How To Be A Greener Runner

How to be a greener runner

Jasmin Paris on the steps you can take to reduce your impact on the environment

In a How They Train special interview in the May issue of AW, Jasmin Paris outlined the methods and approach that helped her to become the first woman ever to finish the notoriously difficult Barkley Marathons in America earlier this year.

How to be

It was the latest in a string of accolades for the accomplished athlete who has a habit of producing off-road excellence, but running is far from being the only thing on the 40-year-old’s busy agenda.

Paris is a multitasker, balancing her training and competition targets with a young family, a full-time job as a small-animal vet and also her work as co-founder of The Green Runners, “a running community making changes for a fitter planet”.


“We want to inform and empower runners to make more planet-friendly decisions,” says Paris of the organisation. “I think a lot of people are put off by the idea that you need to be perfect, but that’s not the case. The idea is to bring it into people’s consciousness that there are things they can do as a runner to lessen their impact. We just need to try to be better.”

The Green Runners have four key pillars which are fundamental to their cause:

How you move: “The biggest impact we have is travelling to races and events,” says Paris, a member of Carnethy Hill Running Club based just south of Edinburgh. “Personally, I try to prioritise things that are really important to me and travel less in general or try to travel without flying, so for the World Mountain and Trail Running Championships in Innsbruck last year I travelled by train, which was totally doable. Flying to the Barkley Marathons [in Tennessee] was quite a dilemma. It was a challenge for me to consider that, but I couldn’t replicate it or replace it with an alternative event, it’s just too unique.”

How you kit up: “I think this is an obvious one. I’ve worn the same t-shirts, the same coat, the same shoes, the same ¾ lengths for the last three Barkleys, so I’ve not had any new kit in the last three years essentially. I’ve maybe bought one other pair of shoes.

“I didn’t have quite the right size running pack so I just borrowed one from a friend as it was just for Barkley. You don’t need the newest kit. I personally think that as long as you’ve got some shorts and t-shirt to go out in and a coat if it’s cold and something to carry your stuff, and as long as you’ve got a reasonable pair of shoes with a grip, that’s all you need. It certainly doesn’t need to be new.


“In fell running it’s almost like a mark of respect if you’re wearing the same shorts that you were wearing 40 years ago. You get extra kudos for that and that’s an easy thing that people can do – to just not buy more kit. If I can do it, then I think other people can do it as well.”

How you eat: “We all know that eating less red meat and moving towards more of a plant-based diet is better for the environment. As a family we eat more plant-based meals now and we cook all of our meals from scratch. We don’t buy very much meat anyway and if I’m eating on my own I’m pretty much vegan.

“I’ve always liked a lot of fruit and veg. When I’m running races I don’t use many gels or stuff like that, I tend to just eat normal food when I can. I save gels for the moments when I’m having an epic bonk and I can easily get that down to recover, but I don’t use much.”

How you speak out: “Obviously I try to use my platform to talk about The Green Runners. While flying to Barkley was a dilemma, I was aware that if I managed to pull it off then potentially the coverage for The Green Runners would be great.”

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