Get a workout and save the planet with Tampa's newest craze

- It's a dirty workout that's helping to clean-up parts of the Tampa Bay Area.  A local running group combines exercise with helping the environment.

It can be a challenging and smelly workout: Runners pounding the pavement while toting trash bags. It's called plogging, basically running while picking up litter.  The fitness craze started in Sweden and now there's a group in South Tampa who do weekly rubbish runs.

"So obviously you try to keep a good, steady pace so you're still exercising and jogging, but as you're doing that you run with a glove and a bag and you pick up trash along the route," said Keelan Cottle.

Cottle started the weekly plogging club as a unique way to get people running, with the side benefit of cleaning up the neighborhood.  So far, the group has gone on two runs.

"The first week it was only me and three other people and we picked up 20 pounds of trash,” Cottle said.  “We ran a route of a little over two miles."

Week two, seven runners showed up, and they collected about 42 pounds of rubbish.

"Car parts, lots of plastic bottles, lots of paper,” said Cottle.

The environmental benefits are pretty clear, and plogging also gets your heart pumping.  It's easy to add lunges or squats while bending to pick up the litter.  The club usually covers about two miles over an hour.

Cottle hopes the club keeps growing, because the trash keeps piling up.

"Unfortunately, it's kinda sad, there's a lot of trash in the neighborhood,” he said.  “It really opens your eyes to the amount of trash just in your neighborhood."

It's exercising with a purpose.  Getting your hands dirty to clean up your community.

"Just show up and we'll provide everything else that you need, and it's a great time," said Cottle.

You don't have to be a runner to join the plogging club, you can walk or jog while picking up litter, and any age is welcome.

If you're interested in trying out plogging, the group meets every Thursday at 81Bay Brewery at 6 p.m.

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