Now in its sixth year and regarded as one of the must-do trail marathons in Australia, the Brooks Surf Coast Trail Marathon is set to help clean up the Surf Coast Walk with the introduction of a new collaborative green initiative.
The event, which incorporates more than 700 participants running either a 42km marathon or a 21km half marathon from Torquay to Fairhaven, is to host a ‘plogging’ recovery run the day after the main outing. It is expected to result in a kilograms of non-event rubbish being cleared from footpaths and environs at Fisherman’s Beach, Torquay.
Plogging is a new active environmental initiative that started in Stockholm, Sweden, and has since spread across the globe fuelled by environmentally-aware runners who take rubbish bags and gloves on their run in order to pick up any litter they encounter along the way.
The Surf Coast’s first ‘plogging’ event will happen in conjunction with the Brooks Surf Coast Trail Marathonand will be hosted by The Plastic Runner, which has hosted twenty plogging events to date across Melbourne, eliminating more than 500kg kilograms of rubbish from trails and footpaths.
“Trail runners are a pretty mindful crew and don’t, as rule, litter the trails we run on,” says Anglesea-based Race Director, Chris Ord. “But we are always mindful of finding ways to leave the environment through which we run a cleaner, more sustainable place.”
“Of course, the event itself is already run under strict waste-wise and environmental guidelines. In collaboration with the Shire Council and the Great Ocean Road Coastal Committee, we have already implemented environmentally beneficial actions, such as a no disposable cup policy and a ban of single use plastics. But when we learned of The Plastic Runner’s plogging initiative, we were excited to get aboard and provide a platform for them to come to the Surf Coast. And with 700 runners descending on Torquay, what better chance to engage them in helping clean up Surf Coast trails as an ideal recovery activity post marathon.”
The Plastic Runner is spearheaded by two self-proclaimed “crazy trail running bag ladies” who have – with the help of more than 200 volunteers – created a small Australian social enterprise with a big vision.
“That vision is to bring more awareness to people about waste pollution in their local communities and create opportunities for these communities to coordinate their own plogging or clean up events,” says The Plastic Runner’s Deb Clemens, who, along with Karin Traegerh, is the powerhouse of energy behind the initiative.
“Put simply, plogging is a mix of running or jogging and litter collecting. It’s a fun and easy way to demonstrate the impact of plastic pollution in our environment whilst keeping active and fit. Partnering with environmentally aware events such as the Surf Coast Trail Marathon is a no brainer in that the participants all love trails, are passionate about the environment and eager to engage in anything that helps protect it. And at Surf Coast there are 700 potential volunteer ploggers – so we could make a huge impact in terms of giving Torquay’s trails a spring clean, even though it’s already winter!”
“We also hope that locals who aren’t necessarily participating in the running event will still come down and join in – it’s a gentle activity and you don’t have to be super fit to help out!” says Deb, who notes that the event is also an official Clean Up Australia event.
The Surf Coast Trail Marathon itself will take place on Saturday 29thJune, and is expected to break attendance numbers once again with the Surf Coast Walk being one of Victoria’s most popular trail destinations for runners.
“And while the running is highly regarded, I reckon we’re nearly as famous for the after party which is held as a tradition at the Airey Pub, complete with live band. Have you ever seen a marathon runner dance on tired legs? It’s worth coming along to see,” laughs Chris.
Online entries will remain open until Thursday 27th June 2019.
The Brooks Surf Coast Trail Marathon is supported by Brooks Running, Suunto, Salty Dog Cafe, Surf Coast Trail Runners, Trail Run Mag, The Happy Runner Torquay, Tailwind Nutrition, Torquay Sports Medicine Centre, Aireys Pub, Salt Brewing.
SURF COAST PLOG
The free plogging event will take place on Sunday 30 June with registrations recorded on the morning.Participants and locals are all welcome to attend. The plogging will begin at The Salty Dog Café, 47 The Esplanade, Fishermans Beach, Torquay, from 9am (until 10.30am).
Every registrant to the event (bringing with them a reuseable coffee cup) will be rewarded with a free coffee courtesy of The Salty Dog Cafe post plog! Glove and bags will be provided, just bring willing hands.
The Surf Coast Trail Marathon stats
· Saturday 29 June 2019
· 42km solo and teams of two (half distance each)
· 21km solo
· 700+ participants
· Torquay to Fairhaven + Point Addis to Fairhaven
· Afterparty with live music at The Airey Plu. Music from 8pm
· Entries open until Thursday 27thJune
Surf Coast Trail Plog Event
· Sunday, 30th June 2019.
· Race participants and the local neighbourhood are invited to join for what will be a fun, gentle plog recovery session!
· Time: 9am (until 10.30am)
· Location:Salty Dog Café, 47 The Esplanade, Torquay.
· Details: Glove and bags will be provided, just bring willing hands.
· Freebie: Every registrant to the event will be rewarded with a free coffee courtesy of The Salty Dog Cafe post plog! A reusable coffee cup for your free coffee is requested.
The Plastic Runner stats
· 1 year old
· 2 trail running, crazy bag ladies
· 100-200 volunteers
· 20 events held
· 500kg waste collected