How would you celebrate ten years of plogging?
So what the heck happened then?
On Sept 29, 2011, I did my first social media post about picking up trash while running.
This means that Sept 29, 2021, will mark the 10th anniversary of that post.
Seems like a cool thing to celebrate, huh?
I won't go into too much detail, but I was running along the country lanes of my home village in the UK (Hartfield, East Sussex - where Winnie-the-Pooh comes from!) on the way to the train station.
The road doesn't have a footpath, so not many people would walk along it, which might explain all the trash I saw in the hedges. Fast-food packaging, drinks etc.. the usual stuff.
It was then that I thought.. "hang on, if I don't pick it up, then who will?". So I did.
I had actually done it for a while before I then thought.. "hmm, perhaps I should tweet about it?"
So that is the story behind my first social media post on plogging; although it wasn't a word then, so I just used the #keepbritaintidy hashtag.
From Plogger to Daily Plogger
I carried on plogging as many others do; occasionally.
But it soon turned into a passion; on my runs to the train station, I would do it each time. Just a handful as I had a train to catch!
After a while, I started posting about it more. Not each time. But definitely more frequently.
It was in 2019 that I made the commitment to do it EVERY time I ran, biked or swam (anything I put up onto Strava), and also to really make it part of my posts on Instagram (www.instagram.com/wayeoflife/).
How to celebrate 10 years
I am not sure when exactly, but I remember seeing that the amazing Plogman of India had set a World Record in plogging for the longest continuous plog. He did 50km.
I thought to myself - I could do that! So I decided to contact the Guinness World Records team and apply for a new world record in continuous plogging. Plogman of India had used goldenbooks to set the record, but I wanted to use GWR as it is the established one.
My application put some rules to help make it clearly defined:
To identify that it is continuously plogging; 60 pieces of litter an hour (so averaging a piece a minute - in reality, it would be way more than this but then it is definitely not running with a bit of litter collecting)
To identify that it is a real jog/run: an average of 10min/km over the whole distance. That doesn't seem like a lot, but plogging is slower than running, but this way I definitely need to jog it.
I also said that the distance I wanted to do was 67km (for my DOB.. 1967).. I wanted it to be more than 50km, but not much more so that it could easily be beaten; the more times it is beaten the more awareness is raised.
But the application was rejected. It wasn't exact enough. I did try and revise the definition but it just wasn't something the GWR committee were keen on.
I decided not to pursue it after a while after I heard about the epic FKT (fastest known time) Damian Hall set. He not only set a crazy time for 431km (!!!!!) but plogged along the way. I think this is where the GWR were correct in their concern.. he plogged the whole way, but it is a continuous plog? It is a very grey area. But regardless; definitely check out www.youtube.com/watch?v=sUgpAL87E5Q - incredible ambassador for not just running, but also the environment.
So I parked the idea.
Until I thought.. hang on.. 10years as a plogger is something to celebrate!
But how? Well, instead of giving up on the World Record, why not just do it anyway?
And as it is not going for a record, but as a celebration, the distance doesn't matter.
So that is when I came up with 1000.100.10.1 (https://www.instagram.com/explore/tags/plog1000100101/)
1 = 1 person's plogging story
10 = to celebrate their ten years of plogging
100 = by plogging continuously 100km (a much nicer round number than 67 hahaha)
1000 = 1000kg - I want to collect 1000kg of trash.
1000kg of trash?!!! - this is where I need help from others. I am not saying I will pick up 1000kg in the 100km, but with the help of others picking up trash on the day then I could. I will talk more about this later on.
So how much trash will I pick up? Well, I am confident I will personally get something like 100kg even if it is just cans etc - I am choosing a litter infested route! With a bit of luck that could easily increase to 300kg if I find things like rubber tyres, shopping trolleys, bikes, mattresses etc! who knows. But if people join in (virtually or in-person) on the day then we can hit that 1000kg.
Oh gosh.. that is more of a story than I anticipated! haha
Training - A weekly VLOG
Running 100km is tough! But the thing I cannot underestimate is the constant plogging. Bending down for 16hrs, carrying trash etc.. all while covering the 100km on foot is the real concern.
I need to figure out how to train for it and get creative in my thinking..
Each week I am putting out new training updates on my YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCbDfwicuQNU_QhSI1CIcOBg
When it all started - Sept 29, 2011
First though, let's get some facts straight
Am I the first person to ever plog?
Was this the first time I had ever picked up trash while running?
Did I invent the word 'plogging'?
No! Those clever Swedes did it in 2016 (see Wiki)
I explain how wonderful that word is here: https://www.instagram.com/p/COAIivHJHMR
Have I really picked up trash every day since then?
Hell no! More on that later
It is still early days.. I haven't yet set a date. I know it will be September, but exactly when? Not sure yet.
I am trying to get a Dutch chat show to say they want to cover it and have me on as a guest afterwards. I have this crazy idea of showing up on the show saying "look at all the trash I collected to get here"
So.. here is a list of things I need to do. But, one thing is certain; even if nothing gets arranged I am celebrating the 10years by doing this in September! even if I just get up on my own and do it quietly (although, when have I ever done anything quietly?!!)
Set date (likely to be mid-Sept - if a TV show, shows interest then I might do mid-week for the show itself, otherwise I will do on a Saturday) - if the show I want to be on (BEAU) doesn't respond to my emails by end of May, then I will just set a date regardless.
Set route (likely to be Haarlem - Amsterdam then maybe Utrecht?) - not sure if a loop or point A to B course.. at this moment I want to remain flexible for a TV studio if I can
Start time - I do know it will take 16hrs roughly.. sunlight in Sept is 12hrs, from 7 am.. it would be good to end in daylight so I will probably start at 4 am.
Support van/crew - As soon as I set a date I will contact a local refuse/garbage/recycling companies like Renewi or Sparnelanden to see if they are will to support me the whole time with a small van following behind. I really want to collect all the trash and not just dump it.. The logistics for that is going to be fun to sort out.. another option is to use an eCargo bike follow me.. again.. 16hrs is a long time to have someone follow so might need a few people to assist! Again. if no one can help I will just have to carry and bin it along the way.. a real shame
Sponsors - I already have some of my other sponsors helping but I want to try and get the following helping (some of these are just wild ideas that would be the ultimate) - I am quite picky so I am not just going to go for anyone.. but one that adds to the journey, like the brands that already help me do.
Action camera - someone like GoPro - I want to really document it all and the training beforehand
Drone - ok ok ok.. this is a bit of an excuse for a drone.. but how cool would that be? especially leading up to the event as well (on my training runs)
Livestream - I would like to live stream as much as I can. I have a 24hr unlimited data card from my phone provider (T-mobile) so I will see if they are ok me using it for this.
Anti-friction stuff - need a (vegan) brand to help prevent the burn!
(Vegan) energy gels/nutrition - especially leading up to the race as well
Sunglasses - mine are getting a bit beaten up
Handheld massager - I'm not getting any younger
Tesla - only joking.. but cool that you are reading all this!! thank you!
No! I will talk more about this is a VLOG, but I am not after sponsorship. But you can help by
Talking about it, following me, cheering me on.. just knowing you look at my posts is enough. Tell your friends, spread the word. that is how you can help. I am not doing this to raise money for a charity, I am doing it to raise awareness of the problem and how simple it is for us to act; by not dropping litter, or by picking up a single piece and putting it in the bin,
Join me! I will post more details about this closer to the time, but to get 1000kg of trash collected I need people to pick up trash on that day too
If you really do want to financially (or non-financially) help out, then contact me, but seriously.. I would rather you just pick up some trash on the day
Thanks for reading all this.. I will try and update this regularly - so follow me on Instagram (@wayeoflife) to find out more as the day gets closer.