LAST APRIL IN OBSERVANCE OF EARTH DAY, Earned Runs encouraged the pick-up of trash along running paths AFTER commemorating runs. I made this effort for my personal April 22 event and found it to be such a rewarding experience that I repeated it several more times that spring.
Sadly, I did not persevere in my good-citizen-action campaign over the remaining months of the year. But this April, with renewed fervor, it will again be the focus of the 2018 Earth Day ‘Earned Run’ observance, and possibly an official Earned Runs Summer 2018 Challenge.
What a surprise to find that picking up trash WHILE (not after) running is a new exercise trend in Scandinavia. It’s called PLOGGING (or plogga) from the words for “to pick” and “to run.”
According to a Inhabitat.com article, Swedish environmentalist Erik Ahlström is behind the movement to tidy up the environment during an organized group run. “When he moved from Swedish ski resort town Åre to Stockholm he thought the city looked like a dump.” His response was to equip jogging groups “with gloves and garbage bags” and get to work cleaning it up.
RunningCompetitor.com also posted an article about “plogga” which pointed out that “in addition to helping the environment, the practice of plogging provides some big benefits to the runner- namely, in the form of squats and lunges performed while picking up trash”.
The enthusiasm to clean-up and workout is spreading it seems. Groups are reported to have been organized in other locations, like Paris, Edinburgh, Thailand, Australia, and Mexico.
In advance of 2018 EARTH DAY ‘EARNED RUN’ consider rounding up people to join you in collecting trash while running or walking briskly. It can become a competitive event. RunningCompetitor.com noted that “many participants can’t resist the urge to pick up the most amount of trash in the shortest time.”
Which would encourage each person to pick up the biggest items in order to fill their garbage bag the fastest. Try to resist this urge. Last year I concentrated on picking up not only large items but the smallest too. I vowed to find a device to more easily pick up cigarette butts (I am still looking!).
Not as obviously unsightly as bigger beverage bottles and cans, cardboard boxes, fast-food containers, and plastic grocery bags, these small ugly castaways have a remarkable ability to spoil an otherwise beautiful natural area. Most people love beautiful sights, smokers are no exception. Thus, the most disgusting butt collections seemed to be located in the areas all of us would gravitate to for scenic enjoyment. So, it would be a shame to ignore these small defilements if the intent is to beautify the earth.
Earned Runs’ suggestion is to also award a prize to the participant who shows up for the most number of collections over several months or a season.
Best to plan now to have a gang ready to “plogga” on Sunday, April 22.
RUN & MOVE HAPPY!
Note: Greatruns.com has an entry for Stockholm. It appears to be a city perfect for running and walking.
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Running, walking, and fitness activities enable us to experience our physical selves in a world mostly accessed through use of fingers on a mobile device.
EARNED RUNS is edited and authored by me, runner and founder. I began participating in road races before 5Ks were common. I've been a dietitian, practiced and taught clinical pathology, and been involved with research that utilized pathology. I am fascinated with understanding the origins of disease as well as health.
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