News - 6th February 2018

Volunteers brave the rain for parkruns to go ahead


Severe thunderstorms, driving rain and lightning created some early morning havoc at our Gauteng based parkruns two weeks ago. As things transpired in many cases conditions were perfect for running at 8 am when it came time to start but our event teams had to make quick decisions in the tough conditions. I have written about this subject before but just to remind everyone the Run Director is the final decision maker at parkruns and if he or she decides that conditions are too dangerous they have the right to cancel a parkrun. As it was, two weeks ago a couple of parkruns were cancelled because of dangerous lightning and one was cancelled because of flooding. Safety is the major priority for everyone at parkrun.


The Gauteng storms reduced our numbers from 61,000 the previous Saturday to only 36,000! A couple of years ago I would not have believed that we would consider 36,000 a small nationwide Saturday turn-out.


Bezuidenhout parkrun was one of those that went ahead as the storms abated. And it was exciting that it did. It was Bezuidenhout’s inaugural run and it would have been such a pity to cancel it. As it was 400 hardy visitors and locals enjoyed cool, if muddy conditions to run the challenging route through the park. Congratulations to Hilary Levenstein who ran her 250th parkrun at Bezuidenhout inaugural and to my daughter Cara who joined the 100 milestone club. (More significantly Cara has volunteered over 235 times)


On Saturday we launched our second Namibian parkrun at Walvis Bay. It was so exciting to see the enthusiasm for the parkrun as over 400 people registered and enjoyed running the fast, flat pram friendly course. There were visitors from neighbouring Swakopmund parkrun, from South African parkruns and even from the UK. The Walvis Bay mayor, Elderman Wilfred welcomed us all and then proved he was no slouch by running the parkrun in 32 minutes.


On the same weekend Botanical Garden parkrun achieved the milestone of having achieved the highest number of parkrun registrations in the parkrun world with 39,000 registrations. Since its inaugural run back in December 2014 it has continued to serve the people of Pretoria East with distinction and its popularity is understandable.


I can still remember Botanical Garden’s founder, and first event director, Ilana Wait trying desperately to persuade me that the parkrun would never work and that no one would come! Congratulations to Ilana and to the current event director Bertie Koch and his team for nurturing a world leader.


Cheers for now,


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