The Jemez Mountain Trail Run announced for 2011 that they are going “cupless” at their aid-stations to reduce the amount of waste generated at the event. You must bring your own water bottle or hydration system to fill-up.
Big high-five to the Jemez Trail Run for being one of the positive trend setters in reducing the amount of unnecessary waste created at a running event. When you take a look at the life span of a paper cup, it typically becomes garbage within a few seconds of use.
I have tossed hundreds if not thousands of paper cups throughout my life. I like being forced to rethink how I interact with an endurance event and the planet for that matter.
So that got me thinking…would it be possible to go cupless at all running events, from 10 km up to an ultramarathon? I think so and here are a couple ways in which to get’r done.
Best of Both Worlds – Short Course
For shorter events, a standard handheld (20-22 ounce) may be more than one would like to carry but the variety of small 10-12 ounce handhelds like the Nathan Sprint could provide a fair amount of hydration goodness and not feel weighty.
Cupless – Check!
Best of Both Worlds – Long Course
In an ultra event, everyone will carry a handheld or some other hydration system. Going cupless doesn’t really affect this.
But what are you going to do if you want to slam one or two cups of HEED or water before heading on down the trail?
I suppose you could…
Or…a possibly better option although not nearly as entertaining would be a reusable cup that would be both durable, collapsible, and small enough to stuff on your body/gear somewhere.
The top product I could find that appears to fit these requirements is the Sea to Summit X-Cup. This is a smaller version of their X-Mug (16 ounces). The X-Cup is a brand new product that is just beginning to be shipped to various dealers.
Here are some of the interesting specs:
- Light – 1.6 ounces.
- BPA – Free
- Sturdy – Rigid top rim, yet collapsible food-grade silicone composition.
- Small - 8.3 ounces (1 cup-ish) fluid capacity.
- Soup, Coffee – Yes Please! – Approved for warm liquids.
Since the dimensions of the X-Cup aren’t mentioned on the site, I contacted them and received a prompt response (nice!) stating the dimensions are 3.75 inches wide (at the rim) and extends out 2.75 inches when in cup-mode.
To get a feel for the product, I picked up the larger X-Mug at a local REI was quite impressed with its sturdy feel when in cup mode and the simple collapsibility. It fits pretty easily in the side pocket of my Camelbak XCT but it feels a bit like a coffee house mug due to its 16 ounces volume size.
I think the X-Cup at 8 ounce capacity and smaller overall size (half inch smaller diameter at the rim) may be both functional and portable for many trail runners. The ability to include warm items is also a huge bonus.
This could be one option for those that want the versatility that a cup can provide when hitting the aid-station buffet table and not require a single throw-away cup.
Cupless – Check!
Share Your Thoughts
What do you think about running events going cupless?
Have you found any other quality products that could be used to replace the paper cup?
Be active – Feel the buzz!
David – EnduranceBuzz.com