Running the Race to Net-Zero with Local Support
Maria Travaille
Maria Travaille
28 October, 2022 min read

Grandma’s Marathon is an iconic race held in beautiful Duluth, Minnesota dating back to 1977. Today, it is the 12th largest marathon in the United States with over 20,000 participants. Many consider the scenic route along the North Shore of Lake Superior a “can’t miss” and the local community is known for providing some of the best hospitality in road racing. 

With the growing popularity of Grandma’s Marathon comes a challenge: Keeping the beautiful course pristine for generations to come. That’s why incorporating environmentally and socially responsible practices are an important part of the planning and production.

Grandma’s Marathon made significant improvements to reduce the race’s carbon footprint with recycling, transportation, and water use policies. However, there is one area of emissions that are difficult to reduce, participant travel to and from the event.

Participants arrive in Duluth from more than 50 countries, and across the United States. By partnering with NCX, Grandma’s Marathon can now offer participants the choice to offset their travel emissions.

The best part? Their investment goes right back into the local economy by supporting local landowners across Minnesota to grow forests longer. Together, Grandma’s Marathon race participants, and landowners across Minnesota are making a global climate impact for good.

Offsetting Travel to Grandma’s Marathon

Creating a simple and easy checkout experience for race registrants was critical to this initiative for Grandma’s Marathon. The checkout process educates registrants on the average emissions of common transportation methods using tools provided by the United States Environmental Protection Agency and suggests an offset add-on purchase amount. That suggestion is paired with an explanation of the NCX program to show the benefits to the climate, local family forest landowners, and wildlife habitat. 

Creating Global Impact by Supporting Local Communities

By opting to offset their emissions, Grandma’s Marathon participants are helping create a better future for the marathon and Minnesota landowners for years to come. Their investments in NCX directly support landowners to grow their trees longer which captures more carbon from the atmosphere, helping the planet on a path to net-zero. Every step in that race counts.

“The natural beauty of Grandma’s Marathon and northern Minnesota is, in many ways, unparalleled in the world of road racing. Our partnership with NCX allows our organization, along with the very same runners who enjoy our race each summer, to acknowledge our responsibility in protecting that beauty for generations to come while, at the same time, providing income to Minnesota landowners without the pressure of cutting their trees down. It’s not only a win-win for today, it’s a win-win for the future.”

– Shane Bauer, Executive Director, Grandma’s Marathon

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about the author

Maria Travaille

Maria Travaille

Carbon Account Manager
Maria is the Carbon Account Manager on the Business Development team at NCX, focused on advocating for and working with NCX carbon buyers in our forest carbon marketplace. Maria earned her MSc degree in environmental policy and regulation from the London School of Economics. While at LSE, she worked at the Grantham Research Institute for their climate adaptation and resilience team. Prior to joining NCX, Maria worked in management consulting with clients in the digital marketing and market research space.