Born in July 2013, the ITRA (International Trail Running Association) aims to give a voice to parties involved in trail running in order to promote its strong values, its diversity, the safety of races and the health of runners, as well as to further the development of trail running and ensure a constructive dialogue between the national and international bodies with an interest in the sport.

The Green Charter of ITRA


If you as an organizer agree with our Green Charter and are committed to being eco-responsible, write to us using our email ( and we would be delighted to send you our “Green Commitment” label for you to display on your website



Recognizing that:

        • Trail running is a sport that takes place in the natural environments. Events are taking us to ever more spectacular, natural, remote, and fragile landscape in higher numbers. At the same time as enjoying the sport, all stakeholders – organizers, participants, volunteers, sponsors, suppliers, partners – take on a responsibility to protect the environment and the landscape.
        • Climate change is placing us, our planet, and future generations at risk. We need to reduce the impact of our activity on the climate and to display climate leadership by engaging actively and collectively in striving to achieve climate neutrality. Reducing greenhouse gas emissions will in turn expand economic opportunity and secure livelihoods, allow the use of resources more efficiently, drive economic innovation and strengthen environmental, social and economic resilience.
        • Our sport has a unique power to inspire a wider societal change that prioritizes sustainable development and the lowering of our carbon footprint so that our planet and our natural environment stay intact for future generations to enjoy.
        • Protecting nature and combatting climate change is a responsibility we all share. By working collaboratively with our peers and relevant stakeholders, we can pursue these goals in a consistent and mutually supportive fashion. We should strive to share knowledge and experience with each other, disseminate good practices and lessons learned, develop new tools, and collaborate on areas of mutual interest.

We urge all race organizers to agree with the above and commit to adopt the practices set out in ITRA’s Green Program (as such may be amended from time to time) as much as you can.

          • Respect and conserve nature, its flora and fauna, natural habitats and landscapes.
          • Integrate sustainability into event organization.
          • Preserve and protect our trails and keep them litter-free.
          • Reduce waste at source and support recycling.
          • Reduce the event’s carbon footprint.
          • Raise awareness of participants, volunteers, sponsors, suppliers and partners (collectively, “stakeholders”) about the importance of an environmentally friendly approach.



ITRA’s program seeks to encourage the trail running community to join forces, working together to reduce the environmental impact of our sport. It should also be the role of each stakeholder in our sport (i.e., organizers, participants, volunteers, sponsors, suppliers, and partners) to find ways to share ideas and know-how on sustainability and green practices. The responsibility rests with each of us. By being eco-responsible, we hope that trail running can make a positive contribution to environmental conservation and educate the public on the need to be mindful of the impact of our activities on the planet. It is our responsibility to protect the environment for future generations to enjoy.

Three core objectives

Action objective

Ultimate goal

Action highlights

Lessen impact on the natural environment

Leave No Trace

  • Avoid ecologically fragile or sensitive areas

  • Take environmental carrying capacity into account when planning events

  • Take away own waste


  • Minimize site alterations

Carbon reduction

Carbon neutral

  • Reduce production

  • Effective use of energy

Waste reduction

Zero waste

  • Avoid using disposables and short-lived products

  • Reduce > Reuse > Proper Recycle


Practical steps and self-evaluation

Below are some suggestions of the practical steps event organizers can take to self-evaluate.

Green management and raising awareness

Raise awareness of the natural environment, its flora and fauna, natural habitats, and landscapes; provide examples of how the local community lives in harmony with the local environment.




Inform participants not to disturb wildlife.


Appoint a “Green manager” or “Green volunteer team” to implement and drive green practices and to educate and train staff and volunteers on eco-responsibilities of the event.


Develop a dedicated page on event website and utilize social media to set out the event’s green initiatives, provide eco tips to participants, sharing of eco stories etc.


Set out environmental protection-related policies and appropriate penalties imposed on participants and support crew for infringement.


Include an undertaking to encourage participants to abide by the same good practices of environmental protection during training.


Take a step further:


Set up a monitoring system and try to achieve improved performance across all the points set out in the Green Program year on year


Encourage eco-responsibility of all stakeholders throughout the year


For example, be a public advocate of eco-responsibility of events; share knowledge with other Organizers; educate the public; attend seminars and conferences on this subject.


Conduct carbon audit by independent organization and implement a carbon offset program for the event and/or participants.


Preservation of trails and leave no trace

Assess potential impact of the event to natural landscapes and habitats. Work out mitigation plan, avoid ecological sensitive areas.




Provide and enforce rules about staying on existing paths to avoid soil erosion.


Provide instructions to staff and volunteers on how-to put-up way markers without damaging nature and clear all markers after the event.


Overall clear up plan to return the event venue and course to the same state it was prior to the race.


Set out noise and lighting control plan to reduce impact to wildlife and villagers. PA system and spotlights are used only when necessary and limit output to within event centers.


Take a step further:


Organize and hold trail repair or clean up initiatives before or after the event, etc.


Reduce waste at source and reduce carbon footprints





Bring Your Own Utensils (“BYOU”) – Make it mandatory for all participants to bring their own containers and utensils - such as cups, bowls, sporks, hydration device.



Phase out use of disposable items that cannot be recycled at all venues related to the event (e.g., Expo, start and finish points, aid stations, conferences).




Replace single-use water bottles with carboys.



Choose zero-packaging or bulk packaging for food and drinks over individual packaging; avoid unnecessary packaging.




Choose equipment and materials that can be re-used (for banners, arch, etc.); consider sharing with / renting equipment from other event organizers (e.g., trolleys, tents etc.)


E.g., do not use laminated paper which is not recyclable.



Use way markers that are reusable and / or biodegradable.



Eliminate printed brochures / leaflets / vouchers. Adopt electronic solutions for event and sponsors’ promotional needs.



Allow participants to opt out of receiving swag (gifts) such as event t-shirts, buffs or provide only consumable items as swag


Note: Organizers can create incentives for participants to opt out, eg by naming them ““environmental warriors” on social media etc.





Use renewable energy as main source of power supply for the event.





Provide opportunity for gear exchange, sale of second-hand equipment, donations and recycling of clothing and equipment.




No swag at all for participants, i.e., including no finisher’s medal.


Recycling and waste management




Set up waste collection and sorting facilities at appropriate points.



Donate excess food and drinks to charitable organizations.


Appoint trustworthy recyclers to ensure recyclables are properly recycled.






Support the use of public transport / carpooling / Organizer’s shuttle buses instead of private vehicles for participants.



Support the use of public transport / carpooling / Organizer’s shuttle buses instead of private vehicles for support crew.



Support the use of public transport / carpooling / Organizer’s shuttle buses instead of private vehicles for staff, volunteers, VIPs, spectators and media.



Set up a carbon neutral plan to offset the increased carbon footprint of participants / media flying in to participate in the event.




Eliminate all personal support by support crew along the course.


Source local / cook local




Use local products at aid stations and / or at finish point meals.


Provide vegetarian option at aid stations and / or at finish point meals.


Eliminate all non-vegetarian food options.


Carbon Footprint Calculator

Below is a Carbon Footprint Calculator developed by RaceID, a great tool for race organizers to assess the environmental impact of their events.

Carbon Footprint Calculator

You can read more about the background and assumptions behind the calculator RaceID developed in the blog article here.

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