A small but single-minded crew
It was a small group of us who gathered for tonight's run. A dedicated group, mind, keen to get to nearby Parkview Estate ASAP to help task owners Catherine and Ros get some urgent potting and watering completed.
So we took a gentle run around the corner to this wonderful estate, that sits on the edges of gorgeous Victoria Park, where Catherine was waiting and well prepped, the garden already a flurry of activity (she'd been toiling in the Bank Holiday heat since 7am…).
Pot In The City
Teams were speedily formed: two teams hit the ground running, and began potting lavender, geraniums and strawberry plants in the Community Food Garden, working at lightning speed blitzing boxes and boxes of these small plants. Annie formed a Compost Crew of one, shuttling back and forth with Catherine to fill barrow after barrow with compost, greeted with absolute delight by the runners each time a new arrival of soil appeared, "Earth! The earth's arrived!"
Meanwhile, Alice and new runner Rebecca formed the New-Tree Watering Squad, heading around the corner with multiple watering cans and wheelbarrow, to be joined by fellow task owner, Ros, and proceeded to thoroughly hydrate the new young trees we’d previously helped plant.
Upon completion of the task, Rebecca and Alice then moved onto leafleting. Well, I say leafleting – this task actually consisted of posting small gifts of seeds for residents’ planters through post boxes, which appeared to be very well received. A surprisingly rewarding leafleting task, it has to be said! And then it was 8pm and we had a last minute bit of frenzied potting as the runners determinedly finished all trays of plants! Hurrah!
The edible estate
And Catherine and Ros were thrilled, explaining that it would have taken them weeks to accomplish this. What an amazing task. This small collection of residents are aiming to turn Parkview into an Edible Estate, along with bee friendly plants, and we are so, so pleased to be making just a small contribution to their work.
The fitness medley
And then it was off to the park, for our fitness fun. The runners achieved some fabulous speedwork, before moving onto the glute section of tonight’s fitness medley, then abs, and then some mobility and stretching work. They focused 100%, giving this tough little routine their all, which I think is a big deal, after working hard at their gardening task on a Bank Holiday Monday.
What another wonderful night. Thank you all.
Potting lavender, geraniums & strawberry plants; delivering seeds to residents, and building a fence - at Parkview Community Garden
Come and join in this lovely Bank Holiday hive of activity as we head to Parkview Community Food Garden to help out with some urgent construction!
Yes, we're heading back to the Parkview Estate to say hello to Catherine and increase the size of the fence around the community food garden, take seeds to residents' balcony planters and pot plants!
Then we'll be meeting in Victoria Park for a fitness medley: 5 minutes of speed work, 5 minutes of glute work, 5 minutes of abs, and 5 minutes of stretching. There's a rounded routine if we ever saw one. I'd sign up pronto if I were you...
Linda has done 10 good deeds. They are a trusted GoodGym runner and are now eligible to join their local TaskForce.
A good sized group of runners gathered on the hotel steps this evening to head to Oxford House, the large community arts centre around the corner, to help task owner Sarah prep-and-paint, shift furniture, scrub, and remove signs!
After a short warm up in the glorious April sunshine, the large team headed through congested Bethnal Green streets, cheerfully dodging commuters, and made their way to the vast community centre where Sarah met us, quickly assigning runners to tasks.
4 teams were soon dispatched to all areas of the building: the prep-and-paint team wasted no time getting stuck in with masking tape, brushes and rollers while a second team were dispatched to the basement for some heavy lifting of desks, painting and, er, statues. A further team hit the stairwells and corridors for sign removal (tougher than it sounds), while a fourth team headed to the upstairs dance studio landing for some industrial scrubbing. The runners worked tirelessly getting through three rolls of masking tape before the first half hour was up; completing the furniture removal way ahead of time, and racing up and down stairs looking for mops and hoovers to complete the upstairs scrubbing. Their efforts put every prime time TV makeover to shame and it wasn’t long before the stairwells were littered with forlorn looking runners desperate for new tasks (nothing a GoodGymer hates more than to be taskless). And so people were reassigned to fetch Henry Hoovers from the basement; assist in Project Pristine on the upstairs landing, and empty paint trays in sinks.
And then it was 8.05pm before we knew it and we gathered in the theatre for Christina’s Vibrant Vinyasa session. What a treat. The runners started by lying on the floor, catching their breath for the day, under the watchful eye of this highly experienced teacher we’re lucky enough to have in our team! 25 minutes later and the runners had all stretched, flexed and eased out every last little knot for the night, all to the most beautiful background music.
And we finished a really unforgettable night with a cheerio from Sarah, who explained how much we’ve helped fill a renovation gap withour decorating efforts – the perfect end to a thoroughly lovely Monday evening.
Big shout out’s tonight
A big warm welcome to tonight’s new runners – what a treat! Hello and welcome to Ellen, Joanna, Cristina and Shelley whose first run it was, and to Frances and Rosie, absolutely not new to GG but new to Tower Hamlets. It was just wonderful to have you all on board, and we hope to see you very soon.
Thank you to task force member Lieke for lovely steady backmarking this evening, and the biggest thanks of the night goes to our very own Christina, for planning and delivering the most wonderful yoga session.
But you’re all amazing - our task owner confirmed tonight what we all really know anyway: that you’re absolutely brilliant, for showing up on a Monday evening, getting stuck in and really making a difference in our borough. It’s quite something.
Easter Monday means TWO great tasks to choose from!
Next week, it’s our Easter Monday fun run! Yes, we’re lucky enough to be housed at two tasks: choose from litter-picking around the lakes in Victoria Park, or heading to the Glasshouse Community Centre, by the park, for a spot of gardening and filling some big planters. And then we’re all going to meet for an EGGcellent (see what I did there) fitness session in the park. You can check it all out, and get yourself signed up, here.
Until then, have a great week: enjoy the sun, squeeze in a run AND HAVE SOME FUN!
Decorating at Oxford House, the community arts centre - followed by Vibrant Vinyasa indoor yoga session
Come and join the crew as we head back to Oxford House to help get this huge, fabulous venue ready for its big Summer reveal.
This will be followed by our Vibrant Vinyasa yoga session, a lively yoga session taught by our very own Christina, a regular runner who teaches Vibrant Vinyasa in her native New Jersey. Don't miss out!
20 runners gathered outside to warm up for our first daylight Monday run of the year this evening - spirits were high as we ran through a couple of mobility exercises and chatted through tonight’s task.
And then we were flying through the streets of Bethnal Green to Victoria Park, beautifully navigated by Tom, Luke and Steve (with the route continually contradicted by me - “Tom, you lead the way. No, not that way. We’ll go this way.” Tower Hamlets GoodGymers’ skill sets include high productivity, resourcefulness, resilience, and, it turns out, vast patience and tolerance).
And so we arrived at the Old English Garden in the centre of the park, to be greeted by Tom, the park’s Head Gardener. As always, Tom had a full quota of kit beautifully prepared, and quickly dispatched the teams to two tasks: litter-picking around the shrubbery, and a large scale weeding operation.
With GG Tom heading up Team Trash, the litter pickers soon blitzed the area and were speedily assigned to their next task: wheeling, shovelling and distributing mulch around the shrubbery.
The time flew and no sooner had we arrived were we downing pitchforks and heading back to the tool shed with the well-used kit.
Still undecided on THE best fitness session for the evening, it was pointed out to me that the tool shed lay next to the running track, so we all whizzed around the newly sanded 400m track before heading back to base.
Quite a lot of running tonight. Well done everyone.
Monday shout-out’s for Team Terrific
A massive congratulations to Martin, who this week reached his 50th good deed. Well done, and it’s brilliant to have you on board our Monday runs so regularly.
Thanks to Liz tonight, for much needed, steady backmarking.
And a big, big GG cheerio to our very own Luke, who this week leaves us to head to Singapore’s shores. Our loss is their gain. Thanks from us all for the huge contribution you’ve made to GoodGym Tower Hamlets, and you will be much missed. Keep in touch!
And the exciting GoodGym week ahead…
Time to balance out the mileage with a Magners, and come on board for a bit of socialising this week:
• On Thursday, it’s the GoodGym Social, in the centre of town, on Tottenham Court Road (and it's Camden’s birthday), so pop in for a cheeky half on your way home.
• …while on Sunday, you’re ALL invited to join GG Tower Hamlets pub quiz team, Let’s Get Quizzical as we ditch tarmac for trivia and head to The Coborn in Bow. (GoodGymers: we need your grey matter. Come and lend a hand, will you).
• And looking to next week, our Monday Group Run sees us heading back to the wonderful Tower Hamlets Cemetary Park to pull-and-prise ivy away from paths and headstones… Say no more.
Until then, have a wicked, wonderful, thoroughly enjoyable week, and see you soon.
We're celebrating our first light run by heading back for more glorious gardening fun in our borough's most beautiful park.
We need many pairs of hands for a big operation this evening: Head Gardener Tom needs your help mulching, compost-turning, weeding the borders and weeding in the meadow!
And then we'll be taking advantage of the fact that we're in this huge open space to squeeze in a bit more running, adding in a bit of speedwork to help your fitness levels along.*
*All running caters to every level of fitness - we have backmarkers to and from the task, so you'll always be able to run at a pace that suits your fitness level. No one ever gets left behind, or runs on their own.
Three wonderful tasks
It was an ambitious one. We were torn. Three wonderful task owners, three wonderful tasks but how many pairs of hands could we count on tonight? 28 was the answer. TWENTY EIGHT GoodGymers braved what’s still a chilly Monday experience to come and roll up their sleeves in our beloved borough for the very best causes.
We assembled in our lovely, spacious hotel room, courtesy of the wonderful Town Hall Hotel (whose staff always ensure our evening gets off to a great start, greeting us with smiles, endless help, and fulfilling our increasing number of requests, from letting leaflets be left by task owners, to taking our pic on the staircase. Thank you all so much).
And then we reassembled on the splendid staircase to take our pic for the 50th area launch – Tower Hamlets was Area Number One. You’d think this was an easy shape to make, but it was surprisingly hard. So much so that the runners toughest challenge tonight was possibly exercising a great deal of patience and tolerance as I made endless grimaces and position changes. And we hadn’t even warmed up yet.
Three teams, three tasks…
And so to the steps for 3 speedy mobility exercises before team 1, led by Leanne, were dispatched to to Rocky Park at the Hollybush Estate, where they sped around moving from task to task, filling planters, moving mulch and digging and weeding.
And then Team 2 were dispatched to a brand new task, the new Suffragette Kitchen Garden, part of the Edible Bow network, on Old Ford Road where task owner Hester met Redbridge Task Force member Dharmesh and his team, with 3 tonnes of newly delivered soil to be shovelled into planters. The team sped through the heavy lifting work, finishing in record time. Three tonnes was no match for 11 enthusiastic GoodGymers who were then the first team to arrive at the fitness session!
And I was lucky enough to head out onto the streets of Bethnal Green with an all-girl crew, to leaflet businesses and Bethnal Greeners for the wonderful Acknowledging Youths charity. We had a pretty good reception, with everyone from commuters to comedy store managers all coming on board to accept bundles of leaflets to help spread the word. Thank you Bethnal Green businesses – we witnessed a community spirit that’s alive and well on our streets tonight. Your help and receptivity is so much appreciated.
Multi-tasking moves and metabolism-boosting at Meath
And then we all ran to Meath and met by The Fitness Tree (a fallen tree who doubles up as a great base for Bulgarian split squats). We planked, we pivoted, we ran laps at various Parkrun paces, and we tempo-ed and we tackled our tums. And then we ran home. What. A. Night.
BIG thank you’s tonight
On behalf of the group, we have some pretty hefty thank you’s tonight: Thanks to our wonderful task force, who were busy planning with me behind the scenes throughout Monday. And a special thank you to Dharmesh, a Redbridge task force member on loan to us this evening, who readily agreed to lead the new task to the Suffragette Garden, did a splendid job of running the task, and then leading the first part of the fitness session for his group in Meath Gardens. And then led the cooldown stretching back at base. Amazing stuff.
Thanks to Leanne, for leading the big crew to Hollybush, and back to Meath, for taking some great pics and for saving the day with her fabulous pun tonight, AND for planning and executing our group figure-of-1 shot (and putting up with me and my endless changes).
And let’s not forget a massive warm GG welcome to Molly whose first run it was this evening. Really lovely to have you join us – thanks for being such a fabulous flier-er, it was really fun to be out and about on the streets of Bethnal Green with you!
Next week we’re back at The Glasshouse Community Centre for Earth Hour!
Now next week, we’re putting the ‘earth’ into Earth Hour and planting fruit trees and seeds at the wonderful Glasshouse Community Centre. Join us, why don’t you? We’d love you to come along. More detail, and sign up, are here.
Until then, make sure you have a wonderful week!
3 TASKS TO CHOOSE FROM: Laying a big soil delivery at the Suffragette Kitchen Garden OR Leafleting for Acknowledging Youths OR Relocating wood at Hollybush Gardens!
We're heading to Hollybush Gardens, the streets of Bethnal Green AND to a new task on Old Ford Road this evening to get stuck in helping out three wonderful local projects: two fabulous community gardens and the awesome charity, Acknowledging Youths.
This will be followed by our Tempo'n'Tone fitness session* in Meath Gardens, a workout which offers something for everyone, so the perfect session for any runner who's recovering from a race, or gearing up for April's Big One (aka The London Marathon).
* We run at all different speeds, and exercises can always be modified - our sessions are suitable for all fitness abilities.
25 runners met and mingled over a McVities this evening, before we all headed out to the Town Hall steps for a very quick warm up.
Regular runner Luke led the route to our task, leading a steady-but-manageable pace along one of our busiest routes, which was appreciated by several of our runners who had been racing over the weekend (we were just impressed you were out tonight).
Task owner Sarah was ready and well prepped for tonight’s leg of the big decorating task in this beautiful, big community arts centre: we were briefly briefed in decorating decorum (don’t start an area you can’t finish; beware the paint slosh; mind your clothes…) before two teams speedily formed in the office and corridor area. Door frames were taped, surfaces sugar-soaped – and rollers loaded. It was an industrious crew who blitzed both areas in super speedy time. And the precision! Scissors were requested (to cut tape tidily), screwdrivers summonsed (to ease nails out neatly) - no slapdash style for GoodGymers. And so after 45 minutes of solid work, it was time to dunk decorating gear into buckets to soak overnight and gather in the large theatre for tonight’s fitness session, our Glutecamp.
He glutes, he sCORES
Runners motored through 5 of my toughest balance challenges. Although the biggest challenge was probably putting up with my endless glute-activation narrative (“Push through heel, push through heel: strengthening and activating are two different things you know.”) And just when they thought it couldn’t get any worse, our fave guest fitness presenter, Chi, popped up to lead them through the Advanced part of the workout. Partner exercises and plyometric squats were just a couple of the glute goodies he presented to the now weary team. But they rose to the challenge as always, not only delivering beautifully executed reps of these tough compound exercises, they did it with cheeky smiles and cheers.
And then it was a wrap.
What a night. What another glorious, gutsy Monday run.
And so to our shout-out’s…
It was an absolute joy to have first time runners Shervin and Helen with us, both of whom wasted no time in picking up the running pace (and the rollers at the tasks), and joining the group with a real spring in their step.
Thanks from the group to Becky for backmarking both ways, and Luke for navigating and leading us to our task tonight. And to Chi for picking up the glute pace, and offering a fabulous, fun finish to the evening.
And a great big GG shout out to all the runners who participated in yesterday’s Big Half. Well done for getting involved with such a great race. Well done for all those weeks of training, and for battling through injury and twinges – and for being a regular GoodGymer during those tough weeks of training!
We have MORE fun events for you to get involved with this week…
We have a great indoor, midweek task this Wednesday, from 6.45-8.15pm, decorating the windows for Artizan Street Library, while next week, we have THREE TASKS for you to choose from - check that out here.
Until then, have a thoroughly good week!