Plogging Peeps

TRAIL|Issue 35

Plogging Peeps
The exercise fad spread from Sweden down to sunny SA. To plog is to pick up litter while you jog (or run). These four trail runners around SA share their plogging passion.

ISELLE COMBRINK

Doctor living in Alberton, Gauteng.

I only started running in my late thirties, but dog walking has been an integral part of my life for the past 10 years. We’re blessed with beautiful trails in the south of Johannesburg, where the dogs and I spend four mornings a week, walking at first light.

When you spend the most sacred part of your day on trails, where littering is not the norm, a random sweets wrapper or plastic bottle lid will stick out like a sore thumb. I can’t recall a time when I didn’t feel compelled to stop what I was doing and pop the unsightly intruder in my pocket, before continuing our walk.

I don’t pick up litter purely for aesthetic reasons, but also out of consideration for our fellow species, who need their natural environment to thrive.

When I started running, it simply felt like a natural extension of what I had been doing all along. I only learned much later that picking up litter while running is referred to as plogging, so I’ve been wearing my plogging badge with pride ever since.

I was delighted to find that plogging had become a global movement, complete with structured events, which will hopefully encourage the bulk of the trail running community to adopt plogging as a lifestyle.

On a recent morning run, the wildflowers at Rietvlei were covered in white butterflies. I couldn’t help thinking that the only confetti on our trails should be those sprinkled around by Mother Nature.

WARNELL ENGELBRECHT

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Issue 35