For Immediate Release

27 June 2011

CONTACTS: (Please do not publish these numbers. THE NUMBER FOR PUBLICATION IS THE RACE HOTLINE AT 301-320-3350):

Phil Stewart
Event Director
301-320-6865; 301-802-2194

Credit Union Cherry Blossom Earns Silver Certification as an Environmentally Friendly Event

WASHINGTON, DC – Capping a two-year initiative, the Credit Union Cherry Blossom has been awarded “Silver Level Certification” by the Council for Responsible Sport (CRS).

CRS (www.councilforresponsbilesport.org) is a non-profit organization which provides independent, third-party verification of the social and environmental sustainability of sporting events across six categories of certification: waste, climate, materials and equipment, community and outreach, health promotion, and innovation. “Evergreen” is the highest certification attainable, followed by “Gold,” “Silver” and “Certified.”

Event Director Phil Stewart said, “This was an important initiative for the organizing committee to undertake in light of the current realities and concerns about the earth’s limited resources. Obtaining ‘Silver Certification’ in just our second year took a top-to-bottom push on the part of our organizing committee and our race participants, who complied with our requests to recycle and cut their carbon footprints. As a result, 17,774 runners in 10 mile run and 5K Run-Walk generated just 880 pounds of trash that had to be sent to landfills this year while 6558 pounds of materials were sent to recycling and compost. This represents a diversion rate of 88%.”

Other initiatives which led to receiving “Silver Certification” included the following:

  1. Carbon Offset Program: 2011 was the second year of the carbon offset sales program, and participation grew from 1090 runners in 2010 to 1179 this year. At $3.60 per offset – the equivalent of the average one-way Metro fare to the Smithsonian Metro stop – the event collected a total of $4237.20, which will offset 303 short tons of carbon emissions. These funds were contributed to the Northeast Farms Separation Project, which removes volatile solids from dairy farm manure slurry, thus preventing anaerobic decomposition that would normally produce methane. Two of the farms this project supports are near Washington, DC: the Twin Oaks Farm in Emmittsburg, MD, and the Mercer Vu Farm in Mercersburg, PA.
  2. Early Metro Opening: Over 13,000 runners opted to use Metro to get to travel to the race site. The race organizers paid to open the subway system two-hours early, at 5 A.M. on race day.
  3. Virtual Goodie Bags: The organizers provided runners with the virtual iGiftBag this year, which eliminated all of the paper inserted into the bags in the past -- a tremendous source of paper waste.
  4. Expanded Bicycle Facilities: The event featured a bicycle parking lot, which nine percent of post-race survey respondents said they used.

The Credit Union Cherry Blossom joins a select group of five running events at the “Silver Certification” level (including the Marine Corps Marathon). Four running events have attained “Gold” status and one has attained “Evergreen” status. Certifications last for two-years.

Widely known as “The Runner’s Rite of Spring,” the Credit Union Cherry Blossom is a hugely popular Washington, DC running tradition. Over 28,000 people applied for the 15,000 10 mile slots and 1,000 slots in the 5K Run-Walk Presented by Kaiser Permanente through a lottery system. The event will celebrate its 40th running on April 1, 2012.

The Credit Union Miracle Day Committee, a consortium of Credit Unions and Credit Union friends and suppliers, is the title sponsor. The 2011 event raised $578,000 for the Children’s Miracle Network, bringing the total funds raised since Credit Union Miracle Day became the title sponsor in 2002 to $5 million dollars. Supporting sponsors include Kaiser Permanente of the Middle Atlantic Region; the presenting sponsor of the 5K Run-Walk; Gatorade Endurance Formula; Navy Federal Credit Union; New Balance; and Potomac River Running. The event is a member of the Professional Road Running Association (PRRO) Circuit and is a participating event in the National Cherry Blossom Festival.

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