How would you celebrate ten years of plogging?
On Saturday 25th September I am doing something crazy!
I DID IT!
UPDATE: I did it!
I need to update this page properly but for now here are some thoughts
Man.. that was a long way!
It was clear early on that 17hrs was not enough and it ended up taking over 20hrs
But the time was the least important. So I focused on the distance, the trash and the people (speaking to people in the streets, raising awareness)
Lots of incredible people joined me on the day and together we collected 360kg along the 100km route!
That is nearly 4kg/km!
Here is the Strava activity: https://www.strava.com/activities/6018936659
Here is a fun aftermovie (I want to make a proper one, but this is something to give you an immediately impression of the day) https://youtu.be/tGwNz_aG268
The rest of this page tells the story and the plan (threw that out the window! haha)
LET'S GET SOME FACTS STRAIGHT
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
WHAT HAPPENED ON THAT DAY, 10 YEARS AGO?
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, thrown out of cars.
It was then that I thought.. "hang on, if I don't pick it up, then who will?". So I did.
I had done it a few times on that route, when I thought.. "hmm, perhaps I should tweet about it?"
So that is the story behind my first social media post on plogging. 'Plogging' wasn't a word at that time, 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 I CAME UP WITH THE IDEA OF PLOGGING 100KM!
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 and 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
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. 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
WHEN? SATURDAY 25TH SEPTEMBER
I have set the date! 25th September.
It is a week after World Cleanup Day (18th September) - I didn't want to do on the same day as everyone is busy with their own clean ups.. and also, a week later will hopefully keep the momentum going. I suspect I will find less trash as a lot will be cleaned up the weekend before, but any litter i get I can say.. "omg, is this fresh trash in the last week?!!"
HOW LONG? 17HRS!
I want to finish in daylight, which means finishing around 7pm.
If I average 10min/km it will take 16hrs (a bit more actually) - but lets say 16hrs (that is 9:45/km)
So I need to start at 3am!
So.. Saturday 25th September 3am-7pm!
Will it take longer? it might.. in training, I was running at 8:30/km.. so not much time for trash picking!
But I hope it will work out
WHERE/WHEN WILL YOU FINISH?
Mama Gaia in Haarlem.
7pm at https://mamagaiahaarlem.nl/ meet me there? Yikes
(or that is the plan!)
It is only a short walk from Haarlem train station
2011 KA Haarlem
(023) 212 30 30
On the Saturday the restaurant is open from 10am - why not come along and hang out on the terrace to cheer me on?
CAN I JOIN IN? PLEASE!!
Yes, please. In the agenda, you can see the times.. feel free to join me for any section on the day.
JUST TURN UP ON THE DAY WHENEVER YOU LIKE!
But you can also help out on the day by picking up trash where ever you are.
I need your help to get 1000kgs of trash collected!
On the day,
pick up trash,
if you can weigh it (if not guesstimate it).
Please only do it on Saturday 25th - I wanna get 1000kg at the same time I am running.
If you join me on the day, please bring gloves and running gear.. I have bags to use.
SPONSOR ME? HECK NO!
No! I am not after sponsorship but celebrating 10 years and raising more awareness. But you can help by
Talking about it, following me, cheering me on..
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! in person or virtually (see above)
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.
ROUTE AND AGENDA
So, let's get down to it.. what is going to happen?
Mama Gaia is the hub
Gonnetstraat 262011 KA Haarlem
I want to try and collect all the trash together at the end and say "look, I just ran 100km and I collected ALL THIS TRASH!" - I think that will be so cool.
So I am pleased to announce that Renewi are helping me by providing me with not just awesome bin bags, but also with a container. (they can then take it away and weigh it).
So, to help do that and make it easy for people to join in, Mama Gaia will be the center of operations.
It is an awesome plant-based restaurant that serves delicious vegan brownies! hahaha
I kick off the day with a plog to Zandvoort and Cruquius on my own in the dark, but at 9 am I will be at Mama Gaia and from that point on I will do little loops out and back from there.
This makes it super easy to join in if you like (just choose a loop!), you know where each loop will start and end, and if I am running late, a good place to hang out while waiting for me.
Each loop is named after a brand that has helped me out over the years and I will be celebrating them during the loop. NOTE: This is all my idea as a way of saying thank you to them. Seriously, they really make it possible for me to do all this. They are not paying me or even asked me to do this. This is ALL MY IDEA.
So, here we go.. including links to the GPX files (for the sports nerds!)
02:30 - 08:45
Loop: House of Marley / RunAndCasual
Zandvoort > Cruquius > Mama Gaia
46.7km (pace 8:02/km) - GPX file
09:00 - 09:55
Loop: RunX Haarlem
Mama Gaia > Town centre > Mama Gaia
6.0km (pace 09:10/km) - GPX file
09:55 - 11:11
Loop: Zeropoint (zpcompression)
Mama Gaia> Waarderploder > Mama Gaia
8.0km (pace 10:04/km) - GPX file
11:11 - 13:10
Mama Gaia > Reinaldapark > Mama Gaia
11.1km (pace 10:24/km) - GPX file
13:10 - 14:15
Mama Gaia > IKEA > Mama Gaia
6.1km (pace 10:41/km) - GPX file
14:15 - 16:10
Mama Gaia > Schalkwijk > Mama Gaia
10.7km (pace 10:45/km) - GPX file
16:10 - 16:20
16:20 - 17:55
Loop: Iron Roots
Mama Gaia > Westergracht > Mama Gaia
8.5km (pace 11:12/km) - GPX file
17:55 - 19:00
Mama Gaia > Town centre > Mama Gaia
5.4km (pace 12:01/km) - GPX file
19:00 - FINISHED!!!!
Oh gosh.. I hope! hahah
Here is the full 102km course together: