Trash Running, known elsewhere as "plogging", is the activity of jogging while picking up litter. Originating in Sweden in 2016 and lately imported into other countries around the world, Trash Running has been called the 2018 "sports trend of the year". It synergises, of course, the twin chief concerns of our age: combating the ongoing global environmental catastrophe that is rendering our world inhabitable for future generations and... y'know... keeping fit.
In Shanghai, we have our own idealistic community of runners who are wearing their heart monitors on their sleeves: Trash Running China. The group formed just a couple of months ago, and seems to be gaining traction among expats and locals looking for ways to have a positive impact on their immediate environments. SmSh checked out a Trash Run to see if it’s as glamorous as it sounds.
Who Are The Trash Runners?
The group was started by two runners, Kate Sogor and Celina Eisenring who are both relatively new to Shanghai. Kate moved here just over a year ago, and Celina in 2016. The idea for Trash Running China was hatched right before CNY when the friends got to talking about organizing trips for runners out in nature (which they do), but decided they could also grow a community of fit do-gooders right here in the city. The group meets every week, at one of three meet-ups spots to follow a 6K loop mapped out by Celina or Kate.
Celina and Kate, co-founders of Trash Running China
The group is made of both locals and foreigners. A Shanghainese Trash Runner who goes by Simba, says he was one of the original runners and was attracted to the group because he felt he was a ‘lone outdoor sports enthusiast’ in the city and was looking for places to practice English. Two birds.
Among the runners, there's an intensity spectrum for sure, with some in sneakers and athletic gear, and others dressed like they've come straight from the office. The run is what you make of it, you can run / jog / walk, but good vibes are universal.
Dogs 4 Trash Running!
How Dirty Does a Trash Running Session Get?
Considering there was some heat on the Fit Fam and Park Box post comment sections in regards to cleanliness, some gut reactions may be to vomit, mouth to keyboard. Note to the SmSh commentariat: you’re never actually touching garbage. Runners utilize tongs (as photographed) and place trash into a small plastic bag which you carry with you. Said bags are emptied out into bins along the way. Hands are washed before beer and pizza is consumed post-run. The most common litter collected is plastic bottles, cans, discarded cigarette packs — the stuff you see on the street every day.
So... Is Trash Running Fun?
As fun as it can be for someone who doesn’t particularly enjoy running, but since it wasn't high intensity and everyone in the group was real nice and friendly it ended up being a good time. They don't seem to take themselves too seriously, saying they’re not trying to lecture anyone, they just wanted to form a community of like-minded runners. There’s always beers and some bites after, bar depends on the location of the run; this time it was Just Cool with their 10rmb brews. Do you like running? Do you like being a force for good in your community? Then Trash Running China may just be for you.
Also, they hold an outbound trip once a month, and this apparently is where the best trash finds are had. When asked what's the weirdest trash they've come across without hesitation Kate and Celina both agreed: a wig on a country trail.
This week you have two chances to join a run, for World Environment Day tomorrow and Ocean Day Saturday (with Zero Waste Shanghai, Feibao, and Green Initiatives), but in a typical week there's a run on Wednesday at 7pm, there are 3 usual meet up spots; Just Cool (Jiaotong University), Beer Plus (Changshou lu), and Daga Brewpub (Shanghai Library). They're aiming for an outbound trip the weekend of June 24, more details to come. All are free to join.
To join the group, add Kate at WeChat: sogorka or if you want to learn more about company trash runs which they also offer (1 hour over lunch break sort of thing) Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.