London Run 6 : Richmond -upon-Thames with the Plogolution!

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Date : 31st May, 2019

Time : 1h 44’ 59”

Number of runners (total to date) : 7 (4057)

Run map and details :

Regular readers will know that that I’ve been shocked by the amount of plastic I’ve seen over the world. From the Marshall Islands in the middle of the Pacific

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to Cote d’Ivoire on the west coast of Africa

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its sometimes felt like I’ve been running through and by oceans of plastic.

So, when I first read about plogging – originating in Scandinavia, plogging combines jogging with picking up plastic – I was determined to give it a go. And when we came up with the plan to run with as many different running tribes as possible as part of the London Borough Challenge, I searched to see if there were any ploggers in London.

And I came across the Plogolution. Here are its founders – Dermot and Michelle – with the origin story.

Not content with organising plogs all round London, Michelle and Dermot decided to undertake an Ultra plog. Which consisted of plogging the length of the Thames. That’s 184 miles in 6 days. Gulp.

184 miles in 6 days is obviously a fair old distance by any standards. However, its a lot tougher when you’re constantly stopping to pick up plastic and rubbish. Which is then put in a rubbish container – carried by Dermot – and taken to the support car a few kilometres up the road.

I met Michelle, Dermot and various supporters at Richmond on the banks of the Thames. (Picture at the top of the blog.)

And I can’t say my plogging career started particularly well. I picked up a McDonalds milkshake that someone had left on the side of the path and was going to put it in the rubbish container – when I was told that we couldn’t carry anything containing liquid. Normally you’d just empty out the liquid but you can’t really do that with milkshake without making a right mess. So I put the milkshake back down by the side of the path. Only to be told off of by a member of the public for littering…

Things went a little better after that as I learnt the ‘dos’ – all plastic and rubbish other than the ‘don’ts’ –  and ‘don’ts’ – tissues, condoms, bottles full of liquid etc. I probably should have worn gloves but hey ho…

Now, the Thames path between Richmond and Hammersmith isn’t too bad for litter. It’s apparently much worse in inner city, higher population areas. However, it’s still amazing how many bottles and cans get left behind.

Such as the coke can spotted in the swampy area off to the side of the path. Dermot decided to cross the mud on a fallen branch to retrieve it. On the plus side he got the bottle. On the down side, he also got the mud…

As you’ll see from the video, everyone was pretty determined not to leave anything behind as we plogged our way past Kew Gardens,

to the support van full of bags of plogged rubbish

and then on to Chiswick Bridge and almost as far as Hammersmith where I had to leave the team on a river bank festooned with plastic beer mugs. Alcohol really did seem to be the single biggest contributor to the rubbish and plastic we picked up….

From there I ran over Hammersmith Bridge with a view back over the Thames

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and finished at Hammersmith tube station where the crowds were gathered for Britain’s Got Talent.

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It just remains for me to say a huge thank you to Michelle, Dermot and all my fellow plogggers for the company and the opportunity to plog. And to anyone reading this – plogging is a great way to combine exercise with doing something good for the environment so why not join the Plogolution!

If any of you can make it, then I’d love to see you in London on 4th July 2020 for the UK, and final, leg of Run the World!

If you’d like to help fight cancer then I and, far more importantly, cancer sufferers around the world, would be immensely grateful for any donations to Cancer Research :

Please like / follow Run the World on Facebook , Instagram and Twitter because it would be great to stay in touch and because, however silly it may sound, it makes all the travel and running that little bit easier if you think people care!



About Run the World

I'm running 10 km in every country in the world - a total of 205 countries - by the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. I'm doing the Run the World challenge to promote the benefits of sport and physical activity and to raise money for cancer research following the death of my mother from cancer. If you'd like to donate to Cancer Research - - then I know they'd be very grateful.
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