Bolton's upcoming marathon is bidding to become the most environmentally-friendly event of its kind in the world.

The race is returning to the town in May, more than 30 years since it was last staged.

And organisers say they are exploring every option to make it the first major marathon on the planet to virtually eradicate single use plastic.

Race Director Richard Smith said: “Running is a very environmentally friendly activity, yet during races of all kinds, there is usually a large amount of plastic waste and litter.

“At the end of a typical marathon, there is a sea of plastic bottles in the wake of the racers, littering the roads and pavements.

“We are focusing on removing this as much as humanly possible from the event through a collaboration with business and organisations in the industry to set a precedent for future events.”

4,000 runners are set to take part in the race.

A variety of measures will be taken to eradicate single-use plastic from the event, such as plastic bottles being replaced with recyclable paper cups and no plastic ponchos being provided if it rains.

There will be regular recycling points along the course and bin bags will not be used, instead waste will be separated on site in preparation for recycling.

As well as reducing plastic, other environmental factors will be considered, such as sourcing local contractors for the event to reduce the carbon footprint.

Participants are encouraged to cycle to the event and car-sharing schemes are being encouraged.

Certain aspects of the marathon prove to be more challenging to change, however targets are in place to improve future marathons.

Mr Smith explains: “A solution for the bibs and the timing chips, which are plastic, cannot be done overnight, but we are working to solve this and that means we are well ahead of everyone else.

“We have pledged that there will be a solution in place for the 2021 Bolton Marathon.

“No other major marathon in the world has ever gone anywhere near as far as us in reducing single use plastic and it is a mission we are incredibly passionate about.”

The race itself, taking place on Sunday, May 17, will be a challenging course and will run in a clockwise loop around Bolton, taking in Smithills, Sharples, Bromley Cross and Farnworth.

The entry fee is £55 for everyone, for more information visit