If someone said to you: “Come to my country <<where you cannot speak the language)>> because you <<who is an unknown person>> can inspire the nation to be more environmentally conscious” – would you go?
I met Jean Jacques (JJ), a charismatic French adventurer, at Rovaniemi 150 in 2017. He was intrigued about Lumi, my lovely 15kg ice tyre that would was part of my gear…
JJ’s great adventure for 2019 is to drive in a Tuk-Tuk from France to Japan
To follow his great escapade see here
After the event, we kept in touch and he suggested that I should be part of the Nice Marathon as they would welcome someone encouraging more ecological actions in events. As “je parle Français tres mal” and had no confidence that my presence could create change, I made an excuse for 2017.
In May 2018, JJ encouraged me again to come over as he believed I could inspire the people and raise general awareness about waste and disposable plastic. To ensure I did not make another excuse, JJ provided the contact details of the Nice-Cannes marathon organisation’s President. I checked the organisations eco-regulations and knew they could improve http://www.marathon06.com/2018/AN/infospratiques/ecomarathon.htm
Hence I wrote to the organisation and presented two agendas:
- To pull a tyre and start early
- To help reduce waste at the event with a potential for the event to go cupless & single-use plastic free in the future
The Nice-Cannes Marathon organisers responded that I participate and observe how the event was run. Then as part of a 2-3 year plan to go cupless…..
Yes – it would be awesome for a mass event over 10,000 participants to go cupless and single-use plastic free. Of course I had to go! ….And to ensure participants supported the cause I had to be part of the expo, even if it meant learning to parlez Francais by watching YouTube videos 3 days before leaving for Nice, France. Love a challenge 😉
Before arriving to Nice articles announced my imminent arrival:
10 Oct: https://www.nicematin.com/insolite/elle-va-courir-le-marathon-des-alpes-maritimes-en-tractant-un-pneu-de-10-kg-267963
Thank you to the Race to The Kings organisers for providing me free use of the photograph that has been used within the articles.
Wednesday: Arrived in Nice.
JJ had organised an interview with a journalist and had painted a tyre with a glossy white. However, materials were still required for the expo such as a spare tyre for participants to try out at the expo.
Thursday 1 Nov 2018: Preparation Day
- Design Tee-ra Wates – the Nice Marathon racing tyre
– she wanted to represent the fish in the ocean with plastic fish spiraling above
- Design signs for the expo – JJ is way more professional and routed out a sign + created up some frames to place the signs on.
Friday 2nd Nov 2018: Expo Day
Picked up my bib number + a back pack within a plastic bag within another plastic bag that contained samples and vouchers. Lots of exhibitors giving away “stuff”. I looked away.
The marathon organisation had provided a Sustainability Statement board to be signed. Despite Thursday being an expo day, no one had signed the board. It was time we got to work and parlez Frenchiese.
My Frenchchessi: Excuseze-moi. Ecritez-vous le nom pour l’ecological reasons. Par que je n’aime pas plastique unique et je vois marathoniers bring their own bottle to all events + put all their waste in the bin…La Signe si vous plait. The eco-wall after a couple of hours!
With backup from the team: JJ and Uncle were speaking to everyone about reducing waste and Bring Your Own Reusable bottle / cup / hydration pack and to put their rubbish in the bin.
I could wander off and see if anyone wanted to play with Gage Pneu.
Je tire un pneu dans la marathon en Dimanche. Voulez-vous tire moi pneu?
This got me lots of strange looks. JJ again supported my bad French and explained.
And many said they knew me as they had read about me! Many pulled the tyre to see what it would be like to pull a tyre…
In the programme on page 19: http://www.marathon06.com/2018/dl/MAM2018-programme.pdf
Friday evening, we were exhausted but happy the eco-board was now full.
Saturday 3rd Nov 2018: Expo + Press Conference
More of the same stuff – getting passer-bys to pull Gage Pneu and encouraging everyone that went by to sign the board that they do want to see change in events.
15:30 – Another interview for a production company. I could no not speak French and found nor could I speak English!
16:30 – Press conference
And finally to present Gage Pneu to Pascal the president of the organisation.
Sunday is “run day”, time to head home into the mountains to sleep.
By the end of 2 full exhausting days, we had found many people who supported being greener, and for the organisation to take much bolder actions to reduce waste especially in the realm of disposable plastic.
Our environmental disaster where we have over 1 million animals dying mostly in the sea and some on land means this invisible oil spill (ocean plastic) needs to stop. We must switch off the disposable / single-use plastic tap at the source! At the same time, we need to look beyond an alternative convenience and grow up to take responsibility for our actions. Paper is not a substitute for plastic. Paper is from trees which are the lungs of our world! #BYOB #BYOR
As an adaptable society we can do this.
Thank you to Uncle, JJ, the marathon organisers for promoting the cause and everyone who signed supporting the cause.
We have one life to make it right! And everyone who signed the eco-board agreed that runners can and should bring their own reusable bottle / cup / water bladder to all run events with many pledging they will do so next time. #BYOR
Bon Courage Marathon Organisers! Bon Courage Marathoniens!