier for those cleaning the route afterwards.

Anonymous said...

There is some truth in what he's saying, after any public event some litter will slip by the clean up crews, from St Patricks day to the eucharistic procession, so in a sense what he's saying is we should ban all public gatherings, which obviously is ludicrous.

As one poster above said, this chap has a history of letter writing, or as I'd call him, a professional moaner looking to get his name in "da paper"

Anonymous said...

The author has some valid points for sure, he has exagerated, but not excessively. As mentioned above, runners discard the bottles on the way on the side of the road and the stewards try to pick them all up. but probably always miss a few. But runners sometimes fling the water bottles into the fence or over the fence into the property adjoining the road, stewards cannot clean these up. Also there are the energy gell wrappers discared all the way on the longer races, these cannot easily be picked up. Organisers have to have Do Not Litter instructions clearly on the race notices, keep your gel wrappers after use until they can be discared properly etc. CGC