This Running Group Combines Exercise With Helping Its Community

Running towards community service

Jan 21, 2019

(GoodGym)

Usually, we have to pick and choose which activities we do in a day. Volunteer at a dog shelter or squeeze in an hour at the gym? Serve meals at a local food kitchen or go to that gym class you love that’s only offered on certain days of the week? We only have so many hours and a certain amount of energy to work with, after all.

For the philanthropic runners of the world, juggling their two hobbies just became easier. Meet GoodGym, a community of runners who use their favorite way to stay fit and combine it with activities that benefit their neighborhoods and allow them to meet new people. GoodGym members take a break between runs to pay visits to the elderly and help them with chores they can no longer do on their own. The benevolent running group is open to all future participants as long as they don’t mind getting physical (both on and off the running path).

GoodGym arose when the founding member grew frustrated with the lack of community engagement in their gyms and the strong desire to help people, while also furthering their own self-development. The aim was to create a group of fit and motivated individuals who wanted to run as much as they wanted to contribute to social wellbeing, more specifically, helping the elderly feel less lonely.

Just as younger generations sometimes have trouble finding their place or their community, GoodGym saw that older populations (who felt newly disconnected with their towns they spent a number of years in) also really needed some positive interactions, and someone to look after their needs.

Members can choose between three types of runs: Mission Runs, Coach Runs, and Group Runs. During Mission Runs, participants run to a civilian’s home (meeting other runners there who are ready to help) and help change lightbulbs, move furniture, cleaning their gardens, etc. Once the task is done, they run back to their route!

While GoodGym was founded in London, the concept spread to 47 communities across the UK. Their mission? To get runners off the treadmills and into their towns for some energic acts of service.

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REBECCA WOJNO, CONTRIBUTOR
Rebecca is passionate about reading, cooking, and learning about people doing good in the world. She especially loves writing about wellness, personal growth, and relationships.

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