Running group combines litter pickup with jogging, aka Plogging

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For more than a year, a group of runners has been breaking a sweat to keep the Bay Area beautiful.  The dirty workout combines exercise with cleaning up the neighborhood.

Every Thursday, a small group of people trade their happy hours for an evening plog.

“We give them gloves, we give them a bag, we kinda let them know what route we’re gonna go on,” explained Keelan Cottle with 81Bay Brewing Company.

The brewery started organizing the runs last April, as a way to get people moving and help the environment. Over those 14 months, the club has collected more than 1,780 pounds of trash.

“Tires, trash, mattresses, I mean, you name it, we’ve probably picked it up,” Cottle said.

It’s called plogging.  The fitness craze started in Sweden, and combines jogging with picking up litter.

The weekly rubbish runs usually last 30 to 45 minutes.  But it depends on where the trash is.

“We just pick up trash where we see it. We talk, we do jumping jacks and little workouts throughout,” 14-year-old Helena Gaginer said.  “And it’s really fun getting to know people.”

This week’s plog may not have covered a huge distance, but it definitely made a difference.

“This is one of the terrible things that we see here, it’s a dumping ground for people that don’t have enough decency to throw it away and dispose of it properly,” said James Brennan with 81Bay Brewing Company.

It is exercise with a sense of accomplishment.  Breaking a sweat while cleaning up the community.

“Sometimes it’s a little sad, you know, because there is just so much trash in such a small area,” Cottle said.

“We will come next week and there’s still a lot of trash, like we never did anything,” Helena added.

But every bottle and every plastic bag counts, and now 74 more pounds of trash is off the streets of South Tampa.

You don’t have to be a good athlete to be a good plogger.  Running isn’t required, and any age is welcome.

If you want to try it out, the club meets at 81Bay Brewing Company every Thursday around 6:15 p.m.  Anyone 21 and over gets a free beer after the smelly workout.