Project: Sustainable Athletic Events with the Toronto Waterfront Marathon

Jen has worked in the event industry for almost a decade, producing athletic and consumer events from local markets to international road races and triathlons. Through her current role as an Event Manager with Canada Running Series, she works to implement sustainable initiatives into the national road race company’s day-to-day operations. Building a niche through her passion for sustainability led her to pursue a Master of Arts in Environmental Practice through Royal Roads University, with the intention of supporting further initiatives to improve the sustainability of athletic events across Canada. Jen developed a love of sport playing rugby with the University of Guelph and Toronto Scottish RFC, and found a way to combine her interests to make a positive impact towards a more sustainable future. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Human Kinetics as well as a post-graduate Certificate in Environmental Conservation from the University of Guelph.


The event industry has a unique ability to directly impact not only the local community in which an event takes place, but to spread its impact across all those who participate in the event, from registrants to staff, and volunteers to suppliers. The opportunity to use athletic events as conduits of change within a community cannot be underestimated. As an event manager, I have a unique perspective and opportunity to use my role within the industry to create positive sustainable impressions on all those involved in the industry. This specific project will support the objective of achieving Evergreen Certification for the Toronto Waterfront Marathon through the Council for Responsible Sport. By using this race as a changemaker for the industry, my goal is to use the work and achievements of this race as a starting point for other athletic events in the City of Toronto, and subsequently Canada. Through this initiative, the event industry can begin to make a positive impact on the state of our environment and take a stand against climate change, an issue that directly and massively impacts the athletic event industry.

The athletic event industry is exceptionally sensitive to climate change – sporting events are increasingly being cancelled and postponed due to climate-related concerns such unprecedented temperatures, poor air quality, flooding and other natural disasters. As a notoriously wasteful industry, events have a responsibility to make positive, visible changes to the way they operate, to ensure future generations can also enjoy them. The opportunity to use one of Canada’s largest running events as a conduit for this change within the industry and locally within Toronto came as we moved back to in-person events after almost two years, as a result of Covid-19 restrictions. The chance to use the race’s return as an opportunity to create a more sustainable event came through a personal desire to reimagine what is possible within the industry, and through looking forward at the impact and legacy I want to leave as a participant and changemaker in the industry. Using the Toronto Waterfront Marathon as a starting point for this change was an easy choice. The race, specifically the marathon, has the opportunity to leave a hugely positive environmental impact on the City of Toronto and the running community as a whole.


When I think about the world I want to leave behind for future generations, it’s of lush forests, intact ecosystems with incredible diversity, oceans full of life, and clean air to breathe. I feel incredibly lucky to have grown up with all these things available to me, and I have a responsibility to leave to this place better than I found it. Humans have been taking out loans against the planet that we can’t repay, and we need to find a way to live in harmony with the natural environment and leave a bright future for those who