It’s been a while since we have heard about the successful running career of Simone “Flying Brick” around our local trails and tracks in Melbourne. No wonder this super chic has been practicing plogging for a while to help her local trails and create a good example, while smashing records and inspiring many. We asked her about her journey and how she got into this trend.
Well Simone, we would like to know a bit more about you, where do you come from and your journey in life.
I was born in Perth and moved to Melbourne when I was 4 where I have lived ever since with my huge family. I am the second youngest of seven kids and currently have one niece and four nephews added to the mix. Growing up I was always involved in team sports but in 2015 found a love and passion for running as it helped me overcome multiple mental illnesses and I haven't looked back since! I have previously studied Personal Training and Nursing but am currently studying Biomedicine at The University of Melbourne around my running training.
For how long have you been involved in plogging?
Growing up living next to the beach we have always been taught to pick up any rubbish that's around if its safe to do so, so it feels like I kind of always have as there is sadly always stuff around on walks. As far as actual runs aimed at picking up rubbish though, I started that in 2016 in my Marathon build up.
How did you find out about it?
When I started I didn't know it was actually a thing, I did it on my 'rubbish' days, when I physically felt like rubbish and didn't want to get my training done or knew it would be hard. I would change the focus to see how much rubbish I could pick up in whatever distance I was meant to go. It got my training done while also making me feel a lot better about the way I was feeling those days.
Do you do it by yourself or with friends? Where do you usually plog?
I've always done it alone and close to home at my local park or along the bayside beach trails.
Why did you start? What has been your motivation behind it?
My motivation has always come from a place of wanting to help the environment and prevent harm to animals. Living near the beach I would always imagine the pieces of rubbish I saw being swept into the water and what it could then do to the animals and places I like to swim, which was motivation enough to want to pick up every piece I found! Then there is the mildly selfish motivation of wanting to feel better about my place in the world and feel accomplished in trying to leave the world a better place.
Tell us a bit about the response from your community.
To be honest not many people notice, although I do get a few strange looks when I am out with plastic bags picking up rubbish from the busy summer picnic areas. Some people question me and why I do it, and sometimes I see others observing and then going out of their way to make sure they collect and properly dispose of all their rubbish which is awesome to see.
What do you think is your biggest challenge while plogging?
Partially it's the mental struggle of knowing a place I cleaned of rubbish yesterday will be just as grubby tomorrow in the busy areas, which can seem like a never ending battle and sparks the question 'what's the point', although I find it easier to combat that the more often I go. Then the only other part would be the worry of picking up something dangerous or infectious like needles.
Were you always active before plogging? What other sports have you practiced?
I have always been active, and have previously played basketball, soccer, tennis, swimming, netball and softball. Now it's all just running of all kinds - Mountain, trail, road and track.
What is your top tip for new ploggers?
Start small and remember that any little bit counts! It can get overwhelming if you try to take on too large of an area by yourself or struggle at facing up to just how much rubbish is on our beautiful trails, but if we all contribute even a little bit goes a long way.
And finally, do you have a personal reason to do it?
My selfish me reason is the personal satisfaction of feeling more connected to the environment and being more at peace with my place in it. Although I must admit - I am also a little OCD about organising all the rubbish into the correct cardboard/bottles/recyclable plastics categories to make sure its disposed of in the best way possible and that in itself is a satisfying process!
Thank you for your time Simone! We are pretty sure you will keep inspiring others on their journeys! And we wish you the best during this year challenges and races. You are going to keep smashing your goals while helping Mother Nature!
And by the way, we are super happy to have this superstar plogging with us during the Salomon Road Trip Series event this coming 23rd of February! So if you want to meet her, come and join us for a plogging run around Studley Park. We can assure you will have lots of fun while doing something good for the planet!