Baylor University Announces the Nation's First Cup-Free Half-Marathon

Feb. 26, 2010

Bearathon on March 20 Will Prevent Waste of 28,200 Cups

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Baylor University's Bearathon on March 20 will be the nation's first cup-free half-marathon, an event that will help promote greener racing in the running world.

Hosted by the university's Student Foundation, the race dubbed as "The Toughest Half-Marathon in Texas" raises scholarship funds for students, and now will lead the way in responsible stewardship of the environment.

By giving every entrant a water dispensing device called HydraPouch and using only its accompanying HydraPour-equipped dispensers, Bearathon 2010 will foster better hydration, environmental sustainability and a cleaner, safer course for runners, organizers say.

Created by Craig McSavaney, the HydraPouch will prevent the waste of a projected 28,200 paper cups. Considering the number of cups needed at races, which is more than 2 million in various national marathons, efforts such as these help preempt a negative impact on the environment.

"Traditional water stations allow runners to grab a cup, drink quickly and then drop it on the ground. Although volunteers do their best to clean it all, there is inevitably litter left in some places," said Lizzy Davis, the Troy and Betty Mays Director of Student Foundation at Baylor. "The cups also create a cluttered course for the runners who might not be at the front of the pack. Going cup-free is more environmentally responsible and runner-friendly."

Through the sponsorship and encouragement of The Baylor Network and Baylor Sustainability, the vision of a cup-free race will be reality.

"Since The Baylor Network engages Baylor's alumni, parents and other constituents, we have the responsibility to exercise and encourage alternative practices that minimize negative impact on the environment," said Brenda Morris, senior executive director of The Baylor Network. "With our sponsorship of Bearathon, we are fostering awareness of our ecological footprint, and the cup-free initiative puts our awareness into practice."

"Twenty-eight thousand, two hundred is a lot of cups. Because we are going cup-free, these cups are not going to our landfill or requiring people to pick them up and throw them away. Those are cups that are not being left on the side of the road," said Smith Getterman, sustainability coordinator for Baylor University. "That's a positive reason for us to choose cup-free racing. Additionally, for runners and for organizations wanting to host races, cup-free racing saves money because you need fewer supplies."

Made in the United States from silicone rubber, the HydraPouch holds six ounces of liquid, fits in the palm of the hand and clips onto runners' waistbands. The device has a squeeze top for filling, and a spout to help runners take advantage of all six ounces of their drink.

When traditional cups are used in races, much of the liquid splashes out because runners are typically moving quickly. Runners also try to gulp the rest in order to drop cups near rest stations.

HydraPouches are designed to help prevent splashes and enable runners to drink as they go.

"As a university, we are trying to lead the way in looking at everything we can do to 'go green'," Getterman said. "This is not just turning off our lights or how we use our supplies but about the events we have on campus, whether athletic events or student events like this, we want to positively affect the environment."

Beyond garnering environmental sustainability, this year, Baylor's Student Foundation is partnering with One World Running to empower runners with a global vision. The nonprofit organization, based in Colorado, promotes health, fitness and nutrition by sending shoe donations to those in need in the United States and internationally. At Bearathon, a bin will be available for runners to donate new or near-new running shoes to One World Running.

"The purpose of Bearathon and Student Foundation is to serve," said Davis. "We are serving students by raising scholarship funds, but there are so many other ways we can impact not only Baylor, but the whole world. This takes our impact beyond the local community."

For more information about Bearathon and cup-free racing, contact Davis at (254) 710-3498 or or visit the Student Foundation web site.

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