GREEN RUNNERS: Cleaning Up & Working Out

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We all know running can be good for our health. One running group pounds the pavement for an added benefit. And, the group's mission is spreading to other areas of the state.

Group Leader Rachel Scheib says, "We dedicate time to running and bettering our bodies."

But this run requires gloves and bags. Scheib says, "We also do something extra by picking up trash in our path."

They call themselves the Green Runners. Scheib started the group last May. She says, "Because I would run almost every day and see all the trash on the side of the sidewalks, on the side of the road, and it just kind of got to me."

Last year, the group went on twenty green runs around the metro, filling five to six bags each time. Her husband and fellow runner Tim Scheib says, "The biggest places we find are wherever there's tall grass, so anytime there is a ditch you can't see it from the road, but when you get down in there, it's full of garbage. About every run we find a hub cap."

The group kicked off the season on Earth Day. Members found everything from a toy to a birthday card. The runners returned with five heavy bags in just 20 minutes on a short stretch of Ankeny Boulevard.

New member Brittney Switzer says, "We're just running, picking up trash. It's a great combination of fitness and environmental consciousness."

The green runners group has expanded to two other locations in the state. There's now a group in Humboldt and the Waterloo/Cedar Falls area this season. And, organizers say really anyone can get involved."

Scheib says, "My mother-in-law tells me about her green walks, my grandma in Audubon does some green walks out in their yard, so it's fun to hear about all different kinds of people, maybe not running, but walking, picking up trash, doing their part."

The runs last for 45 minutes, followed by dinner at a nearby restaurant. The green runners meet next Thursday for the second run of the season. The group hasn't decided on the location yet, but it will be listed on the group's Facebook page.

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