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Clean-up crusader eco-runner blazes rubbish trail

Marathon runner Stephen Gabbutt picks up more rubbish in his clean-up crusade
Marathon runner Stephen Gabbutt picks up more rubbish in his clean-up crusade

An incredible Bourne endurance runner and self-styled Womble has picked up rubbish every day he’s gone out running or walking for the last year.

Stephen Gabbutt, 44, was inspired to help clean up his local streets and roads after watching a YouTube video of Frenchman Nicolas Lemonnier collecting trash every time he ran.

The talented long distance runner and committed eco-activist immediately decided to pick up the torch and run with it.

Now Stephen has set his sights on picking up litter every day for a staggering 1000 days.

“I love running and I want to help clean up my community at the same time so this is the ideal way to do it.

“It was back in September 2017 when I clicked on a link which showed Nicolas collecting rubbish on each of his runs,” said the international standards auditor.

“The clip was also seen by the founder of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, and he now helps Nicolas’s group called ‘Run Eco Team’.

“So I decided to do my bit for the environment by picking up a piece of rubbish every day for a year.”

Stephen, who runs Independent European Certification Ltd in Spalding, said he’s been well and truly fired up by his incredible crusade to make Bourne a better, cleaner place to live in.

“I’ve really enjoyed doing it and it is so rewarding to make such a big difference.

“In Europe rubbish collecting while running has grown into a new sport and is often referred to as Plogging (Picking Up Litter When Jogging),” said the dad-of-three.

“I’m not keen on that so I looked back to my childhood in the 1970s and decided to call my new activity Wombling from the legendary animated series the Wombles.

“They loved to go out and pick up rubbish and I still have all their albums so it couldn’t be more appropriate!”

Stephen said his children, Elizabeth, 15, Harry, 12, and Scarlet, five, were all behind his campaign with his wife Jane.

“They’ll all come out for walks with me and help clean up while Elizabeth joins me on runs as well now and again,” said the Werrington Joggers’ star.

“I travel all over the world in my job,” he said.

“I’ve collected all sorts of rubbish from beer cans to plastic bottles and takeaway trash from Genoa to the French Alps and Malaysia.”

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