Why GoodGym is a great place to meet new people

How new people can become new friends

October 22, 2018

Have your own GoodGym story to share with the community? Email getinvolved@goodgym.org and we'll be in touch.

With the BBC's loneliness project revealing that young people are amongst the most likely to feel lonely and often find it hard to meet new people in a meaningful way it is more important than ever that we find ways to meet new people. Here, GoodGym runner Tom Clark writes about how and why meeting new people on a GoodGym run isn't too difficult.

To paraphrase Blur, sometimes modern life can be a bit rubbish. Community is less of a factor in most people lives than it was for their parents and grandparents - it’s likely that not many people reading this post will have grown up, studied and worked in the same community their whole lives.

Moving to a new place is an exciting time, but it can also be a lonely one. Whether you’re new to an area or have lived there for years, if you are feeling a disconnect from the place you live then GoodGym is a fantastic way to meet people in your community and get to know your surroundings a little better.

I wanted to find a way to escape the student bubble"

Emily Jones was a student in Bath when she decided to try GoodGym. ‘I wanted to find a way to escape the student bubble and meet some different people in the local community’, she says. ‘I chose GoodGym because it was also a great way of motivating me to keep fit. I'd always wanted to run a half marathon and this felt like a good, sociable way to ease myself into running.

everyone was so welcoming"

Emily says that the welcoming environment made GoodGym feel different to a sports club. ‘It wasn't competitive like a running club and it felt like a good space for people of all running abilities. I encouraged some friends to come along with me for my first run so didn't feel too daunted but I went to a lot of runs on my own in the first few months and didn't find it daunting at all because everyone was so welcoming.’

I didn't know anyone in the local area"

Ella Jeffries started coming to GoodGym after moving to Colchester for a new job. ‘I didn't know anyone in the local area and was quite anxious about moving somewhere new’, she says. ‘A friend told me about a running group who also did 'charity' work. After some googling I found out the name 'GoodGym', signed up and went along to my first Wednesday session after only a few weeks of moving to Colchester.’

Whilst coming into a GoodGym group can feel daunting, Ella says it wasn’t long until she felt at home. ‘I didn't really know what to expect but quickly realised it was a very relaxed and friendly environment. The GoodGymers seemed like a close knit bunch so I wasn't sure at first how well I would integrate into the group but it only took me a few weeks to feel part of the team.’

Before long the new people you meet at GoodGym can become new friends. And who knows, maybe more!

‘There are a few in particular who have made the GoodGym experience special for me,’ Ella says, ‘not least my partner Tav who I may not have met otherwise and who now is a consistent source of my happiness!’

‘You're guaranteed to meet nice people because it's people who are willing to give up their free time to help others!’, Emily says. ‘It's also a really eclectic mix of people from different backgrounds, ages and professions so it’s a great way to meet people in the area you wouldn't normally meet.’

staring at a screen all day"

If meeting new people is the goal that gets you to come to your first GoodGym, there may well be other goals that keep you coming. ‘It's a way of me forcing myself to exercise every week and I always feel better for it’, Emily says. ‘It's amazing for my mental health after sitting in an office staring at a screen all day.

‘It encourages so many people to push themselves - I've run two half marathons since starting with GoodGym and am signed up for another in March. I think it's so helpful having a collective force of good willing you to do well! And a group of people expecting you to turn up every week. It's great motivation.’

knowing your area better than you’ve known anywhere else"

GoodGym can undoubtedly change how you feel about where you live, and you may even find yourself knowing your area better than you’ve known anywhere else thanks to GoodGym. ‘It's a great way to meet others who you may not meet otherwise, get involved in the community, learn new things and see new places you might not even know exist’, Ella says. ‘I feel like I've got to know more about Colchester (both the good and the bad) from a year living here than I have about anywhere else I've lived for much longer periods of time.

hump day saviour"

‘GoodGym is part of my weekly routine. It's my 'hump day' saviour, it's a laugh with good people, it's a light run on usually tired legs. It's making a small but noticeable difference in the community every week.’

Get involved:
-Find out about GoodGym in your area
-Find out about starter sessions and shorter runs

Have your own GoodGym story to share with the community? Email getinvolved@goodgym.org and we'll be in touch.
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