Plogging with pride in Telford
Picking up litter when out running, known as ‘plogging’, is catching on in Telford.
Plogging combines running in a group with picking up litter. The idea started in Sweden in 2016, when a group of runners who loved the outdoors started to pick up litter they found along the way. The combination of running and bending down to pick up rubbish turned out to be a great workout for the runners and make a big difference to their local communities.
Today, the environmentally-friendly fitness activity is gaining followers around the world, including here in Telford. Lawley Running Club was the first to take up plogging and they have been out three times, clearing lots of rubbish from around Lawley and the Rock and also on one occasion at the weekly Telford parkrun.
Alistair Potter of Lawley Running club raised the idea of plogging as an activity for members after reading about plogging online. He said: “I thought that this was something we could encompass into our weekly Friday run where runners of all paces run together rather than in separate pace groups as we do on a Monday and Wednesday.
“Fellow club member Chris Hocking put me in touch with Chad at the Council and he liked the idea and has supplied us with bin bags, gloves and pickers. He has also encouraged club ploggers to sign up as Street Champions too. We collected a lot of litter around Lawley and the Rock and Emma at Morrisons has disposed of collected rubbish in the store’s big bins.
“Plogging helps slow the pace which reduces the risk of injury and the bending to pick litter means that often neglected muscles are better worked and stretched. The other positives are that we are helping to clear litter from our community and it is fun. I had never seen adults giggling and chasing after rubbish before. We have also had lots of positive feedback from the general public.
“As a lot of members also take part in the parkrun, I approached the race director to ask about bringing plogging to that too and she agreed. We had a great time there collecting litter, but there was less rubbish which is a testament to the pride people have in our Town Park. We’re hoping to continue plogging on both occasional Friday nights, periodically at parkrun and also possibly on weekend social runs around Telford.
Councillor Raj Mehta, Deputy Mayor of the Borough of Telford and Wrekin, said: “What a great idea. Ploggers are improving their fitness and getting personal satisfaction in knowing that they are helping their communities – it’s a win, win! It’s great to hear that a number of ploggers have also signed up to join our growing band of Street Champion volunteers. This really is Pride in Our Community in action. And what a difference it makes. Keep on plogging.”
Any running clubs looking to take up the craze or find out more about becoming Street Champions for their patch can email Telford & Wrekin Council’s Pride Officer firstname.lastname@example.org.