I would like to brag about our special couple here in Wellington. Kevin Mattheys completed his 100 parkrun this weekend. He is the first to do so as a registered Wellington parkrunner so we were super proud.
What makes this special is that Kevin and his wife, Helene, came to our inaugural parkrun to “see what the fuss was about”! Helene told me that Kevin decided to start at the back with the rest of the walkers but had no intention of finishing. He had not even bothered to register! While out on the course he called Helene on her cell phone and said – “register me in the Imbuko office now – I am going to finish this”. Helene promptly got the assistance of the office to register and print his barcode out before he completed the course. The rest they say is history! Kevin started out walking with his faithful Ally by his side but sadly Ally became to old to walk the route but still came to sit with mum and support him as he came in to the finish.
Ally passed away but Kevin kept her memory alive this weekend by wearing her buff on his wrist so she could “finish 100″ with him. I have to mention at this point that I cannot exclude Helene from this story. Helene is one of our core volunteers and to date has done officially 28 volunteer duties , but unofficially many more – it took a while for her to register. Helene has assisted many of our runners from underprivileged backgrounds to register and get barcodes printed, in fact she is busy with 50 odd children from our local children’s home to get them all registered – she does this willingly without expecting anything in return – an example to all our volunteers. They are a wonderful couple , who have given so much support to our parkrun and are always keen to dress up for our themed runs and assist with any donations. We value their participation and friendship. Thank you to Kevin and Helene Mattheys!
Göran Söderholm was diagnosed with motor neuron disease (same as Joost van der Westhuizen) in early 2017 but was determined to complete 100 parkruns. With sheer grit and determination, he managed to achieve this goal in September 2017.
Unfortunately, his condition since worsened and Göran is no longer able to complete an event. However, with a deep passion for parkrun, he has set himself a new target: volunteer 100 times and become a “voluntourist” by doing so at at least 20 different events. He took advantage of his holiday travels to volunteer at both Knysna and George.
My father (62 years old) had an emergency 6-way heart by-pass in early November 2017. This however didn’t dampen his parkrun spirit as he eagerly asked his cardiothoracic surgeon 3 weeks later when he may do parkrun again.
On Saturday 16th December 2017 I took this photo of him after having walked the Shongweni parkrun exactly 6 weeks after his open-heart surgery. He has subsequently already started to run a few parts of the course and is feeling more alive and determined as ever to set his new personal best.
Thank you to parkrun and all it’s volunteers across the world for motivating people of all ages to keep up their fights through all walks of life. Nothing is impossible with the encouragement of others.
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