Last Saturday we attended the very successful launch of Vrede parkrun, the newest member of our parkrun family. With the assistance of Brenda Casey (Free State Ambassador) and Fadeela Omar, Event director, Zurike Portwig and her team have created a lovely out-and-back course along the Vrede golf course.
164 participants enjoyed the first event and it was gratifying to see how many first time locals were participating.
It is interesting to note how many SA parkrun names start with the letter ‘V’ ; Ventersburg, Vrede, Victoria Lake, Vaal Marina, Valhalla, Voortrekker Monument, Vryheid, Vredendal , Vryburg, Villiersdorp and even Sand river parkrun (Virginia) could be included. This is our current crop of parkrun “V’s” , and I’m sure that I’ve left a parkrun out ! Its also interesting to note how many of our parkruns are run on golf courses. In Southern Africa golf courses are the new parks and we are certainly exploiting these “new parks”!
This Saturday we will launch Silveroaks parkrun outside Heidelberg. It has been a long wait for a Heidelberg parkrun and at last it is happening. Apparently the local community is very excited. Tanya Cornelius and Cheryl Burgess have created a beautiful route on Cheryl’s farm. Those who attend will be treated to views of Highveld farmlands and some magnificent Nguni cattle. After the Silveroaks inaugural run we will take a break from starting new parkruns until the end of January. But that doesn’t mean Southern African parkruns will also go on holiday. All our events will continue to operate, although occasionally one might be cancelled for a variety of reasons. Please consult SA parkrun cancellations for more information. Please also consult the Christmas compendium list to discover which parkruns are hosting the three additional parkruns which are held on Christmas Day and on New Year’s day. Only those parkruns that have “signed up” for this will host extra runs.
As South Africa breaks for the summer holidays we have warned our coastal and holiday resort parkruns to brace themselves for the annual influx. It seems that SA parkrunners have learnt to take their barcodes with them on holiday and with almost 180 parkrun venues to choose from, the chances are that no matter where a parkrunner is holidaying, there is always a parkrun close by.
I know that I probably sound like a stuck record at times but the real heroes and heroines of this festive time are our incredible volunteers, who continue to bring us parkruns every Saturday morning. At this time of year they are particularly heroic as many of them also deliver those fun extra runs on Christmas and New Year mornings. Amazingly volunteer numbers continue to grow and last Saturday a record 2,622 volunteers assisted at our parkrun venues.
I know that the parkrun tourists are just an informal grouping of parkrunners who have fun travelling to different parkruns, and that they are not a formal group within parkrun structures, but at this time of year I would like to thank them for their amazing contribution to parkrun. Throughout the year the tourists have added tremendous value to parkrun in so many ways. It is hard to single out any one particular parkrun tourist but I would like to mention tourist Lesley Oosterbroek who last Saturday became a triple International tourist as she completed 20 or more parkruns in each of South Africa, Australia and the UK.
Cheers for now,
Welcome to this month’s volunteer update. Here is some of the key information for the coming period: 1. Important changes to event email accounts. 2. Embedding photographs in event news items. 3. Press and media. 4. Social media. 5. Recruiting volunteers. 6. Cancelling events. 7. Tail walkers. 8. Printed barcodes only. 1….
If ever proof were needed that parkrun really can make a difference in a community the launch of Mountain Drive parkrun in Graaff Reinet last Saturday provided it. With close to 300 registrations the enthusiasm for parkrun was obvious on the Saturday morning when dozens of excited first timers and volunteers arrived to run the…