Thanksgiving may be an American tradition, but it presents a great opportunity for everyone to take stock and appreciate what they have. For trail runners this extends to health, fitness and a pristine environment in which to practice their passion. That is why MUT by UTMB are opting out of Black Friday and promoting Green Friday, on the 24th of November.
“The aim is to withdraw from the commercialism promoted by Black Friday and rather focus on the environment and celebrate Green Friday,” MUT by UTMB Race Director Zane Schmahl said. “We are privileged to have the Outeniqua Mountains on our doorstep in George. They are the inspiration for the race and our daily playground throughout the year. But the trails need constant maintenance to prevent them facilitating environmental damage through erosion.”
To celebrate Green Friday MUT by UTMB are donating 10% of each entry – purchased between the 23rd and the 30th of November – to the Garden Route Trail Running, the local community group from George and the greater Garden Route, who have been instrumental in the building and maintaining of the mountain trails of the Outeniqua Mountain Range. With these funds the group will be able to repair trails which were damaged by the September storms and flooding. “There are many sections of trail which need urgent attention,” Schmahl confirmed. “December is always a busy time for hiking and trail running in George. If Garden Route Trail Running can raise a significant amount of money they can repair the trails before the festive season’s heavy foot-traffic.”
Trail runners are by the very nature of what they do for pleasure deeply connected to the natural environment. Being able to run in pristine mountains is undoubtedly a privilege and is an honour most consider at some point during every run. The Green Friday initiative seeks to formalise and institutionalise those positive emotions slightly by encouraging small acts of environmentalism from the trail running community.
“It’s a cliché to say, but there’s no Planet B,” Schmahl emphasised. “I’d like to encourage every trail runner to do something small for the environment on Friday the 24th. It could be picking up litter on the trail or volunteering for a maintenance day. It doesn’t have to require you to donate money to a cause or an initiative, you could plant indigenous plants in grow bags which trail builders could replant out on the side of trails to stabilise slopes or prevent soil erosion once the plants are ready to be planted out. You could even donate old trail shoes or apparel to charities who take people from improvised communities trail running, to spread the love of nature further. There’s so much each of us can do and there is more that we should be grateful for.”
Inspired by Thanksgiving and motivated by Green Friday the opportunities for small but worthwhile acts of environmentalism abound. To share in the movement visit www.utmb.world or enter MUT by UTMB, between the 23rd and the 30th of November, to support the fund raising initiative at mut.utmb.world. Trail runners can see the work the Garden Route Trail Running community put in to the singletracks of the Outeniqua Mountains by following @georgemountainultratrail on Instagram and like the Mountain Ultra-Trail by UTMB Facebook page.