Corinne’s opinions on trash after spending 8 hours “cleaning up” after the Monterey Spartan Beast:
I am blessed to have access to many delicious VPX supplements for my workouts and races. My nutrition for long races usually includes Life Lift bars, string cheese, gummy worms or bears (easily digestible carbs), and Protein Rush for post-race. Races sometimes hand out Gu's, electrolyte drinks, banana's, or other forms of nutrition and I eat these too. No matter what I bring, I always bring snacks, and those snacks have wrappers. When I unwrap my snack they are sometimes sticky, gooey and yucky, but I eat them and shove the wrapper back into my Camelbak, shorts, or sports bra. Wherever it came from is where it is returned to. I actually look forward to eating all my snacks during the race as my pack gets lighter with only the wrappers to carry. Only the wrappers. That's what I take with me at the end of the race. My trash. Unfortunately, many racers and athletes do not take their trash with them. They drop it on the trail and leave it behind to be picked up by someone else. I don't know why they think that dropping their trash is OK. Many people would never litter or leave trash if hiking leisurely or walking with their families but somehow during races all considerations for responsibility and environmentalism disappear. The mentality of “I'm too busy to throw my trash away,” or “I deserve to drop it,” or “someone else will pick it up” takes over. This is a bad and unacceptable mentality.
In the United States, statistics show that 81% of littering is done intentionally. Confection wrappers are the number one source of pedestrian litter. Packaging in general results in 46% of littering and plastic litter has increased 165%. The cost of litter cleanup each year is $11.5 billion dollars. Individuals 18-29 years old have the highest littering rates. These facts are disgusting, embarrassing, and very, very sad.
Pick up your trash! Or, better yet, don't throw it in the first place. Put that wrapper back where the snack came from. Whether it was your belt, your pack, your pocket, your shorts - if there was room for the snack, there is room for the wrapper. If someone handed you a snack, shove the wrapper in your shorts, your sports bra, or hold it in your hand till the next stop. There is NEVER an excuse to litter. EVER.
Let’s all be good examples to fellow runners, athletes, and our children. Respect this beautiful world that we live in, and let no VPX wrapper touch the ground :) Now… to get down off my soap box.
This is a guest post by Corinne Rose Kohlen, a 31 year old (soon to be 32!) registered dietitian at DaVita Dialysis with a Masters Degree in Nutrition and certified diabetes educator. Her background is in rock climbing and she used to compete and work professionally as a rock climber for Sea World. She has been obstacle racing for 2.5 years and have done over 30 spartan races, 10 tough mudders and many Ultra races. Her favorite races are Survival runs. This year she will be returning to World's Toughest Mudder for the third time. Her specialties are rope climbs, traverse wall, and chicken carrying.