welcome to the newsletter
In this edition of the SA parkrun newsletter, we hear how Prince Albert parkrunners dedicate a parkrun event to a shark attack survivor. We highlight consideration towards fellow parkrunners and Ebotse tells us about their third anniversary celebrations!
It might be winter in South Africa but there have been some “hot” times run at parkrun and some exciting new developments.
We paid Cannibal Cave a second visit last Saturday. It is wonderful to see how this parkrun has developed under the direction of Musi and Lizzy Mabaso. There can be very few parkruns that are run in such a breathtaking setting.
Last month we welcomed Aliwal North parkrun to the parkrun family. Linda Whittal and her team have been patiently waiting to get started for many months now and the big day finally arrived on the 27th June. The course is beautifully laid out and starts at the Aliwal North Athletics club clubhouse. The highlight of the run must be the kilometre stretch on a cleared track through thick bush and trees along the banks of the mighty Orange River. A cold rain was falling as the 50 or so runners and volunteers lined up at the start but the rain soon cleared and stayed away until the last runner had finished. Aliwal North can be truly proud of its beautiful and challenging parkrun and we are sure it will attract many locals and visitors alike.
Two new parkruns will be starting in July. The first is the Durbanville parkrun in the Meerendal wine Estate. This will start on the 18th July. The Estate is famous as a sports venue being the host venue for the famous Cape Epic cycle race. Early registrations are proving that it will be very popular with the local Durbanville population. The second, starting on the 25th July is the long awaited first Soweto parkrun. Boitumelo Mofokeng has been tireless in her efforts to establish a parkrun in Soweto, and after a few false starts, and with the help of Louise Gordon and her team at City Parks the dream is about to become a reality. We are certain Mofolo Park will be the first of a number of parkruns in Soweto.
Our parkrunners often distinguish themselves in South African road races so it was exciting to see Polokwane parkrunner Johan van der Merwe excel at the other end of the distance scale. Johan won the prestigious Washie 100 miler from Port Alfred to East London in just over 13 hours last weekend. 100 miles is 32 back to back parkruns with no breaks ! Congratulations Johan . For good measure Johan’s son JJ was first finisher at the Nahoon Point parkrun in East London. He must have dashed off to run while seconding Dad in the Washie. Albert Zikode won a new car at a local 13.7km race in Nkomazi with a time of 39:23. He has 22 Nkomazi parkruns under his belt and currently holds the record at Nkomazi 16:44. Clearly the sugarcane lined Nkomazi course has turned Albert into a superb athlete.
It’s good to see my old running rival, Tim Briscoe burning up the course at the St. Francis parkrun. In 1980 Tim and I were 4th and 2nd in the Comrade marathon behind the legendary Alan Robb (Woodlands parkrun). Since then I’ve been getting progressively slower and Tim has been getting faster. Not too many parkrunners can run 18:34 for 5kms. Tim has done it in the VM65-69 age category earning 91.20%
Cheers for now,
Bruce (get in touch)
Modern Athlete Magazine
Pregnancy and the first two years of your child's life play an important role in their future development. Discovery Vitality parents who are expecting a child can activate the Vitality Baby benefit and get exciting rewards to help get them started on their journey into parenthood.
Visit Vitality Baby to find out more about the great spoils waiting for you.
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Prince Albert’s Shark Attack Survivor
The Karoo town of Prince Albert dedicates parkrun to shark attack survivor Caleb Swanepoel.
On Saturday, 4 July a group of 100 or so residents took part in the Prince Albert parkrun - many for the first time - in support of shark attack survivor Caleb Swanepoel, a much loved resident of our town.
Caleb (20), who is a first year drama student at the University of Cape Town, lost his right leg and sustained lacerations to his left leg, in the attack by what is believed to be a great white shark on Saturday, 27 June while body surfing at Buffalo Bay (between Knysna and Sedgefield). According to the NSRI, Caleb’s brothers, Joshua and Alexander, rescued him from the surf and together with Dr Deirdre Richmond, who happened to be on the scene at the time, Caleb’s family, friends, fellow surfers and bystanders, all contributed to saving his life. Medical experts say it is a miracle that Caleb is alive and his survival is attributed to the fact that the main artery clotted and went into spasm immediately after the attack which minimised the bleeding.
It was a chilly 4 degrees when we set out but the love and support for Caleb was incredibly heartwarming. Later reports and photos started coming in from others who had participated in parkruns in the Western Cape as a tribute to Caleb and then we heard that young Jacob Maeyer, another much loved young Prince Albert resident and leukemia patient who underwent a bone marrow transplant some months ago in Germany, had done his own 3.6km walk in support of Caleb in Berlin.
And that's what makes small towns like ours so special: that tremendous spirit of community.
Being considerate to other runners
It has been brought up many times since the start of parkrun here in South Africa - simple consideration towards fellow runners. We all have the opportunity to participate in such a simple event with participants from every walk of life and with every ability imaginable. Being considerate towards each other goes a long way to making the experience of parkrun even more amazing. I would like to highlight a few examples that could contribute to a better overall experience.
The announcements at the beginning of parkrun are usually informative and serve as a safety briefing. By not listening to your event director and continuing to chat, you may very well miss an announcement regarding a hazard along your parkrun route.
I have often made an announcement regarding the ‘one dog per runner’ rule, which, to a large extent is ignored. The only reason that we ask parkrunners to observe this rule, is to ensure that runners are not tripped and that owners have more control over their fury friends with all the other dogs and people around.
Many parkrunners are unable to run the entire 5km course without at least stopping or walking. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this. However, if you do stop suddenly, please be thoughtful of those behind you. It is not easy to suddenly stop – think about when the car in front of you has no break lights, you have to slam on the breaks and sometimes you cannot stop in time to avoid driving into the person in front.
Keeping left is a habit that we learn early on in life because of our SA road rules. It makes sense to cyclists who frequent the parks on a Saturday morning. I can just imagine their surprise when over 500 runners are charging towards them without any regard for the ‘keep left’ rule. On a number of occasions I have seen the faster front runners already on their way to the finish line after going past the half-way turn around point at parkrun, only to be slowed down by participants coming towards them, five abreast.
Volunteers are the most important part of parkrun. Without volunteers, parkrun will cease to exist. Please be courteous to the volunteers at all times. They are doing their duty out of the kindness of their heart – yes you are a potential volunteer too. If something does not go right on the day, for example, a scanner is not working – please do not get irate and take charge of the equipment - rather take a deep breath and smile.
All parkruns are 5km and a number of events have noticed participants ‘cutting short’ (yes… cheating!). It is only 5km. You are only cheating yourself and being inconsiderate to those who persevere and complete a parkrun.
I am sure that many of these things are not intentional and by simply thinking about how our actions impact on those around us, we can contribute to an even better parkrun experience.
SA parkrun directors
On Saturday 20th June, the Ebotse event celebrated its 3rd birthday. Despite the cold morning the Ebotse faithful turned out in style. We were happy to welcome ‘Delta Dieter’ and the Roodepoort Raiders who brought along their finest to take on our course record holder Michael Pienaar, but were left in his dust.
Also joining our celebration was Comrades and Two Oceans legend Frith Van Der Merwe, a regular participant at Ebotse, Frith holds the record in her age group and is an inspiration to our young runners.
Birthdays mean presents and thanks to our regular sponsors adidas and the donations from TenBits wristband sales together with local prize donations from Emperor’s Palace we handed out spot prizes to the day’s winner Michael Pienaar, first lady home Sunel Bornman, juniors also took home ‘sweet’ rewards. This year’s points winners Sara Tanner-Tremaine and Jan Dries were also rewarded for the efforts. Ivete Caldeira who regularly provides a water table at Ebotse, went one better to keep out the chill with coffee, hot chocolate and cupcakes.
Here’s to the next 12 months of new records and PB’s – to date at Ebotse, we have taken 31 348 hours to cover 235 900 kilometres !!! But none of this would be possible without our heroes VOLUNTEERS – a special thank you to the dedicated efforts of Gary and his team.
The Ebotse Team
Durbanville parkrun 18 July 2015
Mofolo pakrun 25 July 2015
St Francis parkrun 11 July 2015
Greenpoint parkrun 18 July 2015
Piggly Wiggly parkrun 18 July 2015
Dusi parkrun 25 July 2015
Mogol parkrun 11 July 2015
Voortrekker parkrun 11 July 2015
Knysna parkrun 11 July 2015
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.
parkrunner of the week
Name: Nosipho Kabeni
Club: Team Vitality
Age: 40 years
Home parkrun: Bryanston
Occupation: Senior Consultant at Transnet Freight Rail
Favourite distance to run:: 10 km
Are you a trail or road runner?: Road runner
Favourite volunteer role:: Scanning
What do you like about volunteering at parkrun:: Giving back my time for what the parkrun gives me, which is; a chance to practice for my races and its timed, knowing my PB helps me perform better the next time. A ‘feel good’ feeling knowing I am keeping my home parkrun alive.
Why should others volunteering at parkrun?: To give others a chance to run too. Remember parkruns are run by volunteers, if no one volunteers there will be no parkrun. There is a lot that goes into making the parkrun work for that particular morning and it’s good to know there are people to count on to share responsibilities.