welcome to the newsletter
In this edition of the SA parkrun newsletter, we look at the long-awaited launch of Paarl parkrun, look forward towards the launch of Gilloolys parkrun and the ‘Freedom runs for Freedom Day’ events taking place in Gauteng and Cape Town next Wednesday. We also celebrate our parkrunners of the week – the ladies of the Pentz family from Piggly Wiggly parkrun.
Paarl has been waiting for a parkrun for over 3 years now. I remember sitting with some interested parties at breakfast after the launch of Greenpoint parkrun and we discussed parkrun in Paarl. Interested people came and went and still the idea hung in the air. After a while, the Paarl Arboretum was identified as the site for a parkrun route, and volunteers started looking at a 5km route, but then excavations and park alterations interfered and Paarl parkruns launch was pushed further back. Finally, on Saturday 9 April we were able to celebrate the inaugural running of Paarl parkrun in the Arboretum in Paarl in the shadow of the famous Taal Monument.
And what an inaugural run it was! Over 700 parkrunners arrived at the start. This must be some sort of record. There were plenty of local first time parkrunners present but also lots of visitors and parkrun tourists. The Mayor, Councillor Van Deventer, was present to say a few words and send the runners on their way. Hanri Coetzee and her team of volunteers have developed a wonderful parkrun which weaves its way between trees from all the continents on Earth. It follows the lovely Berg River and is fairly flat and fast. There can be no doubt that Paarl parkrun will play a major part in the social and sporting life of the local residents and visitors alike.
This Saturday we start the Gilloolys parkrun. This parkrun is an example of an amazing turnaround from disappointment to triumph. Following the sad misunderstanding at the failed Huddle Park parkrun, Chris, Heidi and daughter Emmah Sutton worked flat out to create a new parkrun close by. Gillooly’s farm is a wonderful example of parkrun people and the Ekurhuleni council working together to create a parkrun. Paths have been cleared, alien vegetation removed and a bridge repaired to create a 5km parkrun route. This parkrun is going to be lots of fun to run and in keeping with parkruns ability to transform will be another example of how parkrun is returning parks to the people.
On the 30th April we will launch the first Witbank parkrun. But I will say more about that parkrun in a future newsletter.
This last Saturday Gill and I visited Polokwane parkrun with Cheryl Smit (a serious parkrun tourist from Cape Town) It has been a year since we were last there and we decided to pay a visit on the occasion of the parkrun’s first birthday. Gill’s uncle John Le Cordeur also became the first Polokwane parkrunner to earn a 50 milestone shirt. It was exciting to see how the parkrun has come along. Kirsty, Felicity and Irene are an amazing threesome and have helped Polokwane parkrun to develop into a very special parkrun.
This is a good time to remind parkrunners that the 9 Freedom runs for Freedom day plans are going ahead. Staci Katsivalis has had a lot of interest from serious Comrades marathon runners and parkrunners alike. After all 9 Freedom runs add up to 45 kilometres of running. That’s a serious training run. For more information visit the ‘9 Freedom runs for Freedom Day’ facebook group. For those wishing to take part in Cape Town, there are two options to complete 6 parkruns, both finishing at Root 44. See the ‘6 Freedom Runs for Freedom Day – Cape Town’ facebook group.
Recently Little Stoke parkrun in the UK was in the news on every TV station, radio station and newspaper in the UK. This was due to the local parish council trying to charge parkrunners for use of the park. We have already published parkrun Founder, Paul Sinton-Hewitt’s statement on the issue, but let us not forget our similar problem with Nahoon Point parkrun in East London. We, and hundreds of Nahoon Point parkrunners, would love to see this parkrun up and running again, even if on a changed route.
Cheers for now,
Bruce (get in touch)
This is your chance to run in a champion shoe! Introducing the Maxed Taurus and the Maxed Marathon Racer – MRP Sport’s range of gold medal winning trainers. The Taurus brought home three golds in the recent Two Oceans Marathon, and at only R459, it makes this the most affordable contender in its category. So switch to Maxed, save and beat your personal best!
Want to know more? MRP Sport will host an activation for the first anniversary of Oudtshoorn parkrun on 23 April where the team will be available to answer any questions you might have about the Maxed range of running shoes. Otherwise, head on over to mrpricesport.com where you can shop the range online!
FOR ONE DAY ONLY: your flu vaccine comes to you!
Discovery has partnered with Uber to bring your flu vaccine to you! So, if you're too busy to go out and get vaccinated, you can have a flu shot brought right to your doorstep. On Friday, 22 April 2016 between 10:00 and 15:00, if you live in selected areas in Johannesburg, Pretoria, Durban, Cape Town or Port Elizabeth, you can have a qualified Discovery-accredited Dis-Chem nurse arrive at you within minutes, ready to administer the flu vaccine. Vitality members will earn 1000 points for having the flu vaccine.
The vaccine is free of charge: you will only pay R100 for the drive to you when you order through the Uber app. We expect demand to be high, so please be patient and keep trying.
Gilloolys parkrun 23 April 2016
Witbank parkrun 30 April 2016
Lonehill parkrun 23 April 2016
Roodepoort parkrun 23 April 2016
Oudtshoorn parkrun 23 April 2016
Nahoon Point parkrun until further notice
Belville parkrun 23 April 2016
Greenpoint parkrun 23 April 2016
Langebaan parkrun 23 April 2016
Voortrekker Monument parkrun 30 April 2016
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: Kerry, Caitlyn, Emily and Lauren Pentz
Age: 48, 13, 11, 9
Home parkrun: Piggly Wiggly
Occupation: Wife, Graphic Designer working from home, mum of four. The girls are home educated.
Number of runs: 41, 50, 54, 45
Number of times volunteered: 9 combined
How has parkrun changed your running: Our first parkrun was mostly walked and took us about 50mins leaving us exhausted for the rest of the day. We are now mostly running the entire route and all come in around the 30min mark, striving to beat our PBs each week. It is also getting us to train an extra day during the week.
What do you like about parkrun: We really enjoy being out together. Getting some good country air in our lungs, having such a lovely area to run in, meeting new and old friends - it is a lovely way to start our day. We do not like to miss our weekly parkrun!
Trail or road running: We enjoy both although I think trail is our preference.
Favourite volunteer role: I enjoy any role
What their fellow volunteers say about them: They are there week in, week out, in rain or shine, heat or cold and just make volunteering so worthwhile.