NYRR Sustainability

As committed as New York Road Runners is to providing access to the sport of running, we are equally committed to bettering the communities that play host to our races, community events, and youth programs throughout the year. Through comprehensive sustainability initiatives, our hope is to work with our partners and vendors to leave the city streets, parks, schools, and community centers better than the way we found them.

UNFCCC's Sports for Climate Action initiative banner

Sports for Climate Action

New York Road Runners is a proud signatory of the UNFCCC’s Sports for Climate Action initiatives. The Sports for Climate Action initiative calls on sporting organizations to acknowledge the contribution of the sports sector to climate change and our responsibility to strive towards climate neutrality. As a signatory, NYRR will prioritize the initiative’s emphasis on undertaking systemic efforts for greater environmental responsibility, reducing overall climate impact, educating and sharing knowledge, promoting sustainable and responsible consumption, and advocating for climate action.

RUNewable Race Materials

Waste Management and Recycling
Throughout the year at weekly and premier races, including the TCS New York City Marathon, New York Road Runners works with vendors and city agency partners to divert waste. We work with our hired waste removal provider, in conjunction with the New York City Department of Sanitation, moving from the start line to the finish line collecting waste and sorting recyclables.

For more than a decade, NYRR has utilized a single stream recycling method at all races, diverting on average more than 80% of the waste collected. At the 2018 TCS New York City Marathon, we were able to divert 82% of the 222 tons of waste NYRR collected.

At many of NYRR’s flagship races, finishers are awarded a finisher medal and provided with a Heatsheet. Leftover medals and Heatsheets are carefully sorted and recycled separately.

Food Collection and Donation

At all NYRR races, leftover pre-race, course, and post-finish food and beverage items are collected and donated to City Harvest, New York City’s first and largest food rescue organization, where they help feed more than 1.2 million food-insecure New Yorkers.

Clothing Collection and Donation
Before runners take off at the start of the United Airlines NYC Half, Popular® Brooklyn Half, and TCS New York City Marathon, many discard their warm-up gear. Since 2012, NYRR has partnered with Goodwill Industries of Greater New York and Northern New Jersey to collect the discarded clothing to divert the textiles from local landfills. At the 2018 marathon alone, Goodwill NYNJ collected 91,000 lbs. of clothing, bringing the total since 2012 to just under 863,000 lbs.

NYRR collaborates with several local organizations to donate extra race premiums—including T-shirts and hats—that provide clothing to young athletes in underserved communities. More information is available here.

Building Greener Communities

As we continue to deliver on our mission to help and inspire people through running, we are so excited to continue our partnership with The Trust for Public Land, and pursue a common goal of making New York City better today, in order to promise a better tomorrow. Through this partnership, we are transforming New York City public school schoolyards into state-of-the-art, green, community playgrounds.
Trust for Public Land new park
The transformed playgrounds include green infrastructure design elements, a hallmark of The Trust for Public Land’s playground work. Features, such as specialized plantings and porous pavement, will help reduce storm runoff that can flood streets and overwhelm sewer systems, allowing untreated water to end up in rivers and bays.

Each playground absorbs hundreds of thousands of gallons of water annually and includes 20-30 new trees that bring shade and better air quality to their neighborhoods—something to be proud of.

NYRR's Commitment to Plogging

What on earth Is plogging? The fitness sensation from Sweden is the environmentally conscious runner’s activity of choice. A combination of the word “jogging” and “plocka upp,” the Sweden phrase for picking up, plogging is picking up litter while you are out for a run or walk.
Runner picking up trash in Central Park
Not just a problem in urban areas, litter is an issue globally in our communities, waterways, and natural spaces. Its damaging effects on our health and the health of wildlife are immense, but with plogging you can take direct action against it! It may be a cliché, but one person really can make a difference. And just imagine how much you can do if you get your whole running crew involved!

Plogging is also a great way to introduce new body movements into your run such as bending, squatting, stretching, and even lunging while you pick up trash. When you plog, you aren’t running for time, you are running to help heal the earth and improve your own strength.
Two runners plogging in Central Park
In 2019, NYRR and our partner Michelob ULTRA worked together to #GetOutToPlog as part of NYRR’s #GetOutToRun initiative and Michelob ULTRA’s A World Worth Running campaign. NYRR staff and the NYC running community were plogging around the city on Earth Day, April 22.

There were also special plogging sessions at the NYRR Open Run sessions throughout Earth Week, getting out to run and making a difference in parks in the five boroughs and New Jersey!

Plogging supplies, including biodegradable gloves, bags, and hand sanitizer, are available at the NYRR RUNCENTER to encourage the community to help keep our city clean. 

Official Charity Partners

NYRR is committed to helping nonprofits change the world for the better through the TCS New York City Marathon and United Airlines NYC Half Official Charity Partner Programs. More than 400 nonprofit organizations are represented in the programs covering a vast and diverse set of causes, including those listed below committed to bettering our environment.


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2017 United Airlines NYC Half

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