We completed our first parkrun as a family in April 2014 at Root44 in Stellenbosch. My two sons were 5 and 7 years old at the time. There were a modest 205 parkrunners at Root44 that day. Last weekend there were over 1,500!
My children are growing up fast, but parkrun is growing up even faster and it is amazing to see. 14 January 2017, saw several parkrun attendance records shattered, and our little family broke a record too. Zack, now 8 years old, completed his 20th different parkrun, qualifying him as the youngest member of the group of individuals known as “parkrun SA tourists”. This group of parkrun addicts travel all over SA and the world to clock up unique parkrun experiences, and to support the inaugural parkruns at new venues. They also keep some amazing statistics about the parkrun phenomenon, which made me ponder how fortunate our children are to witness the growth of parkrun at their age. Whether we stop doing parkruns next week continue forever, my children will always have the memories that we’ve made at parkrun.
Not only do we get to spend quality time away from electronic devices (barcode scanners don’t count), but the milestones serve as a motivating challenge that get us out of bed and out to one of the many terrific parkrun venues in our beautiful country almost every Saturday morning. We even plan weekends and holidays around parkrun venues.
At this rate there will be 7,000+ runners at Root44 by the time Zack turns 21! We’ve been to places where we wouldn’t normally go, like Mitchells Plain and Thousand Hills to do a parkrun! Together we’ve done over 400 parkruns and there is no plan to stop any time soon, because there are still milestones to achieve, new parkruns to visit, and a lot of growing up still to do.
Thanks for everything Bruce, Gill, Torrin and all the volunteers do for parkrun!
I heard of a run which was being run in the Mosselbay area on 17 December, and that the start time of that run was 6am. I reckoned there was enough time to complete either a 5 or 10k run from 6am and still have enough time to get to our parkrun (Hartenbos) and do that as well.
So I challenged our Hartenbos parkrunners to join me in doing the “double” – the Somerson 5k fun run or 10 k run followed up by the Hartenbos parkrun.
I’m pleased to tell you that 12 parkrunners took me up on the challenge and did the double on the day. Unfortunately for me, I took a fall during the Somerson race, falling flat on my face. However, a challenge is a challenge, and I too completed the parkrun, taking photos along the way.
The photo above is of the people who completed the race for you to see what we look like – some people still wearing their race numbers. Me, third from right with plasters on my face and grazed knees!
Since then we have lost about 115kg between us.
All holidays and weekends are dedicated to parkrun. Whenever we have to decide on a holiday destination we first see where there are events and then plan everything around that parkrun.
On Saturday we celebrated our 33rd wedding anniversary and thought that although we had run Voortrekker Monument parkrun once before, it was such an enjoyable run we would attend for the last parkrun at this venue. It is such a pity that it had to close down.
My elderly parents joined us at the celebration as spectators as they do many Saturdays and really enjoyed the atmosphere.
parkrun is truly addictive and we are looking forward to many more as volunteers, at Ebotse parkrun, and as tourists wherever possible.
Please let us know if you have an interesting, inspiring, unique or amusing parkrun story or photo to share.
Most parkrunners took the news about our problem with milestone shirts quite stoically and I would like to thank the many who offered advice and encouragement. There were however a handful who didn’t understand my message and for that I apologise. My message did not herald the end of the milestone T shirts. It merely…
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