Published On: Sat, Apr 17th, 2021

Andy Thomson Runs Against Trash

In 2021, City Council member Andy Thomson has made it his goal to run all 475 miles of Boca Raton to collaborate with legislators on ideas to make the city cleaner.

Thomson’s Run the City initiative idea began on New Year’s Day in 2019. He made a resolution to exercise more frequently. On Thomson’s first day of the new resolution, he began running to the You Fit Gym near the Town Center and noticed pieces of trash on the sidewalk.

The next day at the gym, Thomson asked the front desk for a plastic bag and he began picking up trash on his run home. Thomson began jogging three to four times a week while collecting trash. Earlier this year, Thomson made a goal to run all 475 miles of Boca Raton while collecting trash.

Council Member Andy Thomson running with his children. Photo/ Andy Thomson

“If I broke down my runs into an equivalent of a 5k by running three to four times a week, I would complete my 475-mile goal by the end of this year,” said Thomson. “As of April 16, I have ran 119.48 miles and picked up 284.64 pounds of trash.”

Back in February, Thomson introduced the proposal shortly after picking up trash as he jogged the streets in Boca Raton. Prior to the law, the city had a $50 fine for littering. This new law imposes a $250 fine for littering COVID-19 protective equipment. The City Council voted 5-0 in favor of the new law and became the first city in the state to impose a fine for littering protective equipment.

Thomson also began working with Palm Beach County on measures to impose fines for littering PPE. Thomson is also working with representatives from Boca Raton in the state legislature for a potential law.

Since Thomson started his initiative, the biggest change he has noticed are the different kinds of trash and a different perspective of pedestrian walkways. Since the law passed in Boca Raton, Thomson has also noticed fewer masks on the ground while running. He has also identified 224 safety improvements, such as fixing potholes, within the city.

“The number one pieces of trash are water bottles and the second-most items are PPE such as gloves and masks,” said Thomson. “You can see the crosswalks going 30-40 miles per hour in the car, but when you jog you notice more road problems up close.”

In the next few months as the pandemic gets under control, Thomson plans to have mobile office hours in different neighborhoods with three to four people present. He also is partnering with Boca Regional Hospital, Boca Raton Innovation Campus and the Boca Raton Historical Society to collect trash in the city.

“Recently, we had fifty volunteers with Christ Fellowship Church,” said Thomson. “We walked seventeen miles and picked up eighty pounds of trash.”

In just four months, Andy Thomson has made a tremendous impact on Boca Raton by making the city cleaner and safer for residents.

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