Pick up litter as you jog
Binbags at the ready, lace up those trainers and get plogging – jogging while picking up litter. The Nordic craze – which gets its name from the Swedish “plocka upp” (pick up) – landed on British shores last year and a UK-wide network of ploggers emerged.
Leading the London crowd of fit environmentalists is Michelle Parkes, who along with binman-turned-personal-trainer Dermot Kavanagh founded Plogolution. Their plogging events, held all over London, have attracted hundreds of people from fitness fanatics to those who’d never jogged before – all with one concern in common.
“Just over a year ago, Dermot and I went for a run,” says Parkes, a 39-year-old marketing consultant. “And as we’re running he keeps pointing out rubbish. If I’m honest, he spoiled my run. And subsequent runs. Because everywhere I went, all I saw was rubbish.”
Parkes came across an article on plogging, and it seemed a no-brainer. Her and Kavanagh got a few friends together and held the first plogging event almost a year ago in Putney. Now, regular Plogolution events are held in areas across London. There is always a 5k version for those who want to run and a 2k version for those who would prefer to walk the route.
“Not only have you gone out and got some exercise,” says Parkes, “but you’ve also done something really good for the environment. And you can immediately see the difference you’ve made. The impact a group of ploggers can have is quite remarkable.
“We get such a mixture of demographics – we’ve had people who’ve been very open about having mental health issues and they’ve found that plogging has really helped them. We’ve had people come along who’d never come before and they are there every time because they love it, and then we have people who were able to come to one but haven’t been able to come again whether that’s because we haven’t returned to their area or they are only in the