Last week, Gill and I attended the annual UK parkrun conference at Ashridge House In Hertfordshire. The organisers chose a very beautiful venue to host the conference as the historic site is set in 20 square kilometres of forest and open fields. There has been a building or structure at this site in the Chiltern Hills since the 14th century.
Delegates at the venue included parkrun leadership teams from around the parkrun world as well as the lead ambassadors (our regional directors) and ambassadors from around the UK. While a lot of fun was had by all, a great deal of serious work was also achieved. South Africa was recognised as being the leading and most advanced parkrun country for its ability and willingness to attract and welcome walkers to its parkruns. Other parkrun countries are keen to follow suit. There are some exciting times ahead for everyone at parkrun. Perhaps one of the most sobering realisations from the conference was that parkrun is just 12 years old. To put it another way, parkrun is not yet a teenager. We are still small and still learning and we anticipate an enormous growth in the next few years. Using the same analogy, parkrun SA is still a mere toddler. When one considers how much we have grown already that thought really is quite daunting. However the work we completed at the conference has put us in an excellent position to meet future challenges.
Of course you can’t gather nearly 200 keen and experienced parkrunners together for a weekend without expecting them to want to run a parkrun. So we all gathered at the beautiful Tring parkrun, to run up its famous hill, past herds of cattle and through the dense woods. Our numbers swelled the attendance at Tring so much that a record attendance was recorded. The happy and excited gathering of newcomers and local regulars at Tring parkrun reminded us that parkrun worldwide is evolving from an event for runners and walkers of all abilities to a social movement that creates communities. It truly is helping to create a healthier and happier planet.
This Saturday we welcome Lanseria parkrun to the South African parkrun family. Ivan Dinkelmann and his team have created an interesting and fun route at the Lanseria country estate. We believe it will make an exciting and positive difference to the Lanseria community and will be the first of several parkruns in the area.
Summerfields parkrun will be changing its name to Hazyview parkrun and will be moving to a nearby venue from the 15th July. For more information please look at the website a few days before the move.
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…