News - 25th July 2018

Warmer weather sees participation pick up

Wells Estate

Just over 40,000 parkrunners participated at 150 different parkrun venues last Saturday and there were some attendance records. White River achieved a record field, and then Gilloolys astonished us all by hosting the second largest parkrun of all time. (More on that in Chris Sutton’s story in this newsletter)


Anyone would have thought winter was over the way the parkrunners enthusiastically came out of hibernation to parkrun. After all the previous Saturday was our annual low of just over 30,000 participants. It will be interesting, if not a little frightening to see our participation numbers in the next few weeks. Teams may have to call on extra volunteers. On that note it was great to see that we set a new volunteers’ record on Saturday as well. 2,161 amazing people volunteered on a winter’s morning at our different parkrun venues. (Please read Tebogo Ness Malatji’s volunteer story in feedback from the field)


Just a word of warning for those who are convinced that winter is gone. I am one of those old enough to remember when it last snowed really heavily up here in Gauteng. I’m talking about calf high snow, when branches broke from the weight, there was traffic chaos and schools came to a standstill as children ignored their teachers to rush out to hold impromptu snowball fights and build snowmen.


It was 10th September, 1981.


One of the reasons our numbers are picking up is that we have upped the pace at which we open new parkruns. Last Saturday, for the first time in SA parkrun history we started 3 new parkruns on the same Saturday morning. Well not all three parkruns were brand new. After an 18 month hiatus we were delighted to welcome Voortrekker monument back to the parkrun family. Congratulations to Leon Bezuidenhout from Voortrekker Monument marathon club, Peter Wilgenbus, Simon Yates, Chris Sutton and the management at Voortrekker Monument for working together to start Voortrekker Monument parkrun again. Over 600 enthusiastic runners were there to welcome our old friend back.


It was freezing in Christiana where 166 locals and visitors ran the inaugural run. But judging from the photographs everyone seemed to enjoy themselves. The course is very flat and fast and is a welcome addition to the North West parkrun family. Thanks to Madelene Loots and Russell Nugent for all their hard work in getting Christiana parkrun started.


I ran the beautiful beach and path route at the Wells Estate parkrun situated just outside Port Elizabeth. This parkrun is the brainchild of Henry Pienaar who is a parkrun legend in the Eastern Cape. Henry has been prominent at PE Hobie and Kidd’s Beach parkruns and was the first parkrunner from the Eastern Cape to earn his 250 milestone shirt. Positioned close to the township of Well’s Estate this parkrun is another example of parkrun South Africa’s determination to reach out to all communities. Congratulations to Henry and his team for having the determination to push hard for the launch of this special parkrun.


Cheers for now,


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