UK-based sustainable race startup Trees not Tees is delighted to announce its first American race partnership, with the Negative Split Productions Typhoon Texas Kids Triathlon.

Trees not Tees help events reduce their environmental impact with one simple strategy – offering participants the option of turning down a free race tee and planting a tree instead.

The 6th annual Typhoon Texas Kids Triathlon, the world’s largest children’s triathlon, will take place on 18-19 September 2021 at Typhoon Texas Waterpark, US. Over 1,500 children are expected to compete in the 2-day event.

‘Since our first year in 2016, I have been looking for creative and innovative ways we can provide a positive environmental impact at our event,’ says Tony Sapp, founder and Race Director of the Typhoon Texas Kids Triathlon. ‘Through our partnership with Trees Not Tees, I’m hoping we will have over 500 trees planted from the 2021 Typhoon Texas Kids Triathlon with more participants opting to plant a tree each year.’

What Trees not Tees is about

Millions of event t-shirts are produced and given away each year that are never worn. Trees Not Tees, co-founded by Jade Rein and ultra-runner Jim Mann, work with race and event organisers to give participants the choice of planting a tree rather than getting a finishers’ tee they may not wear. After the event, participants who selected the option to have a tree planted receive a photo and GPS coordinates of their tree’s location.

‘At Trees not Tees we’re thrilled to be partnering with Tony and the team at Typhoon Texas Kids Triathlon as our first race partner in the US,’ says Chris Zair, Director at Trees not Tees. ‘It’s great to see the team looking at sustainable race options rather than returning to the way things were pre-pandemic, and hopefully other races will follow suit.’

Further Trees not Tees US race US partnerships with Orca Running and Evergreen Trail Running are already in the pipeline.

Trees for everyone

Trees Not Tees currently own four planting sites in Scotland, and will begin planting on sites in the US from 2022. Chris Zair says, ‘Excitingly, at Trees not Tees we are set to launch our first reforestation project in the US in 2022, so beginning next year our partner events will see their trees planted much closer to home!’ 

Trees not Tees always plant the right tree in the right place, meaning that an appropriate species is always planted on appropriate tree planting land. Trees Not Tees never plant on existing important habitats, or on deep peat.

‘The environmental benefit of planting a tree is huge,’ says Trees Not Tees co-founder Jim Mann. ‘It helps us fight against climate change by taking carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere, it provides a home for a diverse range of species, and it gives us clean air to breathe.’

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Call to action

Fast Running editor Robbie Britton says “As an athlete you have a voice, so use it. If you want to make a difference then speak to the race directors you know and give feedback at events that this is an option you’d like to see at their events too.”