Discarded bags create slick mess

Published: Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2012 - 12:00 am | Page 3B
Last Modified: Friday, Dec. 6, 2013 - 3:14 pm

The weekend storm complicated cleanup from Sunday morning's California International Marathon, as runners donned garbage bags for rain protection, then discarded the bags as they warmed up.

Race director John Mansoor said runners normally discard outer layers of clothing, and volunteers collect the clothing for charity. But because of the rainy weather, runners opted for the cheap, disposable option of cutting arm and neck holes in plastic garbage bags.

Once they got hot, runners simply tore off the bags and dropped them on the pavement. Collection was made more challenging because the bags were scattered by the wind.

Some runners reported that the discarded bags became slick and posed a safety hazard on the course.

Mansoor said that once the California Highway Patrol reopened roads to vehicle traffic, including Folsom-Auburn and Fair Oaks boulevards and Oak Avenue, it became dangerous for volunteers to pick up the litter.

About 11,000 people ran in various events in the race, but most of those using bags as rain gear were the marathoners, Mansoor said. While he doesn't know how many participants wore the bags, he said, "we're talking quite a few garbage bags."

Volunteers wearing reflective vests drove up and down the course Sunday and Monday working to find and clear litter from roadways, but Mansoor's top priority was to collect trash safely, he said, so the job may take longer than usual.

He asked residents to call the race headquarters at (916) 983-4622 to report trash along the route.

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Read more articles by Anne Gonzales

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