Friday, March 14, 2008

Marathon Participants Helping the Environment and Soles4Souls

Centered around St. Patrick's Day, the Virginia Beach-based Shamrock Marathon always has displayed a fair share of green.

This year, the 36th of the race, the event is going green in another way - by becoming environmentally friendly.

The Shamrock Marathon, which starts at 8 a.m. Sunday, has been certified as a Virginia Green event, the first event to receive that certification in the Commonwealth, according to the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality.

One of the measures taken has been to provide 50 recycling receptacles for people to dispose of cans, bottles, cardboard and other materials. The traditional disposable plastic goody bags have given way to cloth backpacks.

Runners are also encouraged to donate their shoes. Those with sneakers that haven't incurred too much wear and tear will have the opportunity to donate them to Soles4Souls. (Anyone who stops by the Sports and Fitness Expo at the Virginia Beach Convention Center today or Saturday can donate shoes as well). Soles4Souls has supplied shoes to victims of natural disasters, including Hurricane Katrina.

Race director Amy Frostick said she thinks the benefits are worthwhile.

"My husband (co-director Jerry) and I try to make an impact ourselves, as much as we can live green and look out for the environment," she said.

As many as 18,000 people are expected to participate in the Shamrock events, an increase of about 18 percent from 2007.

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