The 2019 California International Marathon (CIM), produced by the Sacramento Running Association, has earned its second gold level certification from the Council for Responsible Sport (Council), an Oregon-based nonprofit that provides independent verification of the socially and environmentally responsible work that sports event organizers do to make a difference in their communities.
“We are very proud to continue to be recognized by the Council for our efforts in making CIM a force for good in Sacramento. CIM is a valuable civic amenity, and it is a priority for our organization to use the guideposts of responsibility set by the Council as a roadmap to continue to make CIM a vehicle for positive impact in our community,” said Sacramento Running Association’s Executive Director, Scott Abbott.
The Sacramento Running Association produces the annual event, which grew to hosting over 18,000 participants over the Dec. 7-8 weekend of events that included a kids fun run, the Capitol 5K, and the marathon. Forty-nine of the best practice standards set forth by the Council were met, with credit earned in each of program’s five categories, including planning and communications, procurement, resource management, access and equity, and community legacy.
Highlights from the 2019 event weekend that earned credit toward certification included access and inclusion; for example, it created and staffed a management position to coordinate services and outreach for athletes with disabilities. Participation of athletes using traditional and nontraditional wheelchairs grew from three in 2017 to 25 in 2019. It hosted the annual United States Association of Blind Athletes Marathon Championship. The organization’s year-round youth platform, SRA Kids, includes the STRIDE Program and the Spring Olympic Days where over 23,000 kids participate annually, many from disadvantaged backgrounds and underserved schools in the Sacramento area, building their self-confidence, making fitness fun, and improving educational outcomes through running. The organization partners with other youth running organizations, including Runnin’ for Rhett and Girls on the Run to engage over 20,000 kids in preparation for the CIM MaraFUNrun during the 2019 event weekend. Two thousand six hundred thirty-four students finished the free event in 2019 and, for many, it was their first time participating in a large community running event. Promoted partnership with the American River Parkway Foundation to raise awareness and funds. The foundation is the sole beneficiary of the annual ‘Run the Parkway 20 miler,’ also produced by the Sacramento Running Association.
Environmentally, it diverted 45 tons (77 percent) of all event waste from going to landfill by working to ensure that offerings are served in recyclable or biodegradable materials, followed by a three-bin waste collection system to separate and sort materials for proper processing. It also encouraged active and public transport by offering a free bike valet at the State Capitol for secure bicycle parking, and partnering with Sacramento Regional Transit to offer free one-day passes at the CIM Expo and Packet Pick-up. It also identified and calculated all uses of water and fuel and calculated the resulting greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change.
Of the approximately 2,445 metric tons of carbon emissions from the event, 98 percent was from participant travel to and from the event. Further, the average emissions from a participant that traveled more than 300 miles was equal to that of approximately 15 local participants.
In addition, the CIM partnered with Goodwill Industries to collect 3,700 pounds of clothing items from the start line for redistribution in the community.
It also became a signatory of the United Nations’ “Sport for Climate Action” program, a shared framework for sport organizations in addressing climate change according to the target of the Paris Agreement to limit global warming to below 2C above pre-industrial levels.
“The certification process is rigorous, and the Sacramento Running Association team did a great job of creating a useful baseline for tracking performance back in 2017, so we were able to make useful comparisons of key statistics this year. They are making measured progress and are committed to continual improvement, helping build confidence and trust with participants – which is the essence of responsible sport,” said the council’s managing director Shelley Villalobos.