Berita - 27th August 2023

From Cape Town to Poznań


When Michał George started parkrunning at his local event in South Africa, he discovered five reasons that kept him returning every Saturday morning.


We speak to Michał about why he loves parkrun and his experience of going to an event in his home country, Poland.


I heard about parkrun through my younger brother Dominik. He started at Delta parkrun, which was the first in South Africa, in Johannesburg.


He brought me along to my first parkrun as I wanted to join him. It was July 2013 at Big Bay, Bloubergstrand, which is a coastal suburb of Cape Town. July is the middle of winter and the route in those days was along a coastal path.




Once I started, there were five main reasons that I kept going back:


  1. Seeing my brother and his wife was something to look forward to on Saturday mornings. We’d often drink coffee after.
  2. I liked parkrun being a regular, timed event and a social gathering of people moving in nature — the best way to start a weekend.
  3. parkrun keeps me active when the weather is terrible. Even when I don’t necessarily feel like going, I still go as it gives me a chance to meet people I might never bump into otherwise.
  4. I volunteer regularly too! Doing the first timers welcome allows me to connect to people, and share something of my own experience. As great as an experience parkrun is, it gets exponentially better as a volunteer.
  5. Being able to share the joy of parkrun with my family in the country I left as a refugee aged 12.


Recently, my nephew Ethan and I participated at the Jezioro Swarzędzkie parkrun in suburban Poznań, Poland.


I’ve lived in South Africa for most of my adult life, but Poland remains the home where my heart is. Taking part in the Jezioro Swarzędzkie parkrun was heartwarming, and heartbreaking all at once.




The volunteer team was wonderful, and were very curious about who I am. I’m a native Polish speaker, but I’ve been away for so long that I have an accent. So, the first question after I said something was usually, “Where have you been?”


It was a treat to meet and chat with the locals and run on a leafy green path along a lake in midsummer. The same morning I was in Jezioro Swarzędzkie parkrun, Bloubergstrand was unfortunately hit by a cold front and Big Bay parkrun was cancelled.


Some of my family still live in Poland, one of my cousins even joined us that morning and she really enjoyed it. When I’m at Big Bay parkrun setting up, volunteering or completing the course, I hope she’ll be taking part in Poland.


Michał George



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