parkrun launches in Springbok
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.
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 www.mrpsport.com. 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 www.mrpsport.com 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.
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.
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.
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!
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
parkrunner of the week
Name: Sean MacFie
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.).