The exciting news this week is that parkrun founder, Paul Sinton-Hewitt C.B.E. will be visiting South Africa this weekend. For those who don’t know Paul’s history; Paul created parkrun.
He founded the first parkrun in London’s Bushy Park just over 13 years ago. There were 13 runners, and Paul didn’t even run. He was injured, and so he volunteered at the first parkrun. 7 years later Paul invited Gill and me to run Bushy Park parkrun and then asked us to start parkrun in South Africa. He was instrumental in helping us to map the first SA parkrun route at Delta Park in Johannesburg and guided us successfully through those early months.
Amazingly, Paul will be attending Delta Park and parkrun SA’s 6th birthday at Delta park on 11th November. In the ensuing years Delta Park has grown to be one of the most successful parkruns in the world, boasting regular Saturday morning attendances of over 1,000 runners and total registrations of 29,000. parkrun South Africa itself has grown from 26 original registrations to over 700,000 and that one event at Delta parkrun is now part of a family of 125 parkruns.
Worldwide membership of parkrun is now over 4 million strong and all this from a movement that is still a mere teenager.
Experienced parkrunners will have noticed that the SA parkrun 6th birthday celebrations have led to a temporary slowing of the pace of parkrun inaugurals. However, we will be launching Meyerton parkrun on the 18th of this month with a couple more to follow before the December holidays.
A fortnight ago Vredendal parkrun joined the Northern Cape parkrun family. This delightful parkrun wends its way through vineyards and farmlands and is fast and flat. Vredendal parkrun was started by Kobus and Elize Uys who were two of the original founders of the Naval Hill parkrun in Bloemfontein.
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Cheers for now,
My message in this week’s newsletter must be dominated by the recent parkrun conference from which I have just returned. Gill, Cara, and I were fortunate enough to be able to join 250 parkrun delegates from around the UK and the world at the conference at Warwick University. This annual three day event is…
I know that feeling – it’s hard enough to get out of bed and participate at parkrun (and accumulate points) so you think volunteering isn’t really for you… This past week was my first volunteer day and I loved it! There has always been something special about sporting events, the way participants from all walks…