The was certified in April as a green sporting event by the Portland, Ore.-based Council for Responsible Sport for implementing sustainable and environmental practices at its inaugural race last September.
"You and your team put together a well-organized and truly sustainable event," council Executive Director Keith Peters wrote to marathon Executive Director Eric Vaughan in a letter dated April 10.
"Only you or Jennifer Dill can state whether it's a blessing or a curse to ReSport certification in your inaugural year," Peters wrote, referring to the race's Chief Green Officer.
The certification is good for two years.
By attaining the Council's gold-level recognition — the second-highest level of certification which is determined by social and environmental criteria — the 26.2-mile race met its goal to join an elite group of events around the world which hold this distinction as of January 1, 2012.
Out of the 36 events which have achieved certification, just three other events — the Big Sur International Marathon and Half Marathon, the ING Hartford Marathon in Connecticut and the EDF Energy Birmingham Half Marathon (2009-2010) in the United Kingdom — have reached the gold level, according to the Council.
The EDF Energy Birmingham Half Marathon (2010-2011), the Marin County Triathlon in San Rafael and the UCSD Grove Run in San Diego are the only three events worldwide which have achieved the Evergreen level category comprised of the highest environmental standards and sustainable practices set by the Council.
In the third version of its most recent certification standards released in January, the Council requires events to gather a certain number of points in any of the nine following sustainability categories as a way to assess its level of achievement. Those categories are Waste, Climate & Energy, Procurement & Sourcing, Community Impact, Healthy Lifestyle, Community Involvement, Inclusion, Indoor Expos and Innovation.
Vaughan and Dill looked to the Big Sur event as a model and inspiration for designing the Half Moon Bay race's sustainability plan.
"We believed that through the certification process, we could not only show our community how dedicated we were by creating an event that preserves the natural beauty of our course, but demonstrate how the race can enhance the environmental mindfulness of its participants and bring the sport of running, with all of its health benefits, to a wider audience," race organizers wrote on the Half Moon Bay International Marathon website.
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