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Cup-free racing, almost a greener option

posted by Chantelle
Cup-free racing, almost a greener option

What is it? Cup-free racing requires participants to bring their own container to fill up at aid stations in lieu of using paper cups. Some races employ the Hydra Pour™ and Hydra Pouch™ system, which appears to be quite efficient and the leader in this market.  The Hydra Pour™ technology allows for water to be dispensed at a very rapid rate, and the Hydra Pouch™ technology allows the runner to clip on an ergonomically designed bottle with nearly no additional weight or discomfort.

According to Hydra Pouch™, the benefits of cup-free racing include:

  • Decreased waste
  • Less volunteers needed
  • Increased safety (reduce risk of people slipping on cups)
  • Less crowded aid-stations
  • Easier sipping, increasing the amount of fluid athletes consume

Skeptics say:

  • Time required to fill up containers will weaken performances
  • Traffic at aid stations could lead to an unsafe environment
  • Container may be uncomfortable for athletes to carry
  • Difficult to control use of performance enhancing drugs
  • Is this a marketing scheme?

I recently signed up for a race, and amidst the usual athlete information collected was the following question: Would you be willing to participate in cup-free racing, by bringing your own reusable container to fill up at aid stations?

As a competitive racer, the first thing that came to mind was the additional time it would take me to stop and possibly stand in line to fill up my water bottle.  Secondly, I thought about the nuisance of carrying a water bottle the whole race.  With a slightly offended smirk on my face, I quickly checked the “No” box.

Being extremely curious about this new concept I clicked on the “Cup-Free Racing” link provided on the race’s page.  I quickly realized that this was a “Go-Green” initiative and felt a bit of guilt sink in.  While I may not be a Berkeley-going tree hugger, I would consider myself to be environmentally aware and an active participant in most “green” initiatives.  So what makes this different?

I make a conscious effort throughout months of training to use a reusable bottle as an alternative to plastic bottles.  I feel this earns me the right to use 2-4 paper cups on race day guilt-free!

My upcoming race will have cups for those who want them but strongly encourages athletes to bring their own containers.  Sorry Mother Nature but I will be disposing of 2-4 paper cups this weekend!

Tell Runners Feed what you think of cup-free racing, via our facebook page.

For more information on cup-free racing visit

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