August 22

Cup Free Racing


One of the things that I really dislike about races is the amount of trash produced. Its really one of my biggest concerns for this race series, especially considering how close we will be to the national parks. There is nothing that will ruin a view more thanĀ seeingĀ a piece a trash in plain view from a view point.

That being said, one of the most important things in a half marathon is ensuring that aid stations are plentiful, efficient and that they do not run out of water. Hydration will make or break a race.

For this race series we are considering implementing Cup Free Racing. Click here to learn more. Have you ever heard of it? We actually really think it will be a good thing, but we want to know what you think before we make such a big decision.

Our tentative plan is to buy a hydrapouch for everyone and include it in your racer bag. They are expensive, but if we want to go cup free, we feel like we would need to buy them for you. Of course you could use a different hydration belt or bottle that you wanted, but you could use the free hydrapouch we give you as well.

We would then have water stations about every other mile starting at mile 2. They would be self serve, but as you can see you can get 6 oz of water really fast so there should be no waiting at all at any aid station, we would be sure of that. We would keep a sleeve or two of cups at each station in case of emergency, like if your belt falls off, or you lose your bottle. The cups would be self serve, but would be available.

The hydrapouch is not a water bottle. You run with it empty and attached to your belt or waistband. It is super lightweight, so you can hardly tell its there when running. When an aid station comes up, you pull it off your belt, fill it up in stride, drink it until you are done, then it goes back on your belt. Easy.

Personally, I am one that does not like to hold things in my hand, or wear extra things on my body, especially when running. But I think I can handle this, especially to avoid seeing mounds of cups on the course and finish line.

The other real bonus for me, is that I can sip water way past the aid station, instead of having to drink the entire cup right away in order to get it in the trash can. I would be able to drink as I wanted, and would not get that big hit to my stomach.

But, this is race is about you. What do you think? Will this make you more or less likely to register?

We want to make a decision about this before registration opens, so we hope you will chime in here or on facebook. If you have questions, please let me know.



You may also like

  • What a great idea. It seems really simple. Cups are a pain. Even if you have volunteers picking them up it takes for ever. Racer are slobs and they end up all over the course. What a great idea.

  • Oh geez…I am all for cupless, but I’ve never ran having to carry my own water…as it is I’m uncomfortable wearing more than the minimal…call me a weenie but I’d be hesitant to have to carry the extra weight of water needed for the race…darn! and I was really looking forward to it!! I’m still thinking about it though would love to do it! :)

    • Hi Nereida,

      I agree with you, I don’t have a desire to carry all my water with me throughout a race. Did you take a look at the hyrdapouch system? It’s a 1.5 ounce pouch or cup that you run with empty. When you get to an aid station, you quickly(less than a second) fill it with water and drink it until it is gone. Once the water is gone, you can put it back on your belt or waistband empty. For some folks, carrying a water belt or a camelbak makes a lot of sense, but for me it doesn’t, I think the hydrapouch might work for you. I am offering to buy one for anyone who registers.

      I hope you can make the race!


  • Going cup-less is a great idea! I live near Zion and know that with the winds that can kick up out of nowhere in this area (especially in spring), there is no way to collect all those cups. I would gladly pay a few dollars extra if necessary if going cup-less would make the experience more enjoyable for everybody involved.

  • I love this idea… I’ve seen the Hydrapouch info online and have long awaited to actually find a race to participate in that implements it. I am already set on registering, but this makes me a little more inclined as well… especially given the fact that we want to respect our environment, even if we’re not directly inside the National Park, it still seems disrespectful to throw garbage all over. (I imagine people will still throw their gel packs on the ground though.)

  • Cup free doesn’t bother me. I train with a Camelbak anyway, so it doesn’t phase me. As long as it wouldn’t cost any more, I think I’m ok with it. I am considering signing up for this race. :) Anyway, the Jackson Hole Marathon has been doing cup free events, and it seems to work well for them.

  • I would welcome the use of a hydro pouch. Every race I run, I cringe knowing that it really isn’t feasible for 100% of the cups to be cleaned up. I despise litter and do appreciate efforts to keep our beautiful earth as clean as possible.

  • I hope this race is definately cup-free . . . I would be very surprised if it is not . . . the idea of providing a hydrapouch to all participants is very generous . . . maybe to keep costs down, they could be offered for sale for those who need them . . . I think the people signing up for this race would be used to doing a lot of hiking and trail running and carrying their own water . . . and please place a big emphasis on NO TRASH on the course and respecting the land/wildlife, staying on the route, and keeping the noise down. I hope this will not be a big party. p.s. Jill Will Run, I appreciated your thoughtful comments :)

  • Its not as if we are leaving the trash out there right? Be big kids and appreciate the fact that cups are part of the race and you can still enjoy the scenery. Let’s not raise already expensive race fees just so that we don’t have to “see” the cups. As long as they are going to get picked up, I’m ok with not having a plastic pouch strapped to me. I won’t sign up if it goes cup free simply because I realize I will be running with a bunch of whiners that are so spoiled that they can’t stand to see cups.

    • Thanks for your thoughts Matt. It actually costs about the same to pay someone to pick up the trash or to buy everyone a hydrapouch, so this is kind of a wash. This is not a cost cutting measure for the race, and it shouldn’t affect the cost to the runner one penny. I do think it will make the experience better for a lot of people and even if we pick up all of the cups, it does end up in a landfill.

      We are not set on a direction, so I really do appreciate your input. I would personally like to see cup free racing work, but as I said in the post, this race about what you want.

  • {"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}

    Subscribe to our newsletter now!