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Mission Completely Possible

Goodgym is a group of runners who get fit by doing good. I’m the trainer for Goodgym Colchester, and one of our members is taking on what some may consider mission impossible by cycling from one end of the country to the other. However, this mission is completely possible, and what’s more, she’ll be doing good for communities across the country by doing it.  I asked Fay a few questions about her mission, and why she’s doing it, and here’s what she said:

Why did you start running with Goodgym?

I used to walk to work and pass the same homeless guy every day, over time I got to know him a little, learnt his name and where he was from and then one day he wasn’t there any more and I couldn’t stop thinking about if I could have, should have helped him more.

Breaking down beds for Emmaus

A few weeks later I saw this post on Facebook about a coat rail – it was a rail of coats with a sign “need one? Take one. Want to help? Leave one” and I thought “wow that’s a brilliant idea” so I set it up in Colchester. People were incredible, they really got behind it and we were able to help a lot of people to stay a little warmer through the cold winter nights.
During this time I got a lot of messages on Facebook asking me about the exchange and how to set it up, then one day I got a message asking if I liked to run as well as do good? Followed by a link to Goodgym. Naturally I was intrigued – for those who know me they know what a fitness fanatic I am! Goodgym seemed like a fab idea that combined community and fitness. I couldn’t resist.

What’s your experience of running with Goodgym?

Building composters at the community allotment for Colchester in Bloom

Goodgym Colchester are wonderful, a lovely group of people who all meet up with the same buzz of enthusiasm and warmth each week (whatever the weather). Turning up and not knowing anyone was easy – by the end of the first run they already felt like friends.

Did it meet your expectations?

I’ve been to a few running clubs in my time and occasionally felt the pinch of a clique or like I wasn’t good enough to run with them. I was worried Goodgym would feel that way – it didn’t in the slightest!!

Breaking down pallets to build a shed on the allotment for Colchester in Bloom

Everyone was so welcoming and friendly, and the runs are great. I love being ‘coached’ and the little tips we get along the way to improve our techniques as well as the encouragement from each other to keep going. The runs, are broken up by a “community mission” – a task we carry out that benefits our community in some way. I’ve surprised myself by how much fun and enjoyment I get from completing the task – wasn’t I meant to be helping others not having fun? But they are fun and there’s a real sense of shared purpose and camaraderie as we come together to get them done. My favourite task is still spending time at the community allotment, breaking up pallets and building compost bins! A smashing time was had by all!

Why have you decided to fund raise for Goodgym?

I decided to fund raise for Goodgym because I think everyone should know about this wonderful organisation and the work they do.
I love the simplicity of the idea and the sense of community it creates. Our lives are busy, and it is easy to forget others in our community who are socially isolated or marginalised for one reason or another. GoodGym allows me to use my passion for fitness and running and turn it into something meaningful. I tell everyone I can about GoodGym.

Go on then, tell us about your fundraising mission

In June I will be undertaking the biggest challenge of my life, I will be swapping my running tights for padded shorts and cycling nearly 1000 miles from Lands End to John O’Groats over some pretty hilly terrain. If that isn’t enough I am only giving myself 10 days to do it!
Along the route, I will be completing Goodgym “missions” and meeting some of the “coaches” – socially isolated older people who Goodgym are working with….I’m just hoping they’ll be a cuppa waiting for me when I get to them!! If you’d like to sponsor me then please use the link below:
https://mydonate.bt.com/fundraisers/faysibley1
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Thanks for that Fay! I think most of you will agree she’s crackers, but that’s because we’re runners, and the thought of cycling sends shudders through our spine, or maybe that’s just me!

What is Goodgym?

Fay is such a lovely person, and there are many more lovely friendly people in your local Goodgym area too. I feel so honuored to get to coach them each week, and it really is such a supportive group.  Truth is, each person gets a lot more out of Goodgym than a bit of fitness from doing a run, and you can find out more about Goodgym on their website, but in a nutshell:
Goodgym is a running club with a difference, we run to do good.  This happens in  3 ways:
#1 We meet once a week to run to a local community organisation to do some work for them.
#2 We pair a runner with an isolated older person. The runner runs to that person once a week to have a chat. This is an ongoing commitment between that runner and the older person, it motivates the runner to go on their run, and the older person gets some social interaction that they otherwise wouldn’t get.
#3 We do one off missions for isolated older people, such as clearing garden waste, or changing a light bulb.
We aim to break down cross generational barriers and get people more conscious about their local community, and it really works, so if you want to support our work, then consider sponsoring Fay at https://mydonate.bt.com/fundraisers/faysibley1 
And, why not get involved as a runner yourself too.  Learn more here: www.goodgym.org

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Angela Isherwood

Angela Isherwood is the founder of I Run Success
She is a REPs Level 3 Personal Trainer, a Run England Running coach, and a multiple marathon runner. She is a London Marathon Good for Age runner, a Boston Marathon Qualifier, a parkrun Run Director and Trainer for Goodgym Colchester.

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