Hillside parkrun started in August 2017, bringing parkrun to Pretoria North. The single lap, trail course has proved popular with locals and tourists alike and in the first year, over 3,300 different parkrunners have completed the course, clocking up over 62,000km. Event Director, Willie Thom, tells us more:
How did Hillside parkrun begin? During about March 2017 Marietha Erasmus (A3036760) and Ann Hodge (A819208) started looking for a venue in the Pretoria North area. Ann spotted the Hillside golf area on Google and went to see Roger Manning, the owner, who was keen to be involved. I was involved by Ann from the marking of the course and just grew with it until becoming Event Director.
What have been the memorable events of Hillside’s first year? For Hillside every event is a memorable one. Memories and friendships are made every week. The post-run meet at the Hillside kiosk is a regular fun event.
Who makes your run the success that it is? We have some very dedicated volunteers, but Thea Iding, our number checker and results processor, must be the one with the most duties, as well as Roger Manning who does the pre-event set-up every Saturday!
What makes your parkrun unique? Being at a golf course one doesn’t expect to find plenty of guinea fowl, ducks, peacocks or rabbits among the fairways and almost bushveld nature of the course.
What is the route like? Our route has a little bit of everything, except long steep hills. It is a deceiving-looking run in that it appears flat but has long gradual ups and downs with a couple of quick up and downs thrown in that puts a spin on your fitness. It is a reasonably fast course as our times indicate. It is a mix of grass (along the fairways) and trail. the slightly side-angled areas makes ones ankles work hard!
What are your typical parkrunners like? We have quite a number of runners but the majority are jogger/walkers. A real mix of couples and families as well. Ages go right across the board, from 4 to 80+! A regular bunch of Monty’s running club boost our runners as they use Hillside as a training ground for their cross-country team. At least one runner to have started with parkrun and has now chalked up some longer ones, including Loskop Marathon, is Willem Billingham (A3036760).
Have you had any notable visitors? Out inauguration was attended by Cara Fordyce, then Bruce and Gill paid us a visit in December last year. Bruce got lost and said we need some marshalls. Then Gill came in and said the course was very well marked, he just wasn’t looking, he-he!
What are the facilities like? We have loads of parking, the maximum distance to our start/finish is about 150m. Toilets are available at the start area as well as at 1.8km. Hillside golf kiosk provides all the basics; water, coffee, great breakfasts and sponsors the volunteers with coffee or soup and a snack after the run!
What is the one thing a first timer to your parkrun should know? Hillside parkrun is addictive, once the gogga bites you’re hooked…
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