parkrun SA newsletter 25 August 2016


parkrun launches in Springbok

Hello there!

When Nasreen Hassan first contacted me about starting a parkrun in Springbok, Northern Cape, I was initially very sceptical.  For those of us who live in one of the big cities Springbok is one of those mythical places far, far away and a long time ago! To be honest I was hoping Nasreen would lose interest and the distant Springbok parkrun would vanish off the edge of my radar screen. I did not take Nasreen’s unbounding enthusiasm and tenacity into account and she just kept battling on never taking “no” for an answer.

For weeks the enthusiastic Springbok community held their own informal parkrun time trials while Nasreen gathered an enthusiastic volunteer group around her and spread the word. Eventually there was nowhere for me to hide and Springbok parkrun was given its starting date.

I should have remembered that these far-flung parkruns are often some of the most successful as we have seen from the success of parkruns like those at Upington, Langebaan and Mogol. The local communities are driven to make them succeed and the volunteers are motivated people. 

So it was that last Saturday 90 of us gathered to run the inaugural Springbok parkrun. The group included a crowd of local runners and parkrun tourists from all over South Africa. We ran along traffic free soft dirt roads past Quiver trees, windmills and of course the beautiful Namaqualand flowers.

Yes it’s flowers season in the Northern Cape and there are thousands of beautiful, yellow, orange blue and white flowers blanketing the rolling hills. I’m already planning a trip for Spring 2017 over two weekends where I can run Springbok parkrun one Saturday and Langebaan the next.

 Speaking of tourism, I must pay tribute to the remarkable group of parkrunners known as the parkrun tourists. The tourists are a completely parkrun addicted group who run parkruns all over South Africa and in many cases as many different ones as they can. This was the case at the launch of Springbok parkrun where about 20 tourists joined the locals for the run. Some had flown up and others had driven nearly 2,500 kilometres to be there. On one level, this seems ridiculous; travelling vast distances to run 5 kilometres, but such is the strength of their parkrun addiction that nothing will stop committed parkrun tourists.

The criteria for becoming a parkrun tourist are that the parkrunner must have run at least 20 different parkruns (at 20 different venues). After this, the parkrunner is invited to join the group called “the parkrun tourists.”

The parkrun tourists group has now grown to over 100 members and this is symptomatic of the growth in parkrun in South Africa as a whole. 

As spring arrives in South Africa our parkrun numbers are starting to grow rapidly. Last Saturday over 26,000 people ran parkruns and we expect our largest attendance figure (28,766) to be broken before the end of the year. Equally astonishing is that last year the total SA parkrun attendance figure was 782,009 runners and walkers. There are still 4 months of the year to go and we have already topped that figure (785,833). By the end of the year we may well have total registrations of half a million and attendance figures of over a million.

While this is very exciting, it also means that more demands are made on our already overworked volunteers and so I would like to ask every parkrunner to consider volunteering from time to time. At parkrun our volunteers are the most important people.  

Cheers for now,

Bruce (get in touch)


parkrun tourists give back

The parkrun tourists recently decided to give something back to parkrun and so they have started fundraising to be able to present milestone 50 and 100 banners to those parkruns which have struggled to source their own from their communities. In the picture above, the parkrun tourists are presenting a milestone banner to Sanette Kirstein, Event Director of Potchefstroom parkrun.


Don’t forget your barcode with TenBits

Printed barcodes are used at all our events to record your result. Pleaseclick 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 theTenBits website.

Olympic wrap: As SA, we beat our personal best!

A big congratulations to our SA Olympic Team #teamSArise for their phenomenal performance at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games held in Rio de Janeiro between 5 August 2016 and 21 August 2016. From the swimming pool to the racing track our sports stars excelled – bringing home a total of 10 Olympic medals, bettering our 2012 London Olympics performance by 4 medals! Our medal winners included:

Cameron van der Burgh: Silver – Men’s 100m breaststroke Chad le Clos: 2x Silver – Men’s 200m freestyle and 100m butterfly Shaun Keeling and Lawrence Brittain: Silver – Men’s pair rowing Rugby 7s: Bronze Wayde van Niekerk: Gold – Men’s 400m Luvo Manyonga: Silver – Men’s Long Jump Henri Schoeman: Bronze – Men’s triathlon Sunette Viljoen: Silver – Women’s Javelin Throw Caster Semenya: Gold – Women’s 800m

Discovery Vitality is the proud Official Wellness Partner of the SA Olympic Team. Don’t forget to enter to win a trip for two to Athens, Greece, the original home of the Olympic Games including flights, accommodation, transfers and a tour of the Pan-Athenian Stadium – the site of the first modern Olympic Games.

To enter, simply share your personal best (PB) story with Vitality on Facebook,Twitter or Instagram using the hashtag #MyVitalityPB. Ts and Cs apply.

August Inspiration

We’re all feeling motivated to run and rearing to go after the inspiring sport-packed August we’ve all just had. If it wasn’t the endless sporting events on TV, it was SA’s athletes making us proud in all the news headlines. But now that it’s all come to an end, there’s no better place to find that motivation than at your nearest parkrun.

You might not be the world’s number one, but there’s always your parkrun milestone tees to work towards.  If you’re in line to earn a milestone tee, please go through the order process by logging into your profile on the parkrun website. These will then be sent to your local event director within a week. Our new website will be up and running in September, where you’ll be able to order your achievement t-shirts directly from We’ll inform you of when this will go live – watch this space for details!

Until you have your milestone tee to run in (and show off), why not refresh your parkrun wardrobe at with newest active must-haves for spring and summer!


Octogenarian Etienne’s parkrun century Etienne Hibbert, 82, recently did his 100th parkrun in 30:15 at Umhlanga parkrun – his current PB is 28:48. 100 parkruns equates to 500km done. Add this to the two or three weekly training sessions and Etienne has run a lot of kilometres over the past two years.

Etienne also holds age graded records at 14 different parkruns. As a young man in the early and mid-1950’s he was a member of Germiston Callies Harriers and some of the teammates he trained with were Jackie Mekler, Frans Maré, Fred Morrisson and Wally Hayward. In 1954, he took part in the South African Athletics championship in the 50km walk.

He stopped running at the age of 20 and took part in a variety of other activities, and only started running again about two and a half years ago.  Etienne is a regular parkrun volunteer and is happy to help other runners with encouragement and advice.


a new record at Delta parkrun

Delta parkrun has a new ladies record holder! Tamara Jewett from Canada set a blistering pace to record a time of 18:50 for the tough Delta parkrun course.

She shaved 43 seconds off Renee Kalmer’s record of 19:33 set in 2014 and is the first lady to have broken 19:00 at this event.

A Delta novice, Tamara took the achievement in her stride and leaving volunteers wondering if she felt she could have done better.

It seems that the Delta ladies record is broken every two years – it was set in 2012 by Zola Budd Pieterse (19:57), broken in 2014 by Kalmer and now again in 2016 by Jewett.

Interestingly, being new to Delta seems to pay off for the ladies. Budd Pieterse and Jewett set their records on their first outing at Delta, while Kalmer did it on her second.

feedback from the field

My family and I did the Piggly Wiggly parkrun this weekend as visitors (we Modderfontein regulars). I just want to say how friendly accommodating and caring the team of Piggly Wiggly were. My daughter became ill after the first kilometre, but the sweeper was so helpful in assisting her by getting a nurse there and organising their car to take her to our vehicle so that my husband could take her to hospital. I continued to finish with other members of my family but even at the end, the race director was at hand to inform me of developments.

I just want to extend a very very heartfelt THANK YOU to the guys at Piggly Wiggly parkrun for their dedication and assistance. You guys are the BEST!

Thank you for all that you do.

Fawzia Saib

Thank you parkrun!

I have been trying to get my girlfriend fit, but she really does not like exercise. As a 22-year-old water-polo player, you can imagine how much it might grind my gears.

Thanks to your beautiful scenery at the Botanical Gardens and Ebotse parkruns, I have convinced her that running with me is be a fun thing to do.

We have now done about 8 and she has started exercising regularly. Her first run was about 48 mins and now she is down to 40 mins, as long as I'm at her side.

So thank you parkrun for helping not only my fitness level, but improving my life in general.

Mark Venter

Thank you for parkrun. It has truly changed lives. It is the highlight of my week.

What I love most is that each person competes against him/herself. No pressure and a wonderful way to make new friends.

Renet Smit

I started running two and a half years ago, after I was persuaded to do my first parkrun at Delta Park. I never thought I’d be a runner.

For two years I plodded along doing my best to achieve a PB each week, and gradually improved my running. I can’t say that I always enjoyed my run, but the feeling after each run, and the buoyant camaraderie at parkrun, kept me going back each week without fail.

In March this year I came down with glandular fever and was unable to run or do any exercise for six weeks. For the first time since I started running I was utterly despondent to be unable to run each week.

My doctor (also a parkrunner) became accustomed to my weekly plea whether I could at least walk my parkrun that week, eventually preempting my inevitable question with “and no, you can’t do parkrun yet”.

In those six weeks I came to appreciate not only the fact that I am able to run, but what place parkrun has come to occupy in my life, and especially the community of parkrunners who motivate, support and inspire me.

Having become a parkrun tourist earlier this year I won’t miss a parkrun without good reason, and even with good reason I miss it reluctantly. By the time my doctor gave me the go ahead to do parkrun again I was itching to lace up my running shoes.

My first run back was the Gillooly’s inaugural parkrun, which was followed a few days later by five of the nine freedom runs on Freedom Day. Last weekend I ran my first half marathon at Skukuza.

I could never have even considered attempting to do it without the support and encouragement of so many other parkrunners (many of them tourists) who motivated me and kept me believing that I could do it. Like so many others I can’t imagine my weekends without parkrun and plan them, and travel, accordingly.

Thank you parkrun for continuing to inspire me to challenge myself!

Desirée Lundström

parkrun launches: - Somerset West parkrun, 10 September 2016

parkrun anniversaries: - Langebaan parkrun, 27 August 2016

parkrun cancellations: Nahoon Point parkrun, until further notice - Voortrekker Monument parkrun, 27 August 2016 - Secunda parkrun, 27 August 2016 - Botanical Garden parkrun, 10 September 2016

20160820 - Sean MacFie

parkrunner of the week

Name: Sean MacFie

Age: 48

Occupation: General Manager  

Home parkrun:  Delta parkrun

Running club: Rand Athletic Club (RAC)

Trail or Road Running? Any running! 

Number of parkruns completed: 122

How has parkrun changed your running / fitness? parkrun was the catalyst to me running my first comrades marathon in 2015 and trying for my back-to-back run in 2016.  I started running on the treadmill at the gym and progressed to doing 2kms around home before discovering parkrun through my brother. Watching my parkrun times improve weekly gave me the confidence to try longer runs and eventually races, half marathons and then the great Comrades Marathon        

Favourite volunteer role: Photographer & Social Media

Number of volunteering occasions: 64

What do you like about volunteering at parkrun: I love everything about parkrun but the best part for me is to capture everybody getting out and doing it from those moments when parkrunners are flying along to an amazingly fast 5km, to those jogging along coming to the realisation that, although tough, they love the endorphin high they get doing parkrun to the families and friends walking along chatting and catching up.  

Why should others volunteer at parkrun? For me, volunteering at parkrun really completes the parkrun experience and epitomises the essence of what parkrun is.  Without the volunteers (and sponsors of course) it simply could not be Free, Weekly and Timed.  Everyone should volunteer at least 3 times a year, they’ll definitely have a great time, meet new people and get a sense of what it takes to organise a parkrun every Saturday.

Most memorable or funniest parkrun moment: The funniest was watching a fellow parkrunner (and now good friend through parkrun) Nick Loots catch Bruce Fordyce out. Understandably, everyone likes to have a picture with the great Bruce Fordyce so Nick calls Bruce over, “Bruce come we need a picture.”  Bruce being the kind soul that he is walks over and stands with the group posed for a picture and Nick says, “No Bruce man, we want you to take the picture for us.” 

What fellow volunteers say about him: Sean makes an amazing contribution to parkrun. He has run our social media pages with enormous success, takes photos, makes videos and is always smiling. Sean has received global recognition – the BBC has used his videos in a programme about parkrun. Be sure to check them on our Facebook page.). 


parkrun SA newsletter 11 August 2016


parkrun grows throughout winter


As winter draws to a close it was astonishing to see how South African parkrun registrations continued to grow despite the cold weather.

Each week there were about 3,000 new registrations, and what is it about the magic of Botanical Garden in Pretoria that it consistently remains a world leader in registrations? I wonder how much we will grow once the warmer spring weather arrives.

As a response to this growth we have continued to launch new parkruns, though at a slower pace in winter. Last Saturday we welcomed Ladybrand parkrun to the parkrun family. Anthony Halse and his team had been planning the new Ladybrand parkrun for several months and the inaugural Ladybrand parkrun was finally launched on the Ladybrand golf course.

Everyone braced themselves for freezing weather as Ladybrand had recorded temperatures as low as minus 8C this winter. In fact, a cold front blasted its way through South Africa a few days before the launch. But while it was cold on the morning, it was nowhere near as cold as anyone had anticipated.

Ladybrand is very close to the Lesotho border and we parkrunners could see the snow on the Maluti mountains. It was a beautiful backdrop for a challenging but fun parkrun. A good crowd of local and tourist parkrunners ran the first parkrun over thick frost at times. On the 20th of this month we will start one of the most remote parkruns in South Africa when Springbok parkrun is started.

The local hotel is full as several parkrun tourists have made plans to travel to this remote corner of the Northern Cape.

Cheers for now,


(get in touch)


shoe donation boosts Nkomazi

The Nkomazi parkrun event director was delighted to receive a donation of running shoes for the local running community collected by parkrunners from Ireland.

Nkomazi parkrun already boasts 3 youngsters who have earned their 50 milestone club status running the parkrun barefoot. Event Director Lordrick Mathonsi would like to thank the Irish parkrunners for their generous donation.


don't forget your barcode with TenBits

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 website.


fresh spring gear from MRP Sport

Can you believe we’re just three parkruns away from the official start of spring? With sunnier weather right around the corner, there’s no better time to overhaul your active wardrobe with sunshine-inspired gear!

Shop your faves online at – just in time for those spring runs. Beyond the change of season, we’re also celebrating Klerksdorp parkrun’s second anniversary!

The MRP Sport team will be out and about – so if you’re in the area, join us at Klerksdorp parkrun, come and say hi, and of course, feel free to ask us about any of our active gear and accessories.

And on that note - with regards to your hard-earned achievement tees, we are working through these and they will be with your local parkrun event director soon! We look forward to seeing you sporting them at your parkrun soon!

#MyVitalityPB – because every personal best deserves a celebration

The 2016 Rio Olympic Games have begun and we’re excited to share the Olympics fever with all of our Vitality members. As the Official Wellness Partner of the South African Olympic Team, we want to celebrate your personal bests with incredible competition prizes.

Win a trip for two to Athens, Greece

You could be the lucky Vitality winner of a trip for two to the original home of the Olympic Games – Athens in Greece – including flights, accommodation, transfers and a tour of the Pan-Athenian Stadium where history was made as the site of the first modern Olympic Games.

To enter, simply share your own personal best (PB) story with us online via any of our Vitality social media platforms: FacebookTwitter or Instagram using the hashtag #MyVitalityPB.

Win daily prizes

Join us on our Vitality Facebook page every day of the Olympic Games at 12:00 midday to answer one of our Olympic-themed trivia questions to stand the chance of winning daily prizes from our Discovery Vitality and Discovery Card partners including vouchers, magazine subscriptions, hamper gifts and more. Terms and conditions apply.

Join us in wishing Chad and the rest of our SA Olympic Team all the best as they strive for their personal bests at this year’s 2016 Rio Olympic Games.

parkrun launches:

- Springbok parkrun, 20 August 2016

parkrun anniversaries:

- Golden Harvest parkrun, 13 August 2016

- Klerksdorp parkrun, 13 August 2016

- PE Hobie Beach parkrun, 13 August 2016

- Alberts Farm parkrun, 20 August 2016

- Kraalkop parkrun, 20 August 2016

parkrun cancellations:

- Nahoon Point parkrun, until further notice

- Boksburg parkrun, 13 August 2016

- Botanical Garden parkrun, 13 August 2016

- Voortrekker Monument parkrun, 20 August 2016


feedback from the field

Thank you parkrun!

My son has been asking me for months for me to take him on a run. He is only 6 years old, but he has grown up watching myself, Seleste, my dad, Trevor, my aunts, Tracy and Glenda, and cousins, Jane and Caitlin run and he was desperate to be a part of the family sport. I was a little bit nervous as he hasn’t run at all before but I finally gave in and said we could do the Century City parkrun. 

He was so excited, I bought him a pair of running shoes and a long sleeve top from Mr Price Sport. The weather wasn’t looking good the night before and I asked him “what happens if it rains, are we still going?” He said “yes,” with a very confused look as to why I was asking this question – he is clearly a true runner!

The morning came and he jumped out of bed to get ready all excited and off we went, I still had no idea what to expect from him. But to my surprise he is faster than I expected and I was huffing away to keep up with his shouts of “run faster, Mom”.

He absolutely loved it and he did the 5km in 43 mins, which is amazing for his first run. He is now hooked and I promised him we will do more parkruns. I also realised I need to train to get faster so I don’t hold him back!

Thank you so much, for a safe and controlled running environment where I felt completely at ease to run with my son and let him experience the joy that is running.

You will be seeing both of us a lot more from now on!

Seleste and Breyton Venter


At parkrun I am treated as an equal and am part of the community regardless of my ability. This isn’t always the case in the case in the outside world.
Gillian Craig


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 month

Name: Ita Janse van Rensburg​

Age: ​57​

Occupation: ​Retired HR Manager

Home parkrun: ​Hartenbos​           

How has parkrun changed your running / fitness? Sadly I am unable to participate in the parkrun as a runner or walker. However, volunteering has improved my mental wellbeing tremendously.  Being the Volunteer Coordinator for Hartenbos parkrun and assisting the Event Director in other ways has filled a void which was left when I retired about 4 years ago.

Favourite volunteer role:​ Volunteer Coordinator and non-official “cheerleader” every Saturday.

Number of volunteering occasions: 50 – every week since 15 August 2015

What do you like about volunteering at parkrun: ​My “hubby” is an enthusiastic parkrunner and has completed 85 runs.  With me volunteering we can enjoy parkrun together.  We get up extra early every Saturday morning to help with the pre-event setup and interacting with everybody as they arrive.  While “hubby” is doing the run I encourage him and the other runners (my “cheerleading”), recruit new volunteers, chat with the existing ones and help wherever I am needed.  After we helped with the post-event close down, we have a coffee and something to eat at the local Farmers Market where we socialize further with other parkrunners.  I really enjoy building relationships with the parkrunners and volunteers.  We are like a big family and I just love all my nicknames which include, amongst others “Tannie Ita”, “Auntie Ita” and “Mamma parkrun”.  Saturday mornings have become the highlight of my week.

Why should others volunteer at parkrun? It is not only the right thing to do – it is also FUN!  Even if you can’t participate in the parkrun itself, you can still enjoy it by volunteering and in the process make a difference.  As a parkrunner you also need to “give back” because no parkrun can happen without volunteers. 

Most memorable or funniest parkrun moment: A real funny incident that comes to mind is when I kindly offered to be pacer because we did not have a lead bike for the day – and a person from the back shouted, “Tannie Ita, can’t we rather make it another day – the Springboks play tonight!” Our first birthday was very special as most of the runners embraced our “funny hat and balloons” theme.  It was such a fun day with prizes, punch and cupcakes and lots and lots of laughter.  However, the most memorable day was when I did my 50th event as a volunteer recently.  I wore my “50 Volunteer sash” and red balloons with pride and everybody made me feel very special indeed.  Thank you Harties parkrun – you ROCK!

What fellow volunteers say about them: Werner: “Ita is a true hands-on coordinator.  She only started as our volunteer coordinator a short while ago, but what she did thus far has made parkrun much more fun.  She organises the volunteers weeks in advance, keep track of everybody's holidays and possible helping dates. She is dedicated and always ready to do more. She also puts in effort to get to know every parkrunner and let them feel welcome. Ita has brought wonderful suggestions, coordinating systems and joy to our volunteer team.  She is in reality a full time parkrun volunteer.  If one of our core volunteers get to busy to do their parkrun duty Ita takes over successfully. As Event Director I would not be able to host a well-organised parkrun without Ita.”  

Sibusiso: “Your tireless spirit is the one that encourages us to wake up every Saturday, because we know you will be there together with other volunteers! Thank you!”  

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