The Freshwater Trust Portland Triathlon has been named the “Greenest Race in the World” by Triathlete magazine in its March 2010 issue. Citing integral race elements like bamboo bike racks, a “living finish line,” and non-toxic body marking performed by the Portland Society of Calligraphy, Triathlete put the event at the top of its list of ten standout international triathlons.
The Freshwater Trust Portland Triathlon made its debut in 2007 and will be held for the fourth time on August 22, 2010 in downtown Portland. Organizers made a commitment to social and environmental responsibility from the outset, pledging to minimize the event’s footprint while upholding a high standard of excellence for each participant. In three years the event has been named an Editor’s Pick for “Best New Races” by Inside Triathlon magazine, one of “21 Must-Do Triathlons” by Bicycling magazine, and one of the “10 Greenest Races” (and the only triathlon listed) by Runners World magazine. The event has been recognized as a model of sustainable event production by the City of Portland’s Office of Sustainable Development and lauded by USA Triathlon, the national governing body for the sport.
The Freshwater Trust Portland Triathlon earned distinction from Triathlete by introducing innovative green practices and products. The event was the first in the country to directly integrate carbon offsets into the online registration process, reducing the impact of participant travel on global climate change. In 2009, through a special project with Nike, the triathlon became the first event to provide swim caps made from recycled silicone. This year, the event will offer the first recyclable bib numbers. And in 2007, the triathlon hosted the first all-naturopathic medical tent in addition to traditional emergency medical services.
The Freshwater Trust Portland Triathlon has spurred the development of both an environmental non-profit and a city-wide festival. The Council for Responsible Sport (CRS) was founded following the first edition of the triathlon in 2007 to administer a sustainability certification for sporting events. Modeled off the LEED standards for green building, CRS enables event directors to incorporate environmental responsibility into their events while informing consumers which events adhere to rigorous standards.
RiverFest, a city-wide festival celebrating the Willamette River, was founded by organizers of the Freshwater Trust Portland Triathlon in 2008 to bring increased attention and resources to rehabilitation of the waterway flowing through the middle of Portland. The festival’s motto of “Respect – Reconnect – Renew” epitomizes efforts to restore the Willamette to a place of prominence in city life.