Who said keeping fit was rubbish? Walsall BT workers Jo Orton and Wai Hung Yau don’t think so!
They swapped their laptops for brooms and rakes to turn their passion for running to good use - with help from gold medal Paralympian Jonnie Peacock.
The pair took part in the first of a series of events designed to combine keeping fit with putting something back into the local community.
The event marked the start of a partnership between BT and running community GoodGym, whose supporters combine getting fit with doing good around the UK.
Jo and Wai Hung were part of 40-strong group of volunteers who took part in a three kilometre run from BT’s city centre offices in Birmingham, to a community playground adjacent to Nelson Mandela Primary School, in Balsall Heath.
There they met sprinting legend Jonnie Peacock who led them in an hour’s sweeping, tidying, gardening and litter picking to make the area spick and span for the local children, before running back to the start.
The aim of the task was to achieve what would have been the equivalent of five days’ work for one person.
Jo, who is based at BT’s Network House, in Goodall Street, Walsall, said: “I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it. It was my first GoodGym event but it certainly won’t be my last, because it’s a great initiative.”
Wai Hung Yau, who lives in Walsall, said: “I normally would have spent the evening on the treadmill at the gym. This was way more fun! You get to stay fit and at the same time, do something to help the local community. It’s a win, win really. It doesn’t matter how fit you were at running, no one was left behind.
“Jonnie was a brilliant leader making sure everyone in the group was safe and enjoying themselves. “
Jo added: “Meeting Jonnie Peacock was rather exciting. He was very keen to get stuck in and help clear the playground so the children could start using the facility again. He seemed genuinely touched by all of our efforts.”
GoodGym has joined forces with BT to enable them to reach even more communities over the next year, including a further 15 cities.
Details of all the events are available at: www.goodgym.org
Jonnie Peacock MBE, a BT Ambassador, said: “BT has a long history of supporting volunteering and is committed to using the power of sport to change people’s lives. GoodGym combines both. It’s a great way to get fit, meet new people and do some good. I enjoyed joining in and doing my bit.”
Ivo Gormley, founder of GoodGym said: “With the support of BT I hope we develop a strong culture of community exercise that helps get new people into running and makes a big difference to community organisations across the country.”
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GoodGym is a growing community of runners who combine their exercise with helping their
communities. Founded in 2009, its members stop off on their runs to do manual labour for
community organisations and to support isolated older people. GoodGym is expanding rapidly from its roots in Tower Hamlets to other boroughs and cities and is currently active in 26 boroughs and cities. It aims to launch in every city in the UK by 2018. GoodGym is a non-profit company and is registered with the Charity Commission.
GoodGym is free to participate in and welcomes all levels of runners.