Beginning in 2021, ORRC tried a new method of offering water at aid stations by going “cupless.” The club didn’t actually get rid of cups, but requested that participants bring their own “vessel” (bottle, handheld, hydration pack, reusable cup, etc.) to carry water or receive water at aid stations. As part of this “cupless” effort, ORRC purchased reusable silicone cups and sent them to every ORRC member, and also provided them at the start of every race at registration check-in. This way, everyone would be offered a reusable cup to carry and use; even if you forgot yours, you could just get one from us on-site just before the race.
In Fall of 2023, after 2 ½ years of implementing this policy, we requested feedback from both participants and volunteers in an effort to gauge its success, and how it affected people’s experiences at our races.
There was a lot of feedback in various forms (emails, Facebook and Instagram comments, post-race surveys, and in-person interactions at races). After carefully considering all comments, ORRC decided to discontinue the “cupless” policy, but pledges to focus on being as eco-friendly as possible, while still ensuring a positive experience for all participants.
Safe Event Guidelines such as those promoted by the RRCA, include deep consideration of water provided at race events, prioritizing runner safety. We are proud of how the ORRC Hagg Mud trail runs have been successfully “cupless,” and Hagg Mud 25K and 50K will remain “cupless.” We also recognize that participants have a range of varying requirements. Some expect a fast transaction at aid stations, especially at road races; we also want to support the runner who strives to achieve “personal best” times.
We will still give out reusable cups as long as our supplies last, but will begin offering traditional paper cups at aid stations for all of our road races. Please note the Hagg Mud 25K and 50K will remain “cupless” — At trail races, especially ultras, different litter management needs, pacing considerations, and the trail running culture all help to make “cupless” a success.
We encourage all participants to bring their own water-carrying vessels, and carpool to our events. ORRC cares about the environment, but also wants to provide a positive experience to all participants, and ensure their safety. We considered all options; for example, we considered “compostable cups,” but learned that there are no facilities locally that accept them, and, furthermore, that they aren’t what we think and result in poor environmental impact. We pledge to continue to seek additional ways to be environmentally responsible.