parkrun volunteers to the rescue
I never cease to be astonished by the resourcefulness of our parkrun teams. It seems that parkrun people are able to cope with many setbacks and any crisis with ease.
I remember an incident at Ebotse parkrun (Our 3rd oldest parkrun) a few years ago when the stopwatches were accidentally switched off, and the barcodes dropped in a loose pile on the ground as the runners were finishing. That day the volunteers still managed to send out a set of results. They had all aged a bit but they did it.
Two weeks ago, our wonderful team at Somerset West performed a miracle by finding a new venue in a matter of a week. We never discuss politics at parkrun but suffice it to say Jo, our Somerset West Event Director, received a very late message from authorities to inform them permission to use the Paardevlei property for their parkrun had been withdrawn. Everyone was devastated. Paardevlei had been a favourite venue for a while and there were a large number of registrations for this new parkrun.
The team quickly swung into action and assisted by Regional Director, Torrin Theron, within a few days had found an alternative venue at Broadlands Farm. And so, on the 10th October as cold winds chased clouds over Sir Lowry’s Pass, 514 parkrunners ran the inaugural Somerset West parkrun.
This wasn’t the first time a parkrun team has had to find a new venue at the last moment. A few months ago, Arthur Smith and his team from Witbank were only given a couple of days to find an alternative site. Working with the local Witbank running club Eskom Gijimas they found a suitable venue at the Eskom property in Witbank. This venue has proved so popular that almost every Saturday it attracts a record field.
parkrunner, David Drake raised an important point in an email to me when he wrote about parkrun timing discrepancies. Occasionally runners complain that the time they recorded on their own timing device does not match that of the official parkrun time. (Generally, they complain that the official time is slower than theirs) David mentioned that parkrunners are obviously keen to record P.B.s but that we must learn to relax. parkrun is not the Olympic Games. Our volunteers try their best but they occasionally make the odd mistake. I remember comforting a distraught lady at Shongweni parkrun who felt that she had got in my way on Shongweni’s two-lap course. She was quite distraught until I reassured her that she had probably cost me two or three seconds.
“It’s a parkrun,” I reminded her. “It’s not the Olympic 5000 metre final. I’m not that concerned about my time. I still had lots of fun and that’s what’s important.”
Speaking of lots of fun the runner who has had the most fun at parkrun is Delta Park’s Tracy Rankin who this Saturday will become the first South African parkrunner to join the 250 milestone club. It is quite incredible to consider that 250 parkruns is an accumulated 5 years of regular parkrunning. Tracy has missed just a handful of parkruns for races such as The Old Mutual Two Oceans but otherwise she has run almost every Saturday morning at most of South Africa’s 85 parkrun venues. In fact she hasn’t “run” them all. A broken toe forced her to walk a few parkruns a year or two ago but it didn’t stop her. Tracy will be celebrating this milestone at her home parkrun, Delta Park.
As the weather warms up parkrunners are reminded to bring their own water if they feel they may need water. Please bring water in reusable containers and please don’t throw any water bottles or satchels away. We want all our parkrunners to leave no sign that they were running in a park or similar area, apart from footprints.
On that point it is important for us to remind ourselves that we share many of our parkrun venues with other users. Let’s please show respect to walkers, cyclists and other runners who we meet at our parkruns.
Cheers for now,
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.
step into spring the HealthyFood Studio way
September is the perfect time of year to spring clean your diet. Release your inner chef and book a fun, interactive cooking class with our NEW spring menu at the Discovery Vitality HealthyFood Studio.
We’ve introduced a new spring course with recipes including cucumber and smoked trout canapés, sesame-crusted chicken with spicy lentil stuffing and Thai green fish curry. For those craving something slightly sweeter, you’ll also get to try our lime yoghurt panna cotta with grilled strawberries.
It’s all about fresh, seasonal ingredients at the HealthyFood Studio. Join us as we take you through a culinary journey and show you how to cook delicious, appetising meals with fresh, healthy ingredients. Book here. Just a reminder parkrunners: Vitality members earn up to 300 fitness points for every parkrun completed.
Your points will be awarded as long as you register, link your parkrun profile with Discovery Vitality using your SA ID or passport number, and scan your barcode after every parkrun.
Your points will take up to four days to reflect on your Vitality Points Monitor. For more information, please visit: www.discovery.co.za.
a new-look MRPSport.com
We’re excited to announce the launch of the new-look and refreshed mrpsport.com!
The best part: the new site’s packed with fresh, spring-inspired styles to match! Ladies, think big, bold and bright prints – perfect for those summer runs. Guys, cool colours are the order of the season.
So whether you’re reshaping your activewear wardrobe, or just seeing what’s new, make www.mrpsport.com your first stop before your next parkrun. We also have something exciting in the pipeline with regards to official parkrun merchandise. Watch this space for details, parkrunners!
With regards to achievement t-shirts, we have received the third batch of t-shirt orders from parkrun South Africa which we are currently in the process of distributing to the various event directors.
Please don’t forget to order your shirt once you have qualified. You can order yours via the email that is sent to you from parkrun. Well done and keep it up!
been there, got the (100) T-shirt
I’ve got to wear Spandex, meet interesting people and suck in the early morning air. I’ve managed to traipse through mud, improve my PB and do good as a volunteer.
On Saturday I completed my 100th parkrun at Gilloolys; the sprawling parkland on the eastern edge of Jo’burg where cormorants, African darters and grey heron are a soothing presence. As milestones go, it’s one I’m most proud of. I’m not a natural runner and cold mornings aren’t my forté, but the parkrun community is nothing if not welcoming and entirely proletarian.
I had my first 5km parkrun at Delta Park a few years ago and was immediately hooked. Old, young, fast, slow, wobbly, thin… all types are accommodated. I’ve even seen guys whizz by with prams carrying wide-eyed toddlers. I managed 80-odd runs at Delta and mixed in a few others, too, like Umhlanga, Modderfontein and Victoria Lake.
A few months ago I settled on the newly-instituted Gilloolys run both for the proximity to home and the more enjoyable course (Delta has a “Little Pollys”!) In recent months I’ve been joined by my older daughter, Jess and her boyfriend, Reuben, both of whom amble through the 5km run with the insouciant air of young lovers, which I guess they are.
Last weekend was an all-family affair as my youngest son Alexei, 3, joined us for the first time, together with my youngest daughter Daniella, 8. Kostya, the ageing, ever-handsome golden retriever, also trotted along. With many dogs about, it inevitably becomes a friendly sniff-fest for the animals. He likes it.
Last Saturday was more a case of ‘park carry’, but that wasn’t the point. The half-run, half-walk in the fresh air was invigorating and constituted terrific family time. Bruce Fordyce, the great energy behind the South African parkruns, has often popped up at various venues. Each time I see him I marvel at what a phenomenon the parkrun initiative is, made all the better by not having to dodge cars and cyclists. It’s the perfect fit for South Africans given their affinity for the outdoors and a good gabber.
The volunteers who dot the course doing various jobs are unfailingly supportive and funny, shouting encouragement and ensuring that no-one takes things too seriously. They help make it special. You get your running fanatics with their jet shoes, but in the main it is an opportunity for a broad mix of people (and animals) to loosen the legs in an atmosphere of camaraderie and good humour. I’ve since gone on to run a couple of 10km races and half marathons.
I also do frequent trots around my neighbourhood in an effort to keep healthy and in shape. I have no illusions of grandeur. I keep returning to parkrun because we’re all more or less equal and the good time with social runners is probably better than any good time on the watch. Now, at last, I have the lesser-spotted ‘100’ shirt. I’ll treasure it.
Clinton van der Berg
feedback from the field
Laudium parkrun are weeks away from celebrating their 2nd anniversary.
What better way to show the growth of a parkrun than the symbolic planting of trees along the route.
It has truly been a blessing to receive a donation of 20 trees and have them planted by learners of Al Asr School, Laudium Youth Congress, children with disabilities from Kids of Hope and Laudium parkrun volunteers.
We hope that trees will eventually grow to be a telling landmark for Laudium parkrun.
Come join our bootcamp at 7am, parkrun at 8am and yoga at 8:45am!
Thank you to all our regular parkrunners for your continued support at Laudium parkrun and be sure to spread the word amongst your family, neighbours, and friends, and bring them along to the next Laudium parkrun!
Laudium parkrun core team
About two years ago, my husband and I were down in the Southern Cape where my Mom, Jenny Raaff, resides and took her along to run her first parkrun. At first, she walked but soon broke into a jog as she challenged herself to go faster.
Now she is a regular runner at the Hartenbos parkrun and at the age of almost 76, she is aiming for the 50 milestone and ran her first 10km at the Cape Town Marathon last week Running is a wonderful sport, no matter how old you are and parkrun is a wonderful way to start.
We are so proud of our Mom, who despite the death of our Dad and surviving cancer still is so positive and motivating.
You are never too young or too old to get active. Thank you parkrun for making a difference.
To celebrate Spring, Secunda parkrun invited their members to dress up for the run on the 3rd of September; outfits had to be crazy, wacky and weird and we weren't disappointed!
Our runners arrived in everything from Batman pyjamas to Viking outfits. We had prizes that varied from free haircuts, spa treatments and even a weekend stay at the Casino hotel.
Children were treated to some candy on the finish line and the adults were spoiled with a free coffee or beer at one of the local restaurants. Thank you to all our prize sponsors, but especially all our loyal parkrunners who support us every week.
We are two ladies from East London who have completed each Eastern Cape parkrun. We just wanted to take this opportunity to tell our story and thank everyone at parkrun for these amazing opportunities we have had.
We were creating bucket list ideas of a way of saying goodbye to the Eastern Cape. We looked at each other with the eager look we always get when one of us is about to blurt out a crazy idea, ‘All the parkruns! ’Suddenly there was no going back.
And so we roadtripped. Telling our friends and family about this mission, the first responses we would get is ‘You are crazy! A 400km drive to run 5km?! But it sounds amazing; I want to do it too!’ To anyone now considering it, all we can say is DO IT! Certainly 10 adventurous weekends I would not trade for anything! Never stop exploring.
Out of all the parkruns, we have to make a special mention to the volunteers of Aliwal North parkrun. Thank you so much for offering to find a running buddy for us, it was one of the best runs we completed, the mist making it eerily beautiful in a very unique way.
We hope to inspire people to do this challenge. We are not seasoned athletes, just 2 women who love running and adventuring, celebrating ‘finish lines’ and not ‘finish times’. What’s next? Conquering Gauteng in 2017? Quite possible. But for now, just get up, get out, and get parkrunning!
Carolynn and Tamsyn
In August a group of 10 Delta parkrunners ran the Gorky Park parkrun in Moscow. It was just fabulous, running along the Moscow River, with the friendliest of parkrunners.
Our group's friendship was solidified through meeting each Saturday at Delta and having breakfast afterwards. On arrival at the start, we were greeted with a "Goeie More", which took us by surprise - one of their star parkrunners is South African! We seem to be just everywhere!
Umdoni parkrun - 08 October
Grahamstown parkrun - 24 September
Voortrekker Monument parkrun - 01 October
Mashishing parkrun - 01 October
Wellington parkrun - 01 October
Nahoon Point parkrun - until further notice
Paarl parkrun - 24 September
Voortrekker Monument parkrun - 24 September
Botanical Garden parkrun - 01 October
Secunda parkrun - 01 October
parkrunner of the week
Name: Willie Loedolff
Age: 88 years and 9 months
Occupation: Retired Civil Engineer
Home parkrun: Hermanus
Running club: Whalers Athletic Club, Hermanus
Trail or Road Running? Road Running and Track (Masters Athletics)
Number of parkruns completed: 42 (out of 46), all at Hermanus
Favourite volunteer role: Tail runner
Number of volunteering occasions: 8
How has parkrun changed your running / fitness? parkrun has added a new dimension to my training and exercise programme. I used to walk a few kilometres on a Saturday morning with a friend or two, all relaxed and at a leisurely pace. parkrun has replaced all that, and has now become the focal point in my fitness programme. I now look forward every week to joining so many other runners/walkers in a well organised run where a very efficient team of volunteers record my progress (and failures!) and make me feel an important member of a big new family.
What do you like about volunteering at parkrun: Being part of a great team of volunteers who manage a near perfect and most enjoyable run and walk experience for all ages
Why should others volunteer at parkrun? To live longer! (That's what I read somewhere in an article about volunteer workers.)
Most memorable or funniest parkrun moment: Every parkrun is enjoyable and therefore memorable. However, on one occasion, when Pat gave his starting orders, I discovered that I had left my barcode at home. As I did not want to be recorded as an unknown, I bailed and asked the volunteers at the finish line if I could assist. I was accepted as volunteer for finish token support and I was needed on that day as we had our biggest field of over 370 parkrunners that day. This was a memorable day for me in that I never forgot to bring my barcode along after that!
What fellow volunteers say about Oom Willie: The Hermanus parkrun core team are all very fond of Oom Willie who has been part of Hermanus parkrun since the launch. Oom Willie is our oldest parkrunner and has completed the most parkruns. We love his enthusiasm and dedication to our parkrun and willingness to volunteer as tail runner.
Oom Willie started running at the age of 55 and completed his 13th Comrades marathon and New York Marathon at the age of 71. After a back operation and knee problems he focuses on shorter distances. Oom Willie says our bodies are stronger than we think which he discovered when doing the Comrades and other ultra races
Oom Willie says keep moving! Don't stop running because you are getting old; if you stop running you will get old!