If anyone were in any doubt about whether summer has arrived yet in South Africa, they need only have run any of our parkruns this last Saturday. It was sizzling Saturday at many of our venues as a full heatwave blasted the country.
While in many cases this makes a welcome change after many chilly weeks of winter it does bring some problems. One of these is that we get a surge of correspondence demanding earlier starting times. In some of our hottest areas we do have earlier, seasonal starting times but in most cases 8am is still our starting time.
However, the final decision about parkrun starting times lies not with the parkrunners nor with us at parkrun headquarters. That decision lies with the volunteers, those wonderful people who have to rise long before any of us, and set-up, and organise each parkrun while most of us are drinking our wake-up coffee. If those volunteers don’t feel like waking up any earlier than they already do, then we understand and the parkrun starting time remains unchanged.
Having said that, it is possible to make the parkrun experience more bearable in these warm conditions. Please remember sunscreen and hats and most importantly, bring your own drinks with you if you feel you will need them. While we have noticed some parkruns supplying water, it is not up to the volunteers to provide refreshments at any parkrun.
I would also like to remind all parkrunners not to discard any paper cups or litter along the route. We are always insistent that once a parkrun is completed and the volunteers have packed up there should be no sign that we were ever there.
Please also think twice about bringing a dog to run 5 kilometres in these conditions. In the past we have had some dogs becoming very stressed in the heat. And even with water only the fittest breeds of dogs can run 5 kilometres in this heat.
Last Saturday we welcomed Modimolle and Riviera-on-Vaal parkruns to the South African parkrun family. I ran at Modimolle parkrun and really enjoyed the course, which was a delightful mixture of golf cart paths and rugged bushveld. 200 first timers ran and walked the new parkrun on a beautiful morning, and everyone was very enthusiastic about it, and about the contribution it will make to the community of Modimolle.
Congratulations to Annette van Dyk and the team at Modimolle. Our Limpopo ambassador, Neels Gerber, reminded us that it has been almost a year since the first enquiry about Modimolle was made.
I intend to run Riviera-on-Vaal as soon as possible and I have promised Linda Bosch, Dirk Koekemoer and their team that their parkrun is on my wish list. I have only had positive feedback about this lovely parkrun, run close to the Vaal River. I’m looking forward to running this golf course route as soon as possible.
We launched a 3rd parkrun, by default, last Saturday and that was Kralinbergh parkrun in Ermelo. Unfortunately, a dangerous thunderstorm accompanied by dangerous lighting resulted in an 11th hour cancellation of the parkrun on its official launch date, 20th October. On Saturday it was very much a case of “take 2” as the parkrun finally started a week late.
On that note, there were some grumblings and complaints about the last- minute cancellation. I remind everyone that safety has to come first and that the Event Director or Run Director has the final say. When lightning started striking the ground, Mandri Wessels-Olivier and her team made the correct decision.
This Saturday Hoopstad parkrun in the North West and Duikersdrift (Tulbagh) in the Western Cape will join the SA parkrun family. Our family continues to grow and there is now a queue of prospective new parkrun launches stretching to March next year.
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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