Running Up For Air

Patagonia event to raise awareness of air pollution returns to Europe

Read time 2 mins

Published May 12, 2022

Photographer Andrew Burr

Base editorial team
BASE editorial team BASE writers and editors who live and breathe adventure every day. We love adventure storytelling as much as we love adventure itself.

Patagonia’s Running Up For Air event returns to Europe for the third time on the 25th of June this year, encouraging runners to take to the streets, trails and peaks for anything from one to 24 hours, to raise awareness of toxic air pollutants that we all breathe on a daily basis. The event is in support of non-governmental organisations playing a key role in the fight for better air quality for all, including ClientEarthCittadini per l’Aria and German Zero.

Participants can join the Running Up For Air Strava challenge, and track their meters of elevation by themselves, with friends or by taking part in local runs across Europe, which will be held in collaboration with Patagonia’s retail stores and NGO network to multiply the joint elevation gain.

© Olly Bowman

I encourage people to learn about air quality issues and think about the decisions they make daily, related to energy consumption and the associated pollution

Running Up For Air was founded in 2012, in the Wasatch Mountains between Utah and Idaho. The event has been held in Europe twice before and last year raised over €20,000 for organisations campaigning, educating and holding European governments to account over the toxicity of the air we breathe. Founder, Jared Campbell says:

‘Since the event’s inception I have wanted people to not only enter, but to participate in the mission of Running Up For Air. This involves education, communication, and community. I encourage people to learn about air quality issues and think about the decisions they make daily, related to energy consumption and the associated pollution.’

According to ClientEarth, 90% of people around the world breathe polluted air. Air pollution kills 7 million people globally every year, and every third death from strokes, lung cancer and chronic respiratory disease globally are caused by it. In Europe, ill-health caused by air pollution is higher than the global average – nearly 800,000 people die prematurely each year as a result of it.

For communities living in busy urban environments, poor air quality is a critical issue. Pollution disproportionately effects people from marginalised communities living in inner city areas, and children who live near roads with heavy duty vehicle traffic are twice as likely to experience respiratory problems compared to those living near less congested streets.

A ClientEarth analysis also found that in German cities where air quality litigation has been taken, air pollution has fallen twice as steeply compared to those where there have been no interventions, including dramatic reductions in Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) which primarily enters the air via emissions from cars, buses, power plants, and off-road equipment. By reducing air pollution, it’s thought that 50,000 premature deaths in Europe could be prevented every year.

Founded on the belief that breathing clean air should be a basic human right, through the Running Up For Air challenge, Patagonia aims to connect runners to rise up and raise funds for 18 environmental groups who are campaigning for better air quality across Europe. To find out more and sign up to the challenge, visit their website.

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