Victoria has helped keep other people motivated, Victoria has noticed what others have done and cheered 10 people. We doff our caps to you Victoria.
Early on a chilly (but thankfully dry!) Saturday morning, Goodgym Islington Area Activator Simon and Run Director Lorna met up in on the far side of Finsbury Park to pick up a wobbly wheelie cart full of fluro vests, neon signs, loudspeakers and finishing tunnel tape. As we made our way to the park cafe, excited runners and volunteers appeared from all directions, sporting Goodgym red shirts and additional layers for the cold.
8 goodgymmers joined the essential volunteer team to help bring Finsbury parkrun (a free weekly timed 5km event, hosted in parks nationwide and worldwide: https://www.parkrun.org.uk/) to 382 runners, walkers, buggy pushers and canicrossers. Between us, we took on roles vital roles like timekeepers, course marshals, barcode scanners, finishing token sorters and finishing funnel managers, and made sure that everyone had a super positive and safe event.
One of our highlights involved being asked:
"Who are you Goodgym folks, and can we have you back to cheer every week?"
That's what it's all about!
The first finisher for this week's parkrun event was an extremely talented runner and all round lovely guy called Seyfu Jamaal.
Seyfu is a keen runner for London Heathside Running Club, and a regular participant at Highbury Fields and Finsbury parkrun. Earlier this year, he won the London Landmarks Half Marathon outright, and has been working as a mentor with the Running Charity, encouraging others to engage in the London running community.
Seyfu’s journey to the UK was a sad and traumatic one, experiencing the horrors of trafficking and torture, he finally arrived in the UK aged just 17. Ethiopia, his home country, has triggered a state of national emergency, and Seyfu has recently his asylum application rejected by the Home Office. He is currently appealing this decision, submitting that it is not safe for him to return home.
Please sign this petition to help one of our local running heroes!
The Goodgym crew have been invited to take over the volunteering and pacing duties at Finsbury parkrun!
For those who are new to parkrun, this is a nationwide (and now worldwide!) free weekly 5km time trial, hosted in your local park. The event is super accessible, and the joy of parkrun is that your 15 min runner and your 60 min finisher are just as valued and appreciated!
To allow parkrun to happen every week, volunteers are required to help with key roles such as:
Collecting Finishing Tokens
and as a great secondary opportunity:
- Pacing for certain popular 5km times
Here is a link for more information about parkrun. No experience is required for these roles, you will be directed by the event director and other volunteers on the day:
To sign up for a certain role, or to announce your plan to run with us, please add your name and parkrun number on the following spreadsheet.
In regards to pacing- we have listed some key pacing times on the spreadsheet. However, you are welcome to add other pacing times too.
On Saturday, we had a top crew of Goodgym Islington and Harringey regulars on hand to help Frannie from Octopus Community Network with our ongoing renovation of Market Road Gardens. This was a special weekend morning "open day", timed to allow our runners to partake in their local parkrun before jogging over to help out (Simon and Emily both participated at Hampstead Heath parkrun the same morning!).
Over the last few years, our Goodgym group have been helping out with gathering green waste (leaves, thin branches, bark etc) and gathering the material into a specific composting bay found to the left of this lovely permaculture garden. These trimmings have now been converted into compost, and will be moved in to Highbury Quadrant Estate for another gardening project. Emily and Alison successfully filled up at least 12 full bags of mulch over the course of an hour, and made great headway with clearing the composting bay for new green waste.
At the same time, David, Benedetta and Victoria worked together to tidy up the primary growing beds of the permaculture project- trimming back thistles, nettles and over grown natural plants. Frannie also requested that we take out all of the marker pegs set out around the wild planting beds, so the team can replace them with some fresh string and tape.
We completed the session by placing the trimmed plants and weeds into the hügelgarden bed at the back of the space, and then covering the new composting bed with tarpaulin. We were literally tucking the green waste away for winter, ready to wake up as fresh compost in Spring!
Come and join us again next month!
We plan to return to Market Road Gardens on Saturday 4th December at 11.30am again for one more session before Xmas.
Goodgym have been invited to help out with preparing our lovely collaborative permaculture gardening project for a "Get Involved" open day.
After over a year of maintenance, care and tending, Market Road Gardens will be inviting the general public and the children from Heyward Community Centre to try their hand at gardening and cultivation.
Perfectly timed to co-incide with a post parkrun coffee!
On Monday evening, 4 Goodgymmers ran down to the Arsenal Community Hub for our first official winter time group run. Area Activator Simon, Alfie, Victoria and Annikki (on her 2nd task- welcome!) performed a warm up on the Benwell Road slope (up towards the Emirates Stadium), before setting off on a really pleasant social run through Highbury Fields and Canonbury. On the way, we spotted leftover Halloween pumpkins (or "Jack-o'-lanterns" as Victoria refers to them!) and the first Christmas lights up on display. Our destination (after 1.5 miles running) was the Rose Bowl Youth Centre, where we caught up with the lovely Dawn, the local volunteer coordinator.
3 main activities were available for us this time. Group 1 (Victoria and Annikki) helped with cutting out some over grown tree branches around the entrance of the centre, using saws and long clippers. Our intention was to keep the twigs from scratching visitors on their way onto the property. The branches were then chopped down into really small clippings, for Islington Council to safely remove later in the week.
Group 2 (Paul and Anne) picked up brushes and sweepers, and set their targets on clearing almost all of the fallen leaves off the main playground area, where youth groups and local clubs frequently play. The plan was to reduce the potential for slipping hazards where possible, and our duo did a smashing job over course of 45 minutes.
Alfie volunteered to help with a classic moving and shifting task, which involved taking a full room of donated food bank supplies from one location, and over to a safe storage cupboard. Lots of canned goods and non-perishable items in large quantities- quite a workout! Some of these supplies also needed to be stock rotated too, arranged by expiration date, and discarded where necessary.
We finished our evening with another jog back to Drayton Park (a slight variation on our original route), and a few of us enjoyed some refreshments at the Highbury Library bar for our monthly group social. Great job everyone!
Market Road Gardens Open Day
This Saturday (6th November), Octopus Community Network have invited the Goodgym Islington crew to attend their open permaculture gardening day at Market Road Gardens. This has been a long running GG Islington task, and a great opportunity to meet local resident gardeners and volunteers!
Meeting at 11.30am at the gates of Market Road Gardens.
Perfectly timed to coordinate with a 9am parkrun in Finsbury Park or Hampstead Heath?
Come and join the Goodgym Islington crew for our monthly post group run social (1st Monday of every month).
We typically make a booking for approx 15 people at The Highbury Library bottle shop for 8.45pm.
Alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks on offer, with a covered outdoor space and a basement bar available.
If the sign-up limit is reached, feel free to comment below, and we will check if there is flexibility for more guests.