At Camino we love six degrees - you know the Kevin Bacon thing. You are always connected to someone, somewhere by a few simple connections.
Added to the wise doctrine that you keep good people close to you and over the years it has always felt powerful to be connected with Dan/Charlotte from ReRun who connected us to TreeNotTees who we then reconnected through Nina (Byrd) and then back again through Nick (Impact Marathons) and then back again through the team at Green Runners.
When Green Runners were born they asked everyone to think about their impact when running. This includes what you were buying (do you need more trainers - can you repair them), how do you travel to runs/races (can you do more locally/ can you make trips less frequent and maximise what you do when you are there) - all the way to how you interact inside of events (we all know about the wastage with plastic water bottles in major marathons and the seventh Hackney Half race tee).
Pledge: The next step Green Runners asked was for you to make a pledge. Publicly share what you were going to commit to - things that would help align with the values of restore, repair and reduce (impact).
If we are honest this hasn't been an easy thing for us at Camino. Yes easy in one way - we do support our partners and we are passionate about what they do and in our efforts to promote them. However we are also a running events and coaching company that engages with many runners who are new to the sport and they might be looking at purchasing kit for the first time, upgrading from road shoes to trail shoes or (like us) be intrigued about product development.
We've always welcomed that organisations like TreesNotTees are not saying 'Don't select a Race tee'. They like us know that you may spend many years targeting one particular race and when you finally get to achieve one of your life's race goals then there is nothing more wonderful than wearing a branded tee to reflect upon your gorgeous achievements. The fact is that the issue lies elsewhere. Many major races survive on sponsorship and to bring in sponsor money they inflate the number of runners in their event and this leads to a dual issue of 'too many race tees' and 'far few runners who actually need or even want' more tees from a race that they do almost annually.
So organisations like TreesNotTees offer a solution. With race companies that partner with them you can decide (usually in the sign-up process) to chose to have a tree planted rather than receive a race-tee shirt.
At Camino we actually rolled this out to any item of race paraphernalia. We recognise that as we are a race company where many runners are taking part in 'their first ever ultramarathon' then they may want to keep their medal. However runners coming back to race in our events again can always choose the tree option.
In our Epping Forest Ultra we have gone a step further. As this is clearly a trail race through the forest and we partner with the Forestry Commission we decided to plant a tree for everyone who finishes the race. In addition 10% of race entry fees actually go to support renewable schemes directly in Epping Forest. The 1st place Female and Male trophies are made from forest scheme - locally sourced wood. For 2022 we have re-instated our Badge medals. So all the medals are actually sew-on badges - which can be used ReRun style to repair your favourite items of clothing.
So back to our Pledge.
There are three things that Camino want to commit to and to be held accountable to.
Remain Local - when we started Camino we wanted to offer London centric runners the opportunity to take part in ultramarathon events on 'their doorstep'. having worked with TreesNotTees we know that one of biggest issues for the climate is travel. Maybe world elite races mean that runners have a choice to whether they fly. Green Runners ambassadors have shown that there are alternatives to this. For Camino we are proud that in our first 7 races over 80% of our race entrants come from a London postcode. In surveys carried out to our race finishers we know that almost all of our competitors travel by public transport to get to and from our events. Our aim is to continue to provide world-class ultra-marathon events for the majority of local people and help them to reduce their annual race travel footprint.
Become an affiliated Green Runners Race Events Company - we are in the early stages of this process but our aim is to work alongside Green Runners to help develop a global Race Director strategy that we support companies like Camino in providing the best 'impact-free' solutions to our events. We will create a Green Policy (based on the requirements of Green Runners) and we will publicly share this in the same way that we have done so with our (SHE.RACES) female equality policy.
Create a new 'Camino Race Kit Borrow Bank': Over the past few years Camino has coached athletes to take part in major ultramarathons that require a vast amount of mandatory kit. Over this same time Camino has acquired much of this kit and we want to make it available to our community so that we can help each other 'reuse' what we already have rather than every Camino community runner having to buy every bit of kit for every event.
We are currently collaborating with Camino friend Oliver Jamieson who is competing in the superb 'Lap Windermere' event and he needs the following kit:
Waterproof jacket — must have hood and factory tapered seams
Waterproof trousers — must have factory tapered seams
A long sleeve technical tee, fleece, or lightweight synthetic/duvet jacket
Gloves — must be full fingered
Water carrying ability (minimum 1L)
Food — to include at least 500kcal emergency ration remaining at the finish
Emergency foil bag
Headtorch — plus spare batteries, battery pack, or spare torch
Mobile phone — with race organiser’s number saved
Running vest/bag to carry it all
Whilst Old does have some of this kit we will be looking to provide the missing pieces for him.
We will publish the full list of kit that we have available to lend soon.
Please do contact us if you have a race coming up that needs mandatory kit and we work will you to see if we can lend it to you.
If you have any questions about Camino's Green Pledge (especially if you can or want to help us establish and advance it) then please do contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org