#HackneyHalf Is Going Plastic Free


At Virgin Sport, we’re thrilled to announce that, in partnership with Hackney Council, we’ve committed to eliminate single use plastic from this weekend’s Hackney Half marathon course. The Hackney Half will become the largest race in the UK to eliminate plastic. 

Virgin Sport has committed to eliminate single use plastic bottles at aid stations for all our 2019 events, including the Hackney Half marathon on 19th May 2019. We are proud to be the largest race in the UK to move away from plastic and develop a more sustainable strategy for keeping our runners hydrated.

Jessica Frey, CEO, Virgin Sport

Over 27,000 runners have registered for the Hackney Half and Hackney 5K, on 18 and 19 May, where we’re taking measures to reduce the environmental impact of the event. 190,000 plastic water bottles will be eliminated from aid stations on the 13.1 mile / 21km Hackney Half route and replaced with 100% recyclable paper cups. We will distribute 40,000 litres of water through six aid stations along the Hackney Half route. Additionally, One Water will be providing recyclable cartons for the finish line, to eliminate an additional 35,000 water bottles.

All Virgin Sport running events will become plastic free in 2019, eliminating half a million single-use plastic bottles from the Hackney Half, ASICS London 10K, and Oxford Half courses.

Virgin Sport will become the first sports event company in the UK to implement 100% recyclable cups, supplied by Magenta UK. The cup’s unique lining, with 51% less plastic will  than a standard paper cup, ensures it can be processed within paper recycling facilities in a closed-loop recycling process.

To further reduce waste, we’re also implementing the following initiatives in 2019:

  • Food and beverage vendors at the three-day Festival of Fitness have been provided with strict guidelines to eliminate consumer facing plastic.
  • Attendees are encouraged to car share with Zipcar, cycle, walk or take public transport on event day to reduce the overall carbon footprint of the event.
  • Hackney Half runners are encouraged to attend the Hackney Festival of Fitness (the UK’s largest outdoor fitness festival) on Friday 17th or Saturday 18th May, to collect their Hackney Half race packs pre-race; rather than opting for postage.

Plastic kit bags will be phased out in 2019 and replaced with re-usable cotton bags.

Magenta UK is a leading catering supplier and family-run distributor in the UK. Magenta’s 100% recyclable cup contains 51% less plastic in the lining (PE – Polyethylene) than traditional paper cups, ensuring the cups can be processed within paper recycling facilities.  Traditional paper cups are difficult to recycle and often end up in landfills when recycling facilities can’t separate plastic linings from the paper cup.

At Virgin Sport, we have also chosen the following partners who share our objective of creating a more sustainable event:

  • Zipcar is the Official Vehicle Partner, encouraging participants to rideshare and use electric vehicles. The Zipcar e-golf will be leading the Hackney Half, and festival goers can learn more about electric vehicles in the Festival village.
  • One Water is the UK’s leading ethical water brand. As the chosen water for the Hackney Festival of Fitness and Hackney Half, all participants and spectators are supporting sustainable clean water projects across the world. When you drink One, the world drinks too! So far, The One Foundation has raised over £19.3 million, reaching 3.6 million people with clean water and sanitation.
  • Nuun shares Virgin Sport’s sustainability objectives and has invested in 100% recyclable cups for their electrolyte beverage at aid stations
  • TENZING will be providing their naturally energizing drinks at the finish line and invests 5% of all profits into environmental projects.
  • The Association of Paddleboard Professionals will be holding paddle boarding lessons at the Hackney Festival of Fitness and are partnering with Lizzie Carr to promote her #plasticpatrol initiative for Hackney’s waterways.