Lucky enough to be the Area Activator for Tower Hamlets. Personal trainer. Seriously sweet tooth.
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Becoming a responsible runner
How to run responsibly, according to a GoodGym trainer
It was a cold night but there was plenty of warmth among GoodGymers in the semi-outdoor space at the back of the Dundee Arms.
A special welcome to Asad, who joined us after making friends with Aine at his first task last week. In true GoodGym style Becky ran to the event, before showing off her engagement ring. Chris bought several drinks and told us he’s now in no less than two bands, before disappearing into the night. Aine brought tales of 103 Irish ParkRuns. Sree chided John for neglecting to organise a Brick Lane bowling session (yet), while. Stephanie and TJ confirmed they’ll be with us for at least another thirty months (Hurrah!). Stephen brought a very well-behaved flatmate with him, and reminisced about last year’s GoodGym walks. Nina had lots of interesting and fascinating things to say, but I didn’t hear any of them because she was at the other end.
And our amazing activator Laura celebrated her birthday, as well as taking some great pictures. See you in February!
It was chilly, it was dark, it was January but was it blue? Hell, NO.
Last night’s escapades in the Best Borough in the World proved one thing: January blues can be banished with banter, vegetable beds and Basil the dog.
A good-sized group of runners gathered at our gorgeous meeting location, the Town Hall Hotel, to chat and warm-up together.
Town Hall Hotel??
Yep, we can’t imagine a better meeting spot than the Town Hall Hotel. The warmth of the lobby is rivalled only by the warmth of the welcome we receive every week from hotel staff.
So once bags were stored securely and loos used, we proceeded to spend a few minutes posing for pics on those lovely hotel steps, before making our way through a hip-and-thigh mobility warm up, as requested by Task Force member Emma.
Led by Task Force pro Chris, we then ran the short distance to the Hollybush Estate down bustling Cambridge Heath Road, where we met Margaret and Basil The Dog for a fill briefing for this evening’s tasks.
Runners were divided into multiple teams, a large team at the back of the park cutting back and chopping all sorts of climbing greenery and lethal thorny bits, while other smaller teams worked on vegetable beds at the front of the gardens, helping keep them in decent shape for several of the residents who currently need a hand to maintain them.
It was focused work, and it was sociable, but boy, was it cold. But did the team complain? Absolutely not. On they cut, tackling as many weeds and as much overgrowth as they could in that short hour. (They even managed to squeeze in a little dog-walking as Emma proceeded to take Basil a short walk ‘round the block to stretch his legs, offering him a little late night canine cardio).
And then it was 8 and time for that all-important group pic, before we headed out into the night, some on foot, some on cycle, and some running back to the hotel to gather belongings and change.
It was lovely. It was the perfect antidote to mid-winter fatigue and it left us excited for the next episode.
...we return to Mile End Park, for bulb-planting with the brilliant John.
We're back to see the brilliant John of Friends of Mile End Park to help plant 1000 bulbs this evening!
What you need to know
We'll be meeting at our usual beautiful location at the Town Hall Hotel from 6:30pm, where we're allocated a warm room for changing, toilet facilities and secure bag storage.
At 6:40pm we'll begin a short warm-up on the hotel's splendid steps before leaving to Mile End Art Pavilion at 6:45pm.
We'll be joining John from Friends of Mile End Mark to help plant bulbs in multiple locations, including the Holy Trinity Church, Tredgar Square and in Mile End Park itself. There may also be a bit of litter-picking involved.
If you'd rather meet at the task, we'll be meetingJohn at 7pm at The Art Pavilion Mile End Park, Clinton Rd, London E3. 4QY.
Come and join the team this Monday night as we combine working out and weeding.
What you need to know
We'll be meeting from 6:30pm at our usual Monday night location, the gorgeous Town Hall Hotel, where we're allocated a room to change in, use toilet facilities and leave bags securely.
At 6:45 we'll start a warm-up on the hotel steps, and at 6:50 we'll start the short run to Rocky Gardens on the Hollybush Estate, for a 7pm task start.
Please bring gloves and a head torch if you have one. Gardening activity will be varied, from weeding to pot plant-relocation.
If you'd like to head straight to the task at 7pm, the location is Rocky Park on the Hollybush Estate (closest address is Stockton House, Ellsworth Street, London E2 0AY).
No fewer than 13 runners gathered on the Town Hall Hotel steps last night to warm up for this evening’s activity.
We were headed to Cranbrook Community Food Garden, just behind bustling Roman Road, to play gardening catch-up with Janet and Eileen, who spend a huge amount of their time running events and caring for the facilities at this much loved, useful community location.
We warmed up with some dynamic stretches and a few lower body exercises, before stretching out tight pecs and shoulders, a much-needed bit of flexibility work after a day at the desk.
We slowly grew in number as the warm-up continued, and a good-sized group made its way down Old Ford Road, combining chatter and running, well navigated by Simon, ensuring we took in the least busy streets.
On arrival at the Centre, Janet was well prepared for two tasks: one team headed inside for an industrial clean of the well-used trestle tables, and some other table preparation for the next event.
Meanwhile, a larger team (we’d grown further on arrival at Cranbrook) tackled the mounds of leaves in and around the garden, bagging bin liner after bin liner to be taken to the Estate’s many large bins.
The endless squatting, reaching and lifting meant that a workout was had by all, but the catching-up that took place meant the effort was barely felt. After one final, victorious bin-trip, Eileen put the kettle on and tea and squash was enjoyed by the team.
We said our farewells, posing for a final pic, and went our various ways, including a brisk run back to the Hotel for some, to grab belongings before heading home, not forgetting a huge shout-out to our Heather, who tonight hit her 50th good deed :)
What a cracking start to the year.
Next week, we’re invited to Rocky Park, where more willing, productive GoodGym hands are required to help get the garden ready for the Spring…You can sign-up here.
Longstanding task owner Janet has invited us to the Community Garden for our first Group Run of 2022!
What we will be doing
Activities tonight will include weeding, clearing leaves and other gardening tasks. We will also be needed to clean tressle tables, that need a bit of TLC!
What you need to know
You can either meet directly at the task, or beforehand for our Group Run.
For the Group Run, will meet at our usual location of the Town Hall Hotel, where there will be facilities for you to change and leave bags securely.
We'll then enjoy a short warm-up in Patriot Square between 6:30 and 6:45 before making our way down to the Community Centre for 7pm (address for Cranbrook Community Centre is Mace St, Globe Town, London E2 0RB).
Please bring a head torch and gloves if you have them.
We are returning to the Dundee Arms for the January social.
This bar has an open courtyard at the back, which mitigates against Covid transmission and has the added bonus that if it gets boring (which it won't) you can watch the trains go by.
However, I suggest you wrap up warm as it's winter and hugs are still not medically recommended. The more attendees the merrier; however please don't come if you show any illness symptoms on the day.
Hot food is available. Also beer.
Please note that this community mission has been cancelled.
We have had to cancel this Community Mission!
We're really sorry about this - this is due to not having enough people, and the task wouldn't have been doable.
We will reschedule this task for a Group Run evening in the next few weeks.
"So, we'll just pump up the wheels on the trolley and head out",
...Tunde said cheerfully on arrival at Meath Gardens.
And so began our Meath Gardens finale of 2021...
We'd had a lovely start to the night: meeting back at the welcoming Town Hall Hotel for the first time in, well, a long time, we enjoyed a chat on the steps before our Ivo led us through a brilliant warm-up. No fitness stone was left unturned as he took the team (and a couple of enthusiastic residents) through a mobility, cardio and flexibility warm-up, combining upper and lower body moves, complete with full team consultation as to how many reps we should do.
From there, we headed out to Meath Gardens, along Roman Road, running at different speeds, but the same animated expressions, delighted to be together, heading to a fun-sounding Monday night.
Our task tonight was to head down to the Cemetery Park, with trolleys and wheelbarrows, to collect large logs that the Park have been kind enough to donate to Meath Gardens, to help create the new protected woodland area. After some research, it was concluded that the only way currently to transport these rather large logs back to the garden was via wheels, walking - and GoodGym strength.
The outbound route saw us taking in the sights of Grove and Mile End Road, via Mile End station naturally. On arrival at the park, we easily located the logs and the team successfully, skilfully loaded them into barrows and trolleys and began the tough, treacherous, one-mile-plus wheel back to Meath Gardens.
It was a true team effort. The journey saw us rotating in-and-out of wheeling and pushing like never before, the noise of puffing and panting broken every few minutes only by various quiet voices gently enquiring, "Just wondering how much further?"
But we did it. The moment came when we arrived at Meath Gardens, and rolled the huge logs out of the barrows and into the woodland area, to safely protect the precious new shrubs and trees, and shrubs-and-trees-to-be.
We finished with a few stretches, with some tips on how to repeat them in the days ahead (yes, forearms, we're looking at you) before dispersing in various directions, including a well-deserved alfresco pint at nearby Dundee Arms.
What. A. Night.
Thanks to Ivo for our brilliant warm-up and leading our run tonight.
And a huge shout-out and thanks to all who joined. Joking aside, it was a task-and-a-half, that looked like it might not get completed at several points, so well done for sticking with it; helping one another out so much, and getting the job done.
Until next time.
Spoilt for choice...
And so it returned: two-task Monday…
First up: Mile End Community Garden. This garden is a “community-led garden whose space, including pathways, seating areas and edible borders, is available to all, and accessible to all, in the Tower Hamlets community.” We were therefore really pleased to be invited down this evening to help with some gardening work, to make the area more accessible for local residents.
Leading this brand new task tonight was Becky J, along with task owner, Nic.
Writes Becky, “This evening’s task was to level the uneven ground ready for concrete to be laid, to allow for wheelchair and other access.
We all picked a patch to shovel: Simon took the entrance, levelling the earth under some old rubber matting; Hester took leaves, leaving everyone else taking on passageways between planters.
Ceiling proved Queen of the Wheelbarrow, navigating tricky terrain and a steep slope (carefully avoiding the samplings round the perimeter) to tip barrow after barrow into the designated spot at the bin in the back of the garden.
A satisfying task where we could clearly see the difference made - looking forward to seeing the finished pathways next year!”
Meanwhile, over on the Cranbrook Estate...
...a team of five tackled every tall block on the estate leafleting for the upcoming Christmas holiday HAF (Holiday Activities and Food Programme) project, for Trapped in Zone One. In a race against the clock, we took odd and even-numbered floors in pairs, making our way through the buildings at record pace. No landing left uncovered, no block too tricky to access, we were assisted by residents inside and out, as we distributed leaflets on this youth activity all over the estate.
The two teams finally called it a day a little after 8, and we all made our way home in different directions, chilly but cheerful, and glad to have spent another evening out in our Borough.
Until next time.