Fast paced volunteering took to the streets this week as Leicester’s latest running club renovated a church garden.
Supported by #DMUlocal, Goodgym Leicester sees fitness fanatics combine exercise and public good by using their energy to have a positive impact on communities across the city.
Last night’s inaugural run saw 34 runners tidy up the gardens of St Peter’s Church on Hinckley Road and marked the start of the weekly sessions.
Opened by Cllr Rashmikant Joshi, Lord Mayor of Leicester, the scheme is also backed by Leicestershire & Rutland Sport and Leicester City Council.
Ruth Taylor, Chief Operating Officer at Goodgym, said: “Goodgym was born out of the idea that you can do a lot more with your exercise than just getting fit and looking good.
“The idea is that we have 90 minutes, we run to wherever the task is and we do something useful. It’s amazing and as a runner and as a volunteer, you get to see the impact you’re having really quickly.”
Starting outside De Montfort University Leicester (DMU)’s Queen Elizabeth II Leisure Centre, the runners made their way down the River Soar, before heading up to the church and moving gravel, clipping bushes and helping mow lawns.
Father John Cahill, of St Peter’s Church, said: “It’s nice for us to have our grounds looking nice but it is good for the neighbourhood too. It’s very encouraging to see people wanting to get involved and show their generosity.”
The Leicester group is the latest Goodgym club to launch in the UK, which has over 30 locations across the city, and more runs are already in motion, including next weeks trip to the Peepul Centre to remove ugly weeds.
Alongside group volunteering, members also take part in Coach Runs, which see runners paired with an elderly person to visit each week to help reduce social isolation.
Daniel Nyirenda, a Marketing student about to start his third year at DMU, took part and said: “I go jogging every now and then and was quite interested in jogging as a community. It’s so much fun to do it with other people because when people are around you it motivates you to keep going.
“You’re getting healthy and you’re helping people at the same time. It’s a win-win and if you can go for a run you can definitely come and help out.”
You don’t need to be an athlete to get involved either, with a range of abilities on show on Tuesday.
Rhea Langeveld, a Bio-medical Assistant from Wigston, said: “I wanted to have the motivation of running with other people but for it not to be too competitive and to do something good, so Goodgym ticks all those boxes.
“It’s great to give something back. I’ve lived in Leicester for about twenty years and have never done any volunteering so it’s nice to finally give make a difference.”
For more information on next weeks run or to sign up, click here.