I’ve been hearing a lot about Goodgym and their awesome volunteer & run nights and finally decided to check out a run last night. Their concept is simple – combine running with physical tasks that benefit the community. In the typical hour and a half you go for a run, do some physical work (like gardening or scrap clearing or anything!) and then run back to where you started. Who needs gym machines when you can lift wooden beams out of a warehouse?
Their newest runs are a part of their central 5k race series and start/end at Somerset House where Makerversity is renovating the basement to become a shared learning space for, “experimentation, production, employability and enterprise.” They’re on a budget of £0 so need all the help they can get to clean out the HMRC’s dirty basement. Our task last night, to clean up the floors and windows. Half the group got down and dirty sanding the floors for painting and the other half got up and dirty cleaning 200 years of London soot of the Victoria Embankment-facing windows.
We were given 40 minutes to finish the task and did a pretty good job if I do say so myself. After our hard upper body work we headed out to the Thames path and lined up for the 5k time trial. The run is a part of a series where the top man & woman will receive a £50 Runners Need gift certificate! That was incentive enough to sprint past the tourists on Westminster Bridge photo-bomb their Big Ben shots.
It was a scenic route along the Thames, crossing Westminster Bridge and then running just past Lambeth bridge before turning back on ourselves. We finished the race breaking through a ribbon finish line and had our times recorded for the official records. Makerversity then set up a lovely beer & water social after on their private terrace and we chatted with the other goodgym’ers about their usual weekly runs and what project’s they’ve worked on before (also while admiring our lovely clean windows!)
All in all it was a great and different approach to your traditional run club night and so very well organised by the goodgym staff. A lot of runners I know are lovely people who do great things for their community and are often some of the biggest fundraisers for organisations they support, but this is some thing different for those who either aren’t comfortable fundraising for their running
addiction passion or have tapped out their family and friend’s wallets. What I like about this type of volunteering is that it’s direct & easy. It’s easy for the volunteer (45 minutes of my time to do some manual labour after work is not something I have to plan my life around) and easy for the organisation as it doesn’t take a lot of resources to plan/hire/pay a contractor to do the same work.