Compliments of the season and a happy New Year to all parkrunners. I know 2019 is going to be a wonderful year for us all.
We certainly started the year in style with hundreds of parkrunners enjoying the New Year’s double runs all around South Africa. Certainly, those who ran the rain-soaked and waterlogged Gauteng doubles will never forget their introduction to the New Year. There were a couple of cancellations and some disappointments, but we need to remember that the final decision on cancellations always lies with the Run Director. I understood the power of the parkrun addiction when I stood in the pouring rain, on a rickety chair, briefly addressing the shivering, soaked runners at Sterkfontein parkrun. There were close to 400 people eager to complete their New Year double!
Four days later we all ran the first Saturday parkrun of 2019 and set a new attendance record for the first Saturday of January. A few years ago it would have been impossible to imagine that over 52,000 parkrunners would run and walk at 173 different venues around Southern Africa. All the signs point to possible record attendances this Saturday and next, at what we call “New Year’s resolution Saturday.” Weather permitting there could be some astonishing records.
Perhaps most gratifying of all has been the record number of volunteers who have helped to make these parkruns so successful. 2,672 people volunteered of whom 202 were first time volunteers.
Of course, we are part of a worldwide parkrun phenomenon and globally over 340,000 parkrunners participated in parkruns from New Zealand to Canada.
As always, sadly, there were a large number of unknown runners in the global results. The strict “No barcode, No result, No exception” rule applied even in the case of our Global CEO, Nick Pearson. Nick forgot his barcode at a parkrun in the UK last Saturday and accepted that his run would have to be recorded as an “unknown”.
During the December and January holiday weeks we did not launch any new parkruns, choosing to make this time a break and a period of consolidation for our hard-working parkrun volunteer ambassadors. But at the end of this month we will start the exciting new events programme afresh, commencing with Piet Retief on the 26th of January. We hope to add many more new events to the parkrun family in 2019.
I would like to thank every parkrunner for their incredible patience about the milestone t-shirt situation. As everyone knows, for over a year now, we have had a major problem with supplying these shirts. In a sense parkrun South Africa has been a victim of its own success. Our growth has outpaced our ability to adequately supply shirts. We have finished testing a potential new system to order these shirts via the UK. Once we have analysed this ordering system, we will decide on how best to manage the t-shirts going forward.
Once again thank you for your patience and please continue to use the system to order your milestone t-shirts.
Cheers for now,
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