Welcome to this week's newsletter
In this editon of the parkrun newsletter we congratulate our third and newest member on reaching his 50-parkruns milestone. A wet and rainy Durban does not deter runners while Modderfontein parkrun’s second event proves to be very exciting. Roodepoort parkrun hostes a record number of participants and gives us an update on their drive to upgrade and maintain the park facilities.
parkrun SA continues to grow apace with the opening of two new parkruns; Sunrise-on-Sea in East London and Modderfontein Reserve in Johannesburg. The combined number of runners from both parkruns was 232, a far cry from the 22 optimistic souls who toed the line at our very first parkrun at Delta Park just over a year ago. The SA parkrun family continues to grow both in events and the overall numbers. There are currently over 6700 registered parkrunners in SA with an average of 100 more joining each week. This unofficially makes us the biggest running “group” in South Africa.
However the success of parkruns is not always based on numbers and size. The greatest secret to the success of the parkrun concept is that parkrunners trust us. They trust us to give them accurately measured courses in interesting safe surroundings. They trust us to send them their results as quickly as can reasonably be expected, and they trust us to be there for them at the starting line on parkrun Saturday. So even in the most atrocious weather our volunteers will still be there because we know some of our runners will still want to run. For example, about 6 weeks ago at the Roodepoort parkrun, miserable driving rain resulted in only 6 runners arriving at the start. Nevertheless we went ahead and ran, and I was fortunate enough to be first to finish. When I boasted to Bob Norris ( Nahoon Point parkrun director) that I had won, he taunted me with the words "you beat 6 people!” I relied “No I didn’t, I beat 5 people".
This weekend, torrential storms hit Mpumalanga, trapping many visitors to the Kruger National Park in their camps as rivers flooded and bridges were inundated. Just a few kilometres up from the Park, at Summerfields parkrun, conditions were so bad only two hardy souls arrived for the run. Notwithstanding the weather, the parkrun went ahead, emphasising that it is not necessarily size that is important but that keeping our parkrun promise is. We stick to our promises and we will only cancel a parkrun if conditions are dangerous or if another major event has precedence on our course. In that case we will do our best to inform all our runners.
This weekend all the current event directors will meet in Johannesburg for a” Bosberaad” (gathering). It is a good idea to know your local event director by name as this is the person responsible for ensuring the parkrun takes place every week. I suggest that you make a point of introducing yourself to your event director and offering to help them when you can. Remember, it is always possible to run and to also be part of the volunteering team.
Cheers for now,
Bruce (email me)
With the new year in full swing many new parkrunners have joined the group at Delta. On the 12th January we welcomed 129 parkrunners. This is the biggest turnout for Delta parkrun yet.
The following week there was cause for further celebration when our South African Country manager, Bruce Fordyce, completed his 50th parkrun. Tracy Rankin and Dieter Meyer, who have already run their 50 milestones, escorted Bruce to the finish line. The club 50 Tees arrived from adidas just in time! The celebrations saw Roly Whittaker becoming our oldest parkrunner at 92 years of age. This was his first parkrun and he intends to run more. Later Elaine Greenblatt hosted a breakfast for the Delta parkrunners at her home. We enjoyed a lovely spread and celebrated a wonderful day.
Left to right: Bruce Fordyce, Tracy Rankin and Dieter Meyer
It was so exciting to see 3 red club 50 Tees together in the results.
Delta parkrun team
Modderfontein Reserve parkrun entered the parkrun world a little after 9 o’ clock on the 12th of January, weighing in with 95 parkrunners eager to see her course. After a little pomp and ceremony from Bruce and Jo-Anne, the parkrun got underway.
In usual Fordyce style, Bruce took the lead just after halfway and heading back on the Canal wall he had a clean set of heels, followed by fourteen year old Anrich Zimmermann. Turning back toward Isidleke however, Anrich, who had surely studied the Comrades King’s tactics, gave Bruce a taste of his own medicine, to set a course record of 20:10.
Inaugural event podium from left to right: Bruce Fordyce 2nd , Rainier Joubert 3rd and Anrich Zimmermann 1st
Event #2 saw 35 parkrunners, of which 22 were 1st timers, complete the event with wet and muddy conditions underfoot. The hot and humid conditions did little to dampen spirits, with a herd of us meeting up afterwards at the Dynamite Coffee Company, for a post-parkrun brekkies.
North Beach parkrun
The Durban coast has been slammed by torrential rains over the last two parkrun Saturdays. Surprisingly, this has not been a deterrent to our runners and we have been so impressed by everyone’s attitude to get out and active, even when the weather has not been ideal. As with all parkruns, the event will take place every Saturday, come rain or shine, and we hope you will be there too.
40 parkrunners crammed under our Gazebos to get out of the rain just before the start
North Beach parkrun would like to challenge all Duzi and Comrades marathon participants to include parkrun in their training schedules. It is a great way to see if you are getting fitter and faster before your events. The measurements are accurate and the atmosphere festive. Bring your families and friends along for a good time!
We are also pleased to announce that our parkrun is the only one in South Africa, so far, whose course is wheel chair friendly! If you have any friends or family who are willing and able to participate, then encourage them to come along..
We were very fortunate to have Claus Wagner from Kingston, UK attend our parkrun event #12. Claus made his 100th parkrun appearance at North Beach parkrun! He now gets to wear the much sought after black Club 100 parkrun shirt. Well done Claus, we hope to see you again soon!
See you all at the next parkrun,
There has been a lot of activity in Roodepoort over the last two weeks including a record field of over 100 runners! Lets see if we can improve on this number once again this coming Saturday.
Mncedisi Zulu was awarded his Club 10 T-shirt at our record event. He is one of a handful of juniors to have achieved 10 parkruns. Well done to all of you!
Left: Mncedisi Zulu receiving his Club 10 T-shirt from David.
Right: Roodepoort parkrunners heading off from the start
Over the years many residents in and around the Florida Park area have chosen not to venture into the parks due to crime and the degradation of the park facilities arising from lack of government funding. Fortunately for Roodepoort parkrun, a few of our members have come together in order to revive the Len Rutter Park and we hope to restore it to a safe and well-maintained facility.
The first priority on our list was the cutting of the grass. This has been done irregularly in the past, but we are positive that this will take place more frequently, after opening channels of communication with City Parks. parkrunner George Taylor spent two hours walking the parkrun route yesterday, followed by the tractor, to make sure that the path was trimmed in time for this weekend’s event. Thank you George for your efforts! We are all grateful for your contribution.
New signage will be erected at the entrances of the park to prohibit dumping and littering and a number of new dustbins will be installed.. Vagrants are also being vacated from areas in the park with the help of the SAP. We will keep you up to date as further progress is made.
We would like to appeal to any of our parkrunners who can assist with donations or sponsorships of building materials, including ablution facilities and security gates for the restoration of the lapa. For a list of what we require, please contact Roodepoort parkrun.
Another exciting announcement to our parkrunners - Dunmar Security has joined forces with Roodepoort parkrun and will attend every Saturday to look after the parked vehicles so that you may feel at ease as you enjoy your 5km run and walk. It is especially nice to know that our volunteers are safe when they arrive early to set up before the event. A big thank-you to Dunmar Security!
parkrunner of the week
Name: Rainier Joubert
Club: Nedbank Running Club
Home parkrun: Delta parkrun
Occupation: Financial planner
Number of runs: 31
What do you do at parkruns: Setup, markers and packing up.
How has parkrun changed your running: I have always been an avid runner, but doing parkrun re-awakened my love for cross-country running.
What do you like about parkrun: I like doing parkrun for the social aspect but as with any event there is a competitiveness between runners for best times and most parkruns completed. I also like inviting my friends to join me at parkruns as it is a short distance together with an 8a.m. start (to let them sleep in after a Friday night out).
Most memorable or funniest parkrun moment: We did an April Fools parkrun, running the course backwards. I crossed the line first on that particular day!