So folks, I tried. Down I went to clap and cheer on the Ormeau Road, and try as I might to ignore the mini mountains of plastic bottles strewn along the route, but I couldn’t.
I do love the marathon ever so much. My pal Alison was doing the full thing and is a bit of a pro now it must be said. She stopped though, to give her child a hug, and the tears were tripping me. I’m utterly emotionally incontinent these days, and marathons evoke strong feelings. I was equally excited to see my friend Brenda, who decided to run her first marathon before turning 40. This is the sort of notion I would bandy about, when 3 glasses of Malbec in at a party. I would never, follow through upon it though. ‘People who’ve had broken backs shouldn’t even COUNTENANCE such a thing,’ says the Mothership. What she really means though, is that she doesn’t want to be minding my children while I lie, prone, on the sofa, for three weeks afterwards.
In the event, I didn’t see Brenda. I didn’t see Brenda because while she ran past, I was pestering a poor girl at a Cancer Focus stall to give me a black bin bag to facilitate mass bottle collection. Brenda saw my children, standing at the side of the road scavenging for bottles. By now, they had entered into the activity with vigour. ‘Where’s your mum?’ she called. ‘She’s recycling!’ replied the Small Child.*
We scooped up over 100 bottles. I scrounged more bags from the kind lady at the stall, then when the arse feel out of one, went into Graffiti where Stephanie gave me a more robust bin liner. LSB joined us after his leg of the relay and was promptly handed a heavy, leaking bag of bottles. ‘Thanks,’ he mumbled. He was slightly more enthusiastic than usual because River Rock are offering 10p for the Running Club with every label collected.
River Rock, as far as I’m concerned, can take their 10 pence and shove it up their grossly inflated arses. While they claim to be supporting local groups with their measly offering, they are doing disservice to the planet as a whole. They know it, we know it, David Attenborough knows it, and still they insist on providing single use plastics, in their thousands. Since they sponsor the event, they perpetuate this notion that runners NEED plastic bottles at 6 miles along the route. Most of the bottles we collected were at least three quarters full. I’m not taking anything away from the relay runners, but most of these guys aren’t doing more than 6.8 miles (6.8 in Leg A) and can surely manage to go for more than 5km without a drink. Churches were also out in force with refreshments, as were individuals and pop up gazebos from charity groups.
In London this year, while there was still some reliance on water bottles, they also handed out edible seaweed pouches of water along the route. These are an infinitely better option for the environment. Belfast, you need to catch up. Yes, River Rock are the sponsors, but maybe they could take their profits and direct them in to developing eco-friendly options. We’d all be grateful.
Wd came home and operation ‘make a fish to make a point’ began. Water was decanted into 2-litre milk containers, which will has already been used to flush the toilets. We cut off the labels and now a big bag of bottles is waiting to go to the dump. The children have taken some to make ‘jet packs’. In the meantime, should anyone find a purpose for over 100 small bottles do get in touch.
*Before some jobsworth contacts social services, I was a mere few feet away, but rummaging in a box, hence momentarily obscured.