500 bento boxes thrown away at Standard Chartered Marathon 2019

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The Standard Chartered Marathon that took place from Nov. 29 to Dec. 1 saw a deluge of complaints, thanks to the road closures that caused severely gridlock traffic.

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“Could have done better with small changes”


In response to the complaints, organiser Ironman Asia told The Straits Times (ST) that the race “could have done better with small changes,” and apologised for the inconvenience caused.

Ironman managing director Geoff Meyer also noted that overall feedback has been “positive”.

When asked by ST if they would consider having 2020’s race in the morning instead, Meyer was quoted as saying: “In our opinion, it would be the last thing we want to do.”

Food waste


Besides the congestion, food wastage was another issue that has surfaced.

One Alexis Lee wrote on Facebook page Green Rant, claiming that about 500 bento boxes had gone to waste at the event due to “poor coordination from planners and logistical shortcomings”.

Here are some photos of the bento boxes that looked largely intact.


Photo via Alexis Lee on Facebook
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Photo via Alexis Lee on Facebook

Photo via Alexis Lee on Facebook

According to Lee, they had tried to rescue the food by asking for help in a Telegram channel, but it did not work out due to food safety concerns.

Volunteers did not turn up?


In response to queries by Mothership, a spokesperson for Standard Chartered explained that a “full eco-system” was needed for a sporting event of this nature.

The bento boxes were for volunteers who had signed up, to ensure that they were fed.

However, according to the spokesperson, some volunteers did not turn up on race day itself, leading to leftover bento boxes.

Due to safety concerns, the bento boxes had to be discarded.

Standard Chartered did not deny the number of bentos gone to waste.

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Here is their statement in full:


“For a sporting event of this nature, we need to have a full eco-system come together, from runners, to staff, various stakeholders and volunteers. With safety as our number one priority, we need to also ensure that the team working on-site are well fed and hydrated. The bento boxes were intended for the volunteers, and we had catered sufficient food for all volunteers who had signed up. However, on race day there were some volunteers who did not show up, which led to an excess of bento boxes.

While we had planned to repurpose the food to minimize wastage, we had to take into account the safe consumption food guidelines. With safety as the utmost priority, the bento boxes had to be discarded. The organisers will definitely take this into account for future planning and volunteers recruitment.”
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Top image via Alexis Lee on Facebook

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