A hot-jog and vegetables


With the Gardner girls away for a week of holiday, I was lucky enough to get a rare evening out to get stuck into some mid-week community activity on my doorstep – this time, with the fantastic Woking Good Gym!

Good Gym is a national movement that helps you get fit by doing good: “We’re a group of runners that combines regular exercise with helping our communities”. This sounded right up my street, so I was excited to find a group meets weekly in my home-town of Woking!

Last Wednesday evening, I headed to the leisure centre to find a lively bunch of red-vested runners sat around soaking up the evening heat in preparation for a “light” jog. Being on the eve of what would turn out to be record-breaking summer temperatures, the plan was to keep the distance small and to focus on tending to a local allotment as the main activity.

Turns out that the group had so impressed the local allotment-holders with their committed give-backs, that they had donated an entire plot to the Woking GG’ers. Brilliant. Potatoes, rhubarb, potatoes, raspberries, cucumbers and more potatoes were in evidence. The weeding was hot (luckily the soil didn’t mind me still dripping with sweat), but I was so impressed with the obviously close bond that this group had with one another, without being ‘cliquey’. The chat circulated around preparations for runs and bike races this summer. Two of us were ‘newbies’ (the other having joined the previous week), and yet we were readily accepted as part of the gang.

Woking Good Gym'ers pose post push-up

Having finished tending the plot, and securing some ingredients for a future dinner, we turned around headed (I thought) back home. But oh no… not before trainer Nick flexed his ex-army muscle and put us into a strict (or not-so-strict) regime of push-ups, sit-ups, burpees and squats.

Then it was home time. A light run back through Woking Park, a good in-run chat about the origins of the group, and no arguments on who was going to be the back-marker. What a fantastic group, and so good to be a small participant in this inspiring concept.

And I’m looking forward to making mash with my 10 new potatoes.

(Find a Good Gym near you)

About the Author:

Nick Gardner
Nick is the co-founder & Chair of Semble. He loves nothing more than bringing people together to achieve marvellous things. Having dabbled with a few career paths, Nick found his niche working with local communities on issues that mattered to them. A trained youth worker, Nick is also on the board of Outdoor People. His favourite colour is orange, and he likes growing stuff and eating pizza.