What do more than 50,000 sweaty runners and walkers have to do with your garden?
Local attorney Steven Jones, who has been running, helping and organizing Bloomsday for more than 30 years, shared some behind-the-scenes efforts aimed at lessening the race’s environmental footprint.
Q. Tell us about the cups. How many are used?
A. We can approach a half-million cups. We’re prepared for two cups per person per aid station. Usage, of course, depends a lot on the weather. If you have a warmer day, more people stop and drink more water. We always plan to have plenty. We don’t want to run out.
Q. What happens to them?
A. For the past three years we’ve been composting. That’s been a big change. We’ve always tried to be mindful of waste and recycling and we’re moving more and more in the right direction. The cups now get turned back into what people can put into their gardens. It’s pretty amazing.
Q. Should we throw cups in trash bins or on the street?
A. People should drink and then throw the cups off to the side.
Q. Is Bloomsday achieving results from recycling?
A. We think so. We always want to do better each race. This year we’re going to expand our recycling stations along Riverside at the start of the race at the cross streets for plastic water bottles. Watch for the new banners this year. Hopefully people will put their bottles in the recycling stations instead of the trash.
We received certification from the Council for Responsible Sport. They have an extensive list of items that measure how well you do being mindful of the environment. One of the biggest things we continue to do is having so many people come by transit to downtown.
Q. Is there ever a shortage of volunteers?
A. It can happen. I would hope at some point to find a high school environmental or ecology club to assist with all of this. I think it would be wonderful for them and wonderful for us.
Q. Who is behind the efforts to make Bloomsday a greener race?
A. The whole board, really. Bloomsday has always been a celebration of personal fitness and community. The run itself and the training leading up to it all can lead to a healthier person and lifestyle, and this is just sort of a natural outgrowth of that. Because we must be mindful of not only what we’re doing with our bodies, but what we’re doing with community and our world.
Q. What else is new?
A. In conjunction with Hoopfest and the city of Spokane’s solid waste department, we’re creating a recycling lending library of sorts. We will have recycling containers available for other events to use, essentially for free to other community events by contacting the city.
Q. What’s your fastest Bloomsday time? How about this year?
A. I ran it once in 39 (minutes) 48 (seconds). This year maybe about an hour and 15 minutes. I’ve been battling a few little knee problems. I’m just going to try to keep up with Ali (his 10-year-old daughter and fifth-grade student at Shiloh Hills). She buried me last week in the Race for the Cure. I just couldn’t hang with her.