Join in when Good Gym helps out in Hackney

Mabley Green at its best in the spring. Photo Damian Rafferty

Mabley Green at its best in the spring. Photo Damian Rafferty - Credit: Archant

An innovative keep fit group which combines exercise with doing something good in the community will focus its efforts on Mabley Green next Tuesday.

Mabley Green, destroyed by fly tipping, photo Damian Rafferty

Mabley Green, destroyed by fly tipping, photo Damian Rafferty - Credit: Archant

Runners from Hackney’s branch of Good Gym will jog 1.5 miles from London Fields to the park land bordered by Homerton Road.

They will then spend 45 minutes transporting bags of mulch from near the A12 flyover to the other side of Mabley Green where it is needed to protect saplings, before making the 1.5 mile job back to their starting point.

Good Gym was conceived five years ago to make sure running to keep fit is not a wasted opportunity, while the charitable element offers motivation for struggling runners.

There are now groups in Hackney, Camden, Tower Hamlets and Lambeth as well as Liverpool and Bristol.

Those who prefer to volunteer alone can opt for a “mission” which will see them sent off on a one-off jobs like picking something up for an older person.

Good Gym also works in conjunction with the NHS and local community centres to pair up volunteers with isolated older people who become “running coaches”.

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Runners are encouraged to take a newspaper or modest gift to their coach, who in return offers motivational advice.

Damian Rafferty, chair of the Mabley Green Users Group (MGUG), first heard about Good Gym at a seminar about rethinking parks organised by innovations agency NESTA.

“One of the speakers was from Good Gym, I thought it makes sense to do a bit of running around in parks to do good,” he said.

“I thought if we can get lots of people together it will be very engaging and great exercise – it’s about 500 yards from the furthest away saplings to the mulch so if you are sprinting that backwards and forwards it’s really good exercise, and the council have offered us 20 wheelbarrows and shovels to use.”

MGUG members were left devastated at Christmas after fly dippers dumped 49 tonnes of waste covering the size of a football field on the flourishing edible meadow there.

Good Gym members will meet at Coffee Is My Cup of Tea in Mentmore Terrace on Tuesday January 14 at 6.45pm.

To register to take part email