GoodGym Lewisham, have you spotted us out and about?

If you are ever around Lewisham on a Monday evening, you might spot a group of runners in red t-shirts, chatting and laughing as they go. You might also see our friendly faces at your local parkrun at Hilly Fields, Mountsfield Park or Beckenham Place Park, either running or volunteering. You might also be wondering what this is all about!

We are a group of runners who use our run to help in our local community. GoodGym has groups all over London and now across the UK, with runners making a difference as far and wide as Cardiff, Bristol, Newcastle and Liverpool! Our local group meet at Glass Mill on a Monday evening at 6.45pm. You can use the lockers here to leave your belongings while you run and we have a great space outside to enjoy a fun warm-up before we set off.

Each week we run as a group to charities and community spaces, to carry out a physical task, something that might take that organisation a long time to do by themselves – imagine, we go in for half-an-hour to forty-five minutes with 25-30 people, all full of energy and the job is done! Recently we have been painting at GRACE’s new shop space in Lee, we have been cleaning the outside play equipment at the Salvation Army in Deptford and, next week we will run over to Stanstead Road and help our good friends at Seniors.

People sometimes get in touch and say ‘I’m not a runner!’ or ‘Will I be able to keep up?’ For our group runs, we ask that you are able to run for fifteen minutes comfortably. Just remember, we have a back-marker, to make sure nobody is left behind and we regroup at crossings and run at a chatty pace. On our return leg, if we have time, we have a little fitness session, a chance to push yourself further if you want to.

Alongside our weekly group run, you can also choose to join in with missions and coach running. Missions are where you go with at least one other runner to help an older person in their home, this might be getting on top of an overgrown garden, replacing a light bulb, or moving a bed to allow someone to return home from hospital. ‘Coach running’ is where you are paired with an isolated older person for a weekly visit. We call this person our ‘coach’ because they get us out of the house when we don’t necessarily feel like running. It really works, when you know someone is waiting to see you, you will pull on those running shoes!

A lot of our work is about reducing isolation in our local community, visiting older people, but this also applies to those who attend our sessions. Many people might have just moved to London or to Lewisham and might not know many people or know the area that well. You soon make new friends and our runs go in all different directions, visiting a wealth of community groups, so you feel at home in no time (we also go out for socials after our runs every few weeks, a chance to chat whilst not out of breath!).

If you want to learn more about what we do and to see what’s coming up, visit our website at www.goodgym.org.

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