parkrun SA newsletter 5 October 2016

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parkrun turns twelve!

Last Saturday we celebrated International parkrun day around the World.

12 years ago, Paul Sinton-Hewitt organised the first parkrun in London’s Bushy Park. 13 parkrun pioneers ran that first parkrun Paul didn’t even run the first parkrun. He was a volunteer timekeeper that morning. We all know how that original parkrun went on to create the World’s largest sporting event and since then over 1.8 million different people have completed a parkrun, with over 200,000 volunteers.

On Saturday over 150,000 people ran parkruns around the World. In just under 5 years in South Africa, we have grown from one parkrun with 26 participants, to 85 parkruns, with between 25,000 to 30,000 parkrunners and volunteers participating every Saturday morning. Total registrations for South Africa now exceed 460,000.

Most importantly, parkrun has made an amazing contribution to communities all over the country John Cameron Dow sent us this astonishing snippet about his favourite parkrun at Rondebosch Common. On Saturday, the oldest participant at Rondebosch Common was 91 years old, and the youngest, in a pram, was 11 days old. We will be celebrating parkrun SA’s 5th birthday next month, so more on that in the next newsletter.  

As the season gets warmer, I am reminded that last year some of our dogs got themselves into trouble. I would like to encourage dog owners to bring water for their dogs and to consider the conditions before bringing their dog along. 5km is a long distance for a dog, especially if it is very warm and there are some breeds of dog which are just not suited to walking or running 5k in the heat.

We also need to look after ourselves in these warmer conditions. One thing we can do is to update our ICE (In case of emergency) details. This can be done by accessing our parkrun profiles via the results email or this newsletter. We can add our emergency numbers to our profile. I hope I don’t sound like too much of a nag but I just want everyone, and their pets, to have fun at parkrun this summer.

Almost in time for the summer holidays, we will be launching a new parkrun at Umdoni (Pennington) on Saturday. It is bound to be a well-organised event as Event Director, Gail Keevy, hails from Boksburg parkrun where she learnt the skills of organising a large parkrun while she was a volunteer there. There will be a large gathering of parkrun tourists and visitors there on Saturday morning. 

Cheers for now,

Bruce

(get in touch)


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don’t forget your barcode with TenBits

Printed barcodes are used at all our events to record your result. Please click here to collect and print your barcode. 

 No printed barcode, No result.

We have teamed up with TenBits to provide a barcoded wrist-band (see the image above). This wrist-band includes your parkrun barcode and emergency contact details.

In addition, a portion of the proceeds contribute towards parkrun costs. For more info and orders please visit the TenBits website.


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MRPSport wants to see your parkrun photos

From Rondebosch to Roodepoort, from Paarl to Polokwane, South Africa comes alive every Saturday morning with parkruns across the country!

We’d love to see a glimpse of your parkrun. Got pics? Share yours with us online. Find us on Instagram at @mrpsport, on Twitter @MrPriceSport and on Facebook to show us the parkruns you’ve run!  Achievement tee update: Our team is currently in the process of sending out another batch of achievement tees to work through the backlog.

These should reach the various parkruns across S.A. over the next few weeks. Delivery will depend on the area (big towns will receive theirs sooner than smaller outlying areas). If you’ve earned your next milestone tee, we look forward to seeing you run in yours!


Claim your Vitality fitness points with ease – it’s as simple as 1...2...3… 

We have great news for Vitality members! Our expanded Vitality race events calendar gives you even more ways to get active and get rewarded. You can now earn fitness points for any timed and verified race events in the disciplines of cycling, walking/ running, swimming and major multisport events, provided that they meet certain criteria. 

Can’t find your race events on the Vitality race events calendar? No problem. You can manually claim your fitness points by following these simple steps:  

1. Log in to your Discovery profile

2. Go to the gym and fitness page under Vitality

3. Click on Vitality race events

4. Manually submit your race results  

If you want your results to count towards your Vitality Active Rewards goal, please send through proof that you have completed the event in the form of a certificate or a screenshot of your race results, before 5pm on the Friday after the event. Terms and conditions apply.

Learn more about how you can claim fitness points for completing races using the self-capture screen.

Remember: Vitality members earn up to 300 fitness points for every parkrun event they complete. Your points will be awarded as long as you register, link your parkrun profile with Discovery Vitality using your SA ID or passport number, and scan your barcode after every parkrun. Your points will take up to four days to reflect on your Discovery app.

Please note that you will not be able to claim your points manually for completing a parkrun; we will award your points automatically.


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First South African to 250

Tracy Rankin became parkrun South Africa’s first 250 milestone parkrunner on 24th September.

Considering that Delta parkrun was the first in SA and held their 258th event that day, Tracy has only missed 8 parkruns since parkrun began in SA.

Tracy joins just 791 other parkrunners in the entire world who have reached 250 parkruns.

It’s an amazing achievement by Tracy – congratulations from everyone at parkrun South Africa!


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Gilloolys parkrun celebrate Heritage Day

Gilloolys parkrun celebrated Heritage day this 24th September by positioning all the parkrunners in the section of the South African Flag that corresponded to the colour that they were wearing.

The event was well attended, with 1,045 parkrunners showing that there is Unity in Diversity and that we can actively embrace each other’s Culture and Heritage, running side by side!


feedback from the field

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My journey started about 16 months ago. Weighing about 200kg, hardly able to walk, always tired and without energy, I was addicted to sugary foods and drinks. I was also missing out on life because I just could not get off the couch. I got introduced to an amazing program that helped me sort my diet and energy needs. I started walking and working out.

I was introduced to parkrun when I was around 180kg. My first ever parkrun was Shongweni, a two lap parkrun, I walked one lap and thought I was going to die. But the whole community surrounding parkrun drew me in and I went back. As the weight dropped I was able to start running, and then I discovered a hidden passion I never knew about. I fell in love with running. 

When I heard about Thousand Hills parkrun opening, I was first in line to run it. The first time, I had to walk it and took me about 1 hour and 40 minutes to complete. But I followed my passion for running and today have a PB of 33 minutes on that course.

parkrun was the place I fell in love with running. Today I have dreams of experiencing different parkruns around our beautiful country. I also hope to start experiencing and competing in events beyond parkrun. My ultimate goal is to complete the Comrades Marathon.

Running is my happy space; a place where my mind is clear. It becomes just me and the road. Everything else melts away and my steps simply echo my heartbeat as I push my limits. I am living proof that parkrun is for everyone. Like me you might fall in love with walking / running. Today I am 110kg. When I am happy, I run. When I am sad, I run. When I am angry, I run faster. I will continue to run and I look forward to meeting many more people along the way.

Anthonie Homan

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I was going through some old photos the other day and found this picture of my daughter Emma (who was about 18 months at the time) walking around Wimbledon Common whilst I took part in the parkrun. Last week at Root 44, my daughter, now 10, completed her 50th parkrun!  It seems like just the other day that my good friends Johnny and Anel Wesson came back from a walk around Bushy Park and told me how they had seen this 5km time trial taking place and I should come and join them the next weekend. After running in those first parkruns at Bushy we then started taking part in the parkrun at Wimbledon Common. 

When we came back to SA we had no idea that the parkruns we took part in all those years ago would make their way down to SA and would become what they have. parkruns are a big part of our family routine most weekends and it is something that everyone in our broader family is involved in. From my 6-year-old daughter to my 74-year-old father, we are all out there having some fun. We even have a family parkrun WhatsApp group.  So it was a special occasion last weekend when our daughter completed her 50th and all the family was there to celebrate the occasion. 

We have been amazed by her dedication. Every Saturday morning she has been the one encouraging us to get up and go. Her Bruce Fordyce signed certificate (received from him in person at Century City) is proudly displayed on her bedroom door and now she is very excited to be getting that 50 t-shirt. From Bushy Park, to Wimbledon to Cape Town, the parkrun journey has been a lot of fun and we look forward to the journey in the years ahead.

Tim Henshall  

 

It’s amazing to think that I started my parkrun journey about 2 years ago. I told my parents to join and they did. In the 2 years so much has changed; My Dad decided to quit smoking after 30 years and he is still going strong. My brother went from being lazy to running sub 22 minutes. I did my first marathon in Cape Town last week.

My mom not only lost a lot of weight, but became a runner. She would only walk and then slowly started jogging to such a point where she can now run a 5k. She took about 15-20 minutes off her time. Slowly we all became addicted to parkrun.

My parents hardly miss a parkrun and when planning a holiday they make sure they are there over a weekend so to run a parkrun in different parts of the world. parkrun changed us for the good.

Tanya Coetzee

 

There is a volunteer at Golden Harvest who has exceeded 50 consecutive parkruns as a volunteer at the finish! Every Saturday now for over a year, he has managed to get himself to the park, with the help of friends from Golden Harvest Retirement Village, where he lives. With the aid of a frame, he slowly gets to his position and takes up his duties as time-keeper and does not budge until he has recorded the time of each and every parkrunner that comes through to the end. Come rain, shine, cold or the heat he has not faltered! His name is Rex Gazzard.

Rex was a Comrades runner, having successfully completed nine journeys along with many other marathons and ultras over a long running career with Rand Athletics Club. His deteriorating health eventually put paid to his conquests out on the road, but that has not ended his love for the sport and now he continues to support others who are more fortunate health wise than he is. 

Pat de Klerk
(I have known Rex for over 50 years – since high school!)

 

Roodepoort parkrunners celebrated Heritage Day by assisting in cleaning up Len Rutter Park. Local Councillor, Caleb Fynn, attended the event and has promised to participate when his hectic schedule has slowed down. Pikitup supplied over 100 refuse bags and gloves for this initiative and City Parks were instrumental in assisting too.

George Taylor, one of the dedicated Run Directors was key in coordinating the clean-up, 40 bags of refuse were collected and packed neatly away after the event for Pikitup to remove later during the day. Roodepoort parkrun is grateful to all the parkrunners who participated in the clean-up.

Kip Norman

 

On Saturday, I was so inspired at the Victoria Park parkrun that I just had to share. There was a gentleman taking part in the parkrun on crutches and he was giving it everything he had. It was so good to see that parkrun has got all sorts of people up and walking (I am one of them), running, and now even crutching. 

I say a huge well done to this guy, whoever he was, and a big thank you to him for inspiring me to continue with my walks.

Hazel Henning


parkrun Launches:

Umdoni parkrun - 08 October 2016

parkrun Anniversaries:

Laudium parkrun - 15 October 2016
Pongola parkrun - 15 October 2016
Summerfields parkrun, Kruger Park - 15 October 2016

parkrun Cancellations:

Nahoon Point parkrun - until further notice
Voortrekker Monument parkrun - 08 October 2016
Secunda parkrun - 08 October 2016


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parkrunners of the week

Names: Lompies Lombard (left) & Gane Adrianzen (right)

Age: 61 I 66 

Occupation: Pensioners

Home parkrun: Aliwal North

Trail or Road Running: Trail

Number of parkruns completed: 5 I

How has parkrun changed your running I fitness? Gane – My fitness has improved

Favourite volunteer role: Pre-event setup plus any other activity required (Lompies) I Marshal, waterpoints and pre-event setup (Gane)

Number of volunteering occasions: 47 / 40 

What do you like about volunteering at parkrun? Being able to motivate parkrunners & to see their continuous improvement / the smiles, enjoyment and friendship of the parkrunners 

Why should others volunteer at parkrun? To promote a healthier lifestyle for all

Most memorable or funniest parkrun moment: To observe the dedication of runners who brave the most adverse weather conditions, heavy rainstorms and freezing cold conditions (Lompies) /  The first 50th parkrunner (Gane)

What fellow volunteers say about them:

Lompies is the person to set up the race and time the volunteers. He’s really a person we cannot do without. He is one in a million - a wonderful person everybody wants to be around. Without Lompies the parkrun setup won't run smoothly. He is known as Mr Reliable.

parkrun will not be parkrun without Gane, he is a real 'spirit'. Gane livens up the parkrun and no matter how tired the runners are he encourages them and they always finish with a smile on their face.

Lompies & Gane are fantastic volunteers, they always willing to help and even if they are not on duty, they will come to parkrun just to check if all is running smoothly.

 

parkrun SA newsletter 22 September 2016

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parkrun volunteers to the rescue

I never cease to be astonished by the resourcefulness of our parkrun teams. It seems that parkrun people are able to cope with many setbacks and any crisis with ease.

I remember an incident at Ebotse parkrun (Our 3rd oldest parkrun) a few years ago when the stopwatches were accidentally switched off, and the barcodes dropped in a loose pile on the ground as the runners were finishing. That day the volunteers still managed to send out a set of results. They had all aged a bit but they did it.

Two weeks ago, our wonderful team at Somerset West performed a miracle by finding a new venue in a matter of a week. We never discuss politics at parkrun but suffice it to say Jo, our Somerset West Event Director, received a very late message from authorities to inform them permission to use the Paardevlei property for their parkrun had been withdrawn. Everyone was devastated. Paardevlei had been a favourite venue for a while and there were a large number of registrations for this new parkrun.

The team quickly swung into action and assisted by Regional Director, Torrin Theron, within a few days had found an alternative venue at Broadlands Farm.  And so, on the 10th October as cold winds chased clouds over Sir Lowry’s Pass, 514 parkrunners ran the inaugural Somerset West parkrun.

This wasn’t the first time a parkrun team has had to find a new venue at the last moment. A few months ago, Arthur Smith and his team from Witbank were only given a couple of days to find an alternative site. Working with the local Witbank running club Eskom Gijimas they found a suitable venue at the Eskom property in Witbank. This venue has proved so popular that almost every Saturday it attracts a record field.

parkrunner, David Drake raised an important point in an email to me when he wrote about parkrun timing discrepancies. Occasionally runners complain that the time they recorded on their own timing device does not match that of the official parkrun time. (Generally, they complain that the official time is slower than theirs) David mentioned that parkrunners are obviously keen to record P.B.s but that we must learn to relax. parkrun is not the Olympic Games. Our volunteers try their best but they occasionally make the odd mistake. I remember comforting a distraught lady at Shongweni parkrun who felt that she had got in my way on Shongweni’s two-lap course. She was quite distraught until I reassured her that she had probably cost me two or three seconds.

“It’s a parkrun,” I reminded her. “It’s not the Olympic 5000 metre final. I’m not that concerned about my time. I still had lots of fun and that’s what’s important.”

Speaking  of lots of fun the runner who has had the most fun at parkrun is Delta Park’s Tracy Rankin who this Saturday will become the first South African parkrunner to join the 250 milestone club. It is quite incredible to consider that 250 parkruns is an accumulated 5 years of regular parkrunning. Tracy has missed just a handful of parkruns for races such as The Old Mutual Two Oceans but otherwise she has run almost every Saturday morning at most of South Africa’s 85 parkrun venues. In fact she hasn’t “run” them all. A broken toe forced her to walk a few parkruns a year or two ago but it didn’t stop her.  Tracy will be celebrating this milestone at her home parkrun, Delta Park.

As the weather warms up parkrunners are reminded to bring their own water if they feel they may need water. Please bring water in reusable containers and please don’t throw any water bottles or satchels away. We want all our parkrunners to leave no sign that they were running in a park or similar area, apart from footprints.

On that point it is important for us to remind ourselves that we share many of our parkrun venues with other users. Let’s please show respect to walkers, cyclists and other runners who we meet at our parkruns.

Cheers for now,

Bruce

(get in touch)


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don’t forget your barcode with TenBits

Printed barcodes are used at all our events to record your result. Please click here to collect and print your barcode.   

No printed barcode, No result.

We have teamed up with TenBits to provide a barcoded wrist-band (see the image above). This wrist-band includes your parkrun barcode and emergency contact details. In addition, a portion of the proceeds contribute towards parkrun costs.

For more info and orders please visit the TenBits website.


step into spring the HealthyFood Studio way 

September is the perfect time of year to spring clean your diet. Release your inner chef and book a fun, interactive cooking class with our NEW spring menu at the Discovery Vitality HealthyFood Studio.

We’ve introduced a new spring course with recipes including cucumber and smoked trout canapés, sesame-crusted chicken with spicy lentil stuffing and Thai green fish curry. For those craving something slightly sweeter, you’ll also get to try our lime yoghurt panna cotta with grilled strawberries.

It’s all about fresh, seasonal ingredients at the HealthyFood Studio. Join us as we take you through a culinary journey and show you how to cook delicious, appetising meals with fresh, healthy ingredients. Book here. Just a reminder parkrunners: Vitality members earn up to 300 fitness points for every parkrun completed.

Your points will be awarded as long as you register, link your parkrun profile with Discovery Vitality using your SA ID or passport number, and scan your barcode after every parkrun. 

Your points will take up to four days to reflect on your Vitality Points Monitor. For more information, please visit: www.discovery.co.za.


a new-look MRPSport.com

We’re excited to announce the launch of the new-look and refreshed mrpsport.com

The best part: the new site’s packed with fresh, spring-inspired styles to match!  Ladies, think big, bold and bright prints – perfect for those summer runs. Guys, cool colours are the order of the season.

So whether you’re reshaping your activewear wardrobe, or just seeing what’s new, make www.mrpsport.com your first stop before your next parkrun.  We also have something exciting in the pipeline with regards to official parkrun merchandise. Watch this space for details, parkrunners!

With regards to achievement t-shirts, we have received the third batch of t-shirt orders from parkrun South Africa which we are currently in the process of distributing to the various event directors.

Please don’t forget to order your shirt once you have qualified. You can order yours via the email that is sent to you from parkrun. Well done and keep it up!


been there, got the (100) T-shirt

I’ve got to wear Spandex, meet interesting people and suck in the early morning air. I’ve managed to traipse through mud, improve my PB and do good as a volunteer.

On Saturday I completed my 100th parkrun at Gilloolys; the sprawling parkland on the eastern edge of Jo’burg where cormorants, African darters and grey heron are a soothing presence.  As milestones go, it’s one I’m most proud of. I’m not a natural runner and cold mornings aren’t my forté, but the parkrun community is nothing if not welcoming and entirely proletarian.

I had my first 5km parkrun at Delta Park a few years ago and was immediately hooked. Old, young, fast, slow, wobbly, thin… all types are accommodated. I’ve even seen guys whizz by with prams carrying wide-eyed toddlers. I managed 80-odd runs at Delta and mixed in a few others, too, like Umhlanga, Modderfontein and Victoria Lake.

A few months ago I settled on the newly-instituted Gilloolys run both for the proximity to home and the more enjoyable course (Delta has a “Little Pollys”!) In recent months I’ve been joined by my older daughter, Jess and her boyfriend, Reuben, both of whom amble through the 5km run with the insouciant air of young lovers, which I guess they are.

Last weekend was an all-family affair as my youngest son Alexei, 3, joined us for the first time, together with my youngest daughter Daniella, 8. Kostya, the ageing, ever-handsome golden retriever, also trotted along. With many dogs about, it inevitably becomes a friendly sniff-fest for the animals. He likes it.

Last Saturday was more a case of ‘park carry’, but that wasn’t the point. The half-run, half-walk in the fresh air was invigorating and constituted terrific family time. Bruce Fordyce, the great energy behind the South African parkruns, has often popped up at various venues. Each time I see him I marvel at what a phenomenon the parkrun initiative is, made all the better by not having to dodge cars and cyclists. It’s the perfect fit for South Africans given their affinity for the outdoors and a good gabber. 

The volunteers who dot the course doing various jobs are unfailingly supportive and funny, shouting encouragement and ensuring that no-one takes things too seriously. They help make it special. You get your running fanatics with their jet shoes, but in the main it is an opportunity for a broad mix of people (and animals) to loosen the legs in an atmosphere of camaraderie and good humour. I’ve since gone on to run a couple of 10km races and half marathons.

I also do frequent trots around my neighbourhood in an effort to keep healthy and in shape. I have no illusions of grandeur. I keep returning to parkrun because we’re all more or less equal and the good time with social runners is probably better than any good time on the watch. Now, at last, I have the lesser-spotted ‘100’ shirt. I’ll treasure it.

Clinton van der Berg


feedback from the field

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Laudium parkrun are weeks away from celebrating their 2nd anniversary. 

What better way to show the growth of a parkrun than the symbolic planting of trees along the route. 

It has truly been a blessing to receive a donation of 20 trees and have them planted by learners of Al Asr School, Laudium Youth Congress, children with disabilities from Kids of Hope and Laudium parkrun volunteers.

We hope that trees will eventually grow to be a telling landmark for Laudium parkrun.

Come join our bootcamp at 7am, parkrun at 8am and yoga at 8:45am!

Thank you to all our regular parkrunners for your continued support at Laudium parkrun and be sure to spread the word amongst your family, neighbours, and friends, and bring them along to the next Laudium parkrun!

Laudium parkrun core team

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About two years ago, my husband and I were down in the Southern Cape where my Mom, Jenny Raaff, resides and took her along to run her first parkrun. At first, she walked but soon broke into a jog as she challenged herself to go faster.

Now she is a regular runner at the Hartenbos parkrun and at the age of almost 76, she is aiming for the 50 milestone and ran her first 10km at the Cape Town Marathon last week Running is a wonderful sport, no matter how old you are and parkrun is a wonderful way to start.  

We are so proud of our Mom, who despite the death of our Dad and surviving cancer still is so positive and motivating.

You are never too young or too old to get active. Thank you parkrun for making a difference.

Kathy Cillie

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To celebrate Spring, Secunda parkrun invited their members to dress up for the run on the 3rd of September; outfits had to be crazy, wacky and weird and we weren't disappointed!

Our runners arrived in everything from Batman pyjamas to Viking outfits. We had prizes that varied from free haircuts, spa treatments and even a weekend stay at the Casino hotel.

Children were treated to some candy on the finish line and the adults were spoiled with a free coffee or beer at one of the local restaurants. Thank you to all our prize sponsors, but especially all our loyal parkrunners who support us every week.

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We are two ladies from East London who have completed each Eastern Cape parkrun. We just wanted to take this opportunity to tell our story and thank everyone at parkrun for these amazing opportunities we have had.

We were creating bucket list ideas of a way of saying goodbye to the Eastern Cape. We looked at each other with the eager look we always get when one of us is about to blurt out a crazy idea, ‘All the parkruns! ’Suddenly there was no going back.

And so we roadtripped. Telling our friends and family about this mission, the first responses we would get is ‘You are crazy! A 400km drive to run 5km?! But it sounds amazing; I want to do it too!’ To anyone now considering it, all we can say is DO IT! Certainly 10 adventurous weekends I would not trade for anything! Never stop exploring.

Out of all the parkruns, we have to make a special mention to the volunteers of Aliwal North parkrun. Thank you so much for offering to find a running buddy for us, it was one of the best runs we completed, the mist making it eerily beautiful in a very unique way.

We hope to inspire people to do this challenge. We are not seasoned athletes, just 2 women who love running and adventuring, celebrating ‘finish lines’ and not ‘finish times’. What’s next? Conquering Gauteng in 2017? Quite possible. But for now, just get up, get out, and get parkrunning! 

Carolynn and Tamsyn

In August a group of 10 Delta parkrunners ran the Gorky Park parkrun in Moscow. It was just fabulous, running along the Moscow River, with the friendliest of parkrunners.

Our group's friendship was solidified through meeting each Saturday at Delta and having breakfast afterwards. On arrival at the start, we were greeted with a "Goeie More", which took us by surprise - one of their star parkrunners is South African! We seem to be just everywhere! 

Suzanne


parkrun launches
Umdoni parkrun - 08 October

parkrun anniversaries
Grahamstown parkrun - 24 September
Voortrekker Monument parkrun - 01 October
Mashishing parkrun - 01 October
Wellington parkrun - 01 October

parkrun cancellations
Nahoon Point parkrun - until further notice
Paarl parkrun - 24 September
Voortrekker Monument parkrun - 24 September
Botanical Garden parkrun - 01 October
Secunda parkrun - 01 October


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parkrunner of the week

Name: Willie Loedolff
Age: 88 years and 9 months
Occupation: Retired Civil Engineer
Home parkrun: Hermanus
Running club: Whalers Athletic Club, Hermanus
Trail or Road Running? Road Running and Track (Masters Athletics)
Number of parkruns completed: 42 (out of 46), all at Hermanus

Favourite volunteer role: Tail runner

Number of volunteering occasions: 8

How has parkrun changed your running / fitness? parkrun has added a new dimension to my training and exercise programme. I used to walk a few kilometres on a Saturday morning with a friend or two, all relaxed and at a leisurely pace. parkrun has replaced all that, and has now become the focal point in my fitness programme. I now look forward every week to joining so many other runners/walkers in a well organised run where a very efficient team of volunteers record my progress (and failures!) and make me feel an important member of a big new family.

What do you like about volunteering at parkrun: Being part of a great team of volunteers who manage a near perfect and most enjoyable run and walk experience for all ages

Why should others volunteer at parkrun? To live longer! (That's what I read somewhere in an article about volunteer workers.)

Most memorable or funniest parkrun moment: Every parkrun is enjoyable and therefore memorable. However, on one occasion, when Pat gave his starting orders, I discovered that I had left my barcode at home. As I did not want to be recorded as an unknown, I bailed and asked the volunteers at the finish line if I could assist. I was accepted as volunteer for finish token support and I was needed on that day as we had our biggest field of over 370 parkrunners that day. This was a memorable day for me in that I never forgot to bring my barcode along after that!

What fellow volunteers say about Oom Willie: The Hermanus parkrun core team are all very fond of Oom Willie who has been part of Hermanus parkrun since the launch. Oom Willie is our oldest parkrunner and has completed the most parkruns.  We love his enthusiasm and dedication to our parkrun and willingness to volunteer as tail runner.

Oom Willie started running at the age of 55 and completed his 13th Comrades marathon and New York Marathon at the age of 71. After a back operation and knee problems he focuses on shorter distances. Oom Willie says our bodies are stronger than we think which he discovered when doing the Comrades and other ultra races
Oom Willie says keep moving! Don't stop running because you are getting old; if you stop running you will get old!

 

 

parkrun SA newsletter 8 September 2016

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parkrun springs into action

 

The change of season brings a change of starting times at some parkruns. From 1st October some parkruns in Mpumalanga, Northern Cape, Free State and the Karoo will be changing their starting times to avoid the worst of the summer heat. If in doubt about any starting time, please check your parkrun’s website.

These parkruns will revert to winter starting times from 1st April. Some of these parkruns become extremely popular as the weather warms up so please remember to arrive early. Here is the list of parkruns which will change starting times next month:

7:00am starts
Nkomazi, Halls, White River, Summerfields, Mogol, Springbok, Prince Albert,
Oudtshoorn, Naval Hill, Ladybrand

7:00am starts all year-round
Upington and Kimberley parkruns have 7am starts all year round.

I have always believed that a parkrun comes of age when the event director awards the first parkrun 50 club milestone T shirts at that parkrun.  It is exciting to observe how after a little over 12 months after a parkrun was launched the first parkrunners from that community are suddenly being recognised as “veterans”.

Time certainly does fly. This was certainly the case at Mofolo Soweto parkrun last Saturday when Josia Selepe joined the 50 milestone club. Very appropriately the parkrun tourists donated a new 50 flag to Mofolo parkrun. In our photograph below,  Josia is joined by Eda Mikhenyi and parkrun tourist, Jaco van der Walt. Eda is a stalwart volunteer and great personality at Mofolo Soweto parkrun.

Prince Albert parkrun is another parkrun that recently celebrated its first birthday. A month ago Prince Albert resident, 10 year old Matthew Olivier earned his 50 shirt.
At Stutterheim parkrun event director Linda Lanz will earn her 100 club milestone shirt this Saturday. Linda first ran a parkrun at Shongweni in KZN and then, seeing the potential of parkrun for her community in Stutterheim asked a few questions, and started the very successful Stutterheim parkrun. Amazingly as Linda earns her 100 shirt at Stutterheim on Saturday her daughter, Barbara-Anne Stark will be running her 50th parkrun at Shongweni on Saturday.  

In other news Bryanston parkrun joined the exclusive 1,000 club last Saturday when 1,014 parkrunners finished on a warm spring morning. There are about 12 parkruns worldwide that have had fields of over 1,000 finishers. Bryanston is the newest member of this “club”.

For those who intend to run the inaugural Somerset West parkrun on Saturday please note that there has been a venue change. The parkrun will be run at Broadlands Farm. Please check the Somerset West parkrun website for the GPS co-ordinates.

Cheers for now,

Bruce
(get in touch)


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Josiah Selepe celebrates joining the 50 club at Mofolo parkrun, Soweto, alongside volunteer Eda Mikhenyi and visiting tourist Jaco van der Walt.


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All set for your first spring run? We are! We’re saying hello to spring with the coolest colours… you’ll find these pops of colour everywhere from our kids gear for those parkrun littlies, all the way to our light and bright Lite Knit Runners.  

So if you haven’t kitted out your spring runs yet, www.mrpsport.com is the starting line for your next shopping marathon for the whole family.    

If you’re eager to run in your hard-earned milestone tee but haven’t received yours yet, you can order it via your profile on the parkrun website. Your tee will then be delivered to your local event director within a week.  

Our new-look website will be up and running soon, where you’ll be able to order your achievement t-shirts directly. We’ll inform you of when this will go live – watch this space for details!   

Until you have your milestone tee to run in (and show off), why not refresh your parkrun wardrobe at www.mrpsport.com  


    SA_3a_2016_09_07   

don’t forget your barcode with TenBits

Printed barcodes are used at all our events to record your result. Please click here to collect and print your barcode. No printed barcode, No result.

We have teamed up with TenBits to provide a barcoded wrist-band (see the image above). This wrist-band includes your parkrun barcode and emergency contact details.

In addition, a portion of the proceeds contribute towards parkrun costs. For more info and orders please visit the TenBits website.


on your marks, get set – RACE

To celebrate all levels of event participation by Vitality members, we have expanded our race event calendar to include any timed and verified race event in the disciplines of cycling, walking/running, swimming and major multisport events. This means you are now able to compete, and be rewarded for competing, in both local and international events by simply sharing proof of race completion with a race certificate or other supporting documentation.                            

Learn more about how you can earn fitness points by completing race events here

Remember parkrunners: Vitality members earn up to 300 fitness points for every parkrun completed. Your points will be awarded as long as you register, link your parkrun profile with Discovery Vitality, and scan your barcode after every completed parkrun. 

Your points will take up to four days to reflect on your Discovery app as well as your Vitality Points Monitor.


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 parkrun SA volunteers

5 years ago when I first pondered about the merits of starting parkruns in South Africa one of the negative thoughts that kept worrying me was my belief that South Africans are not volunteers.

I was convinced that parkrun would not work in South Africa because South Africans would want to be paid to help at a Saturday morning run. How wrong I was! 

The South African parkrun community has been simply amazing and volunteers have come forward everywhere to help. That doesn’t mean that we don’t need more volunteers. We do.

If you would like to give back to your parkrun community please consider volunteering. It would be wonderful if every regular parkrunner volunteered from time to time.

Please “opt in” on your results email if you would like to help or get in touch.

Cheers,

Bruce


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feedback from the field

Dear Bruce Fordyce,

Thank you for bringing parkrun to South Africa! I am 10 years old and have just completed my 100th parkrun (together with my mom)! You might remember me from the inaugural parkrun at Thousand Hills where I had to work hard to get to the finish line before you! I have run 8 different parkruns, all of them in KZN.

When my parents first 'dragged' me to parkrun (they never force me or my brother to run), I spent a few events sitting under a tree, taking photos or playing on my iPad.  But it didn't take long for the running bug to bite me.  It even infected my grandparents who are regular parkrunners now and they are over 70!

Before I knew it, I had a 10th run certificate signed by you, and then earned the coveted red 50 shirt. Every time I wear it, I get comments of astonishment from other runners and even total strangers.  This makes me feel special.

I also want to give a big thumbs-up to the parkrun directors from my home parkrun at Shongweni.  Thank you Robin and Jason for your weekly unfailing, enthusiastic praise and support and brilliant photos that encouraged me to come back week after week, sometimes even being rewarded with a PB.

Lots of love

Jana Dammann


parkrun launches
Somerset West parkrun - 10 September 2016

parkrun anniversaries
Middelburg parkrun - 17 September 2016
Grahamstown parkrun - 24 September 2016

parkrun cancellations
Nahoon Point parkrun - until further notice Botanical Garden parkrun - 10 September 2016
Greenpoint parkrun - 17 September 2016
Voortrekker Monument parkrun - 24 September 2016


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parkrunner of the week

Name: Lorraine Botha

Age: 56

Occupation: Educational Psychologist

Home Run: Secunda parkrun

Trail or road running: Trails are great for taking the puppy along. My 4 year old Great Dane is my “puppy”. Dogs and roads are not a good combination!

Number of parkruns completed:  58 (My Great Dane has done one more than me!)

How has parkrun improved your fitness:  I have strengthened lung capacity and mobility. parkrun is not only fun, but so good for one’s health. My heartbeat is strong, my breathing is strong, my circulation is better.  I do not get cold easily and I have a lot more physical endurance before I tire. My dog, Pearl, also underlines the fitness aspect and the joy of making friends. Dogs naturally know which other dogs are their friends. 

My favourite volunteer role:  It is just great to take part, no matter what the job. 

Number of volunteering occasions:  8

What do you like about volunteering at parkrun:  Just as exercise is good for the soul, serving others also feeds the spirit. One just has a general feeling of wellbeing when involved.  Getting to know the organisers and other volunteers is great, but one also gets to know many of the people that take part. I am not fast, so I will miss out on meeting people if I don’t volunteer.

Why should others volunteer?  Firstly it is unselfish and others do it for you all the other weeks of the year. If one wants the joy of parkrun to keep existing, one must contribute. Then after the first time you have done your duty, you will find it was fun and you’ll want to help again. I say, “try it”.

Most memorable or funniest moment: I had done quite a few runs and was getting nice and fit with my time improving slowly. I was starting to feel a bit like the days when I used to do a lot of sport, and it was good. Then there was a new guy at parkrun that passed me. I did my best to shadow him and pass him near the end (my own little motivation). The reason for this was that this man was older than myself and he walks with a walking stick, relying a lot on the help of said walking stick. He has serious problems walking and he is so fit. Needless to say I could not pass him and this is a weekly thing. I stand in awe of people that can overcome obstacles like that. Now I am even more motivated to get fitter. 

What fellow volunteers say about them: Lorraine and Pearl (the Great Dane) are always a pleasant addition to our parkrun, her talkative and friendly nature brings warmth and enjoyment to the parkrun atmosphere.

 

parkrun SA newsletter 25 August 2016

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parkrun launches in Springbok

Hello there!

When Nasreen Hassan first contacted me about starting a parkrun in Springbok, Northern Cape, I was initially very sceptical.  For those of us who live in one of the big cities Springbok is one of those mythical places far, far away and a long time ago! To be honest I was hoping Nasreen would lose interest and the distant Springbok parkrun would vanish off the edge of my radar screen. I did not take Nasreen’s unbounding enthusiasm and tenacity into account and she just kept battling on never taking “no” for an answer.

For weeks the enthusiastic Springbok community held their own informal parkrun time trials while Nasreen gathered an enthusiastic volunteer group around her and spread the word. Eventually there was nowhere for me to hide and Springbok parkrun was given its starting date.

I should have remembered that these far-flung parkruns are often some of the most successful as we have seen from the success of parkruns like those at Upington, Langebaan and Mogol. The local communities are driven to make them succeed and the volunteers are motivated people. 

So it was that last Saturday 90 of us gathered to run the inaugural Springbok parkrun. The group included a crowd of local runners and parkrun tourists from all over South Africa. We ran along traffic free soft dirt roads past Quiver trees, windmills and of course the beautiful Namaqualand flowers.

Yes it’s flowers season in the Northern Cape and there are thousands of beautiful, yellow, orange blue and white flowers blanketing the rolling hills. I’m already planning a trip for Spring 2017 over two weekends where I can run Springbok parkrun one Saturday and Langebaan the next.

 Speaking of tourism, I must pay tribute to the remarkable group of parkrunners known as the parkrun tourists. The tourists are a completely parkrun addicted group who run parkruns all over South Africa and in many cases as many different ones as they can. This was the case at the launch of Springbok parkrun where about 20 tourists joined the locals for the run. Some had flown up and others had driven nearly 2,500 kilometres to be there. On one level, this seems ridiculous; travelling vast distances to run 5 kilometres, but such is the strength of their parkrun addiction that nothing will stop committed parkrun tourists.

The criteria for becoming a parkrun tourist are that the parkrunner must have run at least 20 different parkruns (at 20 different venues). After this, the parkrunner is invited to join the group called “the parkrun tourists.”

The parkrun tourists group has now grown to over 100 members and this is symptomatic of the growth in parkrun in South Africa as a whole. 

As spring arrives in South Africa our parkrun numbers are starting to grow rapidly. Last Saturday over 26,000 people ran parkruns and we expect our largest attendance figure (28,766) to be broken before the end of the year. Equally astonishing is that last year the total SA parkrun attendance figure was 782,009 runners and walkers. There are still 4 months of the year to go and we have already topped that figure (785,833). By the end of the year we may well have total registrations of half a million and attendance figures of over a million.

While this is very exciting, it also means that more demands are made on our already overworked volunteers and so I would like to ask every parkrunner to consider volunteering from time to time. At parkrun our volunteers are the most important people.  

Cheers for now,

Bruce (get in touch)


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parkrun tourists give back

The parkrun tourists recently decided to give something back to parkrun and so they have started fundraising to be able to present milestone 50 and 100 banners to those parkruns which have struggled to source their own from their communities. In the picture above, the parkrun tourists are presenting a milestone banner to Sanette Kirstein, Event Director of Potchefstroom parkrun.


TenBits_v.1

Don’t forget your barcode with TenBits

Printed barcodes are used at all our events to record your result. Pleaseclick here to collect and print your barcode. No printed barcode, No result.

We have teamed up with TenBits to provide a barcoded wrist-band (see the image above). This wrist-band includes your parkrun barcode and emergency contact details. In addition, a portion of the proceeds contribute towards parkrun costs. For more info and orders please visit theTenBits website.


Olympic wrap: As SA, we beat our personal best!

A big congratulations to our SA Olympic Team #teamSArise for their phenomenal performance at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games held in Rio de Janeiro between 5 August 2016 and 21 August 2016. From the swimming pool to the racing track our sports stars excelled – bringing home a total of 10 Olympic medals, bettering our 2012 London Olympics performance by 4 medals! Our medal winners included:

Cameron van der Burgh: Silver – Men’s 100m breaststroke Chad le Clos: 2x Silver – Men’s 200m freestyle and 100m butterfly Shaun Keeling and Lawrence Brittain: Silver – Men’s pair rowing Rugby 7s: Bronze Wayde van Niekerk: Gold – Men’s 400m Luvo Manyonga: Silver – Men’s Long Jump Henri Schoeman: Bronze – Men’s triathlon Sunette Viljoen: Silver – Women’s Javelin Throw Caster Semenya: Gold – Women’s 800m

Discovery Vitality is the proud Official Wellness Partner of the SA Olympic Team. Don’t forget to enter to win a trip for two to Athens, Greece, the original home of the Olympic Games including flights, accommodation, transfers and a tour of the Pan-Athenian Stadium – the site of the first modern Olympic Games.

To enter, simply share your personal best (PB) story with Vitality on Facebook,Twitter or Instagram using the hashtag #MyVitalityPB. Ts and Cs apply.


August Inspiration

We’re all feeling motivated to run and rearing to go after the inspiring sport-packed August we’ve all just had. If it wasn’t the endless sporting events on TV, it was SA’s athletes making us proud in all the news headlines. But now that it’s all come to an end, there’s no better place to find that motivation than at your nearest parkrun.

You might not be the world’s number one, but there’s always your parkrun milestone tees to work towards.  If you’re in line to earn a milestone tee, please go through the order process by logging into your profile on the parkrun website. These will then be sent to your local event director within a week. Our new website will be up and running in September, where you’ll be able to order your achievement t-shirts directly from www.mrpsport.com. We’ll inform you of when this will go live – watch this space for details!

Until you have your milestone tee to run in (and show off), why not refresh your parkrun wardrobe at www.mrpsport.com with newest active must-haves for spring and summer!


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Octogenarian Etienne’s parkrun century Etienne Hibbert, 82, recently did his 100th parkrun in 30:15 at Umhlanga parkrun – his current PB is 28:48. 100 parkruns equates to 500km done. Add this to the two or three weekly training sessions and Etienne has run a lot of kilometres over the past two years.

Etienne also holds age graded records at 14 different parkruns. As a young man in the early and mid-1950’s he was a member of Germiston Callies Harriers and some of the teammates he trained with were Jackie Mekler, Frans Maré, Fred Morrisson and Wally Hayward. In 1954, he took part in the South African Athletics championship in the 50km walk.

He stopped running at the age of 20 and took part in a variety of other activities, and only started running again about two and a half years ago.  Etienne is a regular parkrun volunteer and is happy to help other runners with encouragement and advice.


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a new record at Delta parkrun

Delta parkrun has a new ladies record holder! Tamara Jewett from Canada set a blistering pace to record a time of 18:50 for the tough Delta parkrun course.

She shaved 43 seconds off Renee Kalmer’s record of 19:33 set in 2014 and is the first lady to have broken 19:00 at this event.

A Delta novice, Tamara took the achievement in her stride and leaving volunteers wondering if she felt she could have done better.

It seems that the Delta ladies record is broken every two years – it was set in 2012 by Zola Budd Pieterse (19:57), broken in 2014 by Kalmer and now again in 2016 by Jewett.

Interestingly, being new to Delta seems to pay off for the ladies. Budd Pieterse and Jewett set their records on their first outing at Delta, while Kalmer did it on her second.


feedback from the field

My family and I did the Piggly Wiggly parkrun this weekend as visitors (we Modderfontein regulars). I just want to say how friendly accommodating and caring the team of Piggly Wiggly were. My daughter became ill after the first kilometre, but the sweeper was so helpful in assisting her by getting a nurse there and organising their car to take her to our vehicle so that my husband could take her to hospital. I continued to finish with other members of my family but even at the end, the race director was at hand to inform me of developments.

I just want to extend a very very heartfelt THANK YOU to the guys at Piggly Wiggly parkrun for their dedication and assistance. You guys are the BEST!

Thank you for all that you do.

Fawzia Saib

Thank you parkrun!

I have been trying to get my girlfriend fit, but she really does not like exercise. As a 22-year-old water-polo player, you can imagine how much it might grind my gears.

Thanks to your beautiful scenery at the Botanical Gardens and Ebotse parkruns, I have convinced her that running with me is be a fun thing to do.

We have now done about 8 and she has started exercising regularly. Her first run was about 48 mins and now she is down to 40 mins, as long as I'm at her side.

So thank you parkrun for helping not only my fitness level, but improving my life in general.

Mark Venter

Thank you for parkrun. It has truly changed lives. It is the highlight of my week.

What I love most is that each person competes against him/herself. No pressure and a wonderful way to make new friends.

Renet Smit

I started running two and a half years ago, after I was persuaded to do my first parkrun at Delta Park. I never thought I’d be a runner.

For two years I plodded along doing my best to achieve a PB each week, and gradually improved my running. I can’t say that I always enjoyed my run, but the feeling after each run, and the buoyant camaraderie at parkrun, kept me going back each week without fail.

In March this year I came down with glandular fever and was unable to run or do any exercise for six weeks. For the first time since I started running I was utterly despondent to be unable to run each week.

My doctor (also a parkrunner) became accustomed to my weekly plea whether I could at least walk my parkrun that week, eventually preempting my inevitable question with “and no, you can’t do parkrun yet”.

In those six weeks I came to appreciate not only the fact that I am able to run, but what place parkrun has come to occupy in my life, and especially the community of parkrunners who motivate, support and inspire me.

Having become a parkrun tourist earlier this year I won’t miss a parkrun without good reason, and even with good reason I miss it reluctantly. By the time my doctor gave me the go ahead to do parkrun again I was itching to lace up my running shoes.

My first run back was the Gillooly’s inaugural parkrun, which was followed a few days later by five of the nine freedom runs on Freedom Day. Last weekend I ran my first half marathon at Skukuza.

I could never have even considered attempting to do it without the support and encouragement of so many other parkrunners (many of them tourists) who motivated me and kept me believing that I could do it. Like so many others I can’t imagine my weekends without parkrun and plan them, and travel, accordingly.

Thank you parkrun for continuing to inspire me to challenge myself!

Desirée Lundström


parkrun launches: - Somerset West parkrun, 10 September 2016

parkrun anniversaries: - Langebaan parkrun, 27 August 2016

parkrun cancellations: Nahoon Point parkrun, until further notice - Voortrekker Monument parkrun, 27 August 2016 - Secunda parkrun, 27 August 2016 - Botanical Garden parkrun, 10 September 2016


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parkrunner of the week

Name: Sean MacFie

Age: 48

Occupation: General Manager  

Home parkrun:  Delta parkrun

Running club: Rand Athletic Club (RAC)

Trail or Road Running? Any running! 

Number of parkruns completed: 122

How has parkrun changed your running / fitness? parkrun was the catalyst to me running my first comrades marathon in 2015 and trying for my back-to-back run in 2016.  I started running on the treadmill at the gym and progressed to doing 2kms around home before discovering parkrun through my brother. Watching my parkrun times improve weekly gave me the confidence to try longer runs and eventually races, half marathons and then the great Comrades Marathon        

Favourite volunteer role: Photographer & Social Media

Number of volunteering occasions: 64

What do you like about volunteering at parkrun: I love everything about parkrun but the best part for me is to capture everybody getting out and doing it from those moments when parkrunners are flying along to an amazingly fast 5km, to those jogging along coming to the realisation that, although tough, they love the endorphin high they get doing parkrun to the families and friends walking along chatting and catching up.  

Why should others volunteer at parkrun? For me, volunteering at parkrun really completes the parkrun experience and epitomises the essence of what parkrun is.  Without the volunteers (and sponsors of course) it simply could not be Free, Weekly and Timed.  Everyone should volunteer at least 3 times a year, they’ll definitely have a great time, meet new people and get a sense of what it takes to organise a parkrun every Saturday.

Most memorable or funniest parkrun moment: The funniest was watching a fellow parkrunner (and now good friend through parkrun) Nick Loots catch Bruce Fordyce out. Understandably, everyone likes to have a picture with the great Bruce Fordyce so Nick calls Bruce over, “Bruce come we need a picture.”  Bruce being the kind soul that he is walks over and stands with the group posed for a picture and Nick says, “No Bruce man, we want you to take the picture for us.” 

What fellow volunteers say about him: Sean makes an amazing contribution to parkrun. He has run our social media pages with enormous success, takes photos, makes videos and is always smiling. Sean has received global recognition – the BBC has used his videos in a programme about parkrun. Be sure to check them on our Facebook page.). 

 

parkrun SA newsletter 11 August 2016

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parkrun grows throughout winter

Hello!

As winter draws to a close it was astonishing to see how South African parkrun registrations continued to grow despite the cold weather.

Each week there were about 3,000 new registrations, and what is it about the magic of Botanical Garden in Pretoria that it consistently remains a world leader in registrations? I wonder how much we will grow once the warmer spring weather arrives.

As a response to this growth we have continued to launch new parkruns, though at a slower pace in winter. Last Saturday we welcomed Ladybrand parkrun to the parkrun family. Anthony Halse and his team had been planning the new Ladybrand parkrun for several months and the inaugural Ladybrand parkrun was finally launched on the Ladybrand golf course.

Everyone braced themselves for freezing weather as Ladybrand had recorded temperatures as low as minus 8C this winter. In fact, a cold front blasted its way through South Africa a few days before the launch. But while it was cold on the morning, it was nowhere near as cold as anyone had anticipated.

Ladybrand is very close to the Lesotho border and we parkrunners could see the snow on the Maluti mountains. It was a beautiful backdrop for a challenging but fun parkrun. A good crowd of local and tourist parkrunners ran the first parkrun over thick frost at times. On the 20th of this month we will start one of the most remote parkruns in South Africa when Springbok parkrun is started.

The local hotel is full as several parkrun tourists have made plans to travel to this remote corner of the Northern Cape.

Cheers for now,

Bruce

(get in touch)


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shoe donation boosts Nkomazi

The Nkomazi parkrun event director was delighted to receive a donation of running shoes for the local running community collected by parkrunners from Ireland.

Nkomazi parkrun already boasts 3 youngsters who have earned their 50 milestone club status running the parkrun barefoot. Event Director Lordrick Mathonsi would like to thank the Irish parkrunners for their generous donation.


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don't forget your barcode with TenBits

Printed barcodes are used at all our events to record your result. Please click here to collect and print your barcode. No printed barcode, No result.

We have teamed up with TenBits to provide a barcoded wrist-band (see the image above). This wrist-band includes your parkrun barcode and emergency contact details. In addition, a portion of the proceeds contribute towards parkrun costs.

For more info and orders please visit the TenBits website.


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fresh spring gear from MRP Sport

Can you believe we’re just three parkruns away from the official start of spring? With sunnier weather right around the corner, there’s no better time to overhaul your active wardrobe with sunshine-inspired gear!

Shop your faves online at www.mrpsport.com – just in time for those spring runs. Beyond the change of season, we’re also celebrating Klerksdorp parkrun’s second anniversary!

The MRP Sport team will be out and about – so if you’re in the area, join us at Klerksdorp parkrun, come and say hi, and of course, feel free to ask us about any of our active gear and accessories.

And on that note - with regards to your hard-earned achievement tees, we are working through these and they will be with your local parkrun event director soon! We look forward to seeing you sporting them at your parkrun soon!


#MyVitalityPB – because every personal best deserves a celebration

The 2016 Rio Olympic Games have begun and we’re excited to share the Olympics fever with all of our Vitality members. As the Official Wellness Partner of the South African Olympic Team, we want to celebrate your personal bests with incredible competition prizes.

Win a trip for two to Athens, Greece

You could be the lucky Vitality winner of a trip for two to the original home of the Olympic Games – Athens in Greece – including flights, accommodation, transfers and a tour of the Pan-Athenian Stadium where history was made as the site of the first modern Olympic Games.

To enter, simply share your own personal best (PB) story with us online via any of our Vitality social media platforms: FacebookTwitter or Instagram using the hashtag #MyVitalityPB.

Win daily prizes

Join us on our Vitality Facebook page every day of the Olympic Games at 12:00 midday to answer one of our Olympic-themed trivia questions to stand the chance of winning daily prizes from our Discovery Vitality and Discovery Card partners including vouchers, magazine subscriptions, hamper gifts and more. Terms and conditions apply.

Join us in wishing Chad and the rest of our SA Olympic Team all the best as they strive for their personal bests at this year’s 2016 Rio Olympic Games.


parkrun launches:

- Springbok parkrun, 20 August 2016

parkrun anniversaries:

- Golden Harvest parkrun, 13 August 2016

- Klerksdorp parkrun, 13 August 2016

- PE Hobie Beach parkrun, 13 August 2016

- Alberts Farm parkrun, 20 August 2016

- Kraalkop parkrun, 20 August 2016

parkrun cancellations:

- Nahoon Point parkrun, until further notice

- Boksburg parkrun, 13 August 2016

- Botanical Garden parkrun, 13 August 2016

- Voortrekker Monument parkrun, 20 August 2016


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feedback from the field

Thank you parkrun!

My son has been asking me for months for me to take him on a run. He is only 6 years old, but he has grown up watching myself, Seleste, my dad, Trevor, my aunts, Tracy and Glenda, and cousins, Jane and Caitlin run and he was desperate to be a part of the family sport. I was a little bit nervous as he hasn’t run at all before but I finally gave in and said we could do the Century City parkrun. 

He was so excited, I bought him a pair of running shoes and a long sleeve top from Mr Price Sport. The weather wasn’t looking good the night before and I asked him “what happens if it rains, are we still going?” He said “yes,” with a very confused look as to why I was asking this question – he is clearly a true runner!

The morning came and he jumped out of bed to get ready all excited and off we went, I still had no idea what to expect from him. But to my surprise he is faster than I expected and I was huffing away to keep up with his shouts of “run faster, Mom”.

He absolutely loved it and he did the 5km in 43 mins, which is amazing for his first run. He is now hooked and I promised him we will do more parkruns. I also realised I need to train to get faster so I don’t hold him back!

Thank you so much, for a safe and controlled running environment where I felt completely at ease to run with my son and let him experience the joy that is running.

You will be seeing both of us a lot more from now on!

Seleste and Breyton Venter

 

At parkrun I am treated as an equal and am part of the community regardless of my ability. This isn’t always the case in the case in the outside world.
Gillian Craig

 

Drop us an email if you have an interesting parkrun related fact, happening or comment that you would like to share with all parkrunners!


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parkrunner of the month

Name: Ita Janse van Rensburg​

Age: ​57​

Occupation: ​Retired HR Manager

Home parkrun: ​Hartenbos​           

How has parkrun changed your running / fitness? Sadly I am unable to participate in the parkrun as a runner or walker. However, volunteering has improved my mental wellbeing tremendously.  Being the Volunteer Coordinator for Hartenbos parkrun and assisting the Event Director in other ways has filled a void which was left when I retired about 4 years ago.

Favourite volunteer role:​ Volunteer Coordinator and non-official “cheerleader” every Saturday.

Number of volunteering occasions: 50 – every week since 15 August 2015

What do you like about volunteering at parkrun: ​My “hubby” is an enthusiastic parkrunner and has completed 85 runs.  With me volunteering we can enjoy parkrun together.  We get up extra early every Saturday morning to help with the pre-event setup and interacting with everybody as they arrive.  While “hubby” is doing the run I encourage him and the other runners (my “cheerleading”), recruit new volunteers, chat with the existing ones and help wherever I am needed.  After we helped with the post-event close down, we have a coffee and something to eat at the local Farmers Market where we socialize further with other parkrunners.  I really enjoy building relationships with the parkrunners and volunteers.  We are like a big family and I just love all my nicknames which include, amongst others “Tannie Ita”, “Auntie Ita” and “Mamma parkrun”.  Saturday mornings have become the highlight of my week.

Why should others volunteer at parkrun? It is not only the right thing to do – it is also FUN!  Even if you can’t participate in the parkrun itself, you can still enjoy it by volunteering and in the process make a difference.  As a parkrunner you also need to “give back” because no parkrun can happen without volunteers. 

Most memorable or funniest parkrun moment: A real funny incident that comes to mind is when I kindly offered to be pacer because we did not have a lead bike for the day – and a person from the back shouted, “Tannie Ita, can’t we rather make it another day – the Springboks play tonight!” Our first birthday was very special as most of the runners embraced our “funny hat and balloons” theme.  It was such a fun day with prizes, punch and cupcakes and lots and lots of laughter.  However, the most memorable day was when I did my 50th event as a volunteer recently.  I wore my “50 Volunteer sash” and red balloons with pride and everybody made me feel very special indeed.  Thank you Harties parkrun – you ROCK!

What fellow volunteers say about them: Werner: “Ita is a true hands-on coordinator.  She only started as our volunteer coordinator a short while ago, but what she did thus far has made parkrun much more fun.  She organises the volunteers weeks in advance, keep track of everybody's holidays and possible helping dates. She is dedicated and always ready to do more. She also puts in effort to get to know every parkrunner and let them feel welcome. Ita has brought wonderful suggestions, coordinating systems and joy to our volunteer team.  She is in reality a full time parkrun volunteer.  If one of our core volunteers get to busy to do their parkrun duty Ita takes over successfully. As Event Director I would not be able to host a well-organised parkrun without Ita.”  

Sibusiso: “Your tireless spirit is the one that encourages us to wake up every Saturday, because we know you will be there together with other volunteers! Thank you!”  

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