Half – together!

14 Goodgymers helped their local community in Brighton
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Sunday 25th February

Report written by STEFANIA ROSSO (she/her)

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This past weekend, Brighton GoodGym-ers have been running or volunteering while engaging their heart with their friends Susan and Joel in Mind.

We have been running in memory of Brighton GoodGym-er and friend Susan – Susan was a regular on our group runs, and a kind and supportive friend. She loved literature, her favourite philosopher was Kierkegaard, and four times a year she would make a little nature shrine in her home to celebrate the new season. She carried a ridiculously large backpack to our GoodGym sessions (we still have no idea what was in it), cooked a mean roast dinner, and was famously good at chin-ups.

We have been taking on this challenge also in honour of another GoodGym-er and friend Joel – Joel was a vibrant, intelligent and caring person with a happy-go-lucky outlook on life, often pushing the boundaries of adventure and upfront to help the others.

On Sunday 25 February, we braved the wind to run and cheer at Brighton Half Marathon, a brilliant race organised by local charity The Sussex Beacon. Despite the horrendous headwind for the final 5K, everyone made it safely over the line…and then to the pub, where we enjoyed a well-earned roast together.

In their own words, here are a few answers from GoodGym-ers when we asked:

“What’s your Why to come out this weekend?“

“I ran to support my brilliant GoodGym friends, who lost someone special to them a couple of years ago, and to celebrate the importance of movement and fitness in keeping mind and body healthy“. Rosie

“I ran in memory of fellow Goodgym-er Susan, who was one of the people who first welcomed me to GoodGym Brighton. Delighted that we’ve managed to collectively raise 3x more than our original fundraising target for Mind! I also ran for the challenge of getting my pb under two hours“. Pippa

“While I was not personally affected, I can see what a gap Susan left in the lives of those who knew her. Working for a mental health trust I can see how much people need support.” Sarah

“I ran to beat my six-year personal best, and in memory of a wonderful person who was a big part of our lovely community.” Michael

“I wanted to just cheer on all the great effort you GoodGym good folk put it...and I love the atmosphere! Well done again :)” Edel

“My why: training run for the Brighton full marathon on 7th April. Practicing negative splits, racing strategies in real race conditions. Also happy to run with my friend Stefania and support her pace and mission. Thankyou, GoodGym!“ Colin

"I have been enjoying very much taking part in GoodGym activities, as besides keeping fit and having fun with like minded people, I'm aware it's a great opportunity to contribute to my local community and help others!" Maddy

“My why is because I like to keep fit but it's also important to me to give back to the community I live in. I joined GoodGym to make friends as I was new, and alone, when I first moved to in Brighton. Last weekend I came to support friends primarily, but also because I knew Susan well, and was affected deeply by her death“ Frannie

“I always love to keep myself moving and motivating myself to new challenges for life! Never particularly liked long-distance running, but I felt Good to run this Brighton Half with a purpose and the company of my fellow friends. As a GoodGym Area activator, I am still thrilled when I think about that last time I did a GoodGym session with Susan and when Joel proudly told me that he had joined GoodGym and signed up for a few GoodGym runs and community missions” Stefania

“This Sunday, I supported my dear friend Stefania running for GoodGym and in support of Mind honourable fundraiser for Joel & Susan who were members of Brighton Explorers and GoodGym. I remember photographing Joel and having lovely conversations, I think at a Sewage Against Sewage campaign. Such a kind soul, always smiling, despite appearing a bit distant and maybe shadowing some cloudy emotions. There was more in Joel“. Klara

“While still on the doorstep to join GoodGym parkrun in Joel’s memory, I felt I needed to say things I have never said, but I wished I had. Insights were shared. Mine will be to keep up with thriving Brighton Explorers club’s charitable mission“.

“I helped Stefania to prepare for the half marathon with some exercises to strengthen her legs and core mainly. This is what I do as a job, find a way to help people feeling better with their body! As a reflection, a good mental health is guaranteed, this is why I think exercises and physical activities are the best medicine. Well done Stefania!“ Mariangela

“Why? We believe in the power of sports to support those struggling with their mental health and by sharing our passion for sports to #DoGoodGetFit“ Stefania, GoodGym Brighton

GoodGym sessions, parkruns and races like the Brighton Half are not just great ways to challenge ourselves and support our fitness goals, but also provide an opportunity to come together and remember friends like Joel and Susan, GoodGym-ers who sadly lost their lives.

Massive thank you to everyone who supported the fundraiser for Mind.

We’re fundraising for Mind because their work supports people like Susan and Joel, providing mental health information, advocacy, and peer support. Since the pandemic, the demand for mental health services has been increasingly overwhelming, and charities like Mind are doing essential work to help keep up.

If you’d like to donate, you can still do so here: https://www.justgiving.com/page/brightongoodgym-halfmarathon2024?utm_term=MqPB5rDjy

Session Leader
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Rosie Baker
Sarah Katharine
Rob Ward
Catherine Mitchell
John Shirley
Mark Gilyead
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