Green runners, running, environment, trash, garbage, health, renew Iowa

GREEN RUNNERS: Picking Up While Pounding The Pavement

You’ve probably heard of a running club, but a new group is like one you’ve never seen.

Pounding the pavement, isn’t anything new for a group of runners in green shirts. Runner Megan Downing says, “It’s just really fun to get involved in exercise.”

But, this group is different. Members carry bags and wear gloves. Runner Maddie Dugan says, “We joined because it’s a fun thing to do with my mom and my sister. And, we get to run for a cause.”

The cause is cleaning up the trails. The group is called Green Runners. Rachel Kautzky started the club about a month ago. She says, “This was a result of my guilt running past all the garbage on my daily runs.”

Kautzky says she rallied friends and co-workers. They run about two to three miles on different trails each week picking up trash. They find candy wrappers, beer cans, and once even a chip bag filled with chew. Kautzky says, “Which was pretty gross, so I’m like, welcome to green running, Rachel. I’m now initiated.”

Kautzky says she hasn’t kept track of the trash they’ve collected. But, she says it adds up. She’s even had to buy bigger bags. She says, “We’ve done quite a few bags. We had people who actually empty their bags in the trash can and go with the same bags, and fill them up 3 or 4 times.”

Kautzky says the group is growing. Eight people participated in a recent run. And, she says she hopes to convince even more people to hit the trails with their unique group. She says, “Obviously, picking up trash is not a fun thing to do, but people say that about exercise too. It’s not a real fun thing to do, but it’s not about what you’re doing during it. It’s more how you feel afterwards. And, that’s what we’re about, picking up trash and feeling good about what we’ve done for the environment and our bodies.”

The next green run is Thursday at 7 p.m. The group will meet at Advance Auto at the corner of 63rd Street and Grand Avenue and then hit the nearby trail. You can like the group on Facebook for more information. Just look for Green Runners.

Kautzky says the goal is to host runs in different locations at the same time.

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