newsletter 6th June 2013

welcome to this week's newsletter

In this eddition of the SA parkrun newsletter, Comrades takes centre stage in the running community and North Beach parkrun attracts runners from all over the world at their pre-Comrades parkrun. SA Gears up for the launch of another parkrun, luck number 13, this Saturday in KZN!

This month the Comrades marathon dominated everything in the South African running world. However, parkrun SA was able to tag along in grand style. Many of our parkrunners, both International and national, participated in South Africa’s most famous race. There are too many individual “war stories” to list them all. However, the two that stand out are those of parkrunners Andrew Wainwright and Tracy Rankin. Andrew took his first running steps in January at the Modderfontein Reserve parkrun. Five months later he ran his first Comrades, earning a Vic Clapham medal. Tracy, whose home parkrun is Delta Park, is the proud owner of a club-50 T-shirt and achieved a bronze medal on Comrades day. Tracy started running in order to simply participate at parkruns. Now she has completed a number of marathons and the Comrades itself. Congratulations to Andrew and Tracy!

Tracy and Andrew

Arguably the best performance of this year’s Comrades marathon belongs to former Comrades champion, Shaun Meiklejohn. Shaun ran 6 hours 46 minutes to win the masters (50-55) trophy. The age grading for this performance would be a 90% at least!!. Shaun has run a few parkruns himself.

It was wonderful to welcome parkrunners from around the World to Durban’s North Beach parkrun on Saturday 1st June. A record field of over 200 parkrunners toed the line on a bright sunny Durban morning. South African parkruns have never seen as many 100 T’s and 50 T’s at a single venue before. There was a special welcome for Richmond parkrun event director, Karen Weir who like so many that Saturday jogged North Beach slowly and gently. (There was the small matter of 90 kilometres of brutal hills looming the very next morning to consider!)

North Beach parkrun

The parkrun stand was once again at a major race Expo and it was a hive of activity. Not only was it one of the busiest stands at the Expo but the stand was given a silver award for excellence from the Comrades marathon association.

Left to Right: Jenna van der Merwe, Bruce Fordyce, Karen Weir, Pete Garthwaite, Stefan Van Der Merwe and parkrun visitor at the parkrun stand at the Comrades Expo

This Saturday sees the launch of our 13th parkrun in South Africa. KwaZulu-Natal will launch its 3rd parkrun at Shongweni / Hillcrest under the directorship of Pete and Erita Garthwaite. There has been a demand for a parkrun in the Hillcrest area, so Pete and Erita should will be very busy managing this event. Hot on the heels of the launch of the Hillcrest event will be the Pietermaritzburg parkrun, hosted by Comrades greats, Shaun Miekeljohn and Kerry Koen.

Cheers for now,

Bruce (get in touch)

event news

North Beach parkrun

We have had a crazy few weeks with the Comrades Expo & Comrades Marathon being held in our backyard. Even though it was a bit manic it was an amazing experience to have all the visitors at the Expo and the day before the Comrades Marathon – the ultimate human race. Of course with such hype and interest in running we had a new record attendance of 204 parkrunners – this is almost double our previous best turnout, so it was great to see. parkrunners visited us from all over the globe to stretch the legs before the big day. With the pre-Comrades parkrun proving to be such a success we are hoping to make the North Beach parkrun the “unofficial” warm up to the Comrades weekend, so keep you’re an eye out for that. Amongst the crowd we were very fortunate to have Comrades legends Bruce Fordyce, Alan Robb as well as a couple of parkrun event directors from abroad which made this an extra special one for us.

Some great news for Durban parkrunners… We have managed to strike up a relationship with News Café & Cape Town Fish market who will be giving anyone who produces their barcode on a Saturday morning a variety of specials from free coffee with breakfast to “buy one get one free” smoothies – another great reason to get to the beach front on a Saturday morning.

As I am sure many of you are aware North Beach parkrun is now the official fastest parkrun in South Africa with both records held on our coarse (female: Debbie Perry 18:49 & Male: Warren Kidgell 16:40). Our route is flat and fast and a must for anyone visiting the Durbs coast – just don’t improve your PB too much as you may never break it when you head back to your home parkrun…

We hope to see you at the next parkrun!


Sunrise-on-Sea parkrun

Sunrise-on-Sea parkrun was started in this area against the backdrop of a very divided community. It was from the outset the plan of the organizers to use the event as a catalyst to bring people together. It has not been an easy ride up to now, but it is definitely working. We can gladly say that our event now enjoys the support of the vast majority of the greater East Coast community. Also a lot of lessons have been learnt in the process.

We recently held our 21st event and ran the course in reverse, 58 parkrunners turned up and enjoyed the change. Last weekend we had a steep increase in numbers with 87 finishers in our 22nd event. Congratulations to Alex McQuirk and Stella Swart who will be awarded their 10 tees next week.
Our parkrun now supports the Greensleeves shelter for homeless children. We have a old kit collection box and donations of kit and clothing started last week with a huge success. Many thanks to all those who contributed, keep it coming, you are putting a smile on the kids faces! I must also say the we have a number of the children from Greensleeves running our parkrun regularly.

Children from Greensleeves at parkrun

One participant, Tia-Marie Taljaard, shows commitment as she has completed all our events to date, included a PB last week! Her Club-50 T-shirt is beckons. Thank you to our volunteers who attend every week, along with the spirit and camaraderie you bring to our event.

East London experienced many school derby's and sporting events over the last few weeks, that together with the regular rain and cold weather experienced this time of the year, did have a negative influence on our numbers, however, it did not deter the die-hards that turn up every week.

Thanks to our hosts Murambi Country Kitchen and Murambi Roses. If you have not already tried James' breakfast or a cup of coffee, you are missing out!

A long winter lies ahead and we will be out there every Saturday at 8a.m. so come and join us for FUN, ENJOYMENT and A BETTER LIFESTYLE. All are welcome visit our Facebook page Sunriseonsea parkrun.

Happy parkrunning
Danie Bessinger

parkrunner of the week

Name:  Andrew Wainwright

Club:  Nedbank Running Club Central Gauteng

Age:  Mid 30’s or so, last time I remember. But on a good day I feel at least 25

Home parkrun:  Modderfontein Reserve parkrun

Occupation:  Would love to write Lion Tamer or IT Billionaire (they get all the chics), but in truth, a Marketing Strategy & Planning Team Leader

Number of runs:  15

Number of times volunteered:  So glad I did in fact volunteer that 1 time, otherwise this would have been a real embarrassing question to answer!

What do you do at parkruns:  Run… what else do you do a t a parkRUN… or is theres something else I am supposed to do that no one has told me about? ;-)

How has parkrun changed your running:  How long do you have? Short’ish answer – I started my parkrun / running “career” on 12 Jan 2013 (after being inactive for a few years since stopping to play club rugby in 2009) and then on 2 June 2013 I ran my first Comrades…with a few other runs in between those dates – ran my first marathon, first 32 km, first 2 Oceans, first Loskop Ultra, and then only did I do my first 21 km after all that. Plus I met some awesomely crazy people along the way! So basically, parkrun has changed my life for the (fitter) better.

What do you like about parkrun:  What’s not to like…we have a great bunch of runners (including me of course), some looney “supporters”, a few wild animals (you met Chris and Jo-Anne right), wonderful scenery, some nutters that run way to fast and break course records and when you mix all that together you get an unforgettable experience.

Most memorable or funniest parkrun moment:  My most memorable has to be the first run…met up with an old school mate I had not seen since we matriculated and he shared his parkrun experiences and how it all lead to running his first road races and suddenly right there, while I was still huffing and puffing from my first parkrun, the bug bit! Plus it is on that day where I met my 2 “coaches”, Chris Midlane and Jo-Anne Buchner, and it has been their guidance, encouragement and belief in me that pushed me to go from parkrun to Comrades in 5 months (and yes I did actually finish Comrades ‘13 in case you were wondering)


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All questions answered

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Volunteering at parkrun

We ask every parkrunner to volunteer 3 times a year. When volunteering you receive the maximum number of points towards the yearly competition.

Children at parkrun

All children under 11 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian at all times. Guardians must ensure that children place themselves appropriately so as to prevent a situation where they are being repeatedly overtaken at the start. This is to ensure the safety of your child.

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