London Marathon Events (LME) has today published its first environmental report as the organisation aims to lead the way in delivering sustainable mass participation sports events.
Labelled "Leaving the Right Impression", the report outlines the waste, emissions and products produced and used across all the LME’s events, and at their headquarters and warehouse in 2019.
The report details how much is recycled and reused, as well as assessing some of the initiatives it trialled at the 2019 Virgin Money London Marathon.
Measures included bottle belts made from 90 per cent recycled materials, which were used by 700 runners and recorded how much water they used.
On average a runner with a belt used just over 40 per cent less bottles than a runner without a belt.
The report said runners reported that using a bottle belt had a positive effect on their performance as they had access to more convenient and regular hydration.
LME say the bottle belts have the potential to significantly reduce the number of plastic bottles used and water wasted.
Lucozade Sport Oohos were also trialled last year with Lucozade Sport distributing 36,000 edible seaweed pods to runners instead of plastic bottles.
A post-race survey saw 83 per cent of the respondents who tried them rating them as good or excellent.
LME said a closed loop recycling system and improved collection process for plastic bottles in Tower Hamlets, Greenwich, Southwark and Canary Wharf operated last year.
Bottles used in these boroughs were collected, bailed and returned directly to Buxton and Lucozade Sport where they were recycled into new products.
It is claimed that this process provided vital data and lessons for LME on how waste is managed at water stations and has improved collection and recycling at all LME events.
"We want to protect our natural environment and ensure our events leave as small an environmental footprint as possible,” said Hugh Brasher, LME event director.
"In the past year, we have invested in research, innovation and resources to minimise our environmental impact and have already launched initiatives that have the potential to change profoundly the delivery of mass participation events worldwide.
"The work we have done means that we have a much clearer understanding of our impacts and can better plan how we reduce them in future.
"We know there is still much more to do but we are passionate about and fully committed to reducing our environmental impact and leading the way in delivering sustainable mass participation sports events."
The LME, which also organises the Prudential RideLondon, said it hopes to show how mass participation sport can be a force for good.
The organisation said the report also outlines its proposed targets for events in 2020 as it aims to inspire and deliver innovation in mass participation event sustainability.
The targets were set prior to the coronavirus pandemic, which had led to the Virgin Money London Marathon, the Vitality London 10,000 and the Vitality Westminster Mile being postponed.
The LME admit the 2020 events may not take place in the format they were intended at the start of the year, but said it is committed to achieving the targets set where it can and in the future.
LME has also signed up to the UN Sports for Climate Action Framework as part of its ongoing commitment to be the global leader in sustainable mass participation sports events.
The UN initiative aims to support and guide sports in achieving global climate change goals.
Collaboration with other major event organisers in the United Kingdom and internationally also continues, with the LME aiming to share learning and collectively drive innovation and change in sustainability practices.
The full report can be accessed here