Wednesday, June 5 is National Running Day, a cross-country (pun intended) celebration of the world’s oldest sport. As it says on the National Running Day website, the day is a day where runners everywhere declare their passion for running, no matter how long or how fast they may run.
Running is an all-inclusive sport because it requires minimal equipment: just a good pair of shoes and space to run. A good pair of shoes is important to runners of all experience levels, from world-class marathoners to weekend joggers. A bad pair of shoes can lead to lower body injuries and general soreness, so even if you’re on the amateur end of the spectrum, you need comfortably-fitting running shoes with a supportive sole.
How long do running shoes stay “good” for? Generally, a pair of shoes lasts about 400 miles or so, but heavier runners tend to wear out shoes more quickly, and competitive runners require new shoes well before they hit the 400-mile mark.
When your running shoes are worn out and no longer useful, what should you do with them? If you answered throw them in the trash, guess again. Shoes, like clothing, are 100% reusable/recyclable, and even the most worn-out shoes can be given a second life and recycled into track surfacing or athletic court cushioning.
The inclusionary spirit of running and National Running Day includes all types of races and events, including the extreme obstacle races that have recently become popular, like Warrior Dash. Races like Warrior Dash challenge runners with climbing walls, balance beams, and a ton of mud, which combine to make for a rewarding, mud-soaked running experience.
Why all the talk about Warrior Dash? USAgain has partnered with Warrior Dash to collect shoes for reuse and recycling at all 2013 races in the contiguous U.S. Runners are able to tie their muddy shoes together and toss them in our shoe pile, where they’ll be cleaned and given a second life on someone else’s feet.
Reusing and recycling shoes at Warrior Dash races is just one step toward reducing shoe waste. According to Recyclebank, 300 million pairs of shoes enter landfills every year, nearly one pair of shoes for every person in the country. This waste pollutes our communities and contributes to CO2 emissions, which warm the planet and threaten the inhabitability of Earth. On the human side of the discussion, throwing shoes in the trash diverts those shoes from winding up on the feet of someone who needs them—someone who may not be able to afford new shoes.
When you embark on a 5K jog or an obstacle-filled completive race for National Running Day, think about what you’ll do with your shoes when you can no longer run in them. Make the responsible choice and give your shoes a second life.