Orca Running offers a Social Distance Run

April 9, 2020 by  
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Since putting on its first race in 2014, Orca Running has grown to organize 25 road and trail races per year in Washington State. But coronavirus decimated this thriving business — known for its green practices and dedication to partnering with nonprofits — in mere weeks. Owner Porter Bratten had to think fast to keep paying his employees and his own mortgage as well as to motivate the thousands of runners who participate in Orca Running events. So he dreamed up the Social Distance Run. “It came out of an ‘oh shit’ moment where everybody stopped signing up for all the races until there was no money coming in at all,” Bratten told Inhabitat. “Furthermore, everybody was very sad about all the races getting canceled and everything else going on.” He landed on the idea of a training program culminating in a virtual race, with a few fun twists to make it more interesting than your average virtual race. “I knew that I did not want to come across as trying to take advantage of the situation, but being upfront that this is a thing that you can participate in to keep you healthy and you can also keep the business going.” Billed as an eight-week running and fitness challenge, participants sign up to train for one of six distances, ranging from 5K to 50K. They can communicate through a lively Facebook group and enter their training runs on Strava. Bratten and his crew email training plans to people based on their chosen distance, sponsor weekly challenges with raffle prizes and keep up a steady stream of “Dad jokes.” As it says on the race registration page, “Like a pack of introverted hyenas, we keep our distance but still look out for one another.” Orca Running offers different packages, ranging from a $6 “Hermit in the Wild” membership that includes a training plan, access to the Facebook group and Strava run club and emailed jokes, to the $100 Benefactor level, which comes with a T-shirt, medal, race bib, discount for a future Orca Running race and a box of Pop-Tarts. Emotional support for runners in the Social Distance Run While people post their run times and cheer each other on, runners of all ages and abilities also find emotional support through the Social Distance Run Facebook group. Facebook group members talk about everything from what shoes to buy to which trails are open during the pandemic as well as their emotional struggles, physical injuries and their frustrations with people who fail to social distance when sharing trails. People frequently mention their gratitude for the group. “A lot of people are cooped up with their family, their spouse,” Bratten said. “This is an opportunity to have some alone time. Everybody feels better after they run, even if it’s a crappy run. And they can share about it, if their family doesn’t care, they can share it on the Facebook group and can celebrate the little things.” Orca Running’s fundraising efforts Fundraising has always been a part of Orca Running’s mission. “We’re hoping to donate at least $10,000 to GlobalGiving’s Coronavirus Relief Fund ,” Bratten said, through a combination of Orca Running’s donation plus additional runner donations through the company website. Related: Plogging — Sweden’s new fitness trend combines jogging and trash pickup Each of Orca Running’s races has at least one nonprofit partner. Its trail races, held under Orca’s Evergreen Trail Runs brand, all benefit the Washington Trails Association . The road races each have different partners, including Habitat for Humanity, Canine Companions for Independence and the Mt. Si Food Bank. Two races are whale-themed. The San Juan Half benefits the local Whale Museum, and the Orca Half supports the Whale Trail, a West Seattle-based nonprofit that posts interpretive signage about whales along the west coast from Canada to Mexico. Bratten, who lives in coastal Anacortes, Washington, has long felt an affinity for orcas . As a child, he remembers seeing orcas from his aunt and uncle’s sailboat. His elementary school had an orca mascot. When he was naming his race organization, orcas seemed like a good fit. “Even though they’re an international animal, they live all around the world, they feel like they’re a symbol of the Pacific Northwest because some of them live here year-round. It seemed like something that I have a lot of connection with, and that the region has a connection with, and it’s a good tie-in with the environment.” Eco-friendly racing practices and challenges Bratten and his crew are always working on ways to make Orca Running’s races more sustainable. “The trail races are generally a lot less waste per runner because so many more things get reused. There’s no shirt or medal that’s getting shipped from China,” he said. Trail racers can’t go as fast because of the hazards of roots, rocks, mud and lots of uphill and downhill, so they tend to focus less on speed. But road racers are often after a personal best time or are using a race to qualify for a more prestigious marathon. Road racers expect to keep running through an aid station, where volunteers typically hand them disposable cups of water. Stopping to fool around with refilling a water pouch consumes precious seconds. Orca Running has started using refillable hydropouches for some of its races, which work pretty well, Bratten said. But he’s still hoping the technology improves so that water stops take less time. Orca Running is also looking at more sustainable shirt production. “A tech shirt is made from oil , and a cotton shirt can use a lot of water.” He hopes to switch to recycled tech shirts next year. Trail runners love trees , so Evergreen Trail Runs sponsored a volunteer day to plant trees with King County Parks, in accordance with the county’s goal to plant a million trees by the end of this year. Bratten hopes to institute a sapling program, where runners can click a box at registration to take home a sapling to plant after the race. With races on hold, Orca can only dream of and plan for future greener practices. In the meantime, Bratten encourages people to get outside — at a safe social distance — and get some exercise . “Everybody should go out and go for a run. You’ll feel better.” + Orca Running Images via Orca Running

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Orca Running offers a Social Distance Run

Maven Moment: A Greener St. Patrick’s Day

March 11, 2020 by  
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No one enjoyed celebrating the holidays more than my aunt … The post Maven Moment: A Greener St. Patrick’s Day appeared first on Earth911.com.

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Maven Moment: A Greener St. Patrick’s Day

Designer invents self-testing HIV kit made out of recycled plastic

October 23, 2019 by  
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One of the largest obstacles in HIV prevention is the lack of clinics and resources in developing countries around the world. Now, British product designer Hans Ramzan has unveiled a solution that could potentially save thousands of lives. CATCH is a low-cost, self-testing HIV kit, partly made from recycled plastic, that is designed to help individuals check for HIV in their own homes, reducing the need to travel miles to the nearest clinic. As a leading cause of death around the world, HIV infected about 1.7 million individuals in 2018 alone , and nearly 40 million people are living with HIV globally. Despite these massive numbers, early detection is nearly impossible for many who live in rural areas that don’t have clinics nearby. Due to the lack of resources that would otherwise help patients detect HIV in its early stages, many people develop AIDS, which often leads to death. The situation is dire and has been for years, but CATCH might be able to change that. Related: New study claims climate change could be linked to heart defects in newborns CATCH is a low-cost testing kit that allows individuals to face fewer long trips to the nearest clinic. The innovative finger kit is extremely intuitive and can be used by anyone. In just three simple steps, people can check their status. The first step is to slide the disinfectant sleeve over the finger. Then, push down on the pipette/needle-top. and finally press the button to see the result. Made partly out of recycled plastic , the design is eco-friendly and affordable. The production price of one CATCH kit is £4 (approximately $5). According to Ramzan, the innovative design was inspired by his own experience of losing someone. “After witnessing my aunt pass away due to a life-threatening illness, it was heart-breaking,” Ramzan said. “If she had her illness caught earlier, perhaps her chances of survival would have been greater. That’s when something clicked — too many people are dying due to late diagnosis.” + Hans Ramzan Images via Hans Ramzan

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Designer invents self-testing HIV kit made out of recycled plastic

Maven Moment: Relaxing the Old Fashion Rules

September 4, 2019 by  
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When I was a child, my aunt Connie worked for … The post Maven Moment: Relaxing the Old Fashion Rules appeared first on Earth911.com.

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Weekday Vegetarian: Curried Lentil, Wild Rice and Orzo Salad

August 29, 2011 by  
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Photo: Kelly Rossiter My husband and I attended a wedding this past weekend of a young woman we have watched grow up, year after year, at our cottage. Her wedding was the antithesis of what now seems to be the modern wedding. No expensive or exotic locale, the service was held in the tiny country church in our tiny town and the reception was held in her father’s building shop, transformed into a beautiful party room by her cousins. No expensive caterers, the cooking was done by her mother, her sister, her aunt and her cousin and the flowers, potatoes, tomatoes and garlic all came from her

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Weekday Vegetarian: Curried Lentil, Wild Rice and Orzo Salad

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