RUNNERS picked up their pace — and a load of litter — when they went on their first ever “plog”.

Public-spirited members of Harwood Run Group turned out in force at the weekend to mix getting fit with helping clean up their neighbourhood.

They were getting their first taste of “plogging”— the name given to the latest exercise craze from Sweden which combines jogging with litter-picking. The social run between friends acts as a practical way of helping the environment.

Sunday’s event was organised by Harwood Run Group coach Andy Bassett.

Mr Bassett, who lives in Harwood, said: “I’d heard about plogging and it seemed a great way of getting people up and active, letting people have fun with friends while improving the area. It’s all about taking pride in where we live.”

The group, which included runners, their families and friends of all ages, were provided with gloves, bags and litter-pickers by Bolton Council and collected more than a dozen giant bags of litter — plus a shopping trolley retrieved from the pond in Longsight Park!

Mr Bassett added: “The response was amazing and we couldn’t believe how much litter we collected. It was very rewarding to see the difference we were able to make.”

In fact, the day was so successful that he is hopeful that many more plogs will follow.