welcome to the newsletter
In this edition of the SA parkrun Newsletter, 78 year-old Shongweni parkrunner, Willie van der Vyver, dreams of running the Comrades marathon in 2015. We hear from Nahoon Point and Root44 parkrun. Look out for the adivan at Port Elizabeth, East London and Bloemfontein parkruns! Catch up on news from Discovery Vitality and download the September edition of the Modern Athlete digi-mag! Happy reading!
On the 16th August Mike Tippett and his very efficient team launched Albert’s Farm parkrun in the shadow of Northcliff Hill in Johannesburg. There some great incentives for starting this parkrun; First of all the community in the area had been very vociferous in calling for their own parkrun. Secondly it was felt that by starting a parkrun there some pressure would be taken off Delta Park parkrun whose numbers have grown exponentially in recent months. Finally and most importantly Mike wished to start a parkrun in memory of his wife, Leslie, who sadly died from cancer a few months before and who was a great lover of parkrun.
On a grey spring morning with welcome rain threatening a boisterous crowd set off to try Mike’s testing course. It proved to be a lot of fun, where runners tackled steep climbs and descents, winding trails and streams in this beautiful but little known Johannesburg park. The finish down an avenue of trees is particularly memorable and everyone agreed that Albert’s Farm parkrun will prove to be very popular.
With numbers increasing at all our parkruns please could we ask parkrunners to try to get to their parkrun venues with ample time to spare and to park in a neat and orderly fashion. We have had some roads blocked by late arrivals.
We would also like to encourage slower runners and walkers to line up at the back of our parkruns just so they can move away more efficiently. In addition please allow others to pass efficiently if they are running faster. Keep left and pass right. Of course no one parkrunner is more important than others at parkrun, but a little courtesy at the start of our parkrun will ensure everyone has an enjoyable experience.
Cheers for now,
Bruce (get in touch)
Discovery Vitality news
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Modern Athlete Magazine
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Willie van der Vyver dreams of Comrades
I was born in Theunissen in the Free State on 14 September 1936, a small little town close to Welkom. At school we had to participate in all sports. I loved to run and tried out all distances, but liked the one mile, 880 yards and 440 yards. But running was my life and many evenings after supper I would go out and take off in different directions every day. After school I joined Military Gymnasium in Roberts Heights (Voortrekker Hoogte) in Pretoria. It was there that I was introduced to athletics in a more professional way. I became quite an accomplished amateur boxer, winning some championship bouts and many cups. At Military Gymnasium I ran a three mile event in Pretoria against the legendary Wally Hayward, Jan Barnard and Michael Robinoivitch – all SA champs. Needless to say, I did not win any of these races.
After that I moved to Bloemfontein where I played rugby for the first team of Collegians and Free State trials. I trained in the evening to run the Round The Hill race in Bloemfontein. This was my biggest disappointment ever. At the halfway point, I was next to Jan Barnard in 1st position, with Jackie Meckler in 2nd. Those days there were no seconds to give water or massages. You just ran and hoped you could avoid the spectators. Well, I did arrive 1st at the end but in an ambulance after I got tripped by an eager spectator.
Then to Welkom. I played rugby for Welkom Rovers then as captain for Allan Ridge. In the meantime I was running every day because I had set my sights on running the Comrades. No training but very fit. This was in 1963 and that year tragedy struck. On the way back from a match a truck swerved across the road and my youngest brother was killed. I had a broken collarbone, ribs and head injuries.
Then to Durban where I met my wife in 1971. This time I was very fit and went for runs even on my honeymoon, because this time I wanted to run Comrades in 1972. But that was not to be. On 13th February 1972 another car accident left me unconscious for more than a month. My wife was told that it’s only because of my physical state that I was still alive but there was doubt that I will ever be fit and healthy. But the doctors did not know my Lord. It took almost 4 years to the day that I was back to normal. But running was not on my mind because in this accident I lost one third of my left lung. That was until years ago when I started running again, slowly but surely. God willing with the help and support of parkrun, Glen Meaker and the TEAM I will run Comrades next year to fulfil a lifelong dream.
(After event 62, Willie has completed 7 parkruns)
Willie van der Vyver
Nahoon Point parkrun
Two amazing and extremely active years have passed for Nahoon Point and celebrations seem to flow virtually every weekend. Recently Nahoon celebrated 100 runs to great fanfare and the unavailing of the “Black Banner” and thereafter followed the big second anniversary.
Individually the first man in the Eastern Cape and at Nahoon Point, Noel Acton, ran his 100 parkrun and he has every right to feel like a rock star, such has been the euphoria of all his fellow travellers and the pouring out of genuine appreciation for all he has meant to parkrun in general and to Nahoon Point in particular. Just one week later the next two men to achieve this milestone had an equal amount of excitement surround their runs. Craig Giese ran his 100th at Nahoon Point, while Henry Pienaar who started his parkrun career at Nahoon and qualified Red there, then migrated across to the west and Kidds Beach, where on Saturday he ran his 100th. All three men featured in local media to one extent or another. The local knock and drop Go Express and the regions largest daily newspaper, the Daily Dispatch, both offered coverage, while community radio station, Wild Coast fm, interviewed all three men on live radio. Acton’s wife Annamarie is next in line to tackle a 100th run and the regular run director at Nahoon will no doubt celebrate in style.
Meanwhile the Red Brigade gets ever stronger and the banner is at work every weekend. The volunteers too are beginning to notch up 100 Saturdays with Danny Mostert, the tokens man and also a regular at set-up and break down, already there; Tony Viljoen one of two regular timekeepers on around 97 and his counterpart, Steve Bailey not too far off the pace either.
With winter sports approaching an end it can be expected that numbers are going to be on the increase again and the year ahead should be another cracker.
Root 44 parkrun is finally producing parkrunners who are reaching their 50th parkrun! It was a hotly contested race to see who would go ‘RED’ first between the boys, but first to receive this honour was Run Director and time keeper stalwart, Chris Visser. The following week saw our loyal Doyle brothers, Trevor Doyle and Colin Doyle, running their 50th parkrun together. The entire Doyle family are parkrun fanatics always making sure that if they are not at Root 44 on a Saturday, that they are able to attend another parkrun somewhere else, so not to miss out. They are always on hand to help with volunteering, move a tree or even just moral support.
With Spring approaching and the sun starting to rise earlier, so are our parkrunners, and attendances are back in the 400’s. It is also starting to get warmer up on the hill climb so if you need to, bring some water with you. There is a water station for Fido at the finish and a tap for you.
Save the date: 6 September @ 08:00 Root 44 parkruns’ Annual Spring Run!
Be as colourful as you can. Best dressed wins a prize! Our Greenman will be there to cheer you on!
feedback from the field
You guys can be so proud of yourselves. parkruns are such an amazing way to bring people from all walks of life, all levels of fitness, each with their own goal. I have been running, for 22 years now and am still competing in my age group, therefore, follow a training programme. I have only done 4 parkruns, but have absolutely loved the concept. It is so easy, so quick and no money exchanging hands. Just you, your watch and your goal. I just smile when I see old, young, fat, thin, fit, not so fit, dogs, wheel chairs and whatever, all together, doing the same thing. It is such a great motivator for someone who does not feel comfortable entering official races and once they do their first one, they then set themselves goals, encourage friends and family to join them and have a blast. I just love these runs and just love seeing all these wonderfrul people achieveing the same goal. Good on you all and to the wonderful volunteers who make it possible each week.
Drop us an email if you have an interesting parkrun related fact, happening or comment that you would like to share with all parkrunners.