This week parkrun South Africa reached another significant milestone as we welcomed our 600,000 registered parkrunners. It is quite a staggering thought. At this rate it will not be long before we can boast a parkrun membership of over three quarters of a million parkrunners.
Its not often that I miss a parkrun inaugural run but sadly I was away overseas last Saturday when we started Kroonstad parkrun in the Free State. By all accounts it was a very exceptional launch. Heavy rain the night before forced a last minute route change but didn’t dampen the spirits of the 241 newcomers. Locals and visitors alike enjoyed the Kroonstad inaugural run. Congratulations to JJ Van Zyl and his team for a successful launch.
I will be visiting Kroonstad parkrun as soon as possible next month to try out this great run for myself.
This Saturday we will start our second Bloemfontein parkrun at Langenhoven Park. The numbers at Bloemfontein’s Naval Hill parkrun have been growing and on more than a couple of occasions there have been over 1,000 participants at this popular parkrun. The new parkrun at Langenhoven Park should help to alleviate the situation and get more Bloemfontein residents active.
Anelize and her team have been very busy creating an interesting run through the veld area in the suburb and are looking forward to a successful launch on Saturday 29 April.
Naval Hill parkrun will take place as normal this Saturday – the previously publicised cancellation is no longer in place, so Bloemfontein parkrunners will have a choice of two events starting this weekend.
The reason I missed the Kroonstad parkrun launch was that Gill and I had to attend a parkrun management meeting. I also took the opportunity to run the London marathon, along with 41,000 other runners on Sunday. Of course, I could not miss running a UK parkrun on the Saturday morning. I ran the beautiful fast, flat Burgess parkrun in Camberwell, London. There were so many visiting parkrunners at Burgess parkrun that it achieved a record field. Many of those visitors of course were in London to run the marathon the next day or to support their runner. It was my 12th London marathon and without a doubt my favourite run. The weather was perfect for marathon running and the hundreds of thousands of spectators made every runner feel that he or she was leading the famous city marathon. Perhaps the most interesting spectators were a few members of the Royal family. I would have run far faster had Princes William and Harry, and Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge, not insisted on chatting to me and high fiving. I lost precious seconds.
Seriously, it was really inspiring to see many parkrunners from all over the parkrun world tackling one of the world’s most iconic marathons.
There were thousands of posters, banners and signs urging runners on but my favourite said simply “Only 4 parkruns to go!”
parkrun wins UK Award
parkrun is huge in the UK and this was proved at a glittering sports dinner for the 2017 Running awards at the O2 Centre in London where parkrun received the “best event series” trophy. parkrun founder, Paul Sinton-Hewitt could have walked up to the stage alone to accept the award but he invited the entire parkrun contingent up on stage and we were joined by Olympic gold medallist, Dame Kelly Holmes. Needless to say we enjoyed a good party.
Freedom parkruns for Freedom Day
As has become an annual custom for parkrunners in South Africa, a number of “Freedom runs for Freedom Day” are being organised, where groups of parkrunners are coming together to run one or more freedom parkruns on 27 April to celebrate Freedom Day. These can be recorded on the parkrun website as freedom runs, but will not count towards your milestone t-shirts, and will not be timed. You can find more details here.
Cheers for now,
Despite the cold winter weather we are amazed to see our parkrun numbers still averaging over 30,000 participants each Saturday. To remind readers this is bigger than any road race in South Africa and unlike these other events we attract these numbers and more 52 times a year. Of course this would not be possible…
Name: Rex Gazzard Age: 66 Occupation: Retired Home parkrun: Golden Harvest Running club: Formerly RAC Trail or Road Running? Road Number of parkruns completed: None – unable Favourite volunteer role: Timekeeper Number of volunteering occasions: 78 officially and at least another 10 unofficially (I wasn’t registered yet) Why should others volunteer at parkrun? Every person…