It was an early start for our Goodgymers this morning who arrived at the Colchester Recycling Centre ready to lend a helping hand at the 6th year of the annual Christmas Tree Treecycle for St Helena's Hospice.
On arrival we heard that this year's collection would be bigger than ever, with 2400+ trees booked for collection from across Colchester and the surrounding areas. This meant £23645 had been donated to St Helena Hospice - an amazing figure that will go towards helping to families and their sick loved ones accessing the hospice and support services.
The other amazing thing about the Treecycle is that it saved 2400 trees from going into landfill waste! Instead they will be broken down and turned into mulch, so that it can help other plants to grow.
Our Goodgymers Alex, Chrissie and Ian split into two teams, joined by Chloe and a couple more volunteers from Blowers and Mowers (who generously let us use their vehicles for the tree collection) and raced to see who would be first to complete their route! Whilst Ian's team completed their route first, we believe Alex and Chrissie team collected more trees and covered a greater distance!! Everyone is a winner in our eyes! And most importantly everybody's arms got a workout today.
Between them nearly 200 trees were collected from Blackheath, Layer, Lexden, Birch and central areas of Colchester. Catherine ran to join them at Colchester Recycling Centre to help unload the trees from the vans.
An treemendous effort from everyone - well done!
Welcome to 2020. A new year and a new decade with a new member Abigail who showed us what she was made of in a great first session.
The news of all the Goodgym goings on and achievements across the country flowed thick and fast. Most exciting is the January challenge and for Goodgym Colchester to do as well as possible on the national league table for good deeds and participants.
It was great to see everyone on a super return to action in which we ran to Middlebrough Fountain to clear leaves. Although there are only 2 beautiful trees there, the amount of leaves is incredible and Pam (Colchester in Bloom legend) briefed us pick leaves up and litter but not bark. The major bulk of the leaves was dealt with by our 17 heroes and then the details to allow the lovely grasses and plants to breath and flourish. Magic work finished off with a photo and some selfie madness.
We were not quite done. Goodgym never shy away from hard work and Balkerne Hill awaited. The instructions were to work at each runners best individual effort. Go down the hill, sprint up and walk down until feeling nicely recovered and repeat 4 times. So, so well done everyone.
Our task was not quite done. Because we love Colchester in Bloom we agreed to plant some flowers in the boxes outside the Townhall on the way back to base. In spring Colchester will look colourful and vibrant and we play our part. I hope you feel as proud as me!
Our gentle, downhill run back to Leisure World ended and we stretched and thought about our goals and hopes for 2020.
Saturday we treecycle and here are the details
Last year was a great one and we hope this year improves on that! GG Colchester has a perfect vision for 2020.
It is winter and it is freezing and icy. But we are Goodgym and some of us (not me) still rock up in shorts! The news tonight came thick and fast - we have Community Missions (bring a friend and get a Limited Edition Jumper) at Colchester Borough Homes (14th) TreeCyle with St Helena (11th Jan) and The Pioneer Sailing Trust (7th), we mentioned the opening of GG Windsor and Maidenhead as well as GG Cardiff's award winning joy. It was also Ian's (21st) Birthday so we had not one but two renditions of Happy Birthday to You and Marcela got a distinction for her MA dissertation in Psycholinguistics. Muy Bien.
It was an important night to help the Foodbank with the Christmas demand so high. After a torch lit and careful run to the Foodbank we cleaned to the sound of spontaneous Christmas carols with a Goodgym twist. Five Gold Rings!!!
Job done we celebrated and Julie made us some Mulled apple and orange to warm us up as well as some biscuits. With the Foodbank sparkling and sweet smelling we warmed up and took the long and scenic route back to base. At the top of East Hill we posed in front of the impressive Christmas tree before enjoying the High Street Christmas lights and Jumbo - lit up with festive stars! Stunning.
Once down the hill and back at Leisure World we did some passive stretching otherwise known as Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation (PNF). As we are amazing so we also took leaflets for the Treecyle scheme.
We are all looking forward to Saturday and next weeks task and Christmas Dinner! Tis the season to do goodgym and be jolly.
Tonight we celebrated Ella reaching 100 good deeds. What a landmark for her and the Leeds lass has been a bright spark with her enthusiasm, running prowess and caring outlook on life...I am biased though! Nick, Ella and I had all completed half marathons at the weekend with "debatable times" but epic nonetheless. Tonight Alison from Level Best met us for a sneak preview of the gorgeous Christmas Market which a lot of work has clearly gone into - and what a result. We were given leaflets to spread the word - spend a little at Level Best and support a great cause too. We trotted off to Lion Walk and it was packed! The Christmas lights and stalls were up and running and people snapped up our leaflets... So to the training...after a hill sprint relay we paid tribute to Ella's milestone with a 100 tricep dips, 100 squats and 100 seconds of planking. Boom.
Also it was great to meet Abigail for her DBS check and I am sure she will fit right in.
It is the morning after the night before. And it feels good to know we made another leafy path safe...who knows how many falls we have prevented in our three years!?
The nine of us braved the cold, or embraced it like Alex, to run a fabulous 7 km and make John Lampon Court safe for residents. The steep entrance path and front garden paths are now visible and much less slippery! Mission accomplished.
The wonderful Rebecca of Colchester Borough Homes zoomed from her spin class to meet us at the homes and her enthusiasm is always inspiring.
After the successful sweep we ran back to Leisure World via East Hill and a new location I have named lunge lump (a car park slope on which lunge walking is amazing) for Emma's favourite exercise.
We continued our great workout with a Tabata on the outside gym - 30 seconds hard effort and 10 seconds rest before an indoor stretch and debrief. Marvelous!
S - sweeping success W - we run, walk and work hard E - Everyone is welcome E - exciting times ahead with Christmas carols on the cards P - possibly the best use of energy ever invented - running for multiple reasons
One last shout out to Vanessa - our latest Taskforce recruit!
For our first run since our triumphant night at Colchester in Bloom awards night, Goodgym Colchester had an energetic and enthusiastic evening removing flowers from their boxes ready to be replaced in preparation for spring - spring ahhh it is not so far away after all! The eleven Goodgymers gathered to congratulate Ella on her sub 21 minute Parkrun on the hilly Castle park course and wish Hannah, Nick, Emily and Ian good luck for the Hadleigh 10 miler coming up. Of course I could not resist mentioning Tottenham Women's north London derby on Sunday too...the tenuous link is that like us, they are championing womens sport. We also spoke about upcoming plans for our Community mission at The Pioneer Sailing Trust. Off we went into the crisp moonlight to meet Pam at Vineyard Street. We practiced our standing long jump with Nick leaping the width of the parking space and Pam trying her luck too.
We transferred the flowers to Pam's car and then unloaded them at her house - and so ensued an impromptu car versus goodgym runner race to the next area of barrier boxes to deflower. It was a good work out with the flowers weighing at least 8kgs and over the course of the evening we clocked up 6kms.
We posed for photos with Pam and the trophy she presented us and then continued to Balkerne Hill to do some hill work. With a marker the team ran at 3/4 pace and then sprinted up to where I was stood three times, getting cold air in the lungs and some impressive speed. Back at Leisure World, after jogging along the river path, we stretched and shared ideas of Community Missions.
Well done all and remember Pam has offered Mulled wine before Christmas!
Tonight was a chance to creep it real and do a bumper fitness session and help tidy up a family Halloween party put on by dedicated social care professionals from Essex County Council. Goodgym Ipswich have been haunting us recently with Nick, a regular at both areas, in the headlines for his 1 hour 56 minute half marathon in Wimbledon. Bow down, witches! Also with us tonight was Andrew our tourist guest and Ipswich founder member. Holly was back from Goodgym Exeter to eat, drink and be scary too. There were some lovely efforts with fancy dress, Alex the friendly ghost, Katherine as Frankensteins monster, Ella the West Yorkshire Witch, Emma as an undeveloped were-wolf and Vanessa with a skeleton mascot. I would make a skeleton joke but it would not be humerus.
So...we dodged the Ben Elton fans and warmed up ready for a whirlwind tour of spooky Colchester. Firstly we did 5 minutes of ghoulish hill sprints on Balkerne Hill, before heading to Culver Square for some monstrous upper body and leg strength work. We stuck to the shadows on Eld Lane and ended up doing some batty runs before we tricked our way into the Mulberry Tree Family Centre for some treats (and the task). The team worked like blood thirsty vampires to clear all the decorations and were treated to leftover pumpkins, cupcakes and crisps! Tired, we headed back to base like zombies all looking forward to Saturdays community mission in Brightlingsea!
16 runners ran 5K to one of the Colchester Borough Homes sites to offer a helping hand on a wet Wednesday evening.
We met at Leisure world and celebrated some recent running achievements including Andy's Chelmsford marathon, completed on a brief visit back from Kenya, Hannah's Budapest marathon and Ella's excellent finish for the Harriers at a cross country meet at the weekend. This week also marked 25 Goodgym Coach runs from Emily who visits an older isolated person each Thursday for a chat and a cuppa. It was great to have new member Chloe joining us and Marcella returning for her second week.
We made our way zig-zagging through Colchester town until we reached Plum Hall up near Abbey Fields to a cheer from some of the residents who had kindly organised some cold drinks for us. Rebecca from CBH set us to work collecting leaves, planting plants and litter picking. As we worked the rain started to come down, but it didn't dampen our spirits as we did what we could to clear slippery hazards in the dark.
We bid farewell to Sam before running back down to town via a different route. There was enough time for a quick snap before a few headed back to Leisure World, with the rest of us heading along the High St to Wagamama. We enjoyed a great social meal celebrating Alex's 30th which involved two renditions of "Happy Birthday" and some lovely chocolate cake.
Thanks everyone for another fun evening of friendship, celebration and making a positive impact on our community. You're all heroes!
It is not every week that Goodgym Colchester gets an award but last week we did and not just any award, an award that is as unique as Goodgym itself. The Athletic Gardening Award trophy and Rosette gave us the chance to bathe in our own glory, quietly, modestly and humbly satisfied with our reward. As well as the glitz and glamour of a Town Hall award ceremony, Goodgymers were in Tiptree (how jammy) for 10 miles and at the Royal Parks half marathon. Stories of Goodgym's legendary sportspersonship (Susie) fell on proud ears. It was great to see Louise who played an important role in the award with her commitment to Goodgym too.
But never resting on our laurels the task awaited. Lisa, from St Helena events team, had met me before heading off to a spin class and gave me leaflets for a fundraising event in February...a 5k run at the University of Essex. Sign me up! We headed across the river and did thirty-five minutes of leafleting with Marcela, our newest recruit (All the way from Chile), leading the way! Muy Bien.
Our training session involved two timed shuttle run sprints. Using the lampposts as markers the runners sprinted to the first and back, second and back and third and back getting a high heart rate and showing real determination. The caveat was that on the second run each person had to try and beat their previous time. With ample rest (!) the sprint was repeated and everyone beat their time. WOW!
At the weekend we will welcome Andy S back from Kenya so obviously Parkrun and Pub quiz is the only option. Next week is social week. Can not wait.
Tonight 10 runners ran 2.5km to our well loved allotment patch overlooking Colchester town to prepare plants ready for Colchester to bloom again next year.
We welcomed Dale to his first GoodGym outing, he had read about us in an article in the local paper and had always wanted to come and take part. Fortunately for us his little girls encouraged him to come along this week and his smiles helped him fit right in.
Having received our instructions from Helen, our run leader for the evening who gave us a good idea about what to focus on when we got to our task, we made our way outside the meeting place and got on with our fun warm-up. This is a great part of the evening as we shake off whatever the day brought and prepare to enjoy honest fitness in good company. Despite the uphill route to the allotment we all reached the well tended planters safely and in good time. Pam who manages Colchester In Bloom gave instructions for the tasks she wanted us to do. She had brought with her some rare plants that looked most spectacular in the fading light.
We broke out into subgroups and got on with a range of potting, digging and spreading tasks and within minutes we had transformed whole areas of the allotment. Gardening with a friendly team like this makes great progress very quickly and it’s easy to step back and know that you have made an impact. With Bob acting as a human floodlight, Pam invited us to gorge on the many sun-ripened tomatoes fruiting on the plants. What a feast. Despite the heavy rains earlier in the day the soil was surprisingly dry and took some effort digging up. A full workout was had by all. Despite being on his first outing with us Dale was quickly into the task and chatting with everybody in the group.
With a splendid invite to all Colchester GoodGymers to celebrate the work of Colchester in bloom at the town Hall ringing in our ears we ran back into town. Looking back on our group resplendent in their head torches resembling coal pit miners we ran to one of Helen’s legendary fitness sessions taking in ramps and stairs on the way. Our fun fitness session lasted about 20 minutes and certainly Fred Astaire would be proud of our quick footwork as we glided up and down.
After a well earned warm-down back at our starting point we looked forward to next week’s task at Colchester food bank, do come and join us!
Alex reminded us that there's a Goodgym themed social on Saturday - so contact him or Katherine for more details!