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It has been a three year project for Judy Brown and Peter Watson but finally their dream of starting a parkrun in Parys has come to fruition. Judy and Peter are both outstanding marathon runners and have raced at the highest levels. They lead a very envious life chasing the summer from the Northern Hemisphere to the Southern Hemisphere and back again. They spend the Northern summer in England and the remaining 6 months in Parys just across the Vaal River in the Free State.
As regulars at Skipton parkrun in the UK their dream was to start a parkrun in Parys and to leave it as their gift to the Parys community in capable hands while they were away. Their frequent absences however meant that it took some time before they could realise that dream. With the help of the Mayor and council of Parys they finally devised a lovely route following the banks of the Vaal River. Thanks to Councillor Mr Ramasimong and a number of volunteers bridges were constructed, litter collected and barbed wire fences were removed. On the 8th of this month an enthusiastic crowd of over 120 local and visiting parkrunners ran the inaugural Parys parkrun and gave it a firm nod of approval. It’s a beautiful parkrun and will bring many visitors to Parys.
Last Saturday parkrun found itself in KZN at Umhlanga where Ray de Vries and his team launched the extremely popular Umhlanga parkrun. This parkrun includes many of Umhlanga’s iconic landmarks on its brick paved route including the Pier, the Lighthouse and the protected indigenous milkwood trees. parkruns are for runners and walkers of all abilities and are never referred to as races but the inaugural Umhlanga parkrun had to boast about the presence of two of the fastest marathon racers ever. Guests at a Durban conference, Kenyans Dennis Kimetto and Wilson Kipsang registered, printed their barcodes and arrived to an enthusiastic welcome to run the Umhlanga parkrun. Dennis recently won the Berlin marathon in a World record 2:02:57 and Wilson added this month’s New York marathon title to his list of International triumphs. Sportingly the two stars ran in amongst the Umhlanga parkrunners before skipping effortlessly away with a kilometre to run. They were not the only running names present at the parkrun as they were joined by Olympic silver medallist, Elana Meyer, 3 times Comrades marathon champion, Helen Lucre and 1992 New York champion, Willie Mtolo. All the parkrun SA national sponsors were present on the morning. Discovery Vitality offered refreshments to all the participants, Blue Label Telecoms and adidas gave spot prizes to a few lucky parkrun finishers. A gale force wind threatened to blow some of our banners down but it didn’t dampen the spirits of over 350 enthusiastic parkrunners. Thanks too must go to adidas for their display and for bringing the two Kenyan speedsters to Umhlanga parkrun
The weather around the country varied from pouring rain, gale force winds and hail across the country. This did not put a dampener on many of the 9000 parkrunners who braved the harsh conditions to complete their 5km run.
Bruce (get in touch)
Wilson and Dennis cause a stir in Durban
adidas, the official technical partner to parkrun South Africa, hosted the World Record Holder Dennis Kimetto and New York City Marathon Champion Wilson Kipsang at the inaugural Umhlanga parkrun today where the global stars joined runners for a social run.
Both runners ran the 5km course in record time before completing a second lap, where they ran, jogged and walked alongside runners of all abilities before taking time out to for autographs.
Gugu Ntuli, PR manager at adidas South Africa commented, “This is what adidas running is all about; boosting the experiences of runners of all abilities. Through our partnership with parkrun, adidas will continue to infuse excitement and energy to runners by not only offering ground breaking technology but also connecting runners with their elite idols. It doesn’t get more elite than these two giants of marathon running Dennis and Wilson “.
Dennis Kimetto ran the fastest marathon in history wearing adidas BOOST™ at the 2014 Berlin Marathon. With a time of 2:02:57 Kimetto shattered the previous world record by an astounding 26 seconds wearing the super lightweight adizero Adios BOOST. Kipsang won the 2014 New York City Marathon in exceptionally difficult conditions and with it the 2014 World Marathon Majors Championship, wearing the same adizero Adios BOOST.
“It’s always fun to get out on the road but rarely do we get an opportunity talk to and engage with local runners in such a setting. This run was really special. It’s incredible to see how much our story is appreciated around the world and especially here in South Africa,” said Kipsang.
Kimetto added, “It was wonderful to see the sheer passion that people have for running in Durban. It reminds me of why started running myself, those many years ago.”
Kipsang and Kimetto are in South Africa for a few days where they will be engaging the running public in Durban and Cape Town.
For up-to-date news from adidas South Africa, visit:
The adidas news stream: news.adidas.com/za
The adidas go #allin blog: adidas.com/goallin
Follow @adidasZA on Twitter or Instagram with #boostyourrun
Modern Athlete Magazine
Vitality members can now join Team Vitality – a great new benefit for runners and cyclists. Team Vitality kicks into action in January 2015. Not only will you get up to 50% cash back on your race entry fees for selected events on the Team Vitality race calendar, but we'll also give you an awesome Team Vitality shirt, discounts on sports magazines and sports vouchers. Sign up here.
Want to WIN a trip to Australia where you can run an international parkrun?
Joining Team Vitality also brings you one step closer to winning that awesome trip for two to Sydney, Australia, with flights sponsored by Qantas and a kit to the value of R5 000 sponsored by adidas . While enjoying the sights of this beautiful city, you will get to complete an international parkrun, and push yourself with the world-famous City2Surf Marathon. Go to www.discovery.co.za for more information.
Correction: we previously communicated that Vitality members 18 years and older can earn 500 points for completing a parkrun event. We would like to correct this – Children six years and older who are dependents on their parents’ Discovery Vitality memberships can also earn points for completing a parkrun. This means that your whole family can join in the outdoor fun and earn Vitality points at the same time!
Not a Vitality member? Visit www.discovery.co.za or SMS “Vitality” to 48030 to join.
parkrun Tip of the week
I attended the Delta Park parkrun this past weekend when a storm hit us halfway through our run, resulting in many parkrunner’s barcodes being destroyed by the rain. It is best to keep your barcode in a plastic bank bag or have it laminated so that you can use it time and time again without having to reprint it.
We all enjoy the end of year slow down at work (well… for some). It is the perfect time to fit in a few more parkruns than usual. However, with the December holidays fast approaching, many of our regular volunteers will be away and unable to assist and keep parkrun events running. If you are available to assist, please be sure to get in touch with your parkrun team via email or meet them at the event to offer your assistance. We look forward to enjoying year-round parkrun events.
feedback from the field
Drop us an email if you have an interesting parkrun related fact, happening or comment that you would like to share with all parkrunners.