Alex Terror Tylor
Last night was my last ever run as leader of the mighty GoodGym Lambeth. It was also a very fun evening full of excellent people - much like every other run I have led over the last three years. What a privilege!
It was just lovely to see runners from all over coming along for the ride - we headed off to help the Remakery, a brilliant space that saves unwanted materials from landfill and also trains people in how to remake / upcycle / create new things from them. They needed help moving loads of bits of wood that are unable to be reused to the back so they can get taken away. Then we moved other things from the front making area to the back storage area. It's always a fun space to visit and we look forward to being back soon!
On arrival back at base, it was time for a party and so off we went to a mystery location, which turned out to be the Effra Social. Everyone ordered food but there were so many of us that they closed the kitchen for 20 minutes but we didn't need to fear as David had got his pastry chef to make us the most delicious chocolate brownie that was basically an arm workout just to cut it! It was DELICIOUS!
Thank you pastry chef!
After that, John H and Steve ran a really excellent quiz, which was mainly about me so of course I enjoyed it! There were some excellent facts and even a round about people wearing red wellies. It was also noted that I use a lot of exclamation marks in my weekly emails!!!!!!!!!!!
They'd also put together a film with lots of people saying Goodbye, which was just great and I think you can watch that here. THEN I got some lovely gifts - and they really are great. A red Welly! A card painted by Tim the artist! Some tiny baby grows with GG on them! Some tiny red New Balance trainers! A whole box full of Shit Prize of the Month 'goodies'! Plus the lovely Frances knitted a wee jumper as well, with wings on the back!
It was all amazing!
What lovely things and how lucky I am. Thanks everyone. It was now time to make it through some kind of speech and I did some rambling but I hope it made sense. Here's some things that I hope I said and if I didn't here they are again:
I started running with GoodGym in January 2014 and have been on a run at least once a month since then. That's a long time and probably the most committed I have ever been to anything (Realisation hit at this point that my best friend and husband were both in the room!) Living in London you have lots of things thrown at you all the time and it's such a freeing thing to have something that you commit to. That you can just turn up week in, week out and say no to everything else. That no matter how you're feeling you can just come along, see some good people, get some exercise in and do something that makes a small contribution to the area that you live. That's what GoodGym has been for me and I feel very lucky and grateful to have found it.
I went to the second ever Lambeth run and Alex and James KB were there too. I married one of them in the end and the other is now a great pal! Beth started coming, then John H and Tom B and Nelly. George Bright joined and Steve and Jay and it just kept rolling on. The more people that joined and stuck around, the bigger and more welcoming Lambeth became. Drunkenly at GoodGym's 5th Birthday Party, Alex told us about this race in Wales where you go up against an old steam train. We committed to going the next year - everything is a great idea when you're drunk! But go we did. 40 of us from all over London plus a healthy Bristol contingent took on that steam train in a weekend in August 2015 - and so the first GoodGym away trip was born.
When former trainer and all round excellent lady Rebecca Cox finished in 2016, she said she thought I should take over as trainer. It was the support of this brilliant group of friends, who gave their backing to that idea, that meant I had the courage to do it. I would never have thought this would be something I could do and it's testament to GoodGym that they allow members of the community to develop in this way. Since then, I've led so many runs and had so many adventures. The best is when runners start who have never really put on trainers before and then they dip their toes into races and before you know it, they're signed up to a marathon and running loads. I love that and I love that GoodGym will back you regardless of your time, your background, your situation. It's just running and if you want to give it a go, then we've got you!
I have to extend the most enormous and heartfelt thank yous to everyone who has been a member of my taskforce and all the run leaders who have kept me going and put up with my weekly waffle. Milly, Sarah KB, Steve, John H, Tom H, Alice, Sarah, David, Issy, George C, George B, Nicky, Vix, Jim, Freyja, Lucy, James KB, Tom B, Beth - I hope that's everyone and if not then I mean you too! You all help every week for free, because you're awesome and I appreciate you and think you are great.
And finally to Mark G - who will be a creative and excellent leader and will be just fine because you will all look after him! Good luck and you will have a blast because you are surrounded by excellence all the time!
LAST thanks to all the community groups that we run to every week. Who do fantastic things with such small resources and genuinely make a difference to Lambeth residents all the time. Often in ways we are not aware of or do not understand. What an honour to be able to help you out from time to time with our legs and our arms and our muscles - sometimes even our brains but mainly the other bits.
To Mona - who I ran to for nearly four years and who didn't quite manage to see me run London but who nevertheless helped me get there.
I can't wait to join you all on runs again in a few months when I shall be A CIVILIAN! Keep being brilliant Lambeth. I love you. Katie ***
The last week of February turned out to be unfathomably warm, which was lucky for us as we had an outside task. Less lucky for the state of the Earth, however. But if global warming leaves you feeling a bit glum, other than getting behind some great campaigns you could also come to GoodGym and feel better that your excess energy is being used to help your community, rather than power the treadmill!
We began with much celebrations as we found out that the lovely Mark G will be leading the good ship Lambeth from the end of March. We also celebrated 50th runs for Emily, Emma and Andrew and also Tom Hunter's200th good deed. Katie also gave out her last ever Shit Prize of the Month to the brilliant John Hunter, who is on a 50 month run streak for his coach runs. What a gem! Party poppers everywhere!
Mark G led the group out for a warm up and we then split in to two groups. We had the Straight There's and the Round the Houses. The Round the Houses set off, led by Tom H, on a 4km trip to Brixton Road Youth Centre, whilst the Straight There's went, well, straight there, led by Mark and Katie. On arrival, lots of leaves that were in black bags mixed with rubbish needed emptying into green sacks for recycling and the rubbish put in different bags. More leaves fallen around the yard also had to be gathered up and put into bags. Our big team set about this with enthusiasm and in no time we had sorted MANY BAGS!
There are so many bags that we have sorted! Said everyone
Team Straight There ran back to base and did some circuits, whilst the Round the Houses stayed to finish off. On return to base we did some stretches and headed home after a lovely evening. Well done Lambeth!
Ho! Ho! Ho! Add another 9 Ho's and you'd get the total number of reps completed by Sunday's brave runners, completing a session titled "The 12 reps of Christmas" by George Bright. Starting at 100m, and adding an extra 100m per rep with a different exercise per 100m...
"On the first day of Christmas, my track coach gave to me... one hundred metres super sprint-ingggggggg" sang George Bright
Runners completed: some super sprinting, some build, some easy running, some backwards (!) running, some high knees, some heel flicks, some bounding, some tempo, some straight leg, some high skips, some strides and some fast feet... Phew!
Then George made everyone wander around the field until they found his phone, which he'd dropped because he was SO EXCITED. Thanks Emma! The end.
Picture the scene: 7 GoodGym runners limbering up, striding boldly across the cinder in the early morning mist... well, it was actually the afternoon, and quite sunny, and Tooting Bec athletics track isn't that antiquated. But still, the runners were pretty cool.
So yeah, 7 runners (and 2 eager beaver supporters) came together one sunny Sunday afternoon to try their hands at the ancient and mystical art of running in a circle. Coach for the day George led them on a long warmup incorporating some jogging, some drills, and some mobility; before letting the 7 go off and smash themselves running multiple laps of the track while he watched and yelled numbers like a human lottery machine. A lot of focus was placed on maintaining even pacing and there were some standout efforts at this! At least until the last lap where everyone got excited, and then the group did a cooldown as well. Bish bash bosh, a meaty session kicked out in just under an hour, great fun!
We had two lovely runs this evening, one was back to the historic Brixton Windmill. Tucked away off Brixton Hill, lots of people don't even know this windmill exists but it does and it is a great place of learning, surrounded by a peaceful garden. Beth led a group on a 1km route to the mill, whilst those wanting a longer run took the 4km Tom Benson run bus.
Here's what Beth had to say:
For those of us that took the direct route up Brixton Hill there was some chat on the way there about how few of us knew that Brixton had it’s own fully functioning windmill. On arrival we were a little disappointed to see that the sails had been taken off the windmill but once they are repaired they’ll be back on and it will be looking more functional again soon. Jean handed out tools and showed us what needed doing. A large group neatened up the edge of the path, a group of three started digging a spot for a new tree and there was also trimming of some overgrown plants to be done. Once the reinforcements arrived in the shape of Tom’s long run group there was even more digging going on and plenty of sweeping and bagging up of weeds.
The rest of us went 2km up to the Tulse Hill Estate. Hidden amongst the buildings is an incredible polytunnel that serves as an educational food growing project for the whole estate. Over the summer, hundreds of tomato plants were cultivated and given out to residents to grow on their balconies. The project gets lots of reclaimed wood that is used to make pallet beds for growing but at the moment it was all piled up next to some garages. Presenting a fire risk, it needed to be moved so we squeezed into the small space and started pulling them out and taking them to a safer space. The pile was quite big and there were bits of timber, old fence and even a fireguard that we pulled out of the way. It was a fantastic effort made all the better by not scratching the very nice VW Golf parked precariously near to the work area.
On arrival back to base, we tucked into some Bake Off treats from Tess and Sarah. It was all delicious and we headed off home happy.
We had loads of lovely new people this week and also some old people who we hadn't seen in a while so it felt a bit like they were new. It was great!
Party poppers were popped for Rebecca, who was on her 100 wings run. Top work Rebecca! Meanwhile, Carol was the awardee for August's Shit Prize of the Month (SPOTM) for achieving her goal of running 15km in one go. She did this on a mountain run in Ireland, so massive well done Carol!
After splitting into 2 groups, Beth led a group of 7 to a new location. Here's her write up:
Seven of us ran halfway up Brixton Hill, just short of the Tile Giant, to the wonderful Katakata. This amazing crêperie not only has a gallery and co-working space but also a large, overgrown garden out the back which is going to be used by the Lambeth GP food co-op to grow lots of healthy fruit and veg.
On arrival we were very warmly greeted by Francklin who insisted on making us a fresh juice before we’d even got started on the task. Delicious apple juice consumed we headed out to find a large amount of rubbish that needed to be taken out the front so that it can be put in a skip. In our clearing we did find a few gems that were saved but the old bureau had seen better days so was given a good kicking by David and Mark. After half an hour we were all done and said our goodbyes to a very grateful Francklin.
The rest of us ran down to Vauxhall Foodbank to help with their stocktake. We split into two teams and Alex went out with half the group to do fitness. The other half set to work taking crates off the shelves and getting them weighed. They had to go back on the shelves in order so there was quite a lot of tetris-style organising but everyone did a great job. There were 180 boxes to weigh and we reached 120 before we had to head off. This was a pretty solid effort and lots of heavy lifting on the part of GoodGym.
Well done everyone!
Let me tell you this run was flipping sweaty! Not content with being all rainy, the weather decided to turn the world into a humid sweatbox just in time for our Tuesday evening run.
Some of our regulars are still recovering from their awesome efforts at the Paris marathon, so a smaller but indeed perfectly formed group of 21 covered two tasks with aplomb. James B led a group 1.5km to the Remakery. This brilliant space has a workshop and teaches people how to recycle unloved materials and turn them into things of wonder and beauty again. Nice!
They had some moving of objects to do as part of a Spring clean, including a flipping PIANO! Top work team.
The rest of us headed on the 4km uphill journey to West Norwood and the Portico Gallery. The courtyard area outside needed tidying up. In particular, a massive pile of ash and bricks had to be pulled apart after 'too many hippies had started fires there'.
It's the hippies! Said John.
After putting all the bricks to one side so they can be saved for something else, all of the ash was scraped up and put in sacks ready to be taken away. We also moved some large metal structures from here to there and put some big bags full of stones onto a trolley (these act as weights for the gazebos used in the West Norwood Feast!).
The downhill run home was a bit easier but it was still very sticky and we were all glad to go and have a nice shower at the end. Not together though.
A gang left Tooting and headed down to Battersea Park to meet Rosie but she was late. She caught us up on the way to Putney and we met Steve and said goodbye to Nicky. We carried on running round Richmond Park and Wimbledon Common up and down some muddy hills. We said goodbye to Jack and carried on through Earlsfield back to Tooting Bec. Betty the doggo was happy to see us and came and had a pint and a roast at the pub with us. We all ate good food and had chats. Steve and Beth joined us for that bit. We all ran about 20-miles. Some even more!
TOP WORK RUNNERS
Alex has earned the GoodGym Buckle. Alex has run one hundred miles! As is Ultra running tradition they do not get a medal they earn a buckle, to wear with more pride than all the lions in Africa. There are not enough superlatives in the dictionary to describe how incredible Alex is.
Alex has just run 100Km. That is a very long way to run, but they already know that! Alex is an inspiration and the embodiment of mind over matter, that is some amazing running. It is said 'If you want to win something, run 100 meters: If you want to experience something, run 100Km.'