Commitment to Sustainability
The B.A.A. has made sustainability a core focus of our events in recent years. Through our sustainability efforts, we aim to minimize environmental impacts, increase social benefits, and engage various stakeholders in emphasizing the importance of fostering a more sustainable event. The B.A.A. collaborates on sustainability efforts with partners, participants, vendors, volunteers, officials, and the various communities in which the events take place.
What We're Doing
In committing to more sustainable events, the B.A.A. aims to be an industry leader within the endurance space. Social, environmental, and economical sustainability efforts are top of mind not just at our event venues, but also at our offices and at the various community locations which we visit throughout the year.
The B.A.A. works in collaboration with athletes, partners, and stakeholders to demonstrate a commitment to sustainability, diversity, and well-being initiatives. Goals and programs are communicated before, during, and after events through informational signage, direct communication, and digital avenues.
The B.A.A. is focused on developing and expanding sustainability initiatives and efforts in the coming years.
Throughout our event production and management operations, we take an analytical approach to finding ways that the B.A.A. can become more sustainable from start to finish. Efforts have focused on:
Production and consumption
Decreasing the use of print materials to support the race, resulting in greater focus on digital presentations; increasing virtual Pro Athlete Panels, offsetting in-person events and frequent travel; adapting athlete and spectator digital apps for race information and results, creating an environmentally friendly and customer focused platform.
Partnering with adidas and the company’s sustainable initiatives, including the use of recycled plastics in event merchandise and materials, for example the Boston Marathon Celebration Jacket is created with materials made of greater than 50% of recycled ocean plastic and 50% recycled polyester; Boston Marathon Volunteer, Media, Staff, and other promo jackets are made with recycled ocean plastics; and Boston Marathon Gear Check Bags are created with 100% recycled polyester. Adidas also reclaimed plastic bottles from the race for upcycling into benches and picnic tables for Boston Public Schools.
Procurement and planning
- Procuring of local goods and services; working with Greater Boston-based vendors for goods and services.
- Contracting with ‘Made in the USA’ medals for all 2023 non-marathon events and future Boston Marathons.
Planning and Implementing:
Waste stations across all B.A.A. events are staffed by volunteers with participants instructed to put their waste on tables for volunteers to sort and properly discard trash, recyclable, and compostable materials to respective collection locations.
Across all B.A.A. events, compostable cups and collection bags for Poland Spring Water and Gatorade have been used since 2022. Save That Stuff used two compactor trucks to collect the cups on the Boston Marathon course with 7.7 tons of total waste diverted to compost. More than 21 tons of clothing is annually collected and donated from the start area through mile two to Big Brothers Big Sisters.
The Boston Marathon Expo had a 79% diversion rate over three days. The Boston Marathon Start had a 62% diversion rate with inclusion of 9 waste stations. The Boston Marathon Course had an 80% diversion rate with three waste streams and diversion of 7.7 tons of cups to compost. The total recyclable waste was 5.6 tons. The Boston Marathon Finish diverted 800 pounds of recycling and compost with six waste stations and the total 2023 diversion rate was 79%.
Other notable initiatives include the Boston Marathon Fan Fest having a portable water bottle filling station, provided by Poland Spring; unused heat sheets are brought to plastic recycling facilities; unclaimed race shirts are donated through PlanetAid; unused food or beverage items are saved for future B.A.A. events or donated to the Greater Boston Food Bank; the B.A.A. 5K featured a 64% diversion rate, up from 43% in 2022; volunteers staffed three waste stations in start/finish area for recycling and landfill waste; additional bins were set up throughout the course.
Reporting: We are currently working with Sustainability Consultants on results and reporting of our waste management
Climate Change and Carbon Management
- Generators used for events comply with the EPA’s Tier 4 emissions standard
- Equipment Management Plan, including leasing and re-use of infrastructure
- Sharing Travel Management Plans in collaboration with local agencies (MBTA) to encourage mass transit
- Boston Marathon: athletes are bussed to the starting line, eliminating the need for thousands of personal vehicles
- JetBlue offers an option for travelers to offset its carbon emissions
Local Environment and Air Quality Protection
- Monitoring of air quality during events with reporting through local agencies
- Communicating with participants if there is an air quality issue
- Partnering with local cities and towns to adhere to their environmental protection plans, including the protection of species and habitats
The B.A.A.’s mission to promote a healthy lifestyle through sports, especially running, extends deep into the community. In our commitment to a world where all people can access and benefit from running and an active lifestyle, our focal points include:
Partnering with local non-profits:
- The B.A.A. Non-profit Program provides 2,600 invitational entries to more than 200 organizations for fundraising purposes. $40.3 million was raised in 2023, with more than $500 million raised since 1989.
- Boston Running Collaborative: Developed by the B.A.A., this group is comprised of organizations and individuals committed to building a diverse Boston running community, improving health and wellness, and expanding access to running and walking in Boston with a focus on communities of color.
- Established in 2023, the B.A.A. Grant Program provides funding to local organizations including Achilles International, Adaptive Sports New England, Boston Lions Track Club, Boston United Track Club
Spotlight on local culture:
- Indigenous Running Community partnerships. (A Land Acknowledgement is read prior to each mass participatory event and is highlighted on our website. The Indigenous Running Community has also been featured in panels at the Boston Marathon Fan Fest and Expo)
- Boston Running Collaborative panels; community shake-out runs led by Black Men Run; Black Unicorn Marathoners: financial and leadership support; 261 Fearless New England Panels; B.A.A. Running Club offering running opportunities to all within the Greater Boston area; recognition of historically marginalized athletes in the sport of running
- Opportunities for local athletic groups including the Boston Running Collaborative and the Boston and Greater Boston Metro Youth Teams
- Local culture and community awareness focus for staff, volunteers, and officials in event materials and training; fair competition through random drug testing and partnerships with official agencies; accessible and inclusive opportunities for Para Athletes and Adaptive Athletes across all B.A.A. events (including prize money and awards); non-binary athlete inclusion across all B.A.A. events; skills development for staff and partners; donation of equipment and facilities improvements including financial support to Boston organizations
Diversity, Accessibility, and Wellbeing
The B.A.A. is committed to facilitating equity, inclusion, belonging, and wellbeing in the local communities where we conduct our events and programming, as well as internally in our organization.
The B.A.A.’s focus on diversity, accessibility and wellbeing includes: identifying under-represented groups to implement measures to reduce barriers to participation; ensuring accessible facilities at all B.A.A. events; implementing a Safety Management Plan; Athlete Communication regarding physical and mental health advice when participating in events the B.A.A.’s Employee Handbook expressly outlining diversity, accessibility, and wellbeing guidance; including the Boston Marathoner’s Program and Wing of America “Pursuit” Program;
The Boston Athletic Association (B.A.A.) is committed to organizing and managing sustainable, inclusive, and accessible mass participation events.
About the B.A.A.
Our mission is to promote a healthy lifestyle through sports, especially running. Our vision is a world where all people can access and benefit from running and an active lifestyle. Our guiding principles are heritage, authenticity, activity, community, and team. Our priority is to advance diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging at all B.A.A. events.
About B.A.A. Events
The B.A.A. organizes a year-round calendar of events ranging from one mile community fun runs to the world’s oldest annual marathon, the Boston Marathon. More than 60,000 athletes of all ages and abilities participate in B.A.A. events each year.