Steam rising from compost
A description of the experience of GoodGym
September 19, 2019
The following text is an attempt to describe the experience of being a GoodGym runner. It has been collaborated on by runners from across the UK and is based on experiences in different cities and boroughs.
Putting on worn, damp gloves, getting changed on the train, or in a community centre toilet. Ruining your new trainers on a muddy task.
A fork with only three prongs. Learning what Himalayan Balsam is.
Getting lost on the way to a mission. The steam rising from compost. Rasping throats on hill reps in the Winter. Freezing hands weeding in November. Your red t-shirt splattered with paint. Jokes with the person you’re digging next to. Thinking the task will never get done. Wondering “What really is a weed?” Being surprised. Trusting each other.
The disbelief on the face of the other person who did not believe that twenty of you would turn up to help them on that dark night in the rain. Being part of a human chain to shift logs. Laughing. Spending all night thinking of puns for the run report. Losing your mission streak. Starting again.
Putting everything into pulling up a massive root. Making a new friend.
Running with brim-full wheelbarrows.
Getting settled into clearing someone’s garden on a sunny day and being offered tea. Refusing offers of tenners and beer on your next mission.
The delight on the face of your coach as you visit them on their birthday.
Being called a friend by their kids.
The laughter and exhaustion of a fitness session you were dreading.
Returning home from your walk with salad grown in the community garden you've helped. Bumping into someone from a project you’ve helped in the street and stopping to talk. A race you never thought you'd do. A pub that is too small to contain the laughter of happy runners after a race.
Emptying the woodchip out of your trainers. Being proud that your trainers are ruined and that the logo has rubbed off your t-shirt. Hot showers and washing dirt from muddy legs. Feeling like you’d do it again.
Having a story to tell. Feeling like you contribute.
Feeling like this is your town, your city.