The first National Geographic Free Run took place in support of the global Planet or Plastic initiative

The 10km long run took place in Sofia on 21st April and celebrated the upcoming Earth Day by supporting the National Geographic global campaign Planet or Plastic.

National Geographic and Begach Running Club organized the first plastic-free marathon in Bulgaria called National Geographic Plastic Free Run.  More than 700 people from 16 countries took part in the event that has become the biggest spring run in the country.

The marathon celebrated International Earth Day and supported the Planet or Plastic initiative, which aims to reduce the amount of single-use plastic that reaches the Ocean.

Planet or Plastic is a National Geographic CRS campaign aiming to inform and encourage people to reduce the negative impact of single-use plastic. The idea of organizing a plastic-free marathon together with Begach Running Club came as something natural to us“, said Krassimir Nikolov, SVP CEE, MD Balkans.

National Geographic goes beyond the known and keeps exploring further the environment and its preservation. We support the motivation of the runners in the marathon. We would like their strong will to become an inspiration for as many people as possible and for us all to be more responsible and effective”, explained Krassimir Nikolov.

Sustainable alternatives were provided in place of the single-use plastic that was used in previous years during the run. Before the run, all of the participants received a reusable fabric bag and a water flask. The food was delivered to the checkpoints directly from the manufacturers in large containers, so that no single packages were used. Furthermore, multi-use aluminum and vinyl flags replaced the PVC tape for the marking of the race.

The tennis legend and eco activist Magdalena Maleeva was the one to award the winners of the race. More about the results here.


National Geographic is asking its audience to take the pledge and join in a commitment to reduce the use of plastic. 

You can take the pledge on this website.