GoodGym - Good for you and good that you do.
I had just moved to London, with a job and a flat sorted I had two goals; to find a local volunteering opportunity and to get into running. I had unsuccessfully attempted the latter for some two years. Some friends mentioned this cool running club that their friend ran with; they don’t just run, they run to do good things. It sounded too perfect to be true. Fast forward to today and I have been running and doing good with GoodGym for nearly four years now!
GoodGym’s mission is simple, to help us get fit by doing exercise that helps our communities.
I went along to my local group’s weekly run nervous, as I tend to be when meeting a group of new people, but I had no reason to be. Everyone was incredibly welcoming, friendly and made me feel at home straight away. On our group runs, paused during lockdown, we run to a local charity or community organisation and carry out a task for them. The only criteria is that the task should be physical! The variety of tasks keeps the group runs exciting and our trainers, Ian and Lucy before him, do a fantastic job of making it fun. Some of my highlights have been painting a primary school playground and wrapping christmas presents for refugee and asylum seeker children.
After a few months of group runs I got my DBS check and started doing Mission runs. These are one off tasks for older people who are unable to do the tasks themselves, like moving furniture to make space for a hospital bed or even a spot of weeding in the garden. The simple brilliance of missions struck me right from my first one. We were asked to move some furniture around for Mrs C so that she could access her heating control which was hidden behind a wardrobe and some drawers. It was mid-summer and her flat was boiling. Half an hour of heavy lifting was all it took to transform her flat from sauna to a comfortable home! I continue to be amazed at the difference we are able to make to people’s lives through GoodGym whilst getting some exercise ourselves.
Through Covid-19 and its lockdowns, I feel like GoodGym has had an even more important role to play in supporting those isolated in our communities; from doing grocery runs for people shielding to helping set up WhatsApp and Zoom on tablets for Age UK, enabling isolated older people to stay better connected with their loved ones.
GoodGym is just the most joyful thing, even in the pouring rain. It can even make litter picking fun.
I was mainly attracted by the flexibility of GoodGym, you can get involved as much or as little as your schedule allows, but GoodGym has given me so much more. I have met so many wonderful people, made many friends, feel engaged with my community and have learnt many new skills, especially gardening.
The most important thing I’ve got from GoodGym is a better relationship with my body. It has made me realise that I too am a runner; a runner is anyone who runs, no matter the speed or distance! I grew up uncomfortable with my body and with my legs in particular. I am now so grateful for my legs and all that they do for me! I know now that my “Thunder Thighs” (a very original nickname given to them by some teenage peers...) are real power houses. Yesterday they carried me through a 25km run, something I would never have thought remotely possible before I joined GoodGym. I am forever grateful to GoodGym for that.