Balfron organisers want to stage Scotland’s greenest 10K

Balfron 10K committee members Julie Ross, Ben Mathieson and Olivia Spencer, with front, Alexander and Olivia Mathieson and Laurie and Lily-Belle Mohaupt
Balfron 10K committee members Julie Ross, Ben Mathieson and Olivia Spencer, with front, Alexander and Olivia Mathieson and Laurie and Lily-Belle Mohaupt

Organisers of Balfron’s annual running event have set themselves an ambitious target - to turn their popular village race into Scotland’s greenest 10k.

Inspired by races all around the world which are reducing their environmental impact, the Mulberry Bush Montessori Balfron 10k is taking an eco-friendly approach to this year’s race on Sunday, May 12.

Saying goodbye to mountains of plastic bottles, metal medals, advertising flyers and carrier bags, race organisers hope their focus on waste reduction, sustainability and recycling, will provide a blueprint for other events to copy.

“We are following the lead of large running events, many of which are reassessing their policies on plastic waste and recycling”, explained a Mulberry Bush Montessori Balfron 10k race spokesman.

“Ours is tiny by comparison – only 600 participants instead of thousands - but we have the same ambition to reduce waste, increase recycling and explore other, less impactful ways of putting on an event.’’

Among the green initiatives being trialled at the 2019 event will be replacing plastic water bottles with biodegradable cups, sourcing medals from sustainably-minded suppliers, and ditching plastic carrier bags. With support from Scottish Water, runners will be offered water from bowsers on the route and at the finish, and a refillable water bottle.

Runners are also being encouraged to car share to minimise air pollution in the village.

In future the goal of the Mulberry Bush Montessori Balfron 10k will be to have as little impact on the environment as possible.

“In 2017, UK households binned an estimated 235 million items of clothing waste, which went straight to landfill while the UK as a whole shipped thousands of tonnes of plastic waste to landfill sites at home and across the world,” continued the Mulberry Bush Montessori Balfron 10k spokesman

“This clearly can’t continue, so everyone has to do their bit to cut down on waste. As well as being a fantastic family event, the Mulberry Bush Montessori Balfron 10k will try to address in our own modest way the key issues facing our planet.’’

Proceeds from the 2019 event will continue to benefit the two Balfron schools, with Balfron’s Pathways group being this year’s nominated charity beneficiary. The group which maintains and develops the village path network is keen to continue its upgrade of the White Yett Glen pathway.

Now in its 13th year, the Mulberry Bush Montessori Balfron 10k has raised more than £70k for the village’s primary and high schools and nominated charities since it began. With a reputation as a tough but rewarding test thanks to its undulating route along scenic country roads overlooked by the Campsie Hills, the event attracts club runners, locals, first-time 10k-ers and veterans who return time and again to experience its community spirit.

The race, which starts at Balfron Campus at 11am, features an officially measured course, chip-timing, winners’ prizes plus commemorative medal and T-shirt. Entries for the 2019 event are now open, visit www.balfron10k.org.uk