Oklahoma Tourism & Recreation Department

News Release

April 26, 2011

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact:  Lindsay Vidrine

Phone:   405-230-8414

Email:   Lindsay@TravelOK.com

 

Memorial Marathon Scores Platinum Sustainability Certification

ECO Program Welcomes its First Platinum-Certified Event

 

For those involved with the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon, each run provides a time to honor the past and bring hope to the future. At the 11th annual race, a greater emphasis on social and environmental responsibility will highlight the event’s commitment to Encouraging Conservation in Oklahoma (ECO), the state’s premiere sustainable tourism program.

 

The marathon applied for ECO certification after the 2010 race and achieved platinum level status, the highest available certification. It is the first event to receive certification, and it draws over 75,000 people to downtown Oklahoma City each year.

 

“The Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon is a world-class event, and we are proud that they are committed to sustainability and stewardship of the environment,” Oklahoma Tourism & Recreation Department Executive Director Deby Snodgrass said. “Their priorities for a green event give them another opportunity to be a global leader.”

 

The Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality has assisted in recycling efforts for several years. In 2010, environmental chairmen were added to the marathon planning team to oversee all sustainability efforts. The team implemented sustainable efforts during the 2010 race, including expanding recycling to all relay exchange points. In 2011, a virtual goodie bag has been created for all the participants, which saves an estimated 600,000 sheets of paper. For the first time the marathon will be composting food waste from the Saturday night pasta party. In addition, extensive recycling stations reduce the amount of waste generated, and leftover food is donated to local homeless shelters.

 

According to Stacey Weddington, sponsorship chairman for the marathon, the focus on sustainability comes from a deep desire to preserve natural resources for future generations.

 

“Just as the Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum preserves the stories of April 19, 1995, we also feel it is important to do our part to ensure its beauty for years to come,” Weddington said. “Our sustainability efforts are a key to aligning the mission and philosophies of the Memorial, the Marathon and our participants.”

 

While coordinating an event of this scale can be a challenge, Weddington said the strong volunteer ranks helped make a sustainable transition easier.

 

“As an all-volunteer organization, taking on any new initiative can be daunting,” Weddington said. “The tools we received from the Oklahoma Tourism Department and Department of Environmental Quality gave us a roadmap for success and we have volunteers who focus their efforts in this area.”

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Since 2009, the Oklahoma Tourism & Recreation Department and Department of Environmental Quality’s ECO Certification program has promoted, developed and encouraged sustainable tourism throughout the state. ECO Certification requires applicants to meet set criteria and be reviewed by a national certification board. A certification level of silver, gold or platinum can be awarded, based on the level of sustainable practices the applicant chooses to implement.

 

The Oklahoma Tourism and Recreation Department (OTRD) is working to advance the exceptional quality of life in Oklahoma by preserving, maintaining, and promoting our natural assets and cultural richness. The department is the steward of the state park system and also promotes Oklahoma as a travel destination through many award-winning programs. To learn more about Oklahoma Tourism visit www.TravelOK.com or follow us at www.Facebook.com/TravelOK or www.Twitter.com/OklahomaTourism.

 

 

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