Westminster

Group run

This is speed volunteering: 15 tasks, 176 good deeds, 70 kilometres in just 90 minutes

Friday, 2nd of June 2017
Led by Joel Wiles

176 runners ran 4km to help their local community in Westminster.

Well that was a lot of fun!!

At about 9.15am I was standing in a large empty room at City Hall. It was blissfully quiet. Not for long. A few eager runners started arriving, checking in before collecting their t-shirt and finding their task for the morning. Soon more came and before I knew it there was queue forming outside and the noise of chatter and laughter was deafening. This was GoodGym's biggest ever run to mark National Volunteers Week.

After a warm welcome by Laura Brown from Team London and Matthew Ryder, Deputy Mayor for Social Integration, Social Mobility and Community Engagement we were quickly outside and into the warm sunshine. We posed for photos and then got ready for the tasks ahead. Read what each of the teams got up to below.

Team Poppies

Weaving between the commuters and unintentionally photobombing tourist photos on London Bridge, a very upbeat and enthusiastic forty-eight runners - led by GoodGym Lewisham trainer Adele - headed over to the splendour of the Guildhall, to help the Royal British Legion. On arrival, we were presented with our task: to construct boxes, fill them with poppies for the Poppy Appeal and to pack these ready for distribution all over London in the autumn. How wonderful to see all of these people, some of whom had only just met, work together so well to smash our task. Admittedly there was a fair bit of competitive fun going on, with volunteers racing to build more boxes than their fellow builders, with boxes piling up around us and a production line of determined workers buzzing around the space. Before we knew it, we had reached our goal, with box-builders being reassigned to help pack poppies and the previously full tables clearing around us. Amazing work everyone, the task was accomplished in just 45 minutes, with an incredible 940 boxes packed and ready to go! Not only did these wonderful people exceed expectations at the task, but they still had enough energy to push themselves further with some squats, knee lifts and an epic plank-off - what a way to start #VolunteersWeek!

Report by GoodGym Lewisham Trainer Adele

Team Age UK Southwark

Team Southwark did the capital proud this morning. After a few dynamic warm ups which included some fancy footwork, a game of chicken or chips (with some dodgy tactics) and even a series of burpees, we set off on the 1.5 mile run to South Age UK with Caroline backmarking. We played dodge the tourist on the way, as well as stopping for some planks, squat holds, a sprint race with a small child, and even a Rocky moment on the steps of a church. Once we got to the beautiful Age UK building, we got stuck into handing round drinks and chatting to the users. A ping pong table appeared, and before long there was a challenger - but sadly not the Lithuanian table tennis champion that was part of our GoodGym team (true fact). It was a heated contest, but Team Age UK flourished with Bill at the bat over our player, Sam. Can't win 'em all! In the heat of the blazing sun it was a quick run back, stopping only to regroup with another team, and to use the water feature at More London to, ahem, 'rehydrate'. Great work today Team Southwark, hope to see you all on a GoodGym run soon!

Report by GoodGym Wandsworth trainer Ana

Team Bost

Today I led a group of 12 to lend a hand (or rather, 24!) to the amazing Bankside Open Spaces Trust. Our group was made of a couple of frequent GoodGym runners, Helen and Alyx, and 9 others who Alyx had brought along from her offices. We ran to the task location a little past Borough station, and had a great briefing from Clive from BOST. We quickly got to work; digging and breaking up hard inhospitable soil, and then scattering and raking across some lovely fresh compost that they'll be able to do some planting in soon! We made our way back, bringing us to 5km altogether. Since we'd finished the task quickly, and ran really well, we had a nice bit of time for our fitness session where we did some core work and then did some exercises at different intensity based on a coin toss. A great run!

Report by GoodGym Croydon Run Leader Dom

Team ALD Life

Our smashing and speedy group of 8 headed to Peckham to help ALD Life sort donations in the basement of their charity shop. The task looked daunting but the team rallied quickly together to get organised whilst Charlie from London Sport steamed out the creases and chose his favourite dress.

In 25 minutes we'd organised all the clothing into lovely neat piles so after a big thank you from Maria and the shop team, we powered back towards Tower Bridge via a partner workout in Burgess Park with commando crawls, planks and loads of other good stuff.

We even managed an extra good deed on the way back as a car had broken down at a junction so runners from Sarah's team and ours grouped together to push it to safety!

Report by GoodGym York trainer Egg

Team Fareshare

10 brave runners ran South East from City Hall towards Deptford. Debs had come all the way from Bristol to take on this 10k. People from at least 6 GoodGym areas were represented.

Fareshare are a national charity that re-distribute food that would be wasted to those who need to eat. It's work has massive impact.

We covered about 5k on the way there, our route taking in Millwall stadium and the Lewisham Refuse and Recycling Centre.

On the way we planned various mayoral policies: including dogs for all, housing solutions and special green connection paths between parks.

We arrived at the task and met Stephanie - she got us into protective boots and high visibility jackets. Looking slick we were introduced to our task: removing ~3400 out of date strawberry pop tarts from the packets and ~4000 out of date chicken and mushroom pies so that they can be turned into pig feed.

We were hugely impressed with the efficiency, scale and dedication of the the Fareshare team: the place is a huge operation with hundreds of volunteers involved every week.

In our 25 minutes we go 70% of the pop tarts done and a bit less of the chicken pies (they had to be unwrapped inside a giant fridge).

Feeling like we'd worked out our ams we ran a simpler route back: along the side of Southwark park and back on Jamaica road.

We'd made some new friends, handled hundreds of pies and poptarts, and completed 9.95km .

Report by GoodGym Tower Hamlets Run Leader Ivo Gormley

Team Aldgate Play & Heritage

Team Aldgate Play & Heritage Project took off over Tower Bridge and met task leader Laura outside an old disused car park that is being transformed into an art gallery and for community workshops. It's still quite grubby and there are lots of grey concrete walls that need more than a lick of white paint. The 21 brilliant runners from TNS UK got straight to work, tackling walls in two areas, as well as bringing lots of 'gubbins' up from a storage cupboard. The gubbins consisted of old suitcases, clothes and a body model, which will all be used for the final installation. INTRIGUING! Once some serious work had been done, along with a bit of strength work to boot, we ran the 1 mile back down to City Hall for some stretches and a round of applause. Great work! Report by GoodGym Lambeth trainer Katie

Team Providence

Our run was only 2km but with plenty of tourists to dodge on Tower Bridge it took us a while to get up to speed. We were heading to Providence Row, a day centre for the homeless that has been around for 150 years. In addition to assisting people with everyday tasks such as getting a shower or using the internet, they also run various training programs including IT, cooking and gardening. The garden is on the rooftop so our task was to transfer a compost delivery up there from the ground floor. With a couple of wheelbarrows and a lift at our disposal we got the job done pretty quickly and then moved on to watering all the plants ahead of a warm weekend.

Report by GoodGym Southwark Run Leader Beth

Team South London Mission

What a brilliant morning at the Goodgym’s biggest ever run. I waited in anticipation for my allotted team to arrive and arrive they did. After introductions and a small speech from the Deputy Mayor of London it was time to head out of City Hall for some photo's and a pre run warm up. It wasn't long before we were heading off dodging in, out and around the people traffic that blocked the narrow streets heading for Bermondsey. Smiles were in there many as we talked amongst our selves in anticipation of our waiting task. After a short while we were at our destination where we met the awesome Annie who was in charge of the Outreach Food Bank. After short introductions we were lead away down stairs and corridors beneath the building till we reached our task for the morning. We were greeted by a lot, and I mean a lot of food donations that needed sorting into categories. We had a 40 minute time limited and we wasn't going to leave unfinished. So it was all hands on deck to complete our mission. As the clock struck 40 mins we had smashed the task, leaving Annie with a big smile and a massive gratitude towards us. She thanked us personally and we were treated with an awesome goody bag. Thank you so much.

It was time to say our good byes and head back to City Hall. However, everyone that knows me, knows I can't go through a tunnel without the mandatory sit off being imposed, and imposed it was. On arrival to City Hall it was great to see other Goodgym teams arriving back and cooling down. After having a drink, we went into our static stretches and talked about our achievement.

As a trainer for the morning I just want to say thanks so much to my awesome team for pulling together, and absolutely smashing our run and task. What a brilliant morning. Thanks GoodGym 🏻

Report by GoodGym Bexley trainer Tim

Team Get Kids Going

After a scenic run across Tower Bridge, we had the honour of meeting the passionate and hardworking team behind the charity Get Kids Going at their office. We heard from them about the support they give to enable disabled children to participate in a wide range of sports (including skiing for the blind, tennis and marathons) from beginners level to Paralympians. Our mission was to put together leaflet packs about the different events runners and cyclists could get involved in to fundraise for the charity. Our target was to make up 600 leaflet packs and we smashed it with a total of 860! Great team of runners, super morning and a happy charity.

Report by GoodGym Camden Run Leader Becky

Team Dress for Success

What a fun morning I had with the team of ten from Stackla - a social media company. We met up with around 175 other volunteers at City Hall by the Thames and were allocated tasks and routes. Our task involved heading over to Brick Lane to a charity called Dress for Success which has been running worldwide for 20 years and empowers women to achieve economic independence. So over Tower Bridge we headed dodging tourists and traffic until we reached our destination although in the interests of complete disclosure we lost half the group at one point and went to the wrong address but all’s well that ends well and we did arrive with plenty of time to complete the task. The kitchen area in the building had pretty much been demolished leaving pile of breeze blocks which needed to be moved to the patio area. The group obviously work well as a team and quickly sorted themselves into a chain and made quick, if dusty, work of the task. Group photos and selfies were taken and we headed back to City Hall this time without getting lost or losing anybody. It wouldn’t have been a GoodGym session without some fitness work to finish up so we played Heads and Tails – they just loved the burpees and bear walks – and then we ended with a well deserved stretch before heading back into City Hall to collect our bits and pieces. I hope they all enjoyed their session and maybe become part of the GoodGym family!

Report by GoodGym Croydon Run Leader Juliet

Team Tower

As Team Tower stepped out of City Hall into the glorious sunshine we could see our destination right in front of our eyes - the magnificent Tower of London. There was just the small problem of the Thames in our way! A lesser team may have nipped across Tower Bridge and been there in minutes but not us - wanting our exercise fix we took the scenic along the river, across London Bridge and back along the Thames Path. Arriving at the Tower a little bit more sweaty than when we left we were thankful for the air conditioned room and jugs of water laid on by our host Sarah from Historic Royal Palaces. They look after 6 extraordinary palaces - can you name them all?

Our mission was simple - pack as many Historic Royal Palace welcome packs as we could. There was also a bonus task of making of badges on what looked like a medieval torture device. This was extremely difficult with only one of group really mastering the technique! We were soon out of envelopes and back into the sunshine. After a quick circuits session of Russian twists, planks and burpees it was back to City Hall.

Fun fact: I learnt some great things on today’s run. All the Beefeaters actually live in the Tower of London. There are houses inside the courtyard for Beefeaters and their families. Also, you need to have served in the army for 22 years to be considered for the job. Wowzers!

Report by GoodGym Hackney Run Leader Ed Field

Team St Mungo’s

9 of the massive 176 runners headed to St Mungo’s hostel. The charity helps homeless people to find accommodation and provides beds.

After 20 min of running with two other team heading in the same directions as us, we arrived to St Mungo’s but not the right one, it seems that they were 2 St Mungos 500m apart for each other. We finally made it to the good one and were welcome by Fred. Our task was really simple take a square of yard, remove all grass and turn the soil to be able to plant flower and tree.

And after 30 minutes of hard the result was amazing, the classic before / after photo was required and we all appreciated that this will make a big difference to the resident which will have a nice garden now.

We headed back to the city hill, for a last effort and the relay race we splitted in two team of 4 and raced over 100m, it was a great day and everyone really enjoyed :D

Report by GoodGym Hackney Run Leader Axel Manzano

Team Bowel Cancer

Team Bowel Cancer ran just under 3k to pack booklets for Bowel Cancer UK into envelopes. The team packed four whole boxes in record time allowing us to run back to base with half an hour to spare, meaning we spent 20 minutes on strength and conditioning work. Lots of running against resistance, some burpees and a few planks to help build stronger runners, ready for the next good deed

Report by GoodGym Barnet Trainer Pennie Varvarides

Team Sense

It was like a mini GoodGym Greenwich run on Friday with two thirds of the group being from there! We headed to the charity shop as a group after Mridula fed us some biscuits. We had the whole shop front to clean, it was pretty grubby but everyone got stuck in! Pulin broke all of the squeegees because he was cleaning so damn hard, Helen and Dan channeled their inner Cinderella on their hands and knees cleaning the floor and Mridula and Shona gave it their all to clean the postbox! After half an hour it was as good as new! We headed back to City Hall for a cool down, and on the way Pulin even helped push a broken down car, two good deeds for the day!

Report by GoodGym Greenwich Trainer Sarah Place

Team Blackfriars

Team Blackfriars smashed a 4k run by heading over to The Blackfriars Settlement in Rushworth Street where we were warmly greeted by the wonderful Tina and her team who were putting on a brilliant activity day for a group of visually impaired people. After chatting and singing with the group for a little while, two of our team then joined them for a mobility and stretching session using resistance bands whilst the rest of us moved to the kitchen and dining area to set up and lay the tables for the group’s lunch as well as tidying up the cutlery drawers – the food looked fabulous and we were very tempted to stay!

Report by GoodGym Bristol Run Leader David Guest

Report written by Ed Field


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