parkrun SA newsletter 15th June 2016

welcome to the newsletter

In this edition of the SA parkrun newsletter, we look at similarities and difference with parkruns in the UK and hear about Harrismith parkrun’s first birthday celebrations. We also hear from parkrunners around South Africa and celebrate our parkrunner of the week, Hans Venter from Potchefstroom parkrun.

I have just returned from a trip to the UK, where I was a guest speaker at the UltraMag ultra marathon runners’ festival. It certainly was a fascinating gathering of some of the world’s best ultra-marathoners. Obviously I am very proud of some of my achievements and showed off some of my race finishers T-shirts but I found it quite intimidating meeting a runner with a T-shirt boasting the words “Trans America challenge” or “Paris to Tokyo run”.

While in the UK, Gill and I couldn’t resist the opportunity of running a couple of UK parkruns. We ran Southwick parkrun in Wiltshire and the most northerly UK parkrun, Elgin, in Scotland. We were warmly welcomed at both parkruns and I was reminded what makes parkrun so special all over the world.

Apart from the warm welcome visitors receive at parkruns, there are some things that are universal about parkrun and that never change. All parkruns are run or walked over 5 kilometres. parkruns are run on Saturday mornings and are free of any charge. Participants are asked to register and print a barcode and bring that barcode with them to the parkrun so that they can receive their results. parkruns are organised and managed by teams of wonderful volunteers who give their time freely to make each parkrun successful.

Volunteers at Southwick parkrun

After that, each parkrun is unique. Each has its own course and its own unique team of volunteers. Many have ideas from which other parkruns could learn. At Southwick I was impressed by the group of volunteers who acted as pacemakers for those runners aiming for certain finishing times. These pacemakers wore bibs with “sub 30” or “sub 28” clearly emblazoned on the back. Those hoping to break a barrier simply followed the relevant pacemaker. At the same time, the pacemaker could double-up by volunteering while running and recording a parkrun finish. I also loved the Southwick gong, which hangs from a tree at the finish. Those runners who record a P.B. are welcome to hit the gong to announce and celebrate their achievement.

Pacemakers line up at Southwick parkrun
Southwick parkrun’s PB gong

At Elgin, one volunteer walks at the back of the entire field as a “tail runner” escorting the last to the finish. While the backmarkers love the company, the volunteers also recognise that when the tail runner finishes they can start dismantling their parkrun finish area.
I am delighted that we are receiving more interest for parkruns from rural and outlying areas. While there are some challenges in starting these parkruns, parkrun SA welcomes the challenge. We are proud of parkruns such as Nkomazi and Cannibals Cave, which have made great strides in their communities and we look forward to more joining the parkrun family.

Cannibals Cave parkrun

I apologise to all those who have been patiently waiting for their club/milestone shirts. I can now offer some good news in that Mr Price Sport will this week start to deal with the backlog of T-shirt orders from last year. These shirts will be couriered to your home run. Please contact your home run via their email to arrange collection of your T-shirt. Mr Price Sport will advise us when the remainder will be available.

Cheers for now,

Bruce (get in touch)

MRP Sport

The temperatures might have dropped but the parkruns aren’t going to stop! This weekend we’re celebrating Ebotse’s fourth parkrun anniversary! Congrats on reaching this epic milestone, Ebotse! Here’s to many more! parkrunners, if you’re in the Benoni area, join us, come say “Hi”, and let’s make it a big one for their anniversary!

As of the 18th of June, the remaining achievement tees from 2015 will be available for collection from your home parkrun event director. Please attend your home parkrun or contact them to collect your T-shirt. Once tees for this year are available, we’ll let you know! In the meantime, keep on going for that next big parkrun milestone!

And don’t forget to get kitted out for your next parkrun or active weekend online at or in-store at your nearest MRP Sport store!

Train your eyes to #MoveMore

parkrunners: keeping our bodies fit and strong is something we all aspire to, but did you know there are muscles in our eyes that we often forget to work out? Just like the muscles in the rest of our body, our sporting skills, concentration and reading skills can be trained to improve. This is especially important for growing kids.

Your kids can strengthen their visual fitness by training with EyeGym - a course that is customised and available to kids for free. Visit, click on Vitality > Parenting > EyeGym for more information. Plus you can earn Vitality Points for completing the course.

Event News

parkrun Anniversaries:
Ebotse parkrun 18 June 2016
Aliwal North parkrun 25 June 2016
Cannibals Cave parkrun 25 June 2016
Kidds Beach parkrun 25 June 2016

parkrun Cancellations:
Nahoon Point parkrun until further notice
Shongweni parkrun 18 June 2016
Voortrekker Monument parkrun 02 July 2016

feedback from the field

On Saturday, 21 May 2016, 72 enthusiastic parkrunners gathered to celebrate Harrismith parkrun’s first birthday. Harrismith parkrun started on 23 May 2015, and since then 563 different runners, including participants from 28 athletics clubs, have completed 2,979 runs covering a total distance of 14,895 km, and there have been 713 new Personal Bests Total running time: 89Days 23Hrs 8Min 33Secs. Our current course record is set at 16:18min, which is proudly held by Buti Isaac Mokoena, a local Harrismithian.
We are very lucky to attract visitors from all over as they travel to/from the coast; we also get international visitors, & were privileged to host the founding father of parkrun, Paul Sinton-Hewitt & his wife Jo, when they were visiting SA recently.

parkrunners celebrate at Harrismith

I have never liked running before, but I wanted my three sons to grow up with a different attitude and parkrun seemed like a good way to start them off.  Getting up on a Saturday morning for Dusi parkrun has become a family ritual now and we all look forward to it (even me).  Now I'm proud to say my wife, Michelle, and sons, Roger (8), Simon (8) and Grant (5 - nearly 6),have all done their fiftieth and their times are improving quite nicely. I'm the only one that hasn't done fifty yet but am getting close. 
I think the whole concept is brilliant and the originator and organisers deserve the Nobel Prize.
Mark Mann

Roger, Simon and Grant Mann celebrate their 50th parkruns

During June 2014, our daughter, Dianne Dempsey, came to visit us from Johannesburg with her children during the school holidays and said: “I am registering you for parkrun,” which she kindly did for us. She went to get our barcodes printed and laminated, put them on my bed and said, “Now we run!”
On the Saturday, she said that we are all going to do the parkrun, and I said that I wasn’t ready yet, so my husband, Carlos, my youngest daughter, Ash, and Dianne went to Nahoon Point to the run. Carlos finished the run in under 25 minutes and they all really enjoyed it, so I began to think that maybe I am missing out on something! It took me about 4 weeks to prepare myself to participate in my first parkrun.
Very apprehensive at first, I watched all the people gathering on the beach to get started. The countdown began: 3, 2, 1 – and that is where my love for running started! I walked all the way and thought to myself, “What am I doing here?” But, the next week, I went to parkrun and walked and ran a bit. My time wasn’t great, but I persevered, thinking, “What have I missed these past months?”
My granddaughter, Lua, who was 2 years old at the time, said, “Nana, you can do this!” So when I started at the starting point, that is exactly what I told myself “I can do it” My timing got better and better, I am fitter and stronger and I have more confidence. To such an extent, that I have entered many other running events. One that was very special to me was running the Discovery Surfers Challenge in February 2016. I ran the 17.5km race on the beach with my daughter Dianne, a day that I will never forget and one that we are both very proud of.
I soon realised that my 50th Parkrun was coming up for 26 March 2016. I marked off each Saturday until the day arrived and I was blessed to have two of my sisters, my niece, nephew and husband run with me. Thanks to all the volunteers and organizers of parkrun across the world – it wouldn’t happen without your dedication!
I am so excited when I hear that I have encouraged others to join parkrun. So many people have said to me that I have insp
Bev Leal

Bev Leal reaches 50 parkruns

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

Hans Venter

Name:  Hans Venter

Age:  47

Home parkrun:  Potchefstroom

Occupation:  S.A.P.S. –Tracker Dog Handler

Number of runs:  113

Number of times volunteered:  13

How has parkrun changed your running:  From starting parkrun in February 2014, I now also run in the week and participate in other races

What do you like about parkrun:  Socialising with runners and volunteers

Most memorable or funniest parkrun moment:  Running my 100th parkrun at the opening of Hartbeespoort parkrun with Bruce Fordyce.

Trail or Road Running?:  60% Trail / 40% road

Favourite volunteer role:  Timekeeper

Why should others volunteer at parkrun:  To make the event successful

What fellow volunteers say about Hans:  Hans is a quiet, friendly person who is always willing to help volunteers with the pre-event setup and post-event close down. He never misses a parkrun unless he has to work at the weekend.


barcode reminder

TenBits barcode wristbandTenBits barcode wristband

Printed barcodes are used at all our events to record your result. Please click here to collect and print your barcode.
No printed barcode, No result.
We have teamed up with TenBits to provide a barcoded wrist-band (see the image above). This wrist-band includes your parkrun barcode and emergency contact details. In addition, a portion of the proceeds contribute towards parkrun costs. For more info and orders please visit the TenBits site.

All questions answered

Do you have a question about parkrun? How do I collect my club T-shirt? How do I get my barcode? All your questions are answered on our support site

Volunteering at parkrun

We ask every parkrunner to volunteer 3 times a year. When volunteering you receive the maximum number of points towards the yearly competition.

Children at parkrun

All children under 11 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian at all times. Guardians must ensure that children place themselves appropriately so as to prevent a situation where they are being repeatedly overtaken at the start. This is to ensure the safety of your child.

Our sponsors

Blue Label Telecoms investing in parkrun

Blue Label sponsors parkrun - come and find out more at

Discovery investing in parkrun

Discovery Vitality believes that every decision that a person makes to exercise and get active is a step in the right direction, and participating in a parkrun is no exception. Living a healthy lifestyle can be rewarding, and Discovery Vitality members 18 years and older can earn 300 points for participating in a parkrun event. Children six years and older who are dependents on their parents' Discovery Vitality membership can now also earn points for completing a parkrun. Visit the Discovery website for more information.

MRPSport investing in parkrun

MRPSport is the proud apparel sponsor of parkrun South Africa. We love the idea of partnering with social initiatives like parkrun because it adds value to peoples lives which is what we’re all about. We believe in healthy active living through sports at all levels. School goers, family and friends have the opportunity to join in a fun activity every Saturday morning at one of many parkrun venues around South Africa. Our mission is to encourage this active lifestyle with authentic products, great value and trendy designs. MRPSport will be alongside parkrun every step of the way! We will keep parkrunners updated with all the initiatives in 2016 and beyond. Stay tuned to our newsletter for all the weekly updates. - come and find out more at

Our supporters

Dis-Chem supporting parkrun

As a brand committed to and grounded in the basic principles of good health, Dis-Chem Pharmacies is proud to partner with parkrun as a means to healthier living. Our brand values and ethos are positively aligned with proactive health ambassadors such as Bruce Fordyce and the parkrun team. We see, endorse and appreciate the efforts of parkrun to improve the health and activity levels of all South Africans. Stay tuned to both Dis-Chem and parkrun websites and social media channels for communication on seasonal and unique offers and promotions, exclusive to parkrunners in South Africa!