run, rest, eat, bitch, buy things, cross-train, blog, repeat.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Make this YOUR resolution

If you are like me, then I'm sure you have a pile of running shoes like this in your closet:
Ok, so this is not my closet, those are not my shoes or my legs, but you get the point.

I admit that I find it a bit difficult to get rid off all these shoes and I guess that's because I hold some nostalgic feelings for them. Each pair represents all the miles I've run. They represent personal victories and yes, sometimes they represent disappointment, perhaps brought on by an injury or poor performance in a race. But, honestly, I'm running out of room in my closet for all these old Saucony, New Balance and Mizuno babies and I figure it's time to get rid of them.

Now I'm sure you've heard or read about the importance of reducing your carbon footprint and I never really thought that running had any type of significant effect on the environment. I mean, there aren't too many things runners really need for the sport-a good pair of running shoes and that's pretty much it. So, running is close to being 100% green, right? Well guess again. How many runners do you know that don't have a closet-full of techie running gear? (I'm definitely guilty) Not a whole lot of you, I'd guess. Runner's World recently put out a good article that calculated all the CO2 emitted by running related gear and travel. Read it. You might be surprised.

And now for the good news: We can be kind to Mother Earth by reducing this impact. We can even help out our running friends all over the globe while doing it. Can't beat that with a stick. After a little research, I found that there are tons of great organizations that recycle running shoes. Runnersworld.com has all kinds of great articles about green running, including one that details some of these organizations. To name just a few...

Soles4SoulsShoe has coordinated relief efforts for the Asian Tsunami and Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, and Ike, netting over 1 Million pairs donated for these disasters.

Hope Runs is a non-profit group working in Kenya and Tanzania, using athletics, education, and social entrepreneurship to empower AIDS orphans.

Heart and Sole Provides new and gently used shoes to the poorest of the world's people. Since the project began in 1999, more than 6,000 pairs of shoes have been shipped around the world.

Go HERE to see the full list (complete with contact info), pick out your favorite cause and pack up those old shoes!

Why? Because being green is sexy.

5 comments:

Amy said...

Ok. This is awesome. I'm glad you brought this up... cause I have a question that maybe our wonderful readers could answer...

I WANT to donate my old shoes. I mean, good lord, how many pairs of Asics Gel Nimbuses do I need?? But, when I'm done with my running shoes... they are... well... in a word: NASTY. Between running on trails at Moss Wright in the damp, and running through muddy construction zones, my shoes are usually gross and dirty and often times they'll have a hole in the top or the sides.

So, these organizations want shoes that can be worn again, right? Not, gross, nasty hole-y shoes? Or can they like refurbish them? I mean, I don't even donate these gross shoes to goodwill, because of their condition...

Maybe nasty, hole-y shoes are better than no shoes?

Anonymous said...

I think they can refurbish them, so donate away! I've donated all but 7 pairs. I have 2 that are rotated in current use. I keep one other pair in my closet that I could easily wear for something not related to running (like working for Habitat or volunteering at a water stop, where shoes get wet, but you don't want to be in sandals). I keep one other pair in my trunk (in case some major disaster happens and I'm at work, I don't want to be traipsing across the Texas equivalent of the Brooklyn Bridge in heels or bare feet) (I consider the trunk tennis shoes part of my disaster readiness plan). And I also keep a pair at each of the homes I frequently visit -- my mom's, my dad's and my in-laws'. That way I don't have to pack them each time I fly since they take up a lot of room in the suitcase (and I'm okay with running in old shoes once in a while, it's not like I typically run 18 miles when I'm home). So consider stashing a few pairs where you think is best, but definitely donate the others!

RunnerMom said...

Amy--I machine washed my old shoes (but let them air dry) before I donated them. I figured, "Who wants a pair of dirty shoes?" But have you seen the advertisement with the child with two-liter plastic bottles fashioned into flip flops? He probably would just be glad to have shoes.

April--reading that article in Runner's World makes me feel guilty every time I think about buying a new technical shirt that I don't really need. So, I don't buy them and I guess it's mission accomplished!

Danielle in Iowa said...

I would also note that if you want to have more of a local impact (and gees how much carbon do you think is involved in flying your shoes to Africa?) that at least here in my town, Youth and Shelter Services will take clean used running shoes for the teens. This particular organization works with homeless kids and recently they have started training for a 5k with the kids as part of the program.

Danielle in Iowa said...

I meant to add - there are probably local options in every town...