welcome to the newsletter
In this edition of the SA parkrun newsletter, we visit North Beach parkrun for the Comrades Marathon warm-up. The Karoo’s Prince Albert parkrun is a must for parkrun travellers and Ballito parkrun launches this Saturday! From parkrun to Comrades, Roodepoort parkrun’s director, Philip Gray, talks about his journey.
The last week of May saw thousands of runners descending on Durban for the Comrades marathon. Runners came from all over South Africa and the World to run South Africa’s famous ultra-marathon and quite a few of these were parkrunners. Many of these parkrunners ran the KZN coastal parkruns the day before Comrades. Those who were apprehensive about the challenge of the 88 kilometre Comrades walked or jogged their parkruns very slowly.
At the Comrades itself parkrunners from all over the world distinguished themselves with their running. For many it has been an amazing transition from tentative 5km. runner to brave ultramarathoner. parkrun achievers and achievements at our great race are too many to mention individually but a couple that must be mentioned include Tom William’s wife Helen who ran 10:03 (Tom is country manager for the UK and supported Helen this year. He ran Comrades a few years ago. ) We also have to mention the nail biting run of Phillip Gray. Phillip is the event director at Roodepoort parkrun, our second oldest parkrun. He had a truly astonishing run and he tells his story below.
The weekend after the Comrades marathon we launched Prince Albert parkrun. Prince Albert is a town/village deep in the Karoo and is famous for its olive plantations and the breath-taking Swartberg Pass which tourists love to drive over on the way to the town. Prince Albert has particular meaning for me as my Great Grandfather was the first doctor at Prince Albert and owned the only car in the hamlet, as it was then. He lived in what was known as “die Doktor’s se Huis”. Apparently my Grandfather was born in that house. Prince Albert parkrun is run along paths in the Karoo scrubland and is quite unique. Zelia Mullins and her team organised a very entertaining launch and even organised some coal fires to stave off the chill as well as music to which people were dancing when the parkrunners arrived. Chariots of Fire boomed across the big sky of the Karoo as 74 excited runners started the run. Great fun was had by all and Prince Albert parkrun will be very popular with locals and visitors alike.
This Saturday we will start another KZN coastal parkrun in the sugar cane of Ballito’s Sugar Rush farm. Dwayne Swiegers and his team have designed a course that includes sand roads (traffic free!) and track and will be plenty of fun. Most importantly it will provide a lovely parkrun to the Ballito community who have been clamouring for their own parkrun for some time now.
Bruce (get in touch)
In March 2012, when David Ashworth called me and invited me to try out a new run, I was quite excited. I wasn’t what you’d call a runner, but the idea wasn’t entirely foreign to me. To that point, my running career consisted of a single 10km race, once a year, and the occasional jog when I felt inspired. But when I was introduced to parkrun, it gave me the opportunity, and the excuse, to wake up every weekend, and run regularly. The beginning of the next year, I joined Florida Running Club. Now, I was a runner!
My first 21km nearly killed me, but I got used to them after a while, and my times steadily improved. 2014 saw me take on my first 32km, and then I did something very rash, I entered Comrades. Everyone thought I was mad. I thought I was mad, but I did it anyway. Perhaps it was time for me to start getting really serious. I found a great support group in the form of the Road 2 Comrades team, led by Laurie Lewis, and together we all worked, and played, hard in preparation for the big “C”. From there, things spiralled. I completed my first full marathon, and then another, and then I qualified. It wasn’t a brilliant time, but I was in.
On 31st May 2015, I completed my first Comrades Marathon! I think I’ll be well remembered as the last man in, my official time being 12:00:00. But I’d done it. I’d survived the gruelling 12 hours on the road, the heat, the hills, and I’d come out on top. My mother told me later that this was probably the finest achievement in the family for decades.
It’s still hard to believe how far I’ve come, but it certainly wouldn’t have happened without the weekly routine of getting up every Saturday and running my local parkrun, and the grounding that gave me. I am immensely proud to be involved with parkrun, and eternally grateful for what it has allowed me to achieve.
Now, it’s time to start training for my next Comrades Marathon!
Modern Athlete Magazine
Speak to an adidas brand coach
Come down to your local parkrun this Saturday and receive expert advice from an adidas brand coach on technical running footwear. They will be offering runners an opportunity to test adidas running shoes with boost technology for free and provide personalised fittings, allowing you to get the best solution for your unique running style. The brand coaches will be found at selected parkruns nationwide – Cape Town, Johannesburg, Pretoria and Durban.
The winners from the adidas parkrun competition are Louise Ynclan & Martin Herselman. Well done.
All Discovery Vitality members earn 500 Vitality points for every parkrun you complete and for the entire month of June. Children six years and older (who are dependants on their parents' Discovery Vitality membership) will earn an extra 250 points for completing a parkrun. This means that kids earn 750 Vitality points for every parkrun they complete.
Not sure how to link your Discovery membership to your parkrun profile? Use this step-by-step guide to help you.
parkrun Cancellations :
Voortrekker parkrun has been cancelled this Saturday, 13 June 2015
parkrun Launches :
Ballito parkrun 13 June 2015
Aliwal North parkrun 27 June 2015
parkrun Anniversaries :
Mogol parkrun 13 June 2015
Shongweni parkrun 13 June 2015
Ebotse parkrun 20 June 2015
Kidds Beach parkrun 27 June 2015
St.Francis parkrun 27 June 2015
Cannibals Cave parkrun 28 June 2015
feedback from the field
My dad, Francois (Frans) Mostert, who turns 87 on 20 June, is probably one of the oldest parkrunners. He did his fourth consecutive parkrun at Naval Hill, Bloemfontein last Saturday. I invited him with to the anniversary parkrun on 2 May. I am with him in the photo after completion of his first parkun. When he also completed the Comrades marathon when he was younger. He says many athletes stop running when their times start dropping with age. He, however, still walks/jogs almost every day. His sports heroes are Bruce Fordyce and
Ester de Beer
I don’t really have an interesting story as such! I just underwent lung surgery last year and parkrunning has proved difficult for me, so I have been limited to walking for the last few months, which is just as fabulous because walkers (and dogs!) are always welcome. What I would like to do though is encourage other parkrunners to join the volunteer community, especially when they experiencing sports injuries or unable to take part! It’s the perfect time to give back. Many people may feel frustrated that they cannot compete, but being part of the volunteer community is so rewarding and encouraging and really motivates one to return to fitness! I hope my little story can inspire others to volunteer.
Thanks again for the good work you do!
Drop us an email if you have an interesting parkrun related fact, happening or comment that you would like to share with all parkrunners.