Five US Ultras Go Reusable, Save 140,000 Cups From Landfill

The North Face opts for reusable rubber cups during its Endurance Challenge ultramarathon race series.

The North Face Cupless Ultramarathons
Start of a TNF ultra race; Photo by Ultra Race Photos

Aid stations during ultramarathons are frantic zones of tired energy. Runners quickly come in, proceed to fit as much in their mouths as possible in a matter of seconds, and hit the trail again. Recycling and mindfulness during this time are often disregarded in favor of speed and comfort.

But in an effort to combat excess waste from disposable cups, The North Face this week announced it will use reusable cups during its Endurance Challenge Series. The “cupless” movement will go forth during its five ultras through the use of HydraPak SpeedCups.

HydraPak SpeedCup

The Endurance Challenge started cupless with its Washington, D.C., event in April and New York in May. The rest of the series will take place in June, September, and November in Massachusetts, Wisconsin, and California, respectively.

By going cupless, The North Face effectively prevents 140,000 cups from taking up space at the landfill.

Endurance Challenge Ultras Go Reusable

The initiative won’t change how the aid stations are staffed or stocked. Registered runners will receive a reusable SpeedCup to carry from station to station.

The North Face Cupless Ultramarathons
Photo from Ultra Race Photos

Each HydraPak SpeedCup is collapsible, holds 200 mL of fluid, and weighs 10 grams.

“We designed the SpeedCup when we saw how much waste was being generated at aid stations during races,” said Morgan Makowski, director of marketing at HydraPak.

Reusable cups are common among ultramarathons in Europe, but races in the U.S. have yet to adopt the movement in full.

The North Face Cupless Ultramarathons
Photo from Ultra Race Photos

The North Face Recycles

In April, TNF launched the Bottle Source Collection, a line of clothing made from recycled bottles. Each purchase of the line’s totes and t-shirts supports the National Park Foundation as well. And $1 from each sale goes to support NPS sustainability projects.

The “cupless” movement is another step in The North Face’s goal of responsible environmental stewardship.

“We are constantly looking to encourage sustainability beyond our operations as we design and execute brand experiences for customers and fans alike,” said James Rogers, director of sustainability.

“Not only are we reducing waste with reusable cups, but we’re helping educate runners and other event hosts about different environmental impacts,” said Rogers.

To view more information on the Endurance Challenge, and view the schedule of ultras, click here.

tagged: #conservation

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Midwest born, Nate Mitka is based in the GearJunkie Denver office. He is an advocate of all outdoor activities and has developed some habits, like running without headphones, eating raw vegetables, and fixing the chain on his ratty old bike.
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