Piggly Wiggly is known throughout the parkrun world for having a name that brings a smile. This event has been a fixture in the KZN Midlands since 2014. Rosemarie Nevin has been a part of it since the very beginning and tells us more:
How did the parkrun come about? It was the brainchild of Greg Gibson who wanted to bring some form of fitness solution to the KZN Midlands. Greg approached Rudi Kassier from Piggly Wiggly, introduced him to the parkrun concept and asked if he would be prepared to cut a 5km track around the farm. Work started in May 2014 and, once complete, Bruce came down to evaluate and gave the go ahead to start. The inaugural Piggly Wiggly parkrun on took place on 19 July 2014, with 74 runners. Greg eventually left South African shores to work overseas and the parkrun ‘baby’ was left to his Mom to run.
What is the parkrun like? Our parkrun is a trail run through vineyards and in the most beautiful setting. We do have a particularly evil hill which is known as Piggly Polly Shorts – it’s short and sharp! Buck, geese and other wildlife are spotted regularly and the sight of the odd hot air balloon floating by just adds to the magic. It’s a very ‘vibey’ run with special deal parkrun breakfasts offered by several outlets on site which makes it very social. There is ample parking, toilets, coffee shop, pizza place, health/juice bar, shops as well as activities for the little ones.
What have been the highlights at Piggly Wiggly so far? The highlight of our run has undoubtedly been when Bruce visited (he needs to come down again!). There have been highs and lows, as with anything in life, and some very funny incidents. One that comes to mind was when a certain gentleman was approaching the finish and a volunteer was shouting “go, go, go”! The following week, said gentleman was again approaching the finish when he fell. The same volunteer ran to him and asked what happened. His reply – “last week you said go, go, go so I went, went, went”. He now has a relevant nickname!
There have been memorable moments too – many 100’s have been reached and, in many instances, 90% of these have been run at our own parkrun. We have several pensioners reaching this milestone which is very special. Many friendships have been born at parkrun and a few romances too.
Who makes your parkrun special? As with every parkrun, our volunteers are superstars. We do have a handful of volunteers that are either there or have offered to be available when needed which takes a load off the event directors Rosemarie and Tarryn. We have got a team who can run an event on their own which is very encouraging and we are very grateful to them. Our core volunteers are Rosemarie Nevin, Tarryn Gibson, Claire Cumming, Barry Eckstein, Jeanette Eglington, Julie Foster, Michelle Craigie and Jay Hichens. There are many others who are more than ready to step up when required.
What are the parkrunners at Piggly Wiggly like? Our runners/walkers and participants are from age 1 – 101! We have a total mix – families, elderly, middle aged and brave young people with babies in prams, on their backs, in harnesses, you name it – and we love it that way. Dogs are permitted (subject to the rules) but we don’t allow dogs from mid December to mid March as it is just too hot for our 4 legged friends. Several of our runners started out struggling to complete the 5km run and have gone on to run longer marathons like the Mandela Marathon, Two Oceans and the like. There are many stories to tell but not enough space here but suffice to say, we are so proud of everyone.
What should a first timer at Piggly Wiggly know? We welcome first timers from anywhere and any age. There is water at the start and finish but none on the route. Piggly Wiggly is a landmark in the Midlands and you can’t miss it so, bring your barcode, water bottle and a sense of humour with you and come and join the fun!
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