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 lots of reasons kept me going back:
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.
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