News article

Green Trail Concept: Taking Action for More Sustainable Trail Running!

July 13 2023

The Green Trail Concept project is on track, or rather “on the trail”, for more environmentally responsible trail running!

Green Trail Concept: Taking Action for More Sustainable Trail Running!

Trail running, a sport practiced by millions, has seen an exponential growth in the number of races taking place each year in Europe and around the world. Green Trail Concept is a project, co-funded by the Erasmus+ Programme of the European Union, that seeks to improve the governance of trail running events by incorporating environmentally, socially, and ethically sustainable practices in the management of mountain running events.

The environmental, social and economic impact of trail running events

Mountain trail running events have become very popular in the past few decades, with thousands of runners hitting the trails for an activity that allows for a healthy lifestyle while enjoying some of the most breath-taking landscapes that nature can offer. 

Nevertheless, being an outdoor recreational activity means that its environmental impacts must be considered and reduced to preserve the natural resources for future generations and runners. Erosion, waste production, disturbance of animal species, and transport emissions are some of the impacts that need to be minimised to achieve sustainable and respectful trail running event management and celebration. Social issues like inclusion, gender equality, and synergies with local communities and economies must also be considered to avoid negative social and economic impacts on the hosting communities.

Green Trail Concept: certification for trail running events

Green Trail Concept will integrate the principles of environmental protection, inclusion, and social justice in the organisation and management of trail running events. The project will engage trail running event participants, audiences, sport organizations, and public administrations in taking more sustainable actions oriented at reducing the impact on natural environments, protected areas, and their surrounding social and economic landscape.

To accomplish these goals, Green Trail Concept will develop and promote an EU sustainability certification scheme to plan, analyse, monitor, and evaluate the trail running organizations, providing an assessment on their sustainability performance and guidance for their improvement. 

At the same time, Green Trail Concept will provide a platform for the dissemination and communication of best practices in trail running events. Running over a period of 3 years, Green Trail Concept will reach out to the trail running community to increase awareness of the impact derived from their practices and to stimulate behavioural change through small individual actions.

Green Trail Concept brings together four leading institutions with diverse skills and experience on the topics of trail running, sustainability, and science communication, allowing for synergies and fruitful collaborations: the Ecoserveis Association, the Kilian Jornet Foundation, GRID-Arendal, and ADP Sport Events AB.

Funded by the European Union. Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or the European Education and Culture Executive Agency (EACEA). Neither the European Union nor EACEA can be held responsible for them.

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