welcome to the newsletter
In this edition of the SA parkrun newsletter, we look at the launch of two new parkruns, which means we now have 80 to choose from in South Africa. We also look ahead to the 91st Comrades Marathon at the end of the month and celebrate our parkrunner of the month, Harry Gird from Hartenbos parkrun.
We are delighted to see that many schools are using parkruns in South Africa to train their cross-country teams. A month ago nearly 500 youngsters from Bloemfontein schools registered to run at Naval Hill. There are also young cross-country runners participating at Bryanston, Botanical Garden, Century City and Delta Park.
On Saturday we launched the inaugural Century City parkrun in Cape Town.
I have named the Century City parkrun the “Monaco Grand Prix” of parkruns. It really is an exciting urban adventure guiding parkrunners past buildings, over bridges, alongside canals and even through part of a shopping mall. The runner ahead of me shouted “I’ll have a cappuccino” as we ran past a small restaurant. Over 500 eager runners arrived for the inaugural run and afterwards everyone was full of praise for Brian Super and his amazing team of volunteers.
On the 7th May Richards Bay joined the parkrun family. The Richards Bay parkrun had been eagerly anticipated by the Northern KZN community. Event director Kirsten Hodgson and her team have designed a very special Richards Bay route which starts from the Zululand Multi Sports Centre and includes dirt roads and paths through thick forest and an out-and-back visit to the aptly named Pelican Island. Despite overnight rain and the threat of more rain nearly 300 runners converged on the sports Centre for the inaugural run. We were honoured that the MEC for health, Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo agreed to say a few words and then officially launch the 80th South African parkrun. The parkrunners gathered there were even more impressed when Dr Dhlomo decided to run as well. Not only is Dr. Dhlomo a veteran marathon runner but rumour has it he is now hooked on parkrunning as he was spotted running North Beach parkrun this Saturday.
In only a few short weeks the Sutton family, Chris, Heidi and Emma have become synonymous with Gilloolys farm parkrun. They have created a very popular run in what was once a very run down park. Part of the reason for this is their infectious enthusiasm for parkrun. Nowhere has this been better illustrated than when young Emmah was run director on Mother’s Day a few weeks ago.Emmah is one of the youngest run directors at parkrun. At the finish Emmah gave all the mothers a Mother’s Day hug.
Of course Sunday 29th of this month is Comrades marathon day and the 91st running of this classic South African icon is a down run to Durban this year. Durban and Pietermaritzburg will be packed for the whole weekend. We would like to wish all our parkrunning friends who are running Comrades the best of luck. Please remember that the Comrades is just 18 hilly back to back parkruns and you will all be fine. Of course the KZN parkruns will all still be going ahead as usual. We anticipate that North Beach will have a huge turn-out as parkrunners from around South Africa and the World converge on the Durban beachfront for a parkrun alongside the Indian Ocean.
A lovely quote from one of our parkrunners “My husband calls the run his happy place”
Cheers for now,
Bruce (get in touch)
parkrun is getting into full Comrades mode over the next two Saturdays and we want to see you there! Limber up those legs and get ready to run! The place: your nearest parkrun! And the shoe: the Maxed Marathon Racer! Its ultra-lightweight construction is designed for maximum speed and comfort, and at just R499.99, it’s a real winner!
To find out more, join us next Saturday – just one day before the Comrades Marathon – where our team will be hosting one of our biggest and most exciting activations to-date! If you’re in the Durban area over the Comrades weekend, head down to the scenic North Beach promenade and join us for a parkrun activation of epic proportions. Think exciting giveaways in collaboration with our parkrun partner, Discovery Vitality!
This is not only your chance to win big, earn those Vitality points and limber up those legs ahead of Sunday’s ultramarathon, it is also your chance to ask our MRP Sport team about the Maxed Marathon Racer, and of course, make a morning of it! See you on Comrades weekend, parkrunners!
Running Comrades? Here’s how to claim your Discovery Vitality points!
If you are running this year’s Comrades Marathon, you can earn up to 3 000 Vitality Points. Discovery has created an effortless system where Vitality members participating in the Comrades can claim their points by following 3 simple steps: download your certificate from the Comrades Marathon website; send your certificate to firstname.lastname@example.org; and remember to include your ID or passport number, name and surname, date of birth, and Discovery number when emailing your certificate.
All points that have been claimed will reflect within 7 working days. Don’t miss this opportunity to get rewarded for staying fit and remember to claim your Vitality points before 30 June 2016.
The Discovery team wish you the best of luck throughout the Comrades Marathon. Continue pushing the boundaries and congratulations for participating in this absolutely memorable and historic event.
Boksburg parkrun 21 May 2016
Harrismith parkrun 28 May 2016
Root 44 parkrun 28 May 2016
Nahoon Point parkrun until further notice
Dusi parkrun 21 May 2016
Alberts Farm parkrun 28 May 2016
Botanical Garden parkrun 28 May 2016
feedback from the field
This dude below – his name is Kandas (from an old SA movie in the 70/80’s, “Kippie and Kandas”) – is the sole reason I am about to hit 100 parkruns.
When we got him back in 2013, he was boisterous and needed to have a “daily run” and we used the Len Rutter Park in Florida – as it is across the road from our home.
Then we discovered parkrun back in October 2013. My first parkrun was on 19 October 2013. This was completed by both of us in 46.33 and we have run together every time I have run, except when I ran in the UK last year.
In fact, Kandas has run many more parkruns than me. If my wife and I were away or could not run, then my daughters and/or their boyfriends would run him. Kandas, or “Candice” as some runners call him, is very well known and loved at the Roodepoort parkrun. Kandas is known for his excited barking at the start of every parkrun. He is just telling the starter to get on with it. This excitement starts at about 06:30 every Saturday morning with barking to wake up the humans in the house and get us all going.
So, shortly I will run my 100th and I will include my mentor and running mate in this celebration as well. We (his humans) are going to get a shirt with a “Big 100” on it for him, and his reward will be a nice big steak. He will also have a big box or 3 of dog bikkies for all the other dogs – big and small – that are running companions of many humans at the parkrun, all of whom he has got friendly with over the past 2+ years.
Do you know of any other dog running companion who is also a 100 parkrunner or close to it?
The 15th April was a special day for myself and my three brothers from different parts of South Africa.
My oldest brother Nick from Hobie Beach in Port Elizabeth, myself from Three Silos in East London, my brother Lorenzo from Heron Banks in Vanderbijl Park and my brother Bennie from Aliwal North joined up to do the Aliwal North parkrun together.
The four of us have been taking part in parkrun for different periods of time, but with just as much enthusiasm since joining the experience.
The experience of taking part in parkrun is of particular interest for my brother Bennie; he is building up his fitness again after having a hip replacement operation about a year ago. Despite this, he has already had a sub 30 minute finish time at Aliwal North parkrun. He has been the fitness fanatic in the group, having 12 successful Comrades runs and 8 Two Oceans Ultra runs behind him.
Doing the run together as a family was the highlight of our weekend together. There was a very nice spirit of competition amongst the four of us, but all in all it was the satisfaction of us taking part together that made the day well worth it.
Noah Manyengo is a monitor/security guard at Rietvlei Zoo Farm. He came to me just over a year ago and said he would like to try Rietvlei parkrun and asked us to register him at parkrun.
Noah did not even have a pair of running shoes or clothes. Shawn gave him an old pair and some running pants and top to get started. He ran a time of about 18 minutes as a first time parkrunner at Rietvlei and fell in love with running! Then he started improving and he is now the fastest Rietvlei parkrunner with a time of 16:39 for 5km.
Noah is 27 years old, this is the first time he is running and he loves it. Noah then decided to run some road races. Rietvlei Zoo Farm sponsors him his transport and entry fee money for races and we adjusted his shifts and take him off duty on Sundays so he can enter road races. He ran the Jackie Gibson 21km where he came 5th after leading, but picked up an injury near the end. He also ran the Birchwood Benoni race and came 2nd.He has run two other races and has twice come 3rd place.
Noah did not belong to a formal running club but has now been sponsored by FNB and has joined that club.
He approached us to host a braai and overnight stay at our Rietvlei campsite on Sunday 1st May 2016. To which he invited interested running friends. Noah explained that they all want to run the comrades marathon next year and they need some information, training and nutrition programmes.
Noah was overwhelmed and very excited by the “surprise” visit from Bruce Fordyce on 1stMay 2016 at Rietvlei Zoo Farm and is looking forward to training and running the Comrades Marathon in hopes of winning the famous race in the next 5 years!
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: Harry Gird
Home parkrun: Hartenbos
Occupation: Retired Maths teacher
Number of runs: 1
Number of times volunteered: Photographer for 50 parkruns
What do you do at parkruns: parkrun is a joyful event & I like making lots of friends
Most memorable or funniest parkrun moment: Taking photographs of participants soaking wet during a heavy rain storm
Favourite volunteer role: Photographer
Why should others volunteer at parkrun: Getting acquainted, making friends; it’s a very good motivation for keeping a healthy lifestyle
What fellow volunteers say about him: Harry has been our volunteer photographer from the very first event. He doesn't miss an event - not even for a lot of rain. He is passionate about being part of parkrun and walks a part of the parkrun route every day with his wife and dog - telling everyone along the way about parkrun. I've heard a couple of times: "how do you know about parkrun?" "The old guy with the dog and his camera told us about it!"