• The Disruptive Designer

Windermere Marathon!!

Updated: Jun 13, 2019

The Lake District has been named as a World Heritage Site, Unesco has announced. (2017)

The region joins sites including the Taj Mahal, the Grand Canyon and Stonehenge on the prestigious list.

Lord Clark of Windermere, who chaired the Lake District's bid, said the decision to recognise the region's culture, art and literature, as well as its landscape, was "momentous".

"It is this exceptional blend which makes our Lake District so spectacularly unique and we are delighted Unesco has agreed."


On May 5th 2018 I started running, something I had not done in over 15 years. Maybe as I hit 40 I was entering a mid life crisis, and if social media has anything to go by, "extreme fitness" is deemed as the new sports car! For me, I wanted to get into shape, reduce the mid life spread and keep up with my 6year old son who was showing a growing interest in sports. My neighbour was training for the Great North Run and asked me to join him. Running became an addiction and the distances and terrain became more challenging as I seeked to achieve the "runners high". Running became an opportunity for me to clear my head and escape from the hectic pressures of family and work. I found my head cleared after a couple of miles and my attention switched to my masters and creative thinking.

"Running for me allowed for Creativity".

To celebrate my 1 year running anniversary I decided to set myself the challenge of running a marathon. It has always been on my "bucket list" and this was as ideal opportunity for me to prepare and work towards a personal goal. Not to be totally self centred, I opted to raise as much money as possible for Alzheimers Society, as several of my close relatives have the disease. I also sensed my son was going through a phase in his life, where his confidence was fragile and he became frustrated if he could not do something straight away. I believed and still do, that as a father I need to show that some things are worth trying hard for. Training hard for a marathon and participating in events, would prove to him that anything is possible with effort and drive. Windermere Marathon was my chosen event due the timing and also my family connection. My parents in law and my wife lived in the Lakes and past generations swim the Lakes and ran the fells for various sporting clubs. It was an opportunity to extend the family history and connection to the Lake.

As the event got nearer and my masters project became more and more focused I decided to try and use the occasion to gather primary research and to experiment with digital recording Apps. I had already decided on the theme LITTERING (see past post) as it is an pollution issue that is increasing and costing the tax payer billions per year in the UK. You cannot escape the plastics issue on tv and in the news, and how animals are becoming endangered due to mans behaviours, mass manufacturing and the depleting worlds resources. I did a call out on an online running club forum, LONELY GOAT RUNNING CLUB (which I am a member) asking fellow running enthusiasts to post photos of any litter they see on their daily running routes. I explained why I was asking and how the images will be used.

Images posted showed the extent of littering around the UK, which in return prevoked anger and upset amongst several members. This got me wondering about whether or not littering is an issue around one of the most beautiful lakes in the world?

If it is an issue how could I record it to raise awareness and provoke reaction?

May 19th 2019 - The day of the marathon was my opportunity to not only raise money for a worthy cause, tick a box on my bucket list, inspire my son, get fit and also to carry out primary research for my masters. In my eyes this was a win, win situation for everyone, providing I could run 26.2miles around the 5th toughest marathon in the UK.


1 - Register, pay and complete the Windermere marathon.

2 - Using my Iphone camera - take a photo of litter in the area each mile around the lake.

3 - Use my GPS watch to record my run using the Garmin Connect and Strava Apps.

4 - Combine the photos and gps run using Relive APP

5 - Edit video and seek feedback for improvement on impact.

Video 1 - Contained images and music only. 3 minute duration.

Tested: Lonely Goat Members via Facebook closed page and Sass Brown (Senior Lecturer at MMU, expert in sustainability).

Feedback: LG.

Roger Cockburn Good point made David, useless lazy gits, how hard is it to carry a bit of litter to a bin?

Linda Morris It makes me very cross!

Marie Briggs That's actually really sad to see 😞

Gill Situnayake Shame that for some runners/walkers, that connection with maintaining a beautiful environment takes second place to their personal comfort or performance!

Anthea Scott David you have produced a powerful; emotional and thought provoking contrivance. To me it hits home that we are all responsible for our environment and I feel a sickening sadness that it is being suffocated by litter. You should 'run' with this project.

Josh McGinley Litter really bugs me! There is just no need for it, it's just sheer laziness at the expense of nature. Even if you have no concept of the damage it could cause why would you do it? There's just no excuse. When out on walks il often clear litter from parks but where do you draw the line? I could be there for hours picking every bit I see up. I usually pick up the few largest pieces I see within a decent vicinity of a bin and tell myself at least I'm doing something. If I see someone littering they'll know about it! In a very British passive aggressive way of course lol

Feedback from Sass Brown (Sustainability expert MMU)

Lovely video, nicely done. I think the trick will be your use of it as documentation for your theme and linking with references to the damage of pollution/littering on the natural environment. :

Edited Video:

Taking Sass Browns feedback I decided to add narration to the video in an attempt to create more of an emotional reaction and help raise awareness of the issue. Interestingly, the original post asking for images of litter hit over 200 likes and over 100 comments, yet when the video was posted asking for feedback, it only received 5 responses and 4 comments. It has made me question the suitability of platforms for dissemination of such a serious issue.

I will attempt to do this again as it could just have been a timing issue.

I asked Sass Brown for advice, given her expertise, and Sass recommended I try university platforms and Linkedin. I would try Linkedin however, due to my work situation, I am currently remaining digitally inactive on such platforms.

Please follow Link to watch video:


When I started running I was not confident whether there would be any litter around Lake Windermere as it is a World Heritage Site. I suspected I might find some examples of littering, but nothing significant. The truth is that I had no issue finding litter to document every mile, in fact there was far more litter than I could document without running out of battery or significantly slowing my run down. It was certainly sad to see.

The litter became predictable after a while and consisted mainly of beverage wrappers. To include:

  • Chocolate bar wrappers

  • Plastic bottles

  • Cans of drink (alcoholic and non)

  • Crisp packets

  • Beverage cups and lids

  • Plastic bags

One could not help wonder how they got there and why they hadn't been cleaned up? Had they been blown in the wind and become trapped on the hedgerow, fence? Had they been dropped by people who could not find a bin? Thrown out of car window? Carried by scavengers who had foraged through waste bins?

The truth is unknown, but the fact is litter was not only spoiling nature but also harming wildlife.

The question is what can be done about it?

I could pick up the litter but that doesn't solve the issue permanently.

Raising awareness I feel is the best form of prevention, but finding the most affective method is still to be determined.


The video has been sent for feedback to:

Ben Westwood - (Viviennes son) - Climate change activist.

Helen Storey - Sustainability activist