Born in July 2013, the ITRA (International Trail Running Association) aims to give a voice to parties involved in trail running in order to promote its strong values, its diversity, the safety of races and the health of runners, as well as to further the development of trail running and ensure a constructive dialogue between the national and international bodies with an interest in the sport.

The Green Charter of ITRA



If you as an organizer agree with our Green Charter and are committed to being eco-responsible, write to us using our email ( and we would be delighted to send you our “Green Commitment” label for you to display on your website



Trail running is a sport that takes place in the natural environment. Events take many runners to more spectacular, wild, remote, and fragile landscapes. At the same time as enjoying the sport, all stakeholders – organizers, participants, volunteers, sponsors, suppliers, and partners – take on a responsibility to protect the environment and the landscape.

Climate change is putting our planet and future generations at risk. We need to reduce the impact of our activity on the climate and to display climate leadership by engaging actively and collectively in striving to achieve climate neutrality. Reducing greenhouse gas emissions will expand economic opportunity and secure livelihoods, allow the use of resources more efficiently, drive financial innovation and strengthen environmental, social and economic resilience.

Our sport has a unique power to inspire a broader societal change that prioritizes sustainable development and lowers our carbon footprint so that our planet and natural environment stay intact for future generations.

Protecting nature and combatting climate change is a responsibility we all share. By working collaboratively with our peers and relevant stakeholders, we can pursue these goals in a consistent and mutually supportive fashion. We should strive to share knowledge and experience, disseminate good practices and lessons learned, develop new tools, and collaborate on areas of mutual interest.

We urge all race organizers to agree with the above and commit to adopt the practices set out in ITRA’s Green Program (which may be amended from time to time) as much as possible.

          • Respect and conserve nature, its flora and fauna, natural habitats and landscapes.
          • Integrate sustainability into event organization.
          • Preserve and protect our trails and keep them litter-free.
          • Reduce waste at source and support recycling.
          • Reduce the event’s carbon footprint.
          • Raise awareness of participants, volunteers, sponsors, suppliers and partners (collectively called “stakeholders”) about the importance of an environmentally friendly approach.



ITRA’s program seeks to encourage the trail running community to join forces, working together to reduce the environmental impact of our sport. It should also be the role of each stakeholder in our sport (i.e., organizers, participants, volunteers, sponsors, suppliers, and partners) to find ways to share ideas and know-how on sustainability and green practices.

The responsibility rests with each of us. By being eco-responsible, we hope that trail running can positively contribute to environmental conservation and educate the public on the need to be mindful of the impact of our activities on the planet. It is our responsibility to protect the environment for future generations to enjoy.

Three core objectives

Lessen the impact on the natural environment

Goal: Leave no trace
Actions required:
Avoid ecologically fragile or sensitive areas. Take environmental carrying capacity into account when planning events. Take away your waste. Minimize site alterations.

Carbon footprint reduction

Goal: Be carbon neutral
Actions required: Reduce production. Effective use of energy.

Waste reduction

Goal: Zero waste
Actions required: Avoid using disposable and short-lived products. Reduce, reuse, recycle.


Practical steps and self-evaluation

Below are some suggestions of the practical steps event organizers can take to self-evaluate.

Green management and raising awareness

Raise awareness of the natural environment, its flora and fauna, natural habitats, and landscapes; provide examples of how the local community lives harmoniously with the local environment.

Inform participants not to disturb wildlife.

Appoint a “Green manager” or “Green volunteer team” to implement and drive green practices and to educate and train staff and volunteers on the eco-responsibilities of the event.

Develop a dedicated page on the event website and utilize social media to set out the event’s green initiatives, provide eco tips to participants, share eco stories, etc.

Set out environmental protection-related policies and appropriate penalties imposed on participants and support crew for infringement.

Include an undertaking to encourage participants to abide by the same good environmental protection practices during training.

Go the extra mile

Set up a monitoring system and try to achieve improved performance across all the points set out in the Green Program year on year

Encourage eco-responsibility of all stakeholders throughout the year

For example, be a public advocate of eco-responsibility of events; share knowledge with other Organizers; educate the public; attend seminars and conferences on this subject.

Conduct a carbon audit by an independent organization and implement a carbon offset program for the event and participants.


Leave no trace. Preservation of the trails.

Assess the potential impact of the event on natural landscapes and habitats. Work out a mitigation plan, and avoid ecologically sensitive areas.

Provide and enforce rules about staying on existing paths to avoid soil erosion.

Provide instructions to staff and volunteers on how to put up way markers without damaging nature and collect all trail markers after the event.

Prepare a clear-up plan to return the event venue and course to the same state as before the race.

Set out noise and lighting control plans to reduce the impact on wildlife and villagers. PA system and spotlights are used only when necessary and limit output to within event centres.

Go the extra mile

Organize and hold trail repair or clean-up initiatives before or after the event.


Reduce waste and carbon footprints

Bring Your Own Utensils (“BYOU”) – Make it mandatory for all participants to bring their containers and utensils - such as cups, bowls, sporks, and hydration devices.

Phase-out the use of disposable items that cannot be recycled at all venues related to the event (e.g., Expo, start and finish points, aid stations, conferences).

Replace single-use water bottles with carboys.

Choose zero-packaging or bulk packaging for food and drinks over individual packaging; avoid unnecessary packaging.

Choose equipment and materials that can be re-used (for banners, arch, etc.); consider sharing with / renting equipment from other event organizers (e.g., trolleys, tents etc.). Do not use laminated paper which is not recyclable.

Use trail markers that are reusable and/or biodegradable.

Eliminate printed brochures/leaflets/vouchers. Adopt electronic solutions for event and sponsors’ promotional needs.

Allow participants to opt out of receiving swag (gifts) such as event t-shirts, and buffs or provide only consumable items as swag

Note: Organizers can incentivise participants to opt-out, e.g. by naming them “environmental ambassadors” on social media etc.

Use renewable energy as the primary source of power supply for the event.

Provide opportunities for gear exchange, sale of second-hand equipment, donations and recycling of clothing and equipment.

No swag at all for participants, i.e., including no finisher’s medal.


Recycling and waste management

Set up waste collection and sorting facilities at appropriate points.

Donate excess food and drinks to charitable organizations.

Appoint trustworthy recyclers to ensure recyclables are correctly recycled.


Travel Arrangements

Come up with solutions for public transport/carpooling/organizer’s shuttle buses instead of private vehicles for participants, support crew, staff, volunteers, VIPs, spectators and media.

Set up a carbon-neutral plan to offset the increased carbon footprint of participants/media flying in to participate in the event.

Eliminate all personal support by the support crew along the course.


Support Local

Use local products at aid stations and/or at finish point meals.

Provide vegetarian options at aid stations and/or at finish point meals.

Eliminate all non-vegetarian food options.


Carbon Footprint Calculator

Below is a Carbon Footprint Calculator developed by RaceID, an excellent tool for race organizers to assess the environmental impact of their events.

Carbon Footprint Calculator

You can read more about the background and assumptions behind the calculator RaceID developed in the blog article here.

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