Bath Half Marathon has become the first run in the world to receive the AGF (A Greener Festival) Run Award for its actions towards creating greener mass participation events.

Andrew Taylor, commercial and operations director of Running High Events, organiser of Bath Half Marathon, said: “We are delighted to receive this award as a recognition of our work to minimise the impact of our event on the environment. We are particularly proud to have been the first event in our sector to receive this award.

“We would like to thank our event partners, particularly Wessex Water for working with us to replace bottled with mains drinking water, and MJ Church who have provided event waste management services for our event for a number of years.”

He continued: “We found the AGF assessment process and report to be a challenging and robust examination of our event processes, providing very helpful and informed third-party insights and validation of our work, highlighting areas of improvement for future years.”

Participants in the AGF Awards undergo a detailed evidence-based assessment throughout the whole event process including self-assessment, independent site visits, and post-event proof and analysis.

Bath Half went the extra mile with AGF including a detailed CO2 analysis and sustainability report of the events operations and impacts.

Taylor added: “Anyone working in events will understand that managing waste at temporary venues at outdoor events is a challenging and complicated process, and our type of mass-participation running event – which is staged on a single day – presents particular challenges. We only have a four-hour window to set up, manage and clear away waste generating activities, such as water stations on the public highway, and to collect litter spread by participants and spectators along the course route. We also have to service runners in quick time, literally as they run past our aid stations.”

In March 2020, weeks before the pandemic took grip of the UK, Bath Half Marathon received an Improvers AGF Run Award. The areas assessed included travel and transport, procurement including food and beverage, power, solid waste, recycling, circularity, communications and CO2 analysis. Actions included enhanced provision and location for maximum public transport usage, banned sales of single use plastics by partners and traders and encouragement of runners to bring refillable bottles, hiring and reuse of materials, equipment and signage and salvage operations for any wasted food to Bath Food Bank and Bath Vegan Food Bank and T-Shirts to Hope and Aid Direct Refugee Charity.

Taylor commented further: “We have been measuring our event waste outputs since 2012 and working with our waste management contractors, suppliers, event partners, participants and volunteers to minimise waste and maximise reuse and recycling. Over the last nine years we’ve seen significant improvements and innovation in event waste management, but as a sector we’d suggest there is still significant work to be done to align customer aspirations and expectations with supplier and contractor products and processes before we can achieve our carbon neutral and circular economy goals. We are a very small team, with limited resources, and we rely on advice from a network of other event organisers, local organisations and individuals who share our desire to minimise the impact of events on the environment.”

As per tradition, AGF Award winners will be celebrated during the Green Events and Innovations Conference (GEI13), which will take place digitally on March 2, 2021, alongside plans for the sustainable future of the event industry at this critical moment in history.