Mother and daughter running along the canal Plogging on the Grand Union Canal

Jacqui & Jaime, plogging in Hemel Hempstead

I’ve exercised with my own mum for as long as I can remember. Yoga mostly, and walking, but we've always been active. Now I enjoy exercising with my own daughter, Jaime. It’s a great way to reconnect with each other and take some time without the day-to-day distractions of work and school and little brothers that get in the way otherwise! There's something different about the rhythm of running that helps conversations flow.

Running along the canal together is a great way to get away from it all. It gives us an opportunity to escape from the roads and the noise of the traffic. We live near the centre of a busy town but when we're out running along the canals we could be anywhere.

Jaime bought herself a litter picker last year with her own money. She uses it everywhere – particularly on the school run. It’s great because she’s passionate about the environment and believes in making change happen herself. It does mean it takes a long time to get anywhere though!

Litter picking by the Grand Union Canal

I didn’t realise that collecting litter while you’re running is called plogging until recently. It makes sense to do it when we’re out running together. It gives us a focus and helps distract from the distance we’re running. It can be a bit awkward to run with a litter picker. It’s easiest just to take a bag and gloves.

There’s usually more litter at the weekend after people have been out on a Friday or Saturday night. We’ve been out on a Sunday morning and found takeaway cartons, beer cans and empty cigarette packets. Despite this the canal is still a beautiful place to come and have a run and we just clean it as we go. It's a very satisfying thing to do.

I know that Jaime will be off doing her own thing soon. I’m making the most of this time while I can although I hope we will always be able to grab our trainers and get out into the countryside together. The canal has always been part of our lives and it’s comforting to think that as she grows up it will always be a place we can visit and remember running and laughing together.