GoodGym is a running club dedicated to doing good in your local community. Why do I run with GoodGym? Well, because there’s always time to help someone who really needs it.My first GoodGym run was in January 2013 after moving to the South West where I found myself on new turf with no friends. GoodGym was a great way to meet open-minded individuals who didn’t mind sacrificing their time to help others. It was also a conscious effort to explore Bristol by foot and to find the local communities and individuals who needed help so it made sense to join the red army (the bright red GoodGym tshirts can be seen a mile off!).
Good Gym is different
Joining a new running club can sometimes be quite intimidating, it’s like going on a date for the first time. You turn up on time, dressed in your finest lycra, awkwardly looking at your phone to suggest you are well-connected and not usually standing by yourself. It can be a real risk trying something new because you don’t know if you’ll like it, or if it’ll work for you.
I’ve never had that experience with Good Gym, there’s this lovely etiquette where everyone always introduces themselves to you, even if they or you are not regular runners. If they don’t, then they are probably an unsuspecting bystander unaware that they are standing in a meeting point and you’ve just said hi to them.
Sign up to GoodGym !
Firstly, you find a nearby GoodGym (tons in London, Bristol, Birmingham, York, the list is endless), you sign up to a run and when you get there you do a quick warm up and head over to complete a mission. Usually the run distance is outlined on the run description so no nasty surprises!
GoodGym isn’t about being able to run quick, as long as you can run a 5k then you should be fine – there are front and back markers for everyone so no-one gets left behind. In fact, the people you go running with are usually quite interesting so you normally want to go at a “conversation-pace” when running to your challenge. A mission could be anything from painting a church hall to de-weeding a community allotment. You will meet the individual who needs help and they will explain what the task is!
Tonight’s #GoodGym Hounslow ????♀️???? run took us to Ealing Baptist Church where we helped the minister, Roger. We moved over 10 mattresses and 10 big bags of bedding which is used when the church is a night shelter. We also helped Roger by moving some heavy items from the cellar into the skip. He said “it may not look like alot, but trust me, your help has made a big difference” ???????? Roger works independently at the church, he’s basically a project manager as well as a minister and relished our company tonight. This is Roger mid-sentence as he asks us if someone has a tin opener…???? Shortly after, he told us he’d made us a chicken curry which was sensational. There is always someone who needs extra support or company. Break out from your comfort zone and use your quest for health and fitness as a way to help be a friend to someone who really needs your help. Find a GoodGym near you by visiting www.goodgym.org ????@goodgym
The greater good
The foundations of GoodGym stem from the roots of social responsibility, a cause that sits close to my heart – this is why I am so passionate to wear my red T-shirt. In a bid to combat loneliness within the older generation, GoodGym was founded as the connection point between a willing runner volunteer and an elderly person who is on the edges of society. There might be someone who lives only two doors down from you or sat next to you on the bus, these are people who feel isolated or lonely. They may not have the balance to fix their curtains or change a light bulb and they might need someone to chat to them about their day, it’s a small gesture which makes a massive impact on someone else.
I’ve always wanted to help other people but sometimes volunteering can be quite daunting, I’ve heard nightmare stories from friends who have signed up to volunteer, only to find they are left dawdling, directionless and consequently unmotivated. Ofcourse that doesn’t happen all the time, I am having a very positive experience with AgeUK so far, but I like to consider volunteering with GoodGym as ‘entry-level’ volunteering because they make it really easy to join up to the running clubs and the process for connecting up with a Coach aka. an elderly person couldn’t be more simple.
I’m not sure it’s quite runners’ high, but the feeling I get when I come back a GoodGym is always unmatched by anything else. I feel good from exercising, I feel uplifted from making a difference, I feel inspired to further change in my everyday, I feel happy from chatting to like-minded people. There’s not really anything else like this combination of feelings.
Sign up to GoodGym today
Did you know there is a GoodGym in Chiswick?