XTERRA Athletes Protect Their Tahoe Playground

Among other projects, the XTERRA Eco Team hosts athlete-initiated clean ups to protect the environment.
The XTERRA USA Championship wasn't the only extreme event taking over Lake Tahoe during the weekend. On October 3, the XTERRA Eco Team organized its second annual environmental clean-up work party at Incline Village, Nevada, located on the north shore of the lake.

Sponsored by GU Energy Gel, the XTERRA Eco Team athletes spent two hours before the race cleaning up litter along the run course of their famed national championship venue. Pros and amateurs joined to clean up the in-town parks and open space to say thank you to Incline Village, a long-time host and breathtaking race venue known as one of the best and most scenic courses on the XTERRA World Tour
 
XTERRA competitors are conscious of the environment and terrain in which they train and race. They need wild places to keep races interesting and challenging: the more untamed the race course, the better. As a community, XTERRA athletes have a great appreciation and admiration of the outdoors. The commitment to preserving and protecting race venues has manifested in the formation of the XTERRA Eco Team.

Spearheaded by Yvonne Kraus and Barbara Peterson, the XTERRA Eco Team embodies the XTERRA family's love for the outdoors, care and concern for nature, and genuine interest to protect the often remote and rugged XTERRA race venues for future XTERRA generations to enjoy.

The XTERRA Eco Team's mission is to make a difference ecologically through athlete-initiated, environmental work parties at XTERRA race venues, including trail maintenance, park clean-up, ecological restoration, tree planting, bicycle gear donations and recycling, and increased recycling practices at XTERRA races.

Since 2007, XTERRA athletes have cleaned up trails and streams; planted trees; installed habitat protection signs in Incline Village; cleaned up beaches in Maui; and have diverted many bike parts and components from landfills through gear recycling drives.

The XTERRA Eco Team, now in its second year, is seeing increased interest and participation from athletes. Kraus and Peterson are enthusiastic about the future potential of their program and have expanded their efforts to include athlete commitments to increased recycling and litter reduction efforts at races. They are currently exploring a swim cap recycling effort with a popular gear manufacturing company to find a second use for the thousands of swim caps that are discarded each year.

Taking the concept of eco-athleticism a step further, Kraus recently initiated a new website with friend and fellow XTERRA racer Brandyn Roark Gray. Their website, www.ecoathlete.org, serves as a resource for ecologically sound athletic gear, and includes tips for reducing the athlete's ecological footprint.

Kraus, Peterson and Gray are excited for the environmental benefits that athletes can deliver through organized work parties and initiatives.
For more information about both programs, to offer your ideas about greening athletic events, and to learn how you can get involved, please contact Yvonne Kraus at yvonne.kraus@gmail.com or Barbara Peterson at Barbara@California.com.

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