EUGENE, February 21, 2018–The 2017 California International Marathon (CIM) produced by the Sacramento Running Association has officially earned gold level certification from the Council for Responsible Sport (Council), an Oregon-based nonprofit that provides objective, independent verification of the socially and environmentally responsible work that sports event organizers do to make a difference in their communities.

“I am so proud of the hard work of our staff, Board, and volunteers to comprehensively integrate sustainability into our race planning and operations processes at CIM,” said Race Director Eli Asch. “We strive to be a leader in our events’ positive impact on our community, and this recognition by the Council as a gold-level sustainable event–one of only two races in California to receive this distinction in 2017–is a testament to those efforts. It’s our hope that we inspire our fellow Sacramento-area races to follow our lead and make sustainability a core value and a key consideration while planning and operating their running events.”

The event achieved 48 of the best practice standards set forth by the Council, in each of program’s five categories, including planning and communications, procurement, resource management, access and equity and community legacy.  Highlights from the 2017 race weekend that earned credit towards certification included:


  • Developed a formal plan to reduce event’s environmental footprint and increase social impact
  • Diverted 45 tons (77 percent) of all event waste from going to landfill by recycling and working to procure biodegradable materials then collect and compost them
  • Promoted sustainable practices through interactive volunteer stations
  • Encouraged active and public transport by offering a free bike valet at the State Capitol for secure bicycle parking, and partnering with Sacramento Regional Transit to handout free one day passes at the CIM Expo & Packet Pick-up at the Sacramento Convention Center
  • Identified and calculated all uses of water and energy, as well as the resulting greenhouse gas emissions related to producing the event
  • Shared intentions, sustainability plans and calls to action on social media, at community outreach events, and in participant newsletters

Social Justice and Inclusion:

  • Hosted the annual United States Association of Blind Athletes Marathon Championships
  • Partnered with Goodwill Industries to collect clothing items at the start line, on course, and at the Expo for redistribution and reuse in the community
  • Engaged 66 schools and more than 2,400 local youth in the ‘Runnin for Rhett’ fitness and healthy lifestyle program. 1,802 students finished the MaraFUNrun 5k and Fitness Walk during the 2017 event weekend.
  • Promoted partnership with the American River Parkway Foundation to raise awareness and funds. The foundation is the sole beneficiary of the annual ‘Run the Parkway 20 miler,’ produced by the Sacramento Running Association.

The two-year certification was awarded based on planned activities and programs, documentation of policies and on-site assessment of the 2017 race weekend by a third-party evaluator from Waste Management Sustainability Services.

“The 35th annual California International Marathon was such an impressive display of what a sustainable sporting event can look like.  From recycling and composting to water conservation and community legacy, the level of commitment from race organizers to ensuring that all considerations were made was outstanding.  This all-inclusive event made for such a great experience for runners, kids, families and spectators alike and it was a pleasure for Waste Management to assist in the race’s certification efforts” said Waste Management evaluator Eric Gray.

“The certification process is rigorous, with documentation requirements in place to ensure transparency and create a useful baseline for tracking performance year after year,” said Council Managing Director Shelley Villalobos. “Moreover, this certification is the result of a process of defining and refining how event actions align with stated community and host organization values, and that’s why this achievement is something for the running community in Sacramento to get behind and to celebrate.”

About the Sacramento Running Association and California International Marathon:

The CIM is organized by the Sacramento Running Association, a non-profit organization dedicated to finding ways to encourage people of all ages and abilities to run. The SRA is committed to developing new, quality running events that appeal to a broad variety of runners. The 36th annual California International Marathon will be held on December 2, 2018.

About the Council for Responsible Sport:

The Council’s vision is a world where responsibly produced sports events are the norm and its mission is to provide objective, independent verification of the socially and environmentally responsible work event organizers are doing and to actively support event organizers who strive to make a difference in their communities. The current version of the Council’s Certification standards (v.4.2) was developed by an outside working group of both sustainability and sport industry experts, reviewed by a wide range of stakeholders throughout 2013 and implemented in January 2014.