There are two certainties to Wanaka: a love of exercise and a dedication to recycling. This Sunday provides an opportunity to combine both pastimes through plogging, the latest fitness trend that originated in Sweden. The word Plogga is derived from Plocka (pick up) and jogga (jog).
Erik Ahlström, the Swedish founder of Plogga, is stopping in Wanaka during his world Plogga tour and connecting with people who share the same desire to live in a clean world.
Ahlström, who is currently travelling via camper van with his son, said Wanaka is one of his favourite places, and it was a natural stop in the New Zealand tour due to the locals’ love and protection of the environment.
He added that plogging is typically measured in time, not distance; however, they have been running more in New Zealand as the land is traditionally more clean when compared with other countries. “I was in Auckland and we were running for an hour, but when I run in Europe it’s so dirty, so it doesn’t really involve so much running because it’s more bending down and picking up garbage.”
Ahlström said he is enjoying his New Zealand tour before flying to Munich, Germany, to participate in a unique plogging event at ISPO Accelerating Sports.
“You guys have so much energy, hospitality and friendship and you care so much. When we did the Auckland plogging event, people were passing us on the side of the road and honking and also bicycling past us telling us that were were doing a great job… someone even stopped by to give us strawberries for free. That wouldn't happen in other countries. It is a great atmosphere here.”
Sunday’s plogga event is designed for all ages and starts at 12pm at Wanaka i-SITE Information Centre. Anyone interested is encouraged to sign up on Plogga’s Facebook page called Plogga in Wanaka and to bring gloves and a trash collection bag.
“If you see rubbish on the ground, be proud to pick it up as it could lead by example and create a change in attitude,” said Ahlström.