The East Rand’s much anticipated, annual Birchwood Half Marathon, which takes place this year on Sunday April 22, will see 4 000 participants take part in Ekurhuleni’s biggest race starting and finishing on the beautiful grounds of the Birchwood Hotel in Boksburg.
The #RunClean Campaign, started by Modern Athlete Magazine in 2015, aims to prevent large numbers of plastic water sachets from being dropped on road at road running events. Since then, the initiative has caught on with runners around the world and, proudly, the Birchwood Half Marathon has joined the cause. To this end, to ensure that the race route is left spotless, Garbie has sponsored refuse bags and bins throughout the route and all race vendors will be plastic-free; opting for paper cups and plates instead.
“The aim of the race is to encourage more people to start exercising and, year on year, we’ve seen the numbers grow. Running or walking is also about enjoying the sights and scenery, something that becomes unbearable when streets and routes are full of litter. Through the growth of the race, we hope to promote the benefits of litter-free environment for all,” says Race Director, Kate Wood.
In partnership with No Finance Cars, Home Corp, Mangwanani Spa and The City of Ekurhuleni, the Birchwood Hotel & OR Tambo Conference Centre, which holds a Gold Classification Status in the Heritage Environmental Rating Programme, takes its environmental impact seriously.
“We do our utmost to protect the environment and we are proud to support the #RunClean Campaign, spread awareness of a litter-free environment and to be an example to others,” says Birchwood Hotel Marketing Manager, Greg Hoffmann.
In addition, online entrants used their race for good by donating R5 070 to the UKAJEDE Foundation, eight crèches in Johannesburg East based in five informal settlements – an initiative founded and maintained by Birchwood, which promotes education, effective learning environments and a hot meal every day for underprivileged children.
“We’ve matched the amount raised by participants so the final amount comes to R10 140 for the children of UKAJEDE,” says Hoffmann.
For those participating, there is plenty of excitement ahead as the countdown to cross the finish line nears. Great deals, discounted vouchers, massages and lucky draws will take place during race pack collection.
“Participants can collect their race packs at the Birchwood Hotel on 20 and 21 April from 10am to 3pm and at 5am on race day. We’ve worked hard to ensure that there are no queues and that race collection day is fun for everyone. We have a mini expo including discounted vouchers and specials,” says Wood.