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Earth Runs began life where all good ideas start… on a run, early one morning.

I’m not a long runner and I’m not a fast runner but I like a challenge. I’d been searching for a New Year challenge, one that would push me but could fit in with a very busy family life.

I had searched online and found a number of virtual challenges, but every one seemed to involve getting medals and that irked me – why do all races, virtual or not, create a huge amount of waste and tat? I know us runners like to achieve, like to show something for our efforts – but do we really need more stuff that creates landfill? Every race seems to provide a medal or a goody bag or yet another ill-fitting race T-shirt.

As a family we’d been trying to cut down on our waste, worrying about the world we’re leaving behind for our kids. So I was scrutinising everything I did. That day I was running and thinking about races and waste, when an idea for a sustainable medal popped into my head… and then as good ideas tend to do, it started meandering through a number of thoughts… what if we didn’t just give out medals, what if we could actually turn the efforts of all the runners into something that is positive, that actually changes things, becomes a part of the solution to a bigger problem?

A positive action

Running in itself is such an amazing thing to do, for our health, for our minds, and it has a very low carbon footprint in general. Compared to so many activities that we all do, it’s one of the most positive changes in our lives that we can make. And it doesn’t matter where we do it, or how fast we go, it’s our time for breathing, making space, getting fitter. It’s bloody awesome really. And imagine if we can harness that positive, healthy power and do even more good with it. It could be incredible.

Turning runs into trees

My meandering thoughts that day led to the idea of turning miles run into trees. If people were willing to sign up to a challenge in order to get a medal and to race against others, what if we could provide the same challenge but without the cost to the planet – in fact a challenge that actually goes some way to helping our planet. What if every race actually planted trees?! And that’s where we are today. Earth Runs was born.

Growing forward

We’ve got a lot of plans for Earth Runs, promoting exercise, challenges and activity all coupled with planting trees, reforestation and helping the creatures we share this planet with along the way. We already plant trees for every race we organise, but on top of that we also donate 20% of any Earth Runs profits we make to protecting existing forests – our aim is to make sure our footprints fall gently on the earth. We aren’t into making millions, we just want to make a difference and by slipping on our running shoes and signing up for a challenge, we can all do that.

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