News - 22nd August 2018

parkrunners coming out of hibernation


We’re a week away from the 1st of September and the first day of spring and I already have a sense that parkrun South Africa is about to emerge from a long winter hibernation, and emerge excited and keen to get growing again.


Throughout winter, our numbers have stayed steady. About 35,000 parkrunners have participated each Saturday. Our lowest winter numbers were just over 30,000, and our highest 37,000. I sense that the onset of spring is going to see the numbers grow rapidly and we are warning our volunteer event teams to brace themselves.


In a fortnight’s time we will reach the milestone of 900,000 registered parkrunners. This growth is going to fuelled by the launch of several new parkruns. There is a steady programme planned until December.


I would like to make a special plea to parkrunners not to swamp these inaugurals but to possibly think about running them a few weeks after they have bedded down. I would also like to encourage as many people as possible to consider volunteering as the burden on our regular teams increases.


Last Saturday, we started two new parkruns on the same Saturday morning. These Saturday double inaugurals are set to become regular features in the future as we try to keep up with demand. In fact it may not be too long before we see 3 new parkruns starting on a Saturday morning.


Atlasville and Koster are the two newest members of the parkrun family. Both were started on chilly mornings. I ran at Koster ( I have plans to visit Atlasville in December). Congratulations to Sibusiso and the whole team at Koster for creating a brilliant parkrun. The two lap course winds its way along the Koster golf course past wetlands and willow trees. It was all winter- brown, and dry but we could all see how beautiful the parkrun will be in a few weeks time. As a Comrades runner I was also delighted to finally run in the home town of the very first Comrades marathon winner. Yes the Comrades marathon Bill Rowan medal is named after the first winner (1921); farmer Bill Rowan from Koster.


I am told it was equally chilly at Atlasville for their first run. But there was still a crowd of over 500 runners and walkers present. What was really gratifying was that at least half of those were local Atlasville people who were first timers in every sense of the word. Atlasville parkrun had had a couple of teething problems before it started but those were all forgotten. Thanks to ambassador , Meg McDonald, and Jenny Bennett and Phillip Allebone for all their hard work and to councillor Andre du Plessis for his enthusiasm and support.


This week Villiersdorp in the Cape and Edenvale in Gauteng will be joining the growing parkrun family. We look forward to two successful inaugurals.


Cheers for now,

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