Swakopmund parkrun is proving to be a great Saturday morning activity for keen young runners from Mondesa Youth Opportunities (MYO).
The first Swakopmund parkrun was attended by 19 participants from MYO and subsequent runs have attracted similar numbers. At the first run, UK parkrunner Peter Fordham was so impressed with MYO learner, Johanna Johannes’s enthusiasm for running that he bought her a pair of running shoes which were presented to her the following week, as shown in the below picture. She was SO excited about this unexpected gift and was the envy of all the learners!
More recently, four Grade 8 learners from MYO have attended two consecutive parkruns to “shadow” the regular volunteers and learn the skills involved. Their main motivation to do this is to learn useful skills and to serve their community.
Most of these young parkrunners and volunteers leave their homes between 6:30 and 7:00 am and walk distances of around 5 km and more to get to the parkrun venue by 8:00. They then walk home again afterwards. Even though it is school holidays in Namibia, a number of MYO runners are becoming regular parkrunners and can’t wait to get their 10 parkrun certificate! They love seeing their names in print when the results are pasted up on a Monday and this encourages them to beat their PB at the next event.
Some of these children have asked for their relatives to be signed up as well and increasing numbers of relatives are joining in.
It is so good for these young learners to have a run to look forward to every Saturday and just to get out and enjoy being near the sea, doing something different.
MYO is a non-profit organization offering a free afternoon programme to selected youth from disadvantaged backgrounds in Grades 4 – 8. It serves to supplement the school teaching offering core academic learning in reading, English, Maths and Computer skills, as well as Music and Sport. Fondly referred to as “our container school”, MYO also offers annual field trips that focus on environmental education and afternoon trips to local tourist destinations as part of the curriculum for each grade. More information can be found at mondesayouth.org
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…