welcome to this week's newsletter
In this edition of the parkrun newsletter, the launch of the new Big Bay parkrun in Bloubergstrand has been postponed, runners make their way to Woodlands parkrun to celebrates its inaugral event, our stand at the Two Oceans expo was a hit with runners and we take a look at a new parkrun in the Stellenbosch area.
Two Oceans Expo
parkrun South Africa hosted a stand at the Two Oceans expo from the 27th to 29th of March and it turned out to be one of the most popular stands at the pre-Oceans expo. There was huge interest in parkrun and we received enquiries for parkruns from as far afield as Bloemfontein, Harare, Jeffrey’s Bay and Walvis Bay. We were also able to register new parkrunners and print their barcodes on site. The parkrun stand will definitely be present at the Comrades expo at the end of May this year. Thanks to Gill, Jo-Anne, Chris, Bob and David for their help.
Cheers for now,
Bruce (email me)
Everybody wants to parkrun the world
February half term – what do you do? My son Simon & I joined my brother and his family out in South Africa to support his son who was playing in a school cricket tour. The first 4 days were spent in Cape Town.
The last few days Simon & I stayed in Johannesburg. Before we went, I had seen that there were some parkruns there, so I contacted Roodeport parkrun. Their event director, David Ashworth, replied saying it was a fair distance from where we were staying, but that Delta parkrun was closer. On writing to them, I heard back from their event director, the country manager for South Africa, Bruce Fordyce. Unfortunately he would not be there the weekend we ran as he was organising a race in Lesotho, but he would arrange for someone to collect us from our hotel.
That someone was his daughter Cara. parkruns in South Africa start at 8am due to the heat, so she collected us at 7am – not easy to get a 15 year old up to be ready by then! How is a parkrun in South Africa different from one in London? Well not much – it is a timed 5k run organised by a group of cheerful people for a group of cheerful runners. However, as it was already 25C by the time we started, and Johannesburg is at an altitude of 1,700m I took it very easy. Simon started with me but soon eased past and drifted ahead, finishing in 37th position in a time of 26:18. I plodded in at 27:59 for 51st. We also had to share the narrow paths with a few mountain bikers – made a change from the dogs on Wimbledon Common.
After the run, we chatted with a few of the other finishers. Some were focussed on the Comrades marathon, but there I didn’t hear about a lot of other local races – 10km, half-marathon etc that we have locally. We are spoiled in SW London! Afterwards, Cara took us to breakfast with the other regular volunteers including Bruce’s brother-in-law. A massive thank you to the Fordyce family and to all at Delta for making us welcome.
Where the parkruns did differ is that whilst my 51st place in 27:59 was 28% down the field of 181 runners; the following week back at Wimbledon Common, I finished in 91st place out of 285 runners (32%) in a time of 22:55 – some 5 minutes faster. At Delta, the average time for all finishers is 33:30; at Wimbledon it is 25:05 (I love the stats available on the parkrun website).
The week we ran at Delta only 16% were members of clubs; at Wimbledon it was 26%. The Delta % was skewed by many first-timers from a local company that was using parkrun as a team building exercise. Despite that, I think there is considerable scope for local clubs to attract new members, just as the Windmilers have gained many recruits from the local parkrun.
Another difference was the impact that parkrun has had on some of the parks in Johannesburg. This is from the South Africa newsletter in January:
So parkrun is having a positive effect on the local community that stretches far beyond its running / exercise aims.
Looking at the age-graded records at Delta, I was not surprised to see that Bruce held the best time for my age category. However, the VW45-49 best, and the fastest lady overall, at the time of writing, was a certain Zola Budd Pieterse. It didn’t say if she ran it bare-foot.
Big Bay parkrun
The launch of the new Big Bay parkrun, the first parkrun to hit Cape Town along Bloubergstrand, has been postponed.
This parkrun launch has been postponed until the 4th May, but the wait will be well worth it as Graeme and Bev Powell have chosen a stunning route along the seafront. Bob Norris (Nahoon Point), David Ashworth (Roodepoort) and I ran the course the morning after the Two Oceans and we all immediately identified this parkrun as a special one. Please join us on the 4th of May for the inaugral event as we bring the joy of parkrun to the Western Cape!
Congratulations to our newest Club-50 member!
Nick Hall who, last Saturday became the 4th South African to earn a red Club 50 shirt. Thanks for your support Nick.
Delta parkrun team
With the onset of winter, it seems inevitable that outdoor exercise, and parkrun, might take a back seat. However, for us at the Modderfontein Reserve parkrun, we believe that outdoor exercise, in a safe park environment, cannot be mimicked in a gym.
Firstly, you run differently, and flex your ankles when running on uneven surfaces. Furthermore you will occasionally run downhill, which tensions muscles differently to running on a flat or uphill and cannot be duplicated on a treadmill. Outdoor exercise also has a tendency to be more strenuous than indoor training. Treadmill runners exert less energy to complete the same distance as those training outdoors, primarily because there is little wind resistance or terrestrial changes indoors.
More importantly there are more overwhelming benefits to running in a park environment. A 2010 study found that even just 5 minutes of exercise in a green space can improve mood and self-esteem. A few smaller studies have found that people have lower blood levels of cortisol, a hormone related to stress, after exerting themselves outside as compared with inside.
While every little bit of exercise counts, most of us could probably afford to do a little bit more. It is recommended that an adult does 2 hours and 30 minutes of moderate-intensity cardio every week, plus 2 or more sessions of strength training. According to the BBC, a 2011 study found that outdoor exercise was associated with greater decreases in tension, confusion, anger and depression when compared to indoor activity.
Taking your workout outside is also a great (and free!) way to soak up some additional Vitamin D. In a study undertaken at the University of Illinois-Champaign it was established that children with Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder concentrated better after a 20-minute walk in the park, rather than a walk through the city or neighbourhood streets. It may be especially helpful for people with a few extra kilograms to lose, since overweight people are almost twice as likely not to get enough Vitamin D.
A study last year of older adults found, objectively, that those who exercised outside exercised longer and more often than those working out indoors. In conducting the study, researchers asked men and women over 65 about their exercise habits and then fitted them all with electronic apparatuses that measured their activity levels for a week. The results of the experiment showed that the participants who exercised outside, usually by walking, were significantly more physically active than those who exercised indoors completing, on average, about 30 minutes more exercise each week than those who walked or otherwise exercised indoors.
In winter, it is all too easy to skimp on workouts. Exercising outdoors is a reinforcing behaviour and persons participating in outdoor activities often feel a greater desire to repeat the activity at a later date than they would after a gym workout. Studies haven’t yet established why, physiologically, exercising outside might improve dispositions or inspire greater commitment to an exercise program. There is speculation, however, that exposure to direct sunlight, known to affect mood, plays a role.
Jo & Chris
North Beach parkrun
Hayibo, even Durban has felt the cold this week! The Durban shorts and slops vibe has been ditched for jerseys and extra blankets.
Putting one foot in front of the other every Saturday at 8am for a 5km fix is still top priority for new and old parkrunners. With attendance higher than ever before, we think Durban loves the 8am start even with the cooler temperatures. With over 900 registered parkrunners who have run over 6,815km in the last 6 months we think Durbs likes parkrun. So much so that we just have to add another one. Can it be possible? Yes!!!!
KZN would like to welcome Hillcrest to the party (queue Eye of the Tiger theme music)…with the new Shongweni parkrun starting soon. Sorry Jo’burg and East London, we can’t let you have all the fun. This parkrun will be a contrast to North Beach swopping beach, waves and tanned bodies for lush greenery, beautiful trails, trees, horses and of course fresh air. Be sure to keep updated with all the new parkruns starting up around the country by chatting to the volunteers or checking out the parkrun website.
Well done to all the youngsters who have made it to North Beach parkrun. You will be getting your 10-club T-shirts soon.
We hope to see you at the next parkrun.
Please diarise the 27th of April. Our parkrun will be celebrating its 1st birthday and we have a host of excitement for parkrunners on that day! Come along for the shoe draw and enjoy Champagne and orange juice as well as cupcakes. adidas will also be paying us special visit! Keep a lookout for more by visiting our facebook page.
Root 44 parkrun
Legendary Olympic silver medallist Elana Meyer will be launching a parkrun in Stellenbosch at the Root 44 market. Immediately after running the Big Bay parkrun Bob, David and I joined Elana and her husband Jacques on an easy jog over the parkrun course. This route is another beauty and will be extremely popular as it will be run at the same time as the bustling farm market commences.
Our Woodlands parkrun had its inaugural run on Saturday. Event director, Staci Katsivalis did a wonderful job at the launch which attracted 56 runners. Staci is famous for being the daughter of Comrades legend Alan Robb and for running all her marathons in sandals! The Woodlands course includes two laps of the nature reserve in which there are small herds of Impala and Springbok and wonderful birdlife.
We encourage SA parkrunners to visit this new event for a variation in their parkrunning weekend and to run amoungst the beautiful wildlife!