No Category selected I know which brand is the number one choice of litterbugs

    I know which brand is the number one choice of litterbugs


    I know it hasn’t been that long since I was last on my soap box ranting about runners that make us all look bad. However, after running the Mississauga Marathon last weekend I find myself climbing right back up and clearing my throat.

    It’s great that we get to toss our cups on the ground at water stations – thank you to all the wonderful volunteers who clean up after us so that we don’t have to slow down or crash into each other at garbage cans.

    But, it seemed that everywhere I looked, there were empty gel packets on the ground.  I am not talking about the water stations – I am talking about everywhere else.

    If you throw an empty gel pack on the ground at a water station, fine.  Those super-fantastic volunteers have got your back.  But if you toss stuff anywhere else you are littering.  I repeat: You Are Littering.

    If your gel break doesn’t line up with a water station, I am really sorry about your luck, but you are then obligated to look for a garbage can, or continue to store or carry the empty wrapper until you reach a water station.  It’s that simple.

    From what I saw, we are such a mighty bunch of pigs, it’s a wonder that any city invites us back.

    Not cool.

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    A runner for just over four years, Karen has already completed a marathon, two half marathons and a variety of 5k and 10k races. She describes her first marathon - the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon last September - as "a nightmare." However, she met a very interesting person in the process - a man named Sydney who was running his 152nd marathon! Although the race didn't go as well as planned for Karen or Sydney, he showed her that no matter how experienced a runner you are, you can still have a bad day. "Does that mean we shouldn't bother to prepare, or maybe just shouldn't bother at all? Of course not!" says Karen. "In the end, it is what we make it." We like her optimism!


    1. Well said !!! There are times when I am out training and see spent gel packets, empty water bottles…ok and the odd beer can….but for the most part, the trail I run is littered with “runners trash”….it’s sad that we can achieve so much personal growth from our sport, and at the same time, regress into a bunch of hapless litterbugs… I am getting down from my soapbox now…sorry if I offended anyone but the truth of the matter is, like was said in the blog, “You Are Littering.” .

    2. I couldn’t agree more! I was actually shocked about the amount of gel packs and such that were lining the 21.1km that I was running.

      I do have a question though…I know that at the beginning of a race people have on “throw away” clothes that are meant to keep the runner warm for the first few kms. The clothes are then discarded along the side of the street and donated. But does anyone know how long of a stretch of road people can and should discard their throw aways? I saw a lot of stray shirts well into the race and I’m not sure those were going to get picked up – anyone know?

      Thanks 🙂

    3. I agree! The runner originally had the gel pack in a pocket to begin with, they can put the empty wrapper back in when they’re finished with it! Littering is NOT cool!

    4. Interesting. I don’t run with gel packs or other stuff, so I wouldn’t do that. But to be quite honest, I wouldn’t have thought of it as littering during a race. Now I will for sure — thanks for the note.

      On the topic of etiquette, I get quite frustrated by groups of runners who don’t respect single runners or even traffic. I’ve encountered it running and driving way too often, living downtown.

    5. Agreed. Keep your gel pack until you find a garbage.

      Either that or we’ll all have to pay increased race fees so the city can pay to have 26.2 miles of road cleaned.

    6. I do agree! I hate to litter so I always put my gel packaging in my little back pocket in my fuel belt, it’s out of the way and I get to throw it either in a trash can during the race or at the end, it’s not hard to do it. Ok, I’m not going for an Olympic berth on the marathon squad but nonetheless. Same goes with the ‘throw away’ clothes, come on! Even on cold days where I know I’m going to warm up fast I make sure to leave my surplus of clothing with someone I know who doesn’t race so that I don’t have to carry it the entire way so why don’t they do the same? Yes, it’s cold but you’ll warm up fast… I too am getting off my soap box. 🙂

    7. In LA they were handing out full Gatorade (thanks NikeTown!) I couldn’t believe how many ended up on the ground after just one sip. I kept mine until empty and found a bin for it!

    8. See, I KNEW it wasn’t anyone from iRunNation tossing the trash!! 😉 Thanks for all the comments!

      Girly Pink Shoes – thanks for asking that! Same goes for clothing – if you’re away from the start and still have your top layer, you can hand it to a kind spectator, or just hang on to it until a water station.

      Phil – I hear you! It’s funny how “packs” of runners get so absorbed in whatever – conversation maybe? – that they just sort of seem to forget themselves. At best, it’s rude; and of course at worst, it’s dangerous.

      EndorphinBuzz – wow! Messy AND a huge waste!

      In a related story, someone was handing out bananas at Around the Bay and there were peels all over the ground – also not good because I slipped on one, just like in the cartoons!

    9. I agree 100%. For all the amazing volunteers: Thank you so much. And for whoever put out the sliced oranges (both at Mississauga and ATB): I love you and you can have my place in heaven.

    10. I 100% agree! In fact the races I have been to locally all had the same issue, litter everywhere! And before the races were even half over they had crews of kids and volunteers out picking up all the trash but that is a heck of a lot of ground for a crew to cover for cleanup! There really is no excuse. Shame on the litterbugs!

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