Incorporating environmentally and socially responsible practices is an important part of the operational planning, preparation, and execution of the Bank of America Chicago 13.1. The event sustainability program focuses on environmental stewardship, community engagement and outreach, accessibility, and innovation.
This year, the event is pursuing certification from the Council for Responsible Sport, a not for profit organization which provides objective, independent verification of the socially and environmentally responsible work of sporting events. Responsible Sport certified events are some of the world’s leading examples of responsible sport in action, supporting sustainability and environmental consciousness.
View our 2023 Sustainability Report for an overview of actions we’ve taken to produce a sustainable event.
- Dynamic bib assignments – By assigning bib numbers at Packet Pick-up, we’re able to reduce the number of bibs we use by 300. We’ve also eliminated the need for a separate envelope, saving over 60 pounds of paper from being used, which is equivalent to approximately half a tree.
- Participant shirts – Event participant shirts are made from 100% recycled polyester. In addition to reducing waste, recycled polyester reduces carbon emissions by up to 30% compared to virgin polyester, and helps Nike divert an average of 1 billion plastic bottles annually from landfills and waterways.
- Paperless Packet Pick-up – The packet pick-up email can be presented on the screen of a mobile device or tablet instead of printing, saving thousands of sheets of paper from being used.
- Participant bag – Event participant bags are made from #4 LDPE, which is 100% recyclable through retailers offering plastic film and bag recycling – just remove the cotton drawstring beforehand. Made in California and printed with water-based ink, the bags contain up to 25% postindustrial scrap (in-house recycled content), reducing the amount of “virgin” petroleum used. To encourage reuse and ensure durability for gear check, the bag is designed to be reused multiple times before recycling.
- Zero waste bins – Look for zero waste bins located at Packet Pick-up and in various venues at Garfield Park race weekend. The bins are made from repurposed coroplast materials from our warehouse, with overhead signage providing clear directions on how to sort your waste.
- Offset race weekend travel – In 2023, the Bank of America 13.1 partnered with Native to provide participants with a way to offset emissions from travel to the event. Native met exhaustive environmental standards to be recognized as a certified B corporation. All proceeds supported Native’s “From Waste to Fuel: Improving Agriculture and Livelihoods in Mexico” project.
Garfield Park and course
- Kia EV lead vehicles – Kia leads the way on race day! Chicagoland and Northwest Indiana Kia retailers are proud to support the Bank of America 13.1. The all-electric Kia EV6, winner of the 2023 North American Utility Vehicle of the Year Award, acted as the lead vehicles for the 2023 event. Kia’s vision to become a ‘Sustainable Mobility Solutions Provider’ reflects the company’s approach to sustainability, which is to create sustainable mobility solutions for consumers, communities, and global society. To get more information visit kia.com/sustainability
- Zero Waste Stations – Waste disposed of in Garfield Park should be deposited at one of the Zero Waste Stations located throughout Runner Refresh and the festival area. Green Team volunteers will sort the refuse to help increase the amount of waste diverted from the landfill.
- Collecting compostable material – Banana peels and other materials will be collected in Garfield Park for composting, as well as hydration cups from the course. The Urban Canopy, an urban farm on the South Side of Chicago, will be taking the organic materials to a processing facility where the organic waste will break down into finished compost, a nutrient rich soil amendment. By keeping wasted food and other organics out of the landfill, methane emissions are significantly reduced.
- Aluminum cans – All beer cans are made of aluminum, an infinitely recyclable material. Recycling of aluminum cans saves 95% of the energy required to make the same amount of aluminum from its virgin source. Please dispose of cans in bins labeled “recycling”.
- No styrofoam – Styrofoam products are not allowed at the Bank of America Chicago 13.1.
- Race day recycling – Cardboard, plastic jugs, beer cans and water bottles will be collected by the event and recycled.
- TerraCycle Candy and Snack Wrapper Collection – Through TerraCycle, we are able to give hard-to-recycle items a new life. Assorted wrappers from food items handed out at Runner Refresh should be brought to one of many Zero Waste Stations to be properly sorted. All brands of flexible plastic-based candy and snack packaging and wrappers are accepted.
- Eco-friendly portable toilet facilities – Paper products at portable restrooms rented for the event are made of 100% recycled content.
- Closed loop course – The Bank of America Chicago 13.1, is a closed loop course, starting and finishing in Garfield Park, eliminating unnecessary travel often required by point-to-point courses.
- Public transportation – Participants, spectators, and volunteers are highly encouraged to use public transportation race weekend, with the CTA offering convenient stops near the Roosevelt Collection and Garfield Park Conservatory. Garfield Park, the location of the Bank of America Chicago 13.1’s start and finish lines and festival, is in the heart of Chicago’s West Side.
- Water filling stations – Participants are encouraged to refill water bottles and hydration cups at one of two Water Monster hydration stations located at the festival.
- Event information – All information for Bank of America Chicago 13.1 participants, volunteers and media is available digitally. These pieces include the participant guide, confirmation e-mails, results, e-newsletters, media guide, event updates and more.
BEYOND RACE WEEKEND
- Community inclusion– The Bank of America Chicago 13.1 is committed to working closely with the West Side community to ensure the event is meaningful, representative and beneficial for Chicago’s West Side.
- Composting organic waste – The finished compost from the event was delivered to the Kuumba Tre-Ahm Community Garden in Garfield Park. The community garden, named after the sixth principle of Kwanzaa and the owner’s two grandsons, is part of the Garfield Park Garden Network, a resident-led effort to enhance local green spaces and engage more community members in the local food system.
- Charity Program – Runners can make their journey more impactful by running on behalf of a cause they are passionate about. Learn more about running for charity by visiting the Charity Program page.
- Support local businesses – Runners and spectators are encouraged to support the local economy race weekend by visiting and shopping at local businesses.