Hi I am Ryan Elsam. I believe in supporting my local community so look forward to helping out. I am a keen rugby fan and love cooking.
2 Month Streak
Mon 14th Nov at 6:45pm
After a rare week away, with the wonderful Alison leading our group run to Highbury Quadrant last Monday, Area Activator Simon was so happy to be back at The Emirates Stadium for another group run, after his New York adventure! We had a top crew of 8 Goodgymmers join us for our warm-up and our run towards The ARC Centre in Angel this evening (including new faces to GG Islington- Holly and Alice- welcome!). We chose to take the scenic route up Whistler Avenue, through Highbury Fields and New North Road towards the edge of De Beauvoir.
Upon our arrival, we caught up with Alison and Caitlin, before opening up the unique tool shed/horse box 🐎 🔨 for our chosen implements for the evening- litter pickers, sturdy gloves, head torches, plastic bags and team work! Between us, we took to visiting Packington Gardens and Canalside Gardens, opposite the centre, and pitching in 10-15 minutes of solid litter picking and refuse collection around the neighbourhoods. These particular streets can be a wind block for debris, so we were heartened to see that the parks were actually looking pretty clean in comparison to our Summer months. Within a short amount of time, we had filled up multiple bags of trash, and were confident in setting off back to the Emirates for a lovely long run, followed by some stretches. Congratulations folks! Looking forward to next week!
Harringay Ladder Headtorch Group Run
On Friday evening (18th November), Area Activator Simon will be leading the next installment of our monthly headtorch runs, over the dark wintery seasons. This time, we will be participating in the classic "Harringay Ladder" challenge- stretching from Turnpike Lane and down to Finsbury Park, climbing and descending up and down approx 10km of parallel slopes on route. Check it out here!
Canonbury Square Gardens Volunteer Gardening Session
On Saturday 19th November, The Friends of Canonbury Square Gardens will be hosting their monthly open volunteer gardening mornings. A lovely way to catch up with the neighbours, and perfectly timed for a visit after Highbury Fields or Finsbury parkrun!
Sign up here:
Victoria Dock Time Trial
On Sunday 20th November, we will be bringing our usual time trials in Victoria Park over to the Victoria Dock Basin near the Excel centre, for our social timed running event (5km and/or 1 mile options available on a pancake flat course!). Always followed by coffee and breakfast at The Good Hotel floating restaurant!
Crouch End Open Space Monthly Forest Trail Building
The Friends of CREOS and the Conservation Volunteers will be out to host their monthly forest path building and maintenance work day this Sunday. One of our longest running and most popular community missions here at Goodgym Islington. Good solid digging and wheelbarrowing, typically followed by a picnic lunch!
Mon 24th Oct at 6:45pm
In between sporadic rain showers, Area Activator Simon caught up with a top crew of Goodgymmers (a mix of regulars and new starters- welcome Michelle!) outside the Arsenal Community Hub for our weekly group run. After a count-off to introduce each other (and to show off our favourite firework sounds to celebrate Diwali!), we ran approximately 1 mile together towards Elizabeth House Food Hub on Hurlock Street (utilising some hills on route!).
Upon our arrival, we found that Ernestas, Natalie and Natasha were already helping the super busy food bank crew with their half term operations. Elizabeth House Food Hub has been set up to act like a supermarket of donated produce that can be affordably purchased by the immediate community. During the holidays, more families and individuals require additional assistance with deliveries, so Goodgym Islington were asked whether would lend a hand. Half of our runners paired up together to deliver these essential parcels to households across the borough. The rest of our team assisted with cleaning and closing up the tables used for the food bank, and with loading any additional produce back into the kitchen (after some quality control). We finished off the evening with some recycling, and breaking down food boxes for collection.
The Elizabeth House Food Hub core yeam were absolutely thrilled with the amount of work completed within such a short amount of time, and asked is to definitely return in the future! Well done all!
Our final event of the night was the introduction of our monthly "Emirates Stadium Time Trial"- a personal test run with your fellow Goodgymmers to see how quickly we can run the 700m loop of the Emirates Concourse. It was so great to bring back this "Paul Bown" tradition to Goodgym Islington again.
Highbury Quadrant Soil Shifting
On Wednesday 26th November, Area Activator Simon and Ernestas of Highbury Ward will be helping Octopus Community Network with filling up some newly constructed flower planters around the Highbury Quadrant Estate.
Sign up here to get involved:
VI Guide Running at Emirates Stadium with Achilles International
Every Thursday, Achilles International will lead a group run for visually impaired runners and local guides at Paddington Rec Track or The Emirates Stadium. This week, we will be returning to North London for our session. Open to potential guide of all abilities, and for anyone up for a group run!
Halloween Hampstead Heath Headtorch Group Run
On Friday 28th November, AA Simon will be leading his annual Halloween headtorch run around Hampstead Heath- starting at the Bull and Gate Pub in Kentish Town, and looping around the gorgeous trails of North London. Costumes and trail shoes are advised, but not essential! Social group running pace will be the aim for the evening- please bring your own headtorch if possible.
Caledonian Park Junior parkrun Half Term Holiday Help
On Sunday 30th November, the lovely event directors of junior parkrun in Caledonian Park have asked if any of our Goodgym crew would be available to help with course marshalling, time keeping, tail walking or barcode scanning for their free weekly timed run for 4-14 year old runners. Volunteer numbers from parents and usual assistants tend to be down due to the half term break, so any help would be awesome!
Penn Road Gardens Volunteer Open Morning
After Junior parkrun, the resident volunteers of Penn Road Gardens will be hosting their monthly open morning for composting, mulching and garden maintenance near Holloway Road. A wonderful way to spend a Sunday morning with a potential Goodgym double task!
Mon 17th Oct at 6:45pm
As the sun went down across the Islington borough, our Goodgym crew caught outside the Arsenal Community Hub on Benwell Road, ready for our weekly group run. Great to see a mix of returning runners and new faces (congratulations to Paul after his recent marathon exploits!).
We ran together parallel to Holloway Road, and over to Compton Gardens past Union Chapel (a Saturday morning gardening community mission soon to listed on the site- watch this space!). After dropping down from Upper Street and Packington Street, we met up with Will, the head gardener for Packington and Riverside Gardens opposite the Arc Centre, and the rest of our Goodgym team.
Our main objective for the evening was to clear some large heaps of overgrown weeds and shrubs from the roots from 5 trees within Riverside Garden. These trees were originally donated by the Chelsea Flower Show, so we really want to make sure that they are well prepared for the Winter months. Meanwhile, Patrick, Francesca and Nick donned their headtorches and clip lights, and assisted with litter picking around the perimeter of the park (particularly in the bushes nearest to Regent's Canal- lots of bottles and cans rescued from this lovely green space!).
Within 45 minutes of graft, working with portable lights, we successfully completed our garden maintenance help, and really made a difference. After a catch-up chat, our team set off back home via bike, tube and on foot, and Area Activator Simon lead a group back to The Emirates via an alternate route past Essex Road, through Highbury Fields and across Drayton Park. Wonderful stuff- Thank you for joining us, everyone!
Upcoming Goodgym Islington Events
GROUP RUN- Elizabeth House Food Hub Half Term Helpers
Next Monday (24th October), we will be leading our weekly group run (starting at The Arsenal Community Hub) over to one of our favourite community mission spots. Elizabeth House Food Hub have requested our help with delivering additional supplies and parcels to the local community over the school holidays. A smashing way to spend a Monday evening, and one that will make a huge difference to many people.
Sign up here to get involved:
Mildmay Community Centre Evening Gardening Workout
Area Activator Simon will be helping Head Gardener Dom on Friday evening (21st October) with an evening of weed whacking and foliage clearing (using electric strimmers and rakes) on the sloped gardens in this unique carbon neutral Passiv Haus project.
Really good fun! Sign up here:
Halloween Headtorch Run on Hampstead Heath!
Back by popular demand, Area Activator Simon will be leading this year's Halloween headtorch run around Hampstead Heath. Starting and ending at The Bull and Gate in Kentish Town, we will run about 10km around this gorgeous green space in the dark, following the lights from our fellow runners! Friday 28th October, from 6.30pm- all abilities and running paces welcome- this is a social run.
This will be an absolute blast! Sign up here:
GROUP RUN- Thornhill Square Gardens SPOoOoky edition!
Yes! Goodgym Islington will be out for our weekly Group Run on the most terrifying night of the year- Halloween!
We will set off from Arsenal Community Hub at 6.45pm, and run together to Thornhill Square Gardens. Costumes recommended!
and afterwards we plan to enjoy our monthly social with a trip to The Horatia on Holloway Road for delicious Bao baps, traditional pub food and a full range of refreshments.
Highbury Quadrant Soil and Shingle Shifting
On Wednesday 26th October (6.30pm onwards), Area Activator Simon and Frannie from Octopus Community Network will be out at Highbury Quadrant Estate Gardens, filling a collection of newly constructed flower planters with soil, ready for winter bulbs.
Sign up here to help out:
Achilles International Guide Running Group Runs at The Emirates Stadium
For the past few years, AA Simon has been coordinating guide running sessions in Green Park and at Paddington Rec Track on Thursday evenings. This year, we have been able to introduce our sessions to The Emirates Stadium concourse over the Winter months (every fortnight).
We will be meeting our runners at Arsenal tube station on Thursday 27th October at 6pm. Guides of all abilities are welcome- we approach the evening as a group running session, but with visually impaired runners included!
Sign up here to get involved:
Mon 10th Oct at 8:45pm
Mon 10th Oct at 6:45pm
Our Goodgym Islington crew met up for another smashing evening of group running and green fingered gardening fun at Market Road Gardens. Welcome to our regulars, returning runners and new group run starters (Thanks for coming down, Ryan), and to those who have recently completed awesome running achievements (Adam successfully ran the London Marathon two weeks ago, and Kim ran her first 10km in Victoria Park- well done!).
After a dynamic warm-up and a series of muscle activations, our team ran the 1.3 mile distance to Market Road (following Pankhurst Road, Penn Road Gardens and Caledonian Road). Upon our arrival, we were greeted by our cycling Goodgymmers (Francesca and Emily) and the legend that is Frannie from Octopus Community Network.
Market Road Gardens is a really beautiful permaculture park, combining wild flower beds with public access and local community projects (like the Heywood Adventure Playgrounds and Mencap). Our main task for the evening was to assist with making the main pathways across Market Road Gardens as accessible as possible for all the groups who use the space (children, families, vehicles). Most of our team grabbed rakes, spades and green bags from our gardening shed at the top of the park (next to the lovely old mill float!), and scooped up all of the leaves, moss, mud and green waste from the pathways.
The rest of our crew helped out with clearing the thorns, brambles and nettles from the desire paths surrounding the wild flower gardens. Gloves and long sleeved coats and tops certainly helped with this process, and we were able to make an amazing amount of progress within 45 minutes of graft!
As we wound down our tasks for the evening, we went our separate ways- Area Activator Simon lead a group run back to The Arsenal Community Hub, and then on for our October Social at the fantastic OA Com Tam Vietnamese Restaurant on Holloway Road- exceptional noodles, soup, summer rolls and good times had by all!
VI Guide Running with Achilles International at the Emirates Stadium
On Thursday evenings, Achilles International host a group running session with visually impaired runners. All abilities, all paces and always looking for sighted runners interested in trying guide running!
This week, we plan to meet at Arsenal tube station at 6pm, to then host our run at the Emirates Stadium concourse. Every other week in Winter, we visit Paddington Rec Track.
If you would like to shadow a VI runner would like to try your hand at guide running, sign up here:
Mildmay Community Centre Gardening Workout
On Friday evening from 6pm, Area Activator Simon and Dom, the head gardener from Mildmay Community Centre (an incredible Passiv Haus just off Newington Green), will be helping with some strimming, weed whacking, raking and green waste clearing. Classic Goodgym Green Fun!
Post parkrun Community Gardening with Canonbury Square Gardens
On Saturday 15th from 10am-12 midday (perfect for a visit after Highbury Fields or Finsbury parkruns!), Beatrix and the team of resident gardeners will be out for an open volunteering morning in the lovely Canonbury Square Gardens.
Sign up here to get involved:
Camino Ultra London: Epping Forest Aid Station Volunteer Party!
On Saturday 15th October, Area Activator Simon will be helping Camino Ultra (aka Darren Strachan, David Bone and Paula Bedford) at their official Goodgym Aid Station for the Epping Forest 50km Ultra Race!
We will be helping the awesome runners on the green corridor between Wanstead and Epping at Butler's Retreat Café in Chingford, filling water bottles and offering up treats for hungry and thirsty running folks. It will be an absolute blast, and you are welcome to join us here:
Crouch End Open Space (CREOS) Forest Path Building Sundays
CREOS is on of Goodgym Islington's longest running monthly community missions, and is one of our favourites for good reason!
The Friends of Crouch End Open Space will be leading a session of forest path building between Highgate Woods and Muswell Hill on Sunday morning from 11am to 1pm, usually followed by a community picnic with hot drinks, snacks, soup, quiches and occasionally cider. A wonderful way to spend a Sunday!
Sat 15th Oct at 10:00am
Lending a hand with this beautiful neighbourhood maintained garden in IslingtonRead more
Thu 13th Oct at 6:00pm
Be a sighted runner and explore the world of guide running!Read more