Runner, drummer, ambitious piano player and sometime psychologist
Latest story featuring Martin
We went to Stratford-upon-Avon to talk about GoodGym
On a gorgeous Saturday morning, 5 good gym members arrived at Clive Street eager to see with their own eyes the mysterious garden of happiness. They were first greeted by Emma, who showed them the back garden, the tools and most importantly the jelly babies!
The task was one of the most straightforward they have had lately:
- clear the garden from the weeds.
At first, it seemed daunting as the back garden was rather large and some of the weeds, such as nettle began to look like trees.
The team, formed of Michael, Sean, Lowri, Martin and Karolina began hacking away in complete silence. They were all too focused on the goal and that "after" picture. While clearing, a friendly neighbour popped up saying there are hedgehogs living at the bottom of the garden. No surprise there! It was a haven for all kinds of species including spiders, bees, leaf bugs. Carefully then, the team proceeded to pay attention to all kinds of creatures.
Halfway through the task, they have realised that the garden is covered with plastic sheets and so there was no digging involved at all. There was also very little rubbish apart from bricks and stones that were there to keep the sheets in place. In 1 hr they have cleared 80 % of the site and decided it is a good time to leave it at that. The bottom of the garden was perfect for wildlife if left as is.
Despite being stung by tree size nettles, the team was very pleased with their efforts. Although the garden has a long way to go, the difference they have made was huge. Now, the residents and the housing association can at least see what really hides beneath the bindweeds and nettles.
They will without a doubt make the garden wonderful for years to come.
- It was the first community mission for Cadwyn Housing Association, which is a non-for profit organization aiming to provide affordable accommodation for people of all walks of life. Their partner organisation is Nulife Furniture which Good Gym helped out before.
- it was the 200th community mission for Martin and the 25th for Karolina.
- Hedgehogs are the gardeners best friends as they eat slugs. It is good to leave patches of gardens unkept so they can go about their lives undisturbed (https://www.rspca.org.uk/adviceandwelfare/wildlife/animals/hedgehogs/garden)
- Bindweed - Although a troublesome weed for many gardeners, bindweed flowers do provide pollen for bees and the leaves are a source of food for the larvae of convolvulus hawk moths (source https://www.rhs.org.uk/advice/profile?pid=241)
Tenovus Cancer Care is a Welsh cancer charity that supports cancer patients and their families, funds cancer research and works to raise awareness of how to prevent cancer.
We will be volunteering in the shop on Clifton Street, it's been a very long time since we were here last. There may be some painting involved but we will confirm this soon.
If you are signing up please could you leave your Parkrun barcode number in the notes or email it to me firstname.lastname@example.org as we will need this to pass onto the race director.
If you have never registered with parkrun you can do so via this link and then you will receive a barcode. https://www.parkrun.org.uk/register/
It has been a while but this week we return to the wonderful World of plogging.
Plogging – The environmental and health movement from Sweden that cleans up the world!
14 goodgymers met outside Sport Wales National Centre eager to get out and do some good. Tonight we were joined by Victoria who was filming some footage for a piece for Buzz magazine.
Plogging has some great benefits, health and exercise helps boost mental and physical well-being, it helps to keep plastic out of the sea, saves wildlife and their habitat and makes local areas generally nicer places to live.
We split into two teams, three were going to head off on a walking plog as they were overcoming injuries. They were going to concentrate on the park whilst the rest of us run along the river Taff to help keep that plastic out of the waterways before heading into town and back to the start location.
It was great to see the gang as they ran off in all directions, all gloved up and picking up rubbish, the bag holders had there work to do running to the ploggers too. It was really nice to hear thanks from passers by, the odd person shouting 'GOODGYM' and meeting the owner of a new ethical, sustainable restaurant who not only thanked us but ran through the park to do so. They will also be going out with staff for a litter pick once opened, maybe some new goodgym members there too?
We had gone only 2.5 km and already we were running out of bags, so Michael ran off to the shop to but some more whilst the group (now led by Nathan) continued on the agreed route. It wasn't too long before the new bags arrived, and all kitted out again we made our way into the city and through the streets, splitting into two group either side of the road to make the most of our numbers.
We made our way to the final location, just outside the Castle on the public seating area whilst flying the goodgym colours. We waited for Victoria for some final shots in the City Centre (can't wait to see the final edited footage) before running back to meet the walkers for a group photo.
Residents of the property are unable to maintain the communal garden, which would make a great space for them if cleared and tidied.
The tasks are:
clear the weeds and the rubble Tidy up
This is a relatively small garden and not too many tools are available but the tasks can be done easily.
Protective wear is advised as it is not known what is underneath the weeds!
Six GoodGym volunteers traded a Summer Bank Holiday Sunday lie-in for marshaling duties at the 2021 Butetown Mile.
Warm morning sunshine and a faint breeze greeted us at our meeting point, aptly the race start line, located at the north end of Bute Street opposite Ty Gobaith. Martin and Fiona were the first to arrive, both of whom were approaching mission milestones of their own (this being their 198th and 99th missions respectively).
Race organiser Dr Sarah Fry briefed us on our duties for the day. We were needed to marshal three points along the course:
- One traffic marshal positioned at a small road junction with Bute Street (Meg)
- One 400m-to-go marker marshal (Mikey)
- Four end-point marshals (Martin, Fiona, Sean, Karolina)
Sarah also informed us that, owing to logistical complications, the medals had not been delivered. However, young runners would be awarded with a gold medal balloon after crossing at the finish.
We donned the standard hi-vis vests, then set off along the race route. We traced the length of Bute Street and talked about the history of Butetown aka The Docks along the way.
Title talk The film 8-Mile, starring Marshall Mathers aka Eminem, derived it's title from 8 Mile Road, a highway between two contrasting communities in Detroit, USA. A loose comparison can be made with Butetown: a wall that stretches much the length of Bute Street delimits the ungentrified and gentrified areas of Butetown ward. It also serves to highlight the ethos of the Butetown Mile: to encourage community engagement, connecting people with each other via a revived local event rich in provenance.
We searched for and eventually located the elusive 400m mark: an establishment called The Bay Lounge. From here, Mikey's sign would help inform those runners looking for a good time whether they were en course for a happy ending.
Once we'd secured some "Caution Runners" signage to railings by the pedestrian crossing on Bute Place, a quick pre-race coffee was in order to perk us up from the previous day's activities. Meg caught up with us for an all too brief time before we all set off to take up our race positions.
The end-point crew arrived to find that fellow volunteer V had already set up the canopy and tables, but still had a fruit mound/pile to sort out. In a matter of minutes, we had artfully arranged the water bottles, bananas and oranges on the table tops readily in reach for race finishers.
Going the extra mile
The Elite Race began at 10am and in under five minutes the first runner had crossed the line. As an assortment of club colours funneled through the finish line, we helped to keep things moving and maintain a tidy finish area, collecting banana skins and empty bottles from tired runners.
The Fun Run began at 10.20am. It was won by a young girl in an elite race time, a result that raised a Butetown smile from the cheering crowd. We guided runners over both of the electronic tracker finish lines to ensure they would register a time. Fiona presented gold medal balloons to all the young runners to reward their achievements. We continued to cheer runners home until all had completed the distance.
Did you know? Former Marathon world record holder Steve Jones ran a sub-4 minute mile during the original incarnation of the Butetown Mile.
Following the race, Sarah conducted the winners presentation (see full results here) and thanked all volunteers for their efforts: the event simply couldn't go ahead without such support. We stayed to help pack up the excess refreshments and balloons, and to ensure the area was litter free.