New running initiative in Norwich promotes healthy lifestyle and doing good

Goodgym trainer Steven Hitcham at the West Earlham Woods. Picture: Andrew Stone

Goodgym trainer Steven Hitcham at the West Earlham Woods. Picture: Andrew Stone - Credit: Archant

A group of runners from Norwich are combining getting fit with giving back to their community.

Members of the Friends of the West Earlham Woods group direct Goodgym runners where to pick up litte

Members of the Friends of the West Earlham Woods group direct Goodgym runners where to pick up litter. Picture: Andrew Stone - Credit: Archant

GoodGym, an initiative that began in London in 2008, has started in Norwich and the project aims to improve the communities where it operates while also promoting a healthy lifestyle.

GoodGym trainer Steven Hitcham said they were a group of like minded people that used fitness to give something back. 'We are effectively a community of runners that get fit by doing good in our community,' he said. 'Instead of just running, running on a treadmill at home or going to gym, we combine running with a task every week that improves the community.'

The initiative launched in the city on June 26 with a group of 21 runners. 'It's open to everyone. We meet at The Forum every Monday at about 6.15pm and from there run to a predetermined spot where we do some work,' said Mr Hitcham.

For the first outing the group ran to Grapes Hill Community Garden where they did some weeding. For their second run, they joined the Friends of West Earlham Woods pick up litter. 'It's completely free and the runs are relaxed,' said Mr Hitcham. 'We work on a maximum radius of 5km's for our destinations and once we get there we spend about 30 minutes either cleaning, gardening or helping out however we can before heading back.'

Goodgym runners Lydia Read and Jenna Barnes. Picture: Andrew Stone

Goodgym runners Lydia Read and Jenna Barnes. Picture: Andrew Stone - Credit: Archant


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Norwich residents Lydia Read and Jenna Barnes said they found running with the group supportive and motivating. 'Having a destination made it better as you had something to focus on. You are not just running for the sake of running but to do something good,' they said.

Bill Edmunds of Brampton village near Aylsham said he was motivated to take part out of his love for Norwich. 'I took part in the first run and enjoyed it so came back for the second one,' he said. 'I love Norwich, it's a great city and this is a nice way to give something back and make a contribution.'

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GoodGym is being run in 33 locations around the UK, with Norwich being the most recent to start a group. Although the initiative is free, an optional £9.95 donation can be made which is used to cover the costs of the organisation's work which includes preventing loneliness and promoting fitness. For more information e-mail Steven Hitcham at steven@goodgym.org.

Goodgym runner Bill Edmunds. Picture: Andrew Stone

Goodgym runner Bill Edmunds. Picture: Andrew Stone - Credit: Archant

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