welcome to this week's newsletter
In this edition of the newsletter, Roodepoort parkrun celebrates its first birthday. The scales tip as SA reaches its ten thousandth member! We take a look at the historic significance of Modderfontein Reserve and a Sunrise-on-Sea parkrun member organises a clean-up of their route.
Congratulations to Roodepoort parkrun on celebrating its first birthday on Saturday! Well done to event director David Ashworth and his team, comprising Ann Boniwell, Sonja Ashworth and Trevor Ashworth. Who would have thought a year ago when a small band of 12 runners ran the first Roodepoort parkrun that a year later a group of 77 would be running Roodepoort parkrun consistently. As always thank you to adidas and Blue Label Telecoms for their support on the day. Another Big Thank You to Florida Running Club for supplying the champagne, birthday cake and other refreshments.
There were far fewer than 77 parkrunners the previous Saturday when countrywide lashing rain reduced parkrunners to a handful all over the country. In fact, at Modderfontein Reserve parkrun there were more volunteers (4) than there were runners (3).
However the message is clear - unless there are dangerous weather conditions - SA parkruns will always go ahead. Such is the enthusiasm for parkruns in South Africa there are always some hardy souls willing to brave the elements.
In May there will be some exciting growth with the launch of three new parkruns. Graeme Powell’s ‘Big Bay parkrun’ in Blouberg Strand will be our first Cape Town parkrun. The following week, Jason Morsink will launch ‘Uvongo parkrun’ and Elana Meyer will launch ‘Root 44’ on 25th May in Stellenbosch.
parkrun SA has registered its 10 thousandth member this month and worldwide parkrun numbers went over ½ a million.
Cheers for now,
Bruce (get in touch)
Following on from our new-born Springbuck in February at Ebotse Estate, we have another junior “Springbok” in the making. Dirk Jansen Jnr. is only five and a half years old and by the time you finished reading this article he would have completed his 10th parkrun at Ebotse.
Barely tall enough to reach the elbows of the others. I was astounded that he could run like that. To prevent burnout, his coach, grandparent Dirk Janson Senior, only allows him to run every second week.
It would be interesting to find out from other parkruns around the world if there is perhaps a younger runner than Dirk. Well done to Dirk Jnr. and Snr!
Torrential rains hit Ebotse on the 20 April and storms affected many other parkruns in South Africa. Well done to the “Four Musketeers” who took up the challenge to face the adverse conditions and still run. Well done Martin Codier, Peter Hawthorne, Iain Morshead and our only lady for the day, Dawn Vollmer.
Till next time,
History and Nature at Modderfontein Reserve parkrun
The Modderfontein Nature Reserve is the second largest private reserve in Gauteng, covering an area of 275 hectares to include a portion of the Modderfontein Spruit. There are 4 dams (Fish Eagle Dam, John Voelker Dam, Grebe dam and Blue Crane Dam), with a variety of habitats ranging from grasslands, forests, riverine vegetation to wetlands.
At the heart of the Reserve is a small complex of heritage buildings fondly called "Isidleke" which means "the nest". Isidleke comprises of 4 buildings, namely; Dobb’s House, a barn, the shooting tower and an office complex.
The old barn was built in 1896 for Sir Alfred Beit, who was once the owner of a hunting lodge in the area. The only part of the hunting lodge remaining today is the shooting tower. The dam keeper’s house - Dobb’s House, was originally constructed in 1934. In 1991, the office block was built together with ablution facilities catering for up to 100 visitors.
The barn forms the focus for the finish of Modderfontein Reserve parkrun, close to the western fringe of the Blue Crane Dam.
An attraction of the Reserve has always been the wide variety of birds that can be found. The number of recorded species currently stands at 253. Birds such as the Fish Eagle and Crimson Breasted Shrike are regularly seen in the Reserve, with seasonal visits by the Long Crested Eagle and other interesting birds of prey. A pair of blue cranes have bred here for the last 15 years.
The Reserve has always had small populations of Black-Backed Jackal, Steenbok, Duiker and Genet. The game variety has been boosted with the introduction of Zebra, Black Wildebeest, Red Hartebeest, Blesbok, Reedbuck, and Highveld Springbok. At present, these animals are restricted to an area in the north-west portion of the Reserve.
Eager naturalists walking through the area may also have the privilege of seeing some of the Leguaan that are resident along the Modderfontein Spruit, as well as the Cape Clawless Otter, various Mongooses/Meerkats and Hedgehogs.
This is just some of what we have to offer at Modderfontein parkrun!
We look forward to welcoming eager nature-watching visitors from other parkruns.
Roodepoort parkrunners were treated to cake, muffins, champagne and fruit juice at our first birthday celebrations on Saturday. Despite the Cradle of Human Kind half marathon taking place on the same day and the RAC 60km Comrades training run the next day, we still welcomed 77 finishers. The field has certainly grown since our inaugral event on 28 April last year, attended by an intimate group of 12 runners!
One of the major sponsors of parkrun South Africa, adidas, joined in the birthday festivities along with their ‘adivan’ to showcase a range of fantastic and highly recommended running shoes.
Thank you to Dunmar Security for their contribution at Roodepoort parkun. Over the past few months their presence on Saturday mornings makes everyone feel at ease parking their cars at the start of the run.
Marlene Boessenkool was drawn as the winner of the Randburg Runner shoe draw this month! Congratulations and enjoy your prize!
The community of parkrunners have come to the party in more ways that one this week, by responding to our appeal for old running shoes. We have collected three large shopping bags of shoes which will be donated to development runners in Soweto. Thank you to everyone for your kind contributions!
The new "Little Brother" of Nahoon Point parkrun has reached its mid-teens with the sixteenth event being run last Saturday. Sunrise-on-Sea parkrun has grown with leaps and bounds after starting with a record breaking 134 runners on January 5th, 2013. Over the past sixteen weeks we were honored to have two comrades winners running the event, namely Shaun Meikeljohn and Bruce Fordyce. James Matson from the U.K. chose our event to run his 100th parkrun and promptly got married that afternoon at one of our beautiful resorts!
Sunrise-on-Sea parkrun has a very dedicated and loyal team of volunteers. Some of whom have not missed an event thus far, come rain or shine. The same goes for the locals from the East Coast. On the 6th of April, one of our volunteers organised a clean up. We cleaned the road and beach that forms part of our route. Well done to Carol, parkrunners and all volunteers. I believe this initiative will take place on a regularly basis in future.
I would like to leave you with the following post from our facebook page that puts the spirit of our parkrun in perspective. Tiamari has run all our events to date and had the following to say.
I was the "sweeper" at the parkrun yesterday. It was rather liberating to run and have to make sure you are the LAST runner to finish! I was stuck behind a lovely older couple, who were lovingly holding hands all the way. So I stopped at every marshal for a chat and then ran furiously to catch up with couple once again. It took me a full hour and five minutes to complete the 5km. We were sopping wet by that time of course as it was raining cats and dogs. I was more tired than the mature couple because of my last desperate sprint to the finishing line to catch up with them after an exceptionally long chat at the water hole. What a marvelous way to start your Saturday morning!
This says it all!