welcome to the newsletter
In this edition of the SA parkrun newsletter, we welcome parkrun country managers from across the world, remind parkrunners that those parkruns with seasonal start times will be changing from 2 April. We look at a family who all held their respective age category records at one parkrun and celebrate our parkrunner of the week, Venesh Athimoolam from PE Hobie Beach.
parkrun South Africa is hosting all the country managers from around the world at our annual conference, held this year in Cape Town. We have been very hectic preparing to meet country managers from as far afield as New Zealand and Russia, and of course there’s the little matter of preparing an agenda and programme for the next few days. We hope to have some exciting developments to report to you in the next newsletter. We also hope that several of us will have Two Oceans medals to boast about as well.
Several of the parkrun country managers arrived early to enjoy a break in the Kruger National Park (I need to emphasise that this was all at our personal expense). We all enjoyed some amazing game viewing and on the last morning we were given a demonstration of the courageous work the rhino anti-poaching squad do every day to protect these beautiful animals.
Since we were all staying close to Crocodile Bridge at the Kruger Park we took the opportunity to run the Nkomazi parkrun on the Saturday morning. Event Director Lordrick Manthonsi had prepared a great welcome for us and we were greeted by enthusiastic local parkrunners, several of whom are close to earning their 50 club milestone T-shirts. The Nkomazi course is a challenging out and back run through thick sugar cane. At this time of the year it is also hot and steamy, so we were all covered in sweat when we finished. Still, we had lots of fun and were very grateful that Nkomazi is one of those parkruns which starts at 7am. However, it will return to its winter (8am) starting time from Saturday 2nd April as will the following parkruns; White River, Halls, Summerfields, Mogol, Oudtshoorn, Prince Albert. These are seasonal time changes. Please note that Kimberley and Upingtons start times will remain 07:00am throughout winter. I advise parkrunners visiting different parkruns to please check the actual website of these events for the correct start time and any cancellations!
Franschhoek parkrun launched on 12 March in glorious Cape weather. Run through the lovely vineyards of Rickety Bridge wine farm, the inaugural run attracted over 300 parkrunners, both visitors and local new parkrunners. Franschhoek parkrun joins a group of parkruns which are run through vineyards, which includes Root 44, Durbanville and Wellington.
Jean Jeffery, under the guidance of Torrin, and her team have created a lovely 5km route which winds its way through the vineyards. We have no doubt the Franschhoek parkrun will be very popular and a valuable addition to the parkrun family.
Cheers for now,
Bruce (get in touch)
Happy Easter parkrunners!
Not long to go until your next invigorating Saturday morning parkrun!
MRPSport would like to congratulate Upington parkrun on their 2nd anniversary coming up this Saturday! MRPSport will be at the Upington parkrun this weekend. Our Maxed footwear range will be on display and if you are wearing Maxed you stand a chance to win a Maxed fitness hamper!
You’ve been asking and we’ve been working on those achievement tees! We haven’t forgotten about them, parkrunners! Your t-shirts will be available from the end of May… our team is hard at work getting through the backlog to get your much-deserved tee to you as soon as possible. They will be delivered to your nearest MRP Sport store for collection. We’ll keep you in the loop with all the details throughout the ordering process. We promise they’ll be worth the wait! Until then, keep on racking up those parkruns!
Next week, look out for our incredible Price To Go ONE WEEK ONLY promotion which runs from the 27th March – 2nd April available in-store and online. If you’re getting kitted out for your next parkrun, or gearing up for your next active weekend - shop all the fitness and outdoor gear you need online at www.mrpsport.com
Vitality Active Rewards
Vitality Active Rewards is now even more exciting. The Vitality Active Rewards with Smart Watch benefit, exclusive to Vitality members, combines with Vitality Active Rewards to motivate you to get even more active.
As a limited time offer starting from 15 March and while stocks last, we are offering members who activate Vitality Active Rewards a choice of selected smart watches.
Getting started is simple and easy. All you need to do is:
1. Download the latest version of the Discovery app.
2. Activate the Vitality Active Rewards with Smart Watch benefit.
3. Visit your local store to collect your Smart Watch.
Hogsback parkrun 02 April 2016
Paarl parkrun 09 April 2016
Upington parkrun 26 March 2016
George parkrun 02 April 2016
Woodlands parkrun 02 April 2016
Constantia Greenbelt parkrun 26 March 2016
Lonehill parkrun 26 March 2016
Voortrekker Monument parkrun, Pretoria 02 April 2016
Secunda parkrun 02 April 2016
feedback from the field
My family of Carmen (wife), Rowan (son), Kate (daughter) & I are all part of the Florida raiders, a group of runners from Florida running club. We all got our respective age category records at the Hartbeespoort inaugural run.
The chances of this happening usually if you consider the amount of parkrunners is very slim, as all it takes is one faster runner in any of those 4 categories to show up on the day and we wouldn’t have got this record. My wife was first in her category in the absence of Tracy Rankin, who is nearly always at inaugural events. Had she shown up then realistically all bets were off! Thanks Tracy, who subsequently ran it the next weekend and shattered Carmen’s record.
For all 4 of us to hold the record at the same event at the same time is our parkrun trivia and perhaps a challenge to other families.
One other bit of trivia from the raider camp is holding that Alex Weed holds 9 different parkrun age category records (60-64) at the same time.
At Florida running club a lot of runners use parkrun as a quality speed training session in preparation for longer races, my family use longer races as training for parkrun!
With all the parkrun stats available, it has certainly caught our imagination & become our chosen event. A fellow raider asked me just before a parkrun a few weeks back “are you going to save yourself for tomorrows 21”, my reply was quick and simple “no, this is what I train for”.
Thanks Bruce for bringing this great initiative to South Africa.
This is what volunteering should look like!
Regular Root 44 parkrun volunteer, Leonie Roux is one of our most encouraging marshals! She loves to cheer everyone on, especially the juniors. Leonie works at the tuck shop of Eikestad Primary, so when kids spot her, they come running!
Leonie walked her first parkrun at Root 44 parkrun just over 2 years ago, now she runs almost the entire 5km. She is always smiling when she runs and motivates other volunteers to cheer on our parkrunners! Volunteers like Leonie make parkrun a special place!
There are some times in your life in the lead up to an event that you feel it is going to be something very special. Then the big day comes and you are at a loss for words to describe the feeling of being part of something so exceptional. That, in a nutshell describes the first birthday celebrations of Hartenbos parkrun which took place on 12 March 2016.
parkrunners arrived in either red or pink whilst others wore crazy hats and fun costumes. There were several prizes awarded for best individual and group hat, costume, highest annual point scorers, volunteering the most, completing the most parkruns, and the parkrunner with the most improved time over the past year. More than 80 lucky draw prizes were also handed out. All of the prizes were donated.
It was indeed a day that will be remembered by many for its fun and enjoyment as well as spirit of unity. For Event Director, Werner Morkel-Brink, it felt like his ‘own first birthday 26 years ago’!
Thank you to all our parkrunners for their love and support over the last busy year!
Ita Janse van Rensburg
Ita Janse van Rensburg
Emmah, affectionately known as “Emma-with-an-h”, began her volunteering stint at Modderfontein Reserve parkrun on 18 October 2014. At first I thought this was a ‘baby-sitting’ expedition masterminded by her parents, Christ and Heidi Sutton, whilst they participated in the parkrun, but I soon came to realise that this little junior was quite a sharp one! Knowing that youngsters have acute hearing and love gadgets, I decided to try her on scanners and the rest, as they say, is history.
My faith in Emmah as a regular volunteer grew exponentially, so much so, that because she had learned most of the roles so well, it enabled me to ask her to train the first time volunteers on the various posts while I focussed on the more pressing issues as Run Director on event day. On that note she even grew into THAT role too, just a few weeks back on 27 February 2016!
This young junior did an outstanding job in hosting 909 parkrunners and handed out responsibilities to some 40 volunteers (who all have great respect for her knowledge of parkrun). Simply put, Emmah Sutton has been an integral part in the growth of Modderfontein parkrun and we have been blessed to have her enthusiastic and vibrant energy in our dynamic “Volunteam”.
Thank you, Emma-with-an-h for the many hours you have dedicated each week in your volunteering.
Wayde Morsink Event Director – Modderfontein Reserve parkrun
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: Venesh Athimoolam
Home parkrun: PE Hobie Beach
Occupation: Systems Developer
Number of runs: 86
How has parkrun changed your running: I was about to give up on running after an injury and parkrun was the lifeline which got me going again. Thank You parkrun!
What do you like about parkrun: It’s my small way of giving back to a sport which I've enjoyed for so many years. Meeting so many amazing people from different walks of life and a special group of fellow volunteers make Saturday mornings at Hobie Beach the perfect start to my weekend.
Most memorable or funniest parkrun moment: My most memorable run has to be my first ITB pain free one as that's when my confidence was restored.
Trail or Road Running?: Road Running
Favourite volunteer role: Timekeeping
Why should others volunteer at parkrun?: It's easy, fun and very rewarding.
What fellow volunteers say about Venesh:: “I find Venesh a friendly fellow parkrunner and a great keeper of the time!” - John Allen. “Venesh is always the perfect gentleman, kind hearted and a lovely guy!” - Claerwen Hart. “He doesn't look 40 something - have you checked his ID - ha ha” - Tinky Hodgson. “Venesh is always helpful and in a good mood at parkrun. Must be the endorphins kicking in on Saturday morning” - Alain Blatti. “We are extremely grateful to have Venesh as part of the PE Hobie Beach team as he is always willing to assist whenever and wherever needed. So a HUGE thank you to Venesh for all his volunteering thus far it is much appreciated” – Tamarin Ellis and Werner De Lange