Sheffield runners head south for run with a difference

Stuart Walker, founder of Runners Against Rubbish.
Stuart Walker, founder of Runners Against Rubbish.
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A Sheffield running group will head South this weekend but there won't be anyone racing to the finish line.

Runners Against Rubbish was set up in October 2016 by Stuart Walker, from Sheffield, and the group has one aim - to tidy up the streets.

Stuart Walker.

Stuart Walker.

But it's not just the Steel City where members are based - the team has runners signed up from the far north of Scotland to the South Devon coast.

And it is the southern coast which is the site for the group's first ambitious project. Runners Against Rubbish will hold a Pick the Path event on the South West Coast Past, which runs from Minehead in Somerset to Poole in Dorset.

The race will be held from Friday, July 27 to Sunday, July 29 and will cover all 630 miles of the country's longest National Trail.

Dartmoor runner and Runners Against Rubbish member Charlie Massey pitched the idea to Stuart and together they will oversee the event as 72 runners from all over the country cover the whole South West Coast path over the weekend.

The pair hope the event will not just leave the path a little cleaner, but raise awareness among runners and the occasional walker who may get overtaken

Stuart said: "The idea to start Runners Against Rubbish started when I was out in the Peak District one day. I came across a few discarded runners’ energy gels, and though hang on, we’re privileged to have such an amazing landscape to run in, and we treat it like this.

"It has knock on effects for the environment, including harming wildlife so I decided to do something about it and started Runners Against Rubbish. Charlie and I met via the charity, and the idea of an event based around this amazing coastal route just grew."

Charlie said: "Living on Dartmoor, I’m spoilt for choice when it comes to running off road, but it does make me sad when in the middle of all that beauty I come across rubbish which people simply can’t be bothered to take home. If the event makes just a few more people pick up and take home, that’s a result."