Blaming the runners for that Natgeo Earth Day fiasco

I’ve been scouring several blogs about that fiasco of an event called Natgeo Earth Day. A number of bloggers and commentors are attacking runners for their irresponsible behavior of discarding their water cups onto the streets. A couple of examples:

  • “You know regardless of the cause, are the runners really that dumb to throw their trash along the streets? c’mon! these runners are even professionals! throwing trash is taught at home and in kindergarten to begin with” (Source)
  • “How heavy or cumbersome is a paper cup anyway that you can’t hold it (or tuck in your waistband maybe?) while you finish your run? Does it really get in the way? Does this practically weightless cup weigh you down? Are those precious few seconds that will add to your time to decently throw that cup/plastic bottle in the waste bin, far outweigh the cause that you are running for?” (Source)
  • “As for the participants, let me ask you these: (1) How friggin’ hard is it to hold on to an almost weightless paper cup/plastic bottle while you are running up until the finish line?; and (2) Would it really be a such a big deal if you add just around 5 seconds to your running time in order to throw away that paper cup/plastic bottle properly in any litter bin along the way? You were running in an event that promoted Earth awareness. Couldn’t you have at least suspended this usual messy practice of runners worldwide? Being too concerned about your running time to the exclusion of everything else around you does not show your dedication and neither does it make you a model runner. What it makes you is a douche.” (Source)

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Littering during Earth Day run

To add to Natgeo’s woes, the above picture went “viral,” that is according to Interaksyon.

The picture was posted in Francis Xavier Pasion’s Facebook, with the following caption:

Early this morning, I ran my first marathon. It is dubbed as the NATGEO EARTH DAY RUN. I ran for 3 reasons: 1. I liked the shirt (i would have settled for the 3k, but I liked the 5k gray shirt so i would not mind running an additional 3k); 2. I had no taping yesterday; 3. I wanna lose some calories. I did not run to save the earth. That was clear. I was just wondering why the others ran? I was so amused to see most runners scatter their used paper cups and bottled waters on the street. Oh, Mother Earth would be very proud of them…and the organizers. I hope the organizers did not place plastic bottled waters or paper cups in the various stops of the race. I hope they reiterated upon registration that the runner must bring his/her own container and that water fonts will be stationed instead. That could have saved them some money, and yes, some trees. Next time, let us be clear about our intentions in initiating these events. I may have ran for the wrong reasons, but I certainly did not throw away that paper cup on the street. Happy Earth Day Everyone, whatever that means to you.

Not to defend Natgeo in this, but I honestly don’t see the point of Francis’s rant. There are people who are tasked to clean up the paper cups, so the net result is that it would have all ended up in the garbage bin. If the runner tosses the cup inside the garbage bin, he is not actually saving Mother Earth; he is just making the job easier for the guy collecting the cups. The fact that the organizers used paper cups is a good thing; other organizers who had claimed to be environment-conscious were using plastic cups!

Now if only runners would properly dispose of their empty energy gel sachets . . .

Oh and by the way, dear Francis, I may be nit-picking but a marathon is 42 kilometers. A 5k run is hardly a marathon.

What do you think? Is it so wrong for runners to toss their empty cups onto the street? I’d love to hear your comments.

Update: A satirical blog post seems to be gaining speed.  It cites a supposed “apology” by Juardencio Turcuatico, Territory Director for Fox International Channels.  It’s a funny read, and I bet the blog author must be doing a “LMFAO” over the reactions of various runners.  Good job,  @SoWhatsNews!   I wonder though how the folks over at Fox International are taking this.