In the run-up to the launch for Örebro parkrun, we were delighted to hear from a parkrun friend from far away – South Africa – but with roots back in Örebro.
Göran Söderholm has been living out in South Africa since 1996, but lived in Örebro between 1964 & 1972. He’s one of 6 Run Directors for Bryanston Parkrun, which averages at an incredible 1000 runners every week!
Göran wrote to us and told us a little more about Bryanston, and how parkrun has developed in South Africa to be a huge force for good in promoting physical activity.
“The Bryanston parkrun is in its 4th year – we have held 167 consecutive runs – and we have grown from a couple of hundred runners to now touching a thousand virtually every Saturday!
With 99 parkruns in South Africa (and new ones added almost every week), it is safe to say that parkrun is a success here. Not too long ago, there were 12 parkruns (internationally!) that had had more than 1000 runners at a single event – nine of them in SA!
The Bryanston parkrun is a fairly flat, out and back run along a “spruit”, which in Swedish would be something between an “å” and a “bäck”. It is a sand-and-gravel track with a lot of grass, that a local community team helps to keep under control.
We sport runners of all categories – from the 16 – 17 minute-racers to the tail-runner who usually come in just about an hour later. Male and female in equal portions, and age wise we see runners from as early as 5 all the way up to over 80! We have a regular called Peter who, despite being in the 65 – 70 age category, insists on doing the run around 22 minutes.
It is very much a family event, with plenty of kids walking, running and in prams. And dogs! There is a lot of friendship and chatting along the run. One of our frequent runners, Malcolm, so much friendly so that he donated a portable speaker-system to our run! No more megaphone! But we have Music!
Personally, I have been involved in the Bryanston parkrun from the beginning. First as a runner – I have done 87 and have my aim set on 100 – and since a couple of years, I am now one of 6 run-directors which means I organise our run once every six weeks. It is great fun to be one of the volunteers – Run Director or timekeeper or scanner…. it doesn’t matter!
With so many runs to choose from in South Africa, we have developed what is called “parkrun tourists”. This is a group of runners who have run at least 20 different parkrun. These guys will travel 100′s of km’s to run 5km in a new place! So, if any of you Swedish parkrunnerss aspire to join the ‘tourists’ – please feel very welcome to join us here in Bryanston or anywhere in South Africa! When you do, please let the run director know!
Good luck parkrun Sweden!
I cannot wait to do my first parkrun north of the equator!!”
Fantastic to get such a kind message and if anyone is visiting South Africa, be sure to take in a parkrun – and let us know about it!
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