Joggers and runners can be insufferably smug, as they run around town in lycra that’s so tight its cutting the blood flow to their feet, believing they’re superior beings as they exercise pretentiously in full public view.
The stench of self-righteousness from some Tweets at 7.30am — “Great run this morning, felt like I was floating. Off for my celery and grapefruit smoothie now” — is sickening.
As a runner it’s hard for me to believe that — apparently — some find runners to be sanctimonious, full of pontification and bulls**t.
Well a “plogger” is a runner, that is even more smug and virtuous.
Move over hygge, the new Scandinavian craze from Sweden is “plogging” and it may just save the planet.
This word is the English language equivalent of Plogga, a hybrid of the Swedish verbs plocka (to pick up) and jogga (to jog).
So “plogging” is running with the additional challenge of picking up rubbish on the way. It is the brainchild of environmentalist Erik Ahlstrom. In 2016, after moving to Stockholm from a small ski-community in northern Sweden, he was irritated with the amount of litter he saw while making his way to work. So he began picking it up.
Then he started to incorporate it to his runs and people started to join him... and now the movement is spreading around the world. Thanks in large part to social media, the eco-conscious exercise craze has grown organically, reaching over 40 countries and massively exceeding the expectations of the founder.
Picking up beer cans, bits of foam containers and plastic bottles is not only good for the environment, according to Ahlström. Thirty minutes of plogging burns 288 calories, compared to 235 calories burned during regular jogging.
So I decided to go plogging on one of my normal daily routes. I took a plastic shop bag and planned to go for an hour or so. I had to turn back after two kilometres because the bag was full and starting to burst!
I had never noticed how dirty my regular route was. In a time when charity races and marathons are commonplace, it may be another way to combine our charitable efforts with our fitness goals.
Plogging may be part of a new trend towards making exercise about something other than our own vanity and competitive ambitions.
Litter is blending into the background of our lives, but if we took time to look around us, we would see it dirtying our environment, and maybe replacing one jog with a plog might make a small difference.
Local physio and Newbridge AC member Barry Kehoe offers advice to runners of all levels. See www.kehoephysio.com