Upcoming Urban Run Series event is a marriage made in plogging heaven | Local News


Walking and running are two of the top five most popular exercise activities.

Cigarette butts, food wrappers, plastic bottles, plastic bottle caps and plastic grocery bags are the most common items littered, in that order.

Erik Ahlström combined the two forms of exercise with an organized trash cleanup six years ago in Stockholm, Sweden, mashing the Swedish words for “jog” and “picking up” into an event he called plogging.

Plogging has since swept the world, and will make its first appearance next weekend as part of the Urban Run Series in Buffalo.

“I have this weird thing about the waterfront that I really want to keep it clean because that’s where I run the most,” said Dennis Brinkworth, series co-creator, who organized the run for 11 am Aug. 20, starting and ending at Flying Bison Brewing Company in Larkinville.

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His wife, Jenna, community engagement manager with Tobacco Free WNY, asked if she could help organize the event, which includes a two-mile run focused on picking up cigarette butts.

A six-mile run to the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus and four-mile outing to the downtown entertainment district also are on tap.

The run at any distance is free, walkers are welcome and gloves and trash bags will be provided – along with Paula’s Donuts, fruits and healthy snacks.

Like Wednesday evening and Saturday morning Urban Runs, participants get their first pint afterward for $5.

“It’s a pretty easy activity and it’s a way that you can feel good about yourself running and do something meaningful for the community,” said Dennis Brinkworth, also regional marketing manager with FX Matt Brewing Company, which owns Flying Bison.

His wife, whose office is at Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center, asked to participate after a running shoe rep who was organizing a plogging run in New England suggested Brinkworth do the same in Buffalo.

As many as 5 trillion cigarette butts are flicked, tossed and squashed globally each year, according to Greenbutts, a California company that has created a biodegradable cigarette filter.

“Think what it was maybe 30 years ago,” Brinkworth said.

The five-year-old Urban Run Series has branched away slightly from its waterfront runs. Some Saturday events start at Cole’s with routes that spill into Delaware Park and Forest Lawn. The series hosted its first Pride Run in June.

There is talk of a mural run along the Hertel Avenue strip and other themed runs – including more plogging.

“We’re trying to do things that are more meaningful and have more of an impact,” Brinkworth said.

See the run schedule and learn more at the Urban Run Series Buffalo page on Facebook.

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