Isolation diary: Running to help

Have you heard of GoodGym?  Put simply, they combine exercise with helping their communities – their motto is “Do Good, Get Fit”. It’s a brilliant idea, and one that is spreading across the UK, with 58 branches and 17,500 members already active and more branches under development. They say:

We are a community of runners that combine getting fit with doing good. We stop off on our runs to do physical tasks for community organisations and to support isolated older people with social visits and one-off tasks they can’t do on their own. It’s a great way to get fit, meet new people and do some good. As long as you’re up for getting sweaty, everyone’s welcome.

I came across the local branch a year or so ago, when they helped the choir I sing with. We hold four concerts each year mainly in two large local churches which have wonderful acoustics. The raked staging has to be built for each concert, the chairs set out, then all has to be dismantled afterwards, and GoodGym members have come along to help.

Afterwards they write a run report and they seem to compete to include the most puns. Here is an extract:

Sure we can Handel it; it will be done in minim-al time!

We were Bach to help the Kingston Choral Society to set up for their concert this evening, and there were high expectations for a pun-filled report.

… we picked up the tempo and found a good rhythm, setting out the chairs in unison. One side was more dominant with seven(ths), the other lined with slightly diminished 6-seater rows, but the nifty spreadsheet ensured that 92 chairs were set out in the most orderly fashion. There was the minor setback of needing to switch some chairs that didn’t have the protective caps on and would scratch the floor with others, but all in all we kept out of treble. A dynamic team, we worked perfect harmony, and within a matter of minuets

Hey presto,

The stage is set and chairs are out!

The reason I am writing about them today is because of the terrific work they have been doing during lockdown. Although they haven’t been able to do group runs, hundreds of GoodGym members throughout the country have been active on individual missions by running to pick up and take supplies to vulnerable people. When they had heavy bags to carry they used cycling as an alternative form of exercise.

In Kingston local councillors have recruited street foodbank champions across the Borough, and large amounts have been donated by the public to street collection points outside their homes. The councillors brought GoodGym in on the project to ensure that all the donations reached the main foodbank distribution hubs. Sometimes that did necessitate using a car – one local GoodGym member has posted a photo of 30 bags of foodbank donations stuffed into his small Suzuki.

I can see that some GoodGym members have also been encouraging people to keep fit in their homes with training videos.

GoodGym has been a bit under the radar, so it is about time they got some acknowledgement for the contributions they have made to the community both before and during lockdown. Thank you to all of them.

 


Please note

We have been in full self-isolation since 16th March to protect my husband whose immune system is compromised.

If you are in self-isolation then join the Lib Dems in self-isolation Facebook group.

You can find my previous Isolation diaries here.

 

* Mary Reid is a contributing editor on Lib Dem Voice. She was a councillor in Kingston upon Thames, where she is still very active with the local party, and is the Hon President of Kingston Lib Dems.

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