Manchester Marathon needs a tidy up as 226 energy drinks bottles found on a mile-long stretch of road

Litter pickers in Trafford have launched a formal complaint into the state of the roads following the Manchester Marathon last month.   

Pete Minors, who runs the Facebook page Counting Outdoor Manchester Bottles, says he picked up 226 energy gel wrappers from the roadside from within a one-mile stretch from the A56 Chester Road which goes through Sale into Stretford.

Many of the energy drink wrappers were supplied for marathon runners, Pete says, and were found in the areas of the road too difficult to be picked up by road sweepers following the event. 

Pete says that the reason gel wrappers are thrown away during the race is “because it’s so messy, that they get sticky fingers and they just want to get rid of them. All that’s happening right now as they’re blowing around into the bushes.”

Formal complaint

The Let’s Tidy Trafford group, alongside Pete, have sent a formal complaint to Trafford Council and have invited CEO Andrew Smith, of Human Race Ltd, organisers of the Manchester Marathon, to discuss ways to ensure cleaner roads for the next marathon. 

Last year, the clean-up of the local area after the Manchester Marathon was described as “excellent”. Despite calls for the roads to be litter picked after the marathon, it is claimed roads were left littered with debris from the race this year.

Trafford Council, Manchester Marathon and Science in Sport (the hydration partner) have been approached for a response by the Northern Quota. 

Litter Free Event

Manchester Marathon, taking place on 14 April, hands out gel nutrition packets to help runners maintina energy. Also known as SIS packets, after the Science In Sport brand, the GO Isotonic energy gels were located at several of the eight water stations around the route.

According to the Manchester Marathon Official Race Guide, participants were encouraged to ‘run tidy- this includes not dropping energy gel packets’, calling for a ‘litter free event’.

The Marathon also states that ‘only clean water bottled be recycled’ and ‘those thrown into hedgerows gardens and trees’ cannot. The course had water drop zones and target bins during and after the event.

Runners were also encouraged to bring their own nutrition and water for the race.

A selection of gel packets recovered along the course of the race credit: Pete Minors

Human Race LTD, the company behind the Manchester Marathon, said: “We were made aware of the litter after this year’s marathon and had worked with the group to understand where the litter was and made sure that our contractors did further sweeps to collect any leftover rubbish in the weeks following the event.
We try to ensure that all litter is removed immediately after the event but carry out additional sweeps of the course in the days after each event to ensure that any litter left is removed ASAP.
We are constantly striving to reduce our waste footprint at our events and will continue to improve our waste removal processes so that this incident is not repeated in the future.”