Ultrarunning – Environmental Sustainability

TrailErosion-2As ultrarunning gains popularity and the number of runners flock to the trails, what impact does it have on the environment?  Today, we have a special guest, a geologist from Bentley University, Rick Oches, to discuss some of the issues revolving around us “loving” our trails to death.

We hope you enjoy the conversation and provide your feelings and comments.  Thanks for listening!

5 thoughts on “Ultrarunning – Environmental Sustainability

  1. Hey Tim and Gary,

    I have really enjoyed all of the podcasts!

    I see the buckle is up to $305 – Sweet!
    The interview with Geoff Roes was the best I have heard with him!!

    You should see if Laz (I think that’s his name) the RD from Barkley’s will do the show!! That would be awesome! His views on today’s ultra running would be interesting.

    Nostalgia theme for shows:
    Have a nostalgic guest of the week.
    “East coast nostalgia with David Horton”
    “Southern nostalgia with Matt Kirk”
    or Southern nostalgia with Jennifer Pharr Davis”
    “West coast nostalgia with flyin Brian”

    I think you could have a great time talking old school ultra.

    Thanks for the podcasts

    Charlotte, NC

  2. Awesome show.

    One race that I would commend for its environmental ethic is the Golden Gate Dirty 30. Limited parking at the park requires carpooling, and the race site uses RickyRides to make that easier. I ate the post meal noodles by hand because I forgot to pack my own utensils, lol.

    I don’t remember if this was addressed directly, but what about all the damage done by races held after heavy rains? Should race directors postpone or cancel events if the trails are wet? In this Midwestern city, we have a 3 and 6 hour, 2 mile loop course in the spring that has been held after heavy rains and snow, and nobody thinks anything of it. And yet this trail, through a combination of mtn. biking and trail running, is becoming more and more of an eroded mess each year.

  3. Great idea from Julie about having Laz Lake on the show…in additon to Barkley, he also writes some very good short stories that he posts to the ultra list.
    Regarding carbon footprints and racing we have a race here in Portland OR ( which is supposed to be on the leading edge of that stuff ) called the Hood to Coast Relay which breaks all the Eco rules. It involves 1,000 teams of of 12 runners each racing from Mt Hood to the Oregon coast, a distance of about 200 miles. That means each team has 2 vans that have to play leapfrog for 2 days to ferry their runners about. Imagine 2,000 vans, stopping, starting, idling, driving ( fast! ) for 2 days continuously. The gasoline consumption and air pollution impact must be off the charts! Then there are the zillions of port-o-pottys ( what chemical is in those things? ) and garbage……this is a road race so no trail impact, but the eco impact is huge. Oh well, such is life.

  4. I typically enjoy the podcasts but this particular episode was tedious and preachy….basically unlistenable. And i lost what little interest i did have in continuing when the conversation turned to buying carbon offsets. Gary and the guest agreed that these were similar to purchasing indulgences in the old Catholic Church. The credulity with which this type of “greasing palms as long as theyre green” absolution for hypocrisy sent my eyes rolling into the back of my head. I enjoy your typical and topical banter, debate and interviews too much to bother with such facile and self righteous baloney. Delete and on to the next episode.

  5. I thought the podcast was a refreshing change of perspective from ultrarunning (or any recreational activity that happens in nature) as an isolated activity somehow separate from the larger concerns of environmentalism and climate change. First off, you have to accept that climate change is man-made (99 percent of climatologists agree with this fact)(think of it this way too, if you had some horrific disease, like cynicism, ennui, Francophilia, and 99 percent of specialists agreed on the existence and possible treatment of the disease, you would probably go with that treatment). There are many points of contention regarding the future of the climate and how pumping more CO2 into the atmosphere will exactly affect us and nature, but the fact that our climate is changing in an unprecedented way because of global growth economies that require incessant 6-8 percent growth is indisputable. Second, you have to accept that maybe individuals can collectively change things, all of us in our own small or large way, and that it doesn’t mean you have to completely change your life immediately and become a sustainability vegan, stop driving your behemoth SUV, get the hell out of the exurbs or suburbs and cut back on procreation, although all of those are good ideas which I have followed more or less except for procreation. I personally would be happy if people would just be open to talking about climate change and sustainability, especially outdoor recreational communities which seem to have more at stake, but sadly many times the mere mention of the latter two feels like trying to suavely insert the topic of cunnilingus into casual conversation, “You know, there’s a cunnilingus crisis happening right now…”, it just does work for some reason. Third, you have to at least consider that the nature we all enjoy is in danger due to climate change and that action is imperative to preserve it for current and generations. There was mention of storyofstuff.com in the podcast. I think it’s a great video, even if it might be construed as preachy, but is it preachy if it’s true? It would help if we got our heads out of our Strava numbers and checked out some science and called our reps now and then. One call a month from each of us on an issue that is important to us means millions of calls and influence. It really doesn’t require a huge commitment. We act like casual everyday civic engagement is tree sitting. and if you’re pissed about green energy destroying the fossil fuel foundations of our great super power, then call about that too. we should all be engaged and pissed off now and then. the system is not working. also, check out Patagonia’s low growth outlook for an interesting and compelling big picture view. Here is a company that is saying, stop consuming so much, buy second hand, preserve rather than blindly consume. the source of that message as well as the message itself surely resonated with me: http://www.patagonia.com/us/patagonia.go?assetid=87969. Lastly, don’t let hypocrisy deter you from action, that is, don’t throw out the PCB-saturated orcas of engagement with the acidifying ocean of cynicism. we’re all hypocrites since our entire existence requires some form of consumption and environmental cost, but it has to get a lot better, so everyone must accept whatever role we assume.

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