welcome to the newsletter
In this edition of the SA parkrun newsletter, we sadly announce that Huddle parkrun was permanently cancelled before it began. However, we do see record attendances at parkruns across the country, welcome our new sponsor to the family and look at our parkrunner of the week; Mark Fuller.
As always, the New Year has started off with an explosion of new registrations and a number of extremely large parkruns. We first noticed this tendency two years ago when our registration and attendance records suddenly sky-rocketed. I discussed this phenomenon in our last newsletter but even I was surprised by the upsurge in numbers we experienced in the first three weeks of January. We aren’t certain if this growth is driven by over- enthusiastic New Year resolutions or simply by the lovely Summer weather but what we see each January is that 6,000-7,000 new parkrunners join the family each week and several of our parkruns have attendance records or attendances of over 1,000 parkrunners. In addition we are being inundated by requests to start new parkruns at venues scattered all over South Africa.
If we look at past patterns, next month things should start to calm down and our registrations will drop to a “reasonable” 3,000 per week. Luckily our wonderful volunteer teams are ready for this tsunami and generally things are well managed.
This Saturday at North Beach we may unleash another tsunami next to the Indian Ocean as we announce Mr Price Sport as a new sponsor. Last Saturday over 1,500 parkrunners ran the familiar out-and-back North Beach route. This Saturday even more could descend on North Beach as many of our new sponsor’s employees could feel the urge to discover what parkrun is all about. We are delighted to welcome Mr Price Sport to the parkrun family and look forward to some exciting new developments with them. Mr Price Sport will also be at Root 44, Greenpoint, Delta and Modderfontein Reserve on Saturday.
Things don’t always run smoothly at parkrun and sadly we had to shut down our Huddle parkrun before it had even got off the ground. I won’t go into the details but suffice it to say there was a misunderstanding. Our ex Huddle team is working flat to look at a new venue at Gilloolys Farm which is close by and residents in the Linksfield / Huddle area should soon be able to enjoy their own parkrun.
With the cancellation of Huddle parkrun, January has been a quiet month for new parkrun openings; but this is set to change markedly in February as we see inaugural runs starting every Saturday of the month. We start first on the 6th February with the inaugural Heron Banks parkrun near Vanderbijlpark. Our North West regional Director, Manie Esterhuizen, is very enthusiastic about Heron Banks, which is situated in a golf estate on the banks of the Vaal River. Event director Frikkie Van Rensburg has suggested that parkrunners bring binoculars so that they can enjoy the abundant wildlife and birdlife.
Hot on the heels of Heron Bank’s opening come “King Williams Town” on 13th February, Hartbeespoort on 20th and “Thousand Hills” (Botha’s Hill, KZN) on 27th. There is also an exciting queue developing with some very interesting venues; but that’s the subject of a future newsletter.
Cheers for now,
Bruce (get in touch)
Keep running with Team Vitality
We would like to thank all our Team Vitality running and cycling members who spent our first year with us. It was a great year for running and cycling, with a huge number of Team Vitality members showing up in their orange at some of the best races in the country. Our members got to enjoy some complimentary hospitality at many of these events and this year will be even better.
We’d like to invite you to join us again this year and be part of South Africa’s biggest (and most popular!) running and cycling club. We’re looking forward to hosting you at fantastic events like the Comrades Marathon and Two Oceans.
Team Vitality members will be pleased to hear that if you activate or renew your Team Vitality running or cycling membership, you’ll still be paying 2015 fees with ALL the perks.
Renew your Team Vitality membership by logging into www.discovery.co.za and clicking the renew/activate button on the Team Vitality page. Keep an eye on our weekly newsletter for more information about this amazing Vitality benefit.
See you on the road!
Don’t miss out on earning 300 Vitality points for each parkrun
If you’re a Vitality member, you can earn 300 Vitality points for every parkrun you complete, by making sure you’ve linked your parkrun profile to Discovery. Not sure how? Use this step-by-step guide.
Heron Bank parkrun 06 February 2016
King Williams Town parkrun 13 February 2016
Knysna parkrun 30 January 2016
Rondebosch Common parkrun 13 February 2016
Nahoon Point parkrun until further notice
Huddle parkrun permanent cancellation
Durbanville parkrun 30 January 2016
Voortrekker Monument parkrun, Pretoria 06 February 2016
feedback from the field
A very happy and prosperous New Year to you, your fantastic team and all parkrunners. We as the Gey van Pittius family decided to do the Langebaan parkrun one December morning. It was great as Granny, daughter, daughter in law, two grandsons and a boyfriend joined...what a privilege.
Kathy Gey van Pittius
I should be completing my 100th parkrun this weekend, and with that in mind would like to thank Werner, Tamarin, and the PE Hobie Beach parkrun team for your unselfish and dedicated support and input into this fantastic event.
I started this fun/free event in November 2013, as a keen walker but by January 2014 (having turned 58) gradually started jogging, having always had a negative block towards running. Well almost exactly 2 years later I will reach this milestone, aged 60, and can say that this event has assisted me in becoming an avid runner, participating in parkruns countrywide, joining a running club and doing the Knysna half marathon.
I am a huge believer in the parkrun concept as it is an event for everyone, young and old, healthy and not so healthy and I encourage all I meet to participate.
Rose and I run as a team and will make volunteering a priority when we can contribute.
I am 10kg lighter, run parkrun 10 minutes faster than the beginning of 2015 and fell 100% more positive in myself. I have not been ill since the first Highland Trout Marathon when I first met you. A very big thank you to the best fitness cause I have ever been part of.
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: Mark Fuller
Home parkrun: Woodlands
Occupation: Management & Lean Consultant
Number of runs: 72
Number of times volunteered: 16
How has parkrun changed your running: I was never a runner, preferring cycling as a sport. A friend of mine challenged me to run and not being one to turn down a challenge did my first run at Woodlands. parkrun has not only got me into running but my friends too. We have noticed that we are fitter for cycling too.
Most memorable or funniest parkrun moment: First Soweto parkrun with my nephew from the UK and a bunch of local kids. These kids joined in the run when they saw 'old' people running and thought they would show us how to do it properly. I still laugh when I think about that day. Huge fun.
Trail or Road Running?: Trail running is much more fun because you're out in the woods and communing with nature between deep breaths.
Favourite volunteer role:: Timekeeper because you can give the runners 'stick' when they come in and generally they're too tired to chirp back.
What do you like about volunteering at parkrun:: It is such fun. Meeting new people and making new friends. And ending the morning off with a breakfast. My friends and I have formed a volunteer team and generally manage the day when we are on. We try to volunteer at least every three months.
Why should others volunteer at parkrun?: Firstly it gives back to parkrun and helps the day to run smoothly...but mostly its lots of fun.
What fellow parkrunners say about them:: Mark is the one who organises coffee vouchers and always manages to get us a fantastic deal. He is also the guy who will obtain sponsorships from local businesses for money to buy the things we need to put on a fantastic parkrun.