London Marathon to allow participants to opt out of finisher t-shirts for first time

trees not tees
You can now opt out of London Marathon finisher TGetty Images

Tired of receiving race finisher tees that you never wear? Well, if you're one of the 40,000+ runners set to take part in the London Marathon on 23 April, you'll be given the option to opt out of receiving one for the first-time ever.

Race organisers London Marathon Events (LME) will be working with Trees Not Tees throughout 2023 to offer participants in its running events, including the TCS London Marathon, Vitality London 10,000 and The Big Half, the option to have a tree planted instead of receiving an official finisher’s T-shirt.

Trees Not Tees work with event organisers to tackle the climate crisis. For every participant who takes up the option, it will plant a sapling in its sustainable reforestation project in the UK. In return, participants receive a personalised digital certificate, including a photo of their tree – and a What3words geolocation code so they can visit their tree if they’d like to.

The environmental cost of making a t-shirt is significant – taking the same amount of water that a person drinks in two-and-a-half years plus over 2kg of CO2 to make a single cotton t-shirt. If it’s never worn, all of those resources have been spent for nothing – and the item is likely to be destined for landfill, contributing to the global waste crisis.

Planting a tree, on the other hand, has a hugely positive effect on the environment – helping to fight against climate change by taking carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere and providing a home for a diverse range of species.

LME’s work with Trees Not Tees is one of several sustainability initiatives for 2023 aimed at reducing the environmental impact of its events, with a particular focus on lowering carbon emissions, cutting waste and improving circularity.

Hugh Brasher, event director at LME, said: 'We are fully committed to reducing our environmental impact and we’re working to introduce more initiatives every year to achieve this. We know that finisher’s T-shirts are an important part of many people’s event experience, but we also know that many of our participants share our passion for environmental sustainability.'

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