Pictured in front of Balfron's Clachan Oak are, back from left, Stephen Reekie of Decathlon with 10k committee members and supporters Julie Ross, Mark Limbert, Ben Mathieson and David Ross, and front, Alexander and Olivia Mathieson and Isla and James Limbert

Eco-friendly village 10k backs Woodland Trust to offset carbon footprint


An eco-friendly village 10k is aiming to build on its green credentials this year – by taking a more root and branch approach to sustainability.

Last year organisers of the race in Balfron set themselves the ambitious target of turning their popular event into Scotland’s greenest 10k – offering a plastic-free, recyclable and sustainable experience to the hundreds of runners taking part.

Plastic bottles were replaced by water bowsers filled from the tap and refillable water bottles donated by Scottish Water.

Runners were offered biodegradable cups made from plant materials and bags for life replaced plastic goodie bags.

Advertising was done largely on social media and locally sourced wooden finishers’ medals doubled up as key rings.

Runners were also encouraged to car share to minimise air pollution in the village.

This year – the 14th outing of the Mulberry Bush Montessori Balfron 10k, on Sunday, May 3 – organisers are aiming to expand on their 2019 eco efforts by supporting the work of the Woodland Trust in an effort to offset their runners’ carbon footprint, and will be urging entrants to travel by bus wherever possible.

Julie Ross, one of the organisers, said: “Last year’s Mulberry Bush Montessori Balfron 10k was a huge success and runners appreciated the efforts we had made to make it as sustainable as possible.

‘’This year we decided to look at the event’s carbon footprint and see what we could do to reduce it.

“We calculated we would need to plant almost 100 trees to offset the carbon produced by our runners getting to and from our race.

“We decided the best way to do this would be to donate to the Woodland Trust as its work in planting, maintaining and protecting woodlands here in Scotland is vital in mitigating the effects of climate change.

She added: “We may be only a small village event but our cumulative effort can have a bigger impact on the environment.’

“As Balfron also presently has a Sunday bus service from Stirling which arrives in the village in good time for the race start, we’re also hoping runners might consider ditching the car and taking the bus instead.’’

Julie explained that given the event’s focus on the benefit of woodlands, Balfron’s own landmark tree – the ancient Clachan Oak – where William Wallace is said to have rested and Rob Roy Mcgregor is reputed to have hidden – was an obvious place to launch this year’s race.

The 2020 event, which also has the backing of Decathlon, will continue to benefit the two village schools, with Strathendrick RFC being this year’s nominated good cause.

The race starts from the Balfron campus at 11am and follows a scenic out and back route with chip timing and finishers’ goodies.

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