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 runners and walkers participating two weeks ago. If we include the more than 2,000 volunteers whose invaluable contribution helps these parkruns to run smoothly then we had over 50,000 parkrun people involved. We haven’t had that number participating since before Winter, in April this year. Even pouring rain at several of our venues last Saturday, could not really dampen spirits and we still had over 40,000 participants. In addition, there were several parkruns with fields of over 1,000 runners and walkers.
It looks as if we are in for busy parkrun times these next few weeks.
I arrived back from overseas in time to run the extraordinary Loxton parkrun in the middle of the Karoo. It was a long drive to and from Loxton but happily I can report that the parkrun is a very special one right in the middle of the Karoo with breath-taking views of “big sky country” and arid Karoo stretching far into the distance. Thank you Manie and Hester and everyone in Loxton for your warm hospitality and for some wonderful memories. On the same weekend Vryburg parkrun in the North West also had its inaugural run. Event Directors Elanza Grobbelaar and Sureta Bellingan and their team have laid out a route on the local golf course. While I was at Loxton, Gill went to Vryburg and reported that the route is a two lapper that is fun to run and has proved to be popular with both local and visiting parkrunners.
Last Saturday, I attended the launch of the Wits parkrun. I must say it was very special to run a parkrun around the West Campus of my old Alma Mater. Some of us came suitably dressed in academic gowns for the occasion and the Wits Kudu mascot also attended. Everyone agreed that Professor Andrew Thatcher and his team have laid out a tough but exciting route. As an ex student and a lecturer at Wits I was surprised at the parts of my old university that we ran past that I had explored before.
This Saturday we are starting two new parkruns; Rose parkrun in Lenasia, and Kralingbergh parkrun in Ermelo. Both parkruns have had large numbers of early registrations and both parkrun teams have been champing at the bit for a quite a few weeks now, waiting for their turn to start. We know they will be very successful parkruns and make an exciting difference in their communities.
Incidentally many readers may wonder how we arrive at the names of new parkruns. Because of the rapid growth of parkrun and the complexity accompanying this growth the global head office team now selects the smallest geographical point on the map. To put it simply, imagine if we had selected the name “Johannesburg” for our first ever parkrun at Delta Park. We would have had serious problems naming other parkruns in Johannesburg. So please take note that there may be some fascinating parkrun names in future.
Cheers for now,
This newsletter’s volunteer heroine is Madz Loots. Madz is married to Jacques and has three children. She has run 159 parkruns and has volunteered in numerous roles over 150 times. She was originally a Kimberley parkrunner and Kimberley is her home run. Now she is one of our most energetic and enthusiastic ambassadors working…
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