In addition to all the things I try to tick off when I run these days - including ditching the distractions and running as naked as possible, engaging in at least 5 positive exchanges, running with others, varying the route, terrain, speed and footwear ( or lack of)...I have recently added another ritual to the run.
It's called 'Take 3' and involves the simple process of picking up at least 3 items of rubbish on every run. Inspired by Tim Silverwood's public campaign against rubbish, particularly plastic, as well as his powerful, evocative talk at TEDx Newy, I have pledged to do my bit and urge other runners to follow suit.
As I write this I have just got back from a run around a park near my home in Singleton, NSW - a town situated on the banks of the Hunter River which feeds into the Pacific Ocean at its mouth in nearby Newcastle. I must have picked up over 30 plastic bottles alone, not to mention countless handfuls of food wrappers, drink containers, cans and plastic straws.
To many people this discarded debri is seen as 'someone else's problem', and most are happy to walk over or around it, often with a bin in site. It's amazing what a different mindset allows as we can choose to make it 'our problem' and take simple steps to solve it.
But the best part, when you implement the Take 3 strategy, after every run you are leaving the environment in a better state than what you found it. Not to mention leaving your own mind and body in a better state as well!
South Australia has had a container deposit scheme for over 30 years, and the Northern Territory has now joined them.
For those wondering, this is how it works: in exchange for every bottle, can or drink carton dropped off at a designated recycle centre, you receive 10c per item.
This got me thinking, how much money could I earn each time I go for a run?
I figure cracking $1 (10 containers) per run would be very manageable. Hardly enough to retire, but over time it would surely add up.
We call it the 'Naked 99 Challenge'
What is it? We want you to collect 99 containers while out running/walking, with a time limit of 99 minutes (roughly, given you may be running watch-free). Easy!
If you accept the challenge, we would love if you could get a photo of you in your running gear along with the 99 containers, then 'Like' The Naked Runners Facebook page & post your photo on our wall. (Disposing of containers in a suitable recycling bin of course...!)
For your efforts, we will promote your achievements via The Naked Runners Podcast & also via Facebook & Twitter, as well as sending out a fantastic prize for the best post-collection photo of each month.
Here is a picture of our winner in December, 2011, Ruth Dover.
Happy running and good luck.
Some great links on running & removing litter:
Eco-Runner - Samual Huber, founder of Eco Running