Congratulations to everyone at Botanical Garden on the occasion of your 100th run.
When we launched Botanical Garden in December 2014 we knew immediately we were on to something special. It was a beautiful morning, and, despite her initial concerns, Event Director Ilana Wait started to smile as more and more people poured into the start area. In the end 320 completed that first parkrun. In those days 320 finishers represented a large parkrun. Little did we appreciate back then that the parkrun that we gave birth to would grow into a monster.
100 runs later Botanical Garden is now firmly established as one of the superstars of the parkrun world. In a family of over 1,300 parkruns Botanical lies 5th with 24,714 registrations. Next week it will join the exclusive 25,000 club. This is because more than 300 people register for Botanical each week. Put simply, it is the fastest growing parkrun in the World and according to our statistically minded parkrunners at its current rate of growth it will become the biggest parkrun in the World somewhere towards the end of 2018. It now regularly has over 1,000 participants each Saturday and these participants have set over 15,000 PBs in the process logging up 313,960 kms. But these are just the bare statistics. It is impossible to measure the human element. Botanical garden has improved the health of thousands of South Africans. It has also enhanced and enriched their lives even more and in the process has helped to grow the community spirit of the area. Botanical Garden has shown how amazing human beings can be when they strive to help each other.
Nowhere is this community spirit better illustrated than by the amazing spirit of the volunteers who wake up extra early each Saturday morning to ensure everyone enjoys their parkrun. Bertie Koch and your amazing team of volunteers you are our superheroes. Ilana Wait thank you for what you started. I know you still attend the parkrun and volunteer occasionally.
I wish I could be here this morning but I am in Port Elizabeth starting another parkrun. I will tell them about Botanical Garden and I know their jaws will hang open in awe as they realise the hard act they have to follow.
As soon as I can I hope to run Botanical Garden again. I really enjoy the route, except for that hill on the second lap!!
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