24 runners; 3 task owners, many different tasks…
A good sized group of us made our way to the Haggerston Orchard this evening to help task owners Camilla, Benoit and Sophie tackle some stubborn tree stumps head on.
On arrival at the task, we were speedily briefed and divided into three teams: a large group headed over to the tree stump area, where tree expert Benoit explained to the crew how they were needed to help whittle and prise some tough old trees out of the ground, route network an’ all, to make way for some new beginnings.
Groups of 3-4 worked on each trunk which was tough work. But unbelievably rewarding when the trees finally broke loose, and the area was free to be filled in with new compost. This ended up being quite the plant production line.
Meanwhile, Sophie and Camilla juggled some fine runner distribution, speedily shuttling runners between different areas of the large garden, juggling task overlaps such as nettle-plucking with soil-turning in the vegetable bed; rubble-clearing with watering…It was an industrious remaining two teams who shuttled themselves (and piles of stones, compost, nettles…you name it) from one end of the garden to another.
Glutes ‘n’ roots
And before we knew it (I say that every week, but honestly, the time flies) it was 8pm and the ‘all hands on deck’ moment arrived to start the clearing away effort. A small crew of 5 opted to remain on Project Tree Stump, filling in remaining holes with compost, while the remainder of the group obediently made their way to a clearing in the garden for our Glutes ‘n’ Abs session, tonight’s content chosen by my fitness panel, Jo, Andrea and Lucy.
Wicked work here tonight. I swear you’re all getting lots stronger, with improved balance. We enjoyed quadruped hip extensions, single leg deadlifts, cycling crunches to name a few.
…And then it was time to say cheerio and head back to base for our final stretches of the night. Another amazing night, everyone, it really was.
And thanks to Si and Bryon for navigating, and to Jo and Lieke for backmarking.
What a team! You’re all amazing – everyone says so.
And before I sign off, I just want to give a big shout-out this week, to our two runners who ran yesterday's London Marathon, Becky G and Leanne. A massive congratulations to you both. And another shout-out to members of the team who volunteered, including Becky J and Sarah M who did a cracking job manning a bag truck.
Now, next week, we’re heading back to the Parkview Estate to check on those fruit trees and visit the residents. This is not one to miss, so get involved now.
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.
Tom has done 10 good deeds. They are a trusted GoodGym runner and are now eligible to join their local TaskForce.
We were two-tasking it again this evening, and really putting the ‘earth’ into Earth Hour on both our tasks.
A secondary SOS task to Cranbrook Community Food Garden
In an eleventh hour addition to our planned activity, task force member Becky J headed up a splinter group of four to one of our longest standing, favourite tasks, Cranbrook Community Food Garden. Writes Becky, “Just a mini detour en route to Cranbrook this evening, as fellow Task Force member Bryon challenged me to attempt navigating our route without assistance (always a challenge...). This added just one small loop to the run, but I'm all in favour of a little extra (accidental) mileage.
On arrival at the garden, we witnessed Storm Gareth had indeed left a trail of destruction in his wake, felling a tree and damaging fencing in the process. Bryon and Eimear set to work removing twigs from a boundary fence, while Tom and I began the tricky task of untangling climbing plants from a now broken trellis, before pulling down the arch.
Having successfully achieved this, (and, btw, saving a tree we feared may have to be pulled up in the process), we were then presented with a flat pack replacement arch (turns out flat pack instructions are easier in daylight, with a mug of strong coffee, than in a dark garden, deciphered under torchlight alone).
But Bryon and Eimear joined us and together we got the arch standing, just in time to pose for a couple of pics alongside our evening’s handiwork.”
Team Tower Hamlets to the rescue indeed.
Potting at Parkview
Meanwhile, I headed up the Parkview crew who were Glasshouse-bound to this most wonderful community hall on the Parkview Estate. Task owner Catherine met us with two tasks – potting bee-friendly plants and leafleting for the upcoming Spring Fayre - leaving no preparation stone unturned as she presented a proposed plant production line of such efficiency, the likes of which I’ve never seen before; ditto leafleting instructions (think hand drawn maps of the estate).
Two leaflet teams were dispatched onto the estate's many blocks, while the plant-potters, headed up by Luke, and initially Dave (who was then demoted to deputy by young Connie, who joined from the Parkview residents team to instruct on best plant-handling practice) grouped in two different areas of the hall.
It was a race to the finish, but by the time we left all 800 plants had been potted, and the area swept and scrubbed down. Wow.
Tempo run and tree pose
And then it was back to our beautiful hotel base, where we were lucky enough to have Christina, a regular runner and qualified yoga teacher, lead us through some fabulous yoga stretches to finish.
Another totally neat night. More missions awesomely accomplished. More thoroughly relieved and appreciative task owners. Well. Done. You.
And thank you to Becky, for enabling the second task to happen, and for kind of saving the day and for taking some great pics, and writing the report.
Now, don’t forget, we’re doing it all again on Saturday when task force member Bryon leads up a brand new gardening task in E3 – yes, we’re putting the ‘earth’ back into Earth Hour for the second time this week. More details and sign up are here.
Have a brilliant week, won't you all, and hope to see you very soon.
GoodGym & Earth Hour Run: Potting up bee-friendly plants at the beautiful Parkview gardens - followed by #runforyourworld laps of Victoria Park!
Come and join us on Monday in the lead up to Earth Hour for this evening’s run.
Earth Hour is the biggest global event in place to help us protect our planet - now more than ever, nature needs our help.
So come on board and #runforyourworld as we join the magnificent Glasshouse Community Centre and Parkview residents for a selection of indoor and outdoor tasks, including:
• Potting up bee-friendly plants for Parkview's ‘Brighten Your Balconies’ spring fair plants giveaway
• Giving residents a helping hand to collect leftover litter from the estate after a busy weekend in nearby Victoria Park.
- Flyering on the estate for the Parkview Spring Fayre
And this will be followed by a few laps through the centre of Victoria Park, where all runners run, jog and walk at their own pace. We will be running for our world, running for our heart and lungs and most of all, running for enjoyment, so you’re only ever competing against yourself.
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!
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!
Storm Freya no match for sturdy GoodGymers
20 runners braved Storm Freya to head to Victoria Park for a variety of heavy duty gardening tasks...
We gathered in a compact hotel room this evening for tonight's pre-task briefing. Due at glorious Victoria Park at 7.10pm, to meet Tom, our terrific new task owner, we needed a few minutes to run through the details of tonight's range of tasks, before we hit the tarmac.
A full body workout
We arrived promptly at a dark park, to be greeted by Tom, on a bike laden down with gardening kit. We kept up with the bike through an increasingly dark park as we headed up central drive, grateful for those runners who'd headed out with head torches this evening. We finally reached The Old English Garden where three teams worked on: turning a wall of compost in the compost pen; raking an entire bed ready for seeding, and redistributing soil onto shrub beds.
As usual, the runners worked at lightning speed, and it wasn't long before the back-up tasks were completed, as well as the original tasks. It was a windy, cold night but the runners ploughed through mound after mound of leaves and soil. They shovelled, and forked, and raked, and wheeled, so every muscle in the body from core to calves was thoroughly worked. Even the mud-shifting from the rakes was labour intensive this evening.
Fartlek in the freezing wind
And then it was time to head back to the tool shed to replace kit and be briefed on tonight's fitness session: task owner Tom would lead us back out to Crown Gate East, changing pace on his bike, offering the runners an impromptu fartlek session.
GoodGymer Tom then led us through our Victoria Park speed session, a few 20-second bursts of fast running, before we headed back down Old Ford Road for stretching and polishing off our favourite McVities Gold bars.
It was a FULL. ON. evening: the weather was stroppy, the park was dark, the lake was, well, there; the running was fast, and the mud stubborn. But the GoodGymers breezed through, not batting an eyelid, other than to adjust headtorches. As always, you rock.
The first March shout-out's
A big warm welcome to Tom, who joined us tonight for his first run (how are your lats?). Thank you for shifting so many leaves on your first run. And to Simon, by no means new to GG, just to Tower Hamlets, and we hope so much you'll join us again soon.
And thank you, from us all, to: Bryon, for leading the runners back on the fartlek session; to Leanne for perfect, careful backmarking, above and beyond what we expected distance-wise tonight, and to Tom, for powering our runners through that last bit of fitness-boosting.
Now, next Monday...
We're back to Oxford House next week, to enjoy an indoor task where we'll help Sarah and the team continue the big makeover of this beautiful arts centre. Read more and sign up here.
All that leaves me to say is have a wonderful week, and hope to see you very soon.
After whizzing through this evening's announcements & intro (as much as I ever 'whizz' when it comes to talking), our transition to warm up was briefly interrupted as Bryon stepped forward to present me with a one year anniversary balloon sculpture and a Wonder Woman card on behalf of the group. Blimey. You lot know how to turn a trainer from chatty to teary in seconds. I maintain GoodGym IS YOU. Thank you.
A prompt departure tonight
19 runners gathered tonight on the hotel steps for a handful of very brief warm up exercises, before we enjoyed a short run to our task, a busy location on Grove Road, where a total of 23 volunteers now congregated to join the Borough's first Big Clean Up of 2019.
With usual efficiency, our task owners Carmen and Charley from Tower Hamlets Council, and Mark from Veolia, were brilliantly prepared: Carmen and Charley met and greeted us, and Mark swiftly ran through our health and safety briefing, before handing out hi-vis jackets, litter pickers, gloves and bin bags to each and every runner. We were lucky enough to be joined by volunteers Stacey, Henry, and Val, which further boosted our numbers and made our evening feel even more sociable!
A lot of ground covered
The runners headed out in five groups, in five different directions, covering the whole of the area from Wennington Green; Roman Road in both directions; ditto Grove Road. Bulging bin bags were the order of the day come 8pm. And tonight's Trash Stash of the Night goes to David, who was tickled by his find of a pair of hipster glasses.
...And then we hit that ground
And so we moved swiftly onto the fitness session of the evening, a relativey short, and somewhat sharp, fitness booster. The runners made light work of jack squats, spiderman push ups and skipping lunges, wincing only at the Backstreet Boys track that had snuck into tonight's playlist.
And then it was all over. We said our cheerios and headed back to base for a little stretch and a biscuit for the road.
This week’s shout-outs
Welcome to Michelle, whose first run it was. Thanks for your huge first effort Michelle! We loved you joining us and we hope to see you very soon.
Thanks to Leanne for usual great backmarking and ensuring we all stay together, Tom for leading an impromptu speed-lap again, to Bryonfor this week’s pun (I have to say I think this is my favourite pun yet).
…And to our task force member Becky J, who hit 100 good deeds tonight. Becky joins us most Mondays, greeting new runners, helping behind the scenes, leading Community Missions…Then goes on a coach run later in the week. Becky participates in around 2-3 good deeds a week.
What’s coming up…
Moving on to future activity: On Sunday, we kick our trainers off and head to The Coborn in Bow for a night of pub quiz-ing. Whether you fancy joining us for a pint, or to share your extensive trivia trove, we’d love you to join us. Details of timings and venue are here.
And next Monday we’re heading back to Victoria Park to help Tom move mulch and dig space for a fountain. DO come and join us if you can.
Until then, have a wonderful week – enjoy the sun, go for a run, and have fun.
Tom is a now a pretty committed GoodGym runner. They've just run to do good for the fifth time