GoodGym and Running – a return to normality

One of the things people who know me just through this blog won’t know about me is that before the cancer I was a keen runner. Briefly, I started running what I call “properly” in January ’17 when I completed my first parkrun. From this I went on to run my first 10k race for Stroke Association, joined Goodgym, completed the Leeds Half Marathon ( then went out the following weekend to beat my time as was gutted missing out on sub 2hr finish! ). With the support of Goodgym I went on to complete more races, the Castle Howard 10k ( ish ) and then the Vale Of York Half Marathon.

All of these larger events mixed in with some fantastic events organised by SeeYorkRunYork, the chocolate 10k, Gunpowder Plot 10k, Yuletide Trail ( where I won best fancy dress as Mr Scrooge! ) and those remain my favourite and most creative medals i’ve hoarded so far! But it was after the Vale Of York Half that I had a brief moment of lunacy and signed up to complete the Yorkshire Marathon… this with just 3 weeks before the event and with no training what-so-ever!

It didn’t go entirely to plan, but I did finish it in just over 4 hours and 50 minutes. Missing out on my worst case scenario goal by just 20 minutes! I was a little gutted on the time but to even complete it with just 3 weeks to prepare was a massive achievement!

This year, my running really hasn’t gone to plan. I think I am somewhere around the 30 mile total mark for the whole year despite making a goal to run 1000 miles over the year – it just hasn’t been possible due to various illnesses and injuries and then my eventual diagnosis. But not to be defeated, I am still signed up for the Yorkshire Marathon this year… and who knows I may stumble my way around it yet!

Re Goodgym, if you haven’t heard of them before where have you been? This is where I will now sing their praises to high heavens – without Goodgym I would never have accomplished even half of what I did last year. But it’s not just a running group, it’s so much more. Goodgym are an amazing charity who provide support to elderly individuals, communities and charities. Every Monday we meet for our Grouprun with anywhere between 20 and 50 attendees, run 4 or 5k to a task and volunteer 45 minutes or so to help. This could be gardening, painting, clearing out a flooded well ( one of my favourites from last year ) or well.. anything that needs doing.

After the task personal trainer and run leader Egg leads us on a quick fitness session before running back to base. The rest of the week we have ad-hoc missions with 4 or 5 people running out to help elderly in their homes or gardening, smaller tasks from a quick prune of bushes to moving furniture around. We also have the option of becoming “coach runners” where individuals run out to the same person weekly, and just spend time with them, socialising and keeping them company.

Last night I joined the guys for the first time in month’s. I didn’t run of course I had a lift to the task and back from my gorgeous wife, nor did I actually take part in the actual task… I stood around camera in hand snapping about 140 photos of the guys. It was great to be back out with them in some way and taking part again, forgetting about the cancer and returning to some sort of normality! The task was to help a community centre move furniture and equipment from their old building to their shiny new one. Something the 50 attendees smashed out 10 minutes ahead of schedule!

I’d encourage you to go read the full run report at https://www.goodgym.org/reports/please-do-stop-the-music and you can check out all my photos from the evening at https://www.flickr.com/photos/147714373@N05/albums/72157694967628532

Hoping to be able to make it to more of these, I can’t be quite as active at them at the moment obviously but just to be out with the guys and taking part provides a much needed break from reality, it all depends where each task is and how I feel that day – how chemo has gone etc but I should be able to make it to more.

Hopefully see some of you there soon!

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