Fitness fanatics to channel energy for good of community

Tracy Griffen hopes the project is a success

Tracy Griffen hopes the project is a success

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IT has no equipment, no swimming pool, no snack machines, no trainers and no fees – and it could just be the best gym in the city.

A new initiative in Leith is hoping to channel the boundless energy of the Capital’s keep-fit fanatics into a positive force for the community.

The Good Gym, a not-for-profit organisation which is run by personal trainer Tracy Griffen and friends Leah Lockhart and Ally Tibbett, looks to put the brawn at its disposal to good use in the area.

Members will complete physical tasks such as picking up litter, shifting rubble, planting gardens or pruning trees while also getting their regular workout.

Set up in East London two-and-a-half years ago, The Good Gym is the brainchild of Ivo Gormley, who discovered that combining a weekly run with a visit to a housebound friend was just the motivation he needed to keep him exercising.

Since then his club has gone from strength to strength and now the civic-minded project is set to hit the streets of Edinburgh – the first time the idea has been trialled outside of London.

He said: “Gyms are this ridiculous invention. People have got too much energy and go to these weird places where they get purged of it by machines. I thought we could channel the energy from people’s exercise into something more productive.”

At present, London members are paired with pensioners and disabled people in their area who would like a visit.

Runners jog to their house and either deliver something or have a brief chat before continuing on their way.

Each member must undergo a criminal records check before being paired up.

However, at the moment the Edinburgh club will concentrate on community projects.

Tracy, of Balfour Street, said: “I heard about The Good Gym and thought it was a great idea. At present, we have ten members and hope to add more as the evenings grow longer in the coming weeks.

“We ran a successful pilot back in February where we pruned some trees and so we decided to give it a proper go. Gyms can be quite boring and expensive, but with The Good Gym there are no fees and you get to benefit your community.

“In Leith at the moment there is lots to be done too.” The idea has drawn praise from local 100-member running club The Edinburgh Running Network. Training instructor Fiona McKenzie said: “I think this is a great idea and something which we would be interested in getting involved with in some way.

“People get to keep fit whilst helping their community at the same time.”