After a brief pause in the pace of parkrun launches, we are back at full speed answering the call from more communities for more parkruns. This Saturday, Grabouw parkrun will join the family. The parkrun runs from Trail’s End through apple orchards on grave and dirt paths close to the Grabouw Dam and is going to prove to be another popular Western Cape parkrun both with locals and visitors alike.
Next weekend, of course, sees the running of the 93rd Comrades marathon from Pietermaritzburg to Durban. I would like to wish all our parkrun Comrades runners the best of luck as they run South Africa’s most famous race. In particular I would like to wish good luck to those whose first running steps were with parkrun and who have joined the group #parkruntocomrades. Congratulations to all of you for your amazing journey of discovery and good luck next Sunday. I would also like to single out Umhlanga parkrunner, Grant Adams. Grant is battling Multiple Sclerosis and is going to make the Comrades journey in a wheelchair pushed by some great mates. We will be following Grant’s journey with excitement and pride.
Comrades weekend always sees a huge surge of the numbers of participants at our KZN parkruns, especially at North Beach, Amanzimtoti, and Umhlanga parkruns. What is fascinating to watch is how slowly the participants run these parkruns. In fact, many stroll casually along. They are all saving themselves for the 18 back-to-back hilly parkruns called the Comrades Marathon that they will be running the next day!
Another parkrun that will be packed with runners will be the new Ashburton parkrun. This parkrun starts the day before Comrades. It will be run at the fast, flat equestrian training centre very close to the 80 kilometres to go mark on the Comrades course. We expect a large turn-out of runners.
Last year, Gill and I sat in the VIP stand at the start of the Comrades Marathon. We were completely awestruck by the sight of 20,000 excited runners streaming past us for several minutes after the starting gun had fired. As we were watching we suddenly realised that this enormous army of runners represented only half the number of runners and walkers who participated in parkruns each Saturday morning. Thanks to our wonderful volunteers we are now able to bring parkruns to as many as 60,000 runners 52 weeks a year.
Woodlands parkrun has gained several new core volunteers recently and after a gathering of the team Woodlands volunteer Clara Ndlovu summed up her feelings as a volunteer beautifully;
“I would like to say thank you for today’s meeting and for the lovely meal. I am honoured to be part of the core team. For me, Woodlands parkrun is a special one and everyone is given an opportunity to experience the different roles. Who would say I would be a run director but being given the opportunity anything is possible, and it gives me more confidence. As a team it is our duty to make the parkrun a fun place to be and run and to make our runners happy. Together we can make a difference in our runners and walkers lives. Together we can do this.”
Thank you Clara for your inspirational words.
Cheers for now,
While I had a fascinating time overseas on parkrun business in Australia and in the USA, it was wonderful to return to a South African Spring with some exciting new parkruns to run. The Spring weather has certainly boosted our numbers, as has the Vitality Open campaign, and we had over just under 49,000…
Kayamandi parkrun started in September 2017. Its route starts and finishes at the foot of Enkanini informal settlement, gifting participants with some of the best views in the Winelands. Something one cannot fail to notice is the pluck and courage it takes many of our local young runners to join the parkrun –…