Global warming is slowing runners + 4 ways runners can fight back

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Global warming and climate change are at the forefront of nearly everyone’s mind as of late. And for good reason. Atmospheric carbon dioxide levels have been on a meteoric rise since the 1950s. The result? The average surface temperature has risen almost 1.62 degrees Fahrenheit since the latter end of the 19th century.

For a long time, the conversation about the impact hasn’t been very tangible for the average person. The concepts of glaciers melting, the oceans becoming acidified, the oceans warming and the likes isn’t something that directly impacts the masses in their day to day life.

In order to reach people on this topic, you have to connect it to them, their lives, wellbeing, and their passions.

According to a recent report presented at the IAAF Global Running Conference, in 2018, there were almost 8 million runners who participated in a marathon, half-marathon, 10k, or 5k. 8 million people with a passion for running who are only getting slower.

A recent study, analyzing 19.6 million race results and the trends of climate change makes it clear; one of the culprits for this slowdown is global warming. But just how much can we really blame on climate change?

What the data shows us is that the average runner can expect to have their race times increased by as much as 1 minute and 25 seconds for every additional degree in Fahrenheit when racing. With the overall yearly climb in temperature being approximately .07 degrees Fahrenheit, runners are experiencing a 6-second increase in their average race time every year.

Although the blame of rising ocean levels and glaciers melting does not fall on the running community, there are many “runner specific” ways you can help!

1) Start by recycling your shoes

Avid runners increase the mileage on their shoes quickly. With some runners needing a new pair every 3-6 months. Even when we buy new shoes to run in, sometimes we just convince ourselves that we should hold onto these old pairs. Until something sparks the need to throw them out.
Instead of waiting and trashing, recycle your shoes. There are many organizations that will take care of price tag of you mailing them your old shoes but you can always find local options as well. For example, some Nike stores actually accept your old shoes for their “Reuse-A-Shoe” project.

2) Staying on the topic of recycling, gadget-loving runners need to recycle your products

Every year there are more and more unique gadgets coming out. Over time, these products end up breaking down or replaced with the next best thing.

There’s no convincing millions of people to not use their favorite fitness trackers and watches, but what you can do is just recycle them. There are a bunch of organizations and programs that accept old electronics to be recycled and disposed of responsibly. Organizations like Call2Recycle, Earth911, and even BestBuy offer these services locally. A quick search can help you find the closest electronic recycling drop off spot near you.

3) Don’t participate in races if they aren’t eco-friendly

When it comes to making organizations and companies change their ways and go more green, let your participation and wallet do the talking.

How do you tell if a race is not eco-friendly?
– Is the race still using paper cups?
– Do they give out water or sports drinks in plastic bottles?

– Do they specifically work to recycle all paper, plastic, and old shoes on location?
– Is the food given out at the races or at the finish lines eco-friendly?
– Do they support locally-grown food or corporations at the race?
– Are the leftover food and drinks being donated or thrown away?

If they don’t have the answers for this on the website, all it takes is a simple email or call to find out. If the race isn’t “running green” then let the organizers know that you won’t be attending for this specific reason.

4) Skip the jog and go for a plog!

Plogging is a newer trend that picked up some attention in 2018. Simply, runners are making a massive difference in their local communities by picking up trash as they go for their runs.

All they have to do is bring a small bag with them on their runs. As they go and come across trash, whether it is recyclable or not, they are picking it up and bringing it along for them on their runs.

Many running trails and local communities have seen a rise in plogging that has significantly reduced the amount of litter, trash, and damage to the environment. When all of this is then disposed of properly, whether through recycling or composting, the end result can be an amazing one for climate change. Especially if we were able to activate the full 8 million runners who are out there every day.


Can We All Please Stop Sending Our Sick Kids to School?

Dear Parents Who Send Their Sick Kids to School,

I'm going to get right to it - please, please stop.

And before you say that I don't understand what it's like, know that I absolutely do. I have two young kids who constantly bring germs home with them from school, the park, and wherever else they can touch their little hands. I know that having a sick child sucks. You have to take time off work or find a willing babysitter (both of which can be incredibly difficult and sometimes impossible), risk getting sick yourself by tending to your child's cough and runny nose, and constantly clean the house and wipe down surfaces to try to prevent the rest of the family from getting infected. And a lot of the time this lasts for days. It's not fun, it's not easy, and it can seriously disrupt your family's life. I get it.

But just because your child isn't vomiting doesn't mean they aren't very sick, and sending them to school with a cold, fever, or upset stomach isn't fair to their teacher, the rest of their class, and all of us fellow parents. Sure, kids fib about feeling sick sometimes to get out of going to school, but chances are you can spot such a lie immediately and get on with your day. But even if they're just coughing and sneezing and not giving you visible evidence of the flu in the form of projectile vomit that only kids can create, it doesn't mean you should write their symptoms off as no big deal and send them on their way. Please, keep them home. If you make them go to school anyway, they'll only infect everyone else.

Think of the other children in your child's class. There is likely a kid with a more sensitive immune system or condition that could be devastating for that child if they catch what your child has. How do I know? Because that used to be my kid. When another parent made their child go to school with a cold, my son caught it, it settled into his lungs, and it turned into pneumonia. Simple cold and flu symptoms don't mean the same for every child, and it's vital that all of us parents remember this.

Am I saying you should keep your child home if you hear them sneeze a few times? Of course not. You know your child best and you know when they're sick. Keeping them home for every cough you hear isn't realistic, and no parent wants their child to miss a lot of school. All I'm asking is to err on the side of caution, especially during the cold and flu season.

We all know how much even small colds can wipe our children out and drain all their energy, so if they go to school and push themselves, it could only make things worse. It could also make their illness last longer, which nobody ever wants. So, the next time your child is feeling under the weather, please keep them home and let them rest and recuperate. Their entire class, and all of those kids' parents, would desperately appreciate it.


A Fellow Parent