One of our core values at Vacation Races is community, and we like to lean into a broad definition of the word. Community encompasses the people we interact with and the spaces that we occupy. By its nature, to have a healthy community means we have to care about the people and spaces within it. This encourages us to commit to the values of sustainability and accessibility.
How do we do this? It starts by knowing our role. From there, we can take a look at how we currently operate and honestly ask if our actions bring us closer or further from our values. From there, we can create and adjust goals to help us get to where we want to be.
We also look at the relationships we have. Communities are built upon relationships and we want to partner with people, brands, and organizations that share our values. For us, that means partnering with groups that also promote sustainability and accessible outdoor spaces.
If you've attended one of our events, you know that all of our races are cup-free. You won't find disposable cups of water lining the aid station tables at our half marathons, so you won't be tempted to kick a half crushed paper cup down the road for the next quarter mile. We also do our best to send as little trash as possible to the landfill. With events of our size, it can be tough to have a true "zero waste" weekend, but it is always our goal to recycle and compost eligible materials whenever possible. It takes some creativity and we are always looking for ways to improve.
Partnering with brands like Hydro Flask helps keep us accountable. After all, meeting your goals is easier when you have friends who are in the same boat! Like us, Hydro Flask is committed to reducing the waste that we all create in our daily lives. By offering an alternative to flimsy plastic bottles, Hydro Flask is helping turn the tide on single use plastics. Durable and good-looking bottles, tumblers, and mugs offered in bright colors and sleek designs make it cool and easy to act sustainably. Made from stainless steel, this gear is designed to last, but can be repurposed or recycled if needed because of the high material value.
Through their #RefillForGood campaign, Hydro Flask is rallying to knock out single-use plastic on college campuses. The goal for Fall 2022 is to eliminate 2 million plastic bottles from college campuses in the US. By partnering with Tap, a purpose-driven technology company and app, Hydro Flask is working toward this goal. Tap shows students where the nearest water bottle filling station is on their campus while also publishing campus leaderboard. We all know there's nothing like a little competition to get a movement going!
Sometimes, our favorite activities are better with friends, and enjoying the outdoors is no different. If you're like us, you like to share the beauty of our surroundings with others to showcase your appreciation for nature, to feel inspired, and to build future generations of outdoor enthusiasts. Many of us are fortunate to live within a day's drive of a local, state, or national park, but not everyone can use these spaces — even if they live nearby.
The Parks for All initiative addresses this challenge and aims to support nonprofit organizations that are focused on building, maintaining, restoring, and providing more equitable access to parks. Since 2017, Hydro Flask has donated over $2.5 million in grants to keep the parks we love alive and well. These grants have allowed the following to be possible:
- over 64,000 pounds of trash removed from outdoor spaces
- restoration of almost 2,000 miles of trail
- connect and engage over 60,000 people
The organizations that benefit from these grants vary. Some provide outdoor education and access to immigrant communities and others offer workforce readiness training and transitional employment for folks who are striving to build a better future for themselves and their families. While each organization remains unique and diverse, the common denominator remains the same: create opportunities for all people to experience and enjoy the outdoors.
We find common ground with Parks for All through our nonprofit, Wander Project. Wander Project connects with national and regional charities to make it easier for Vacation Races athletes to fundraise for the causes closest to them. If you run with us and Wander Project through our Charity Bib program, you can fundraise for any of our established organizations that focus on outdoor access, equality, and diversity. Or, you can choose a charity that is special to you. The opportunities are endless when running for a cause!