On Saturday 8th June, the day before Comrades, I saw a wonderful video on Instagram of a large group of excited Comrades runners doing North Beach parkrun in Durban - gliding along the promenade in jovial song and chants! The post included the hashtag #parkruntocomrades – what a great hashtag. It is truly amazing and inspiring, and should serve as an example to many, to see such motivated runners having started at 5kms and progressing to almost 90kms!
It caused me to reflect on how incredible the “reverse” hashtag is too … #comradestoparkrun. I ran 5 Comrades, 20 Two Oceans and many marathons. Unfortunately through some injuries and health issues eventually it resulted in me not being able to run at all. I could in fact only walk very short distances! Then many years later, I discovered parkrun, and to cut a long story short, with medical consultation and advice and huge encouragement from my family and friends, I was able to set a goal of partaking in the parkrun to walk 5km.
I built up slowly and, albeit at a different level, it took me back and reminded me of those wonderful times when I was building up for marathons and ultra’s. It was so positively life changing to know I was on the road again with a goal that I was building to and working towards. I reached an amazingly exciting point where I felt I would be able to walk the 5kms and complete it in under an hour! So on a Saturday morning in beautiful Cape Town, in a highly motivated state, off I went at Green Point parkrun and 55 minutes later I had my first parkrun under my belt. I don’t know who was more elated, me or a crowd of my friends (some of whom are current Comrades runners) who walked with me.
I was more proud of this achievement than I was when I ran my PB 5km time trial back in 1991 in 17 mins 26 seconds! Now 3 times slower but 3 times more excited! So I clearly love both hashtags #comradestoparkrun and #parkruntocomrades, each meaning so much to me. As long as I can I will be a regular participator in the wonderful initiative that the parkrun is – such a positive impact on healthiness and also a “starter pack to the Comrades” for many!
The city of George is not usually known as a windy city, but the weekend of 9 June 2019 brought stormwinds that didn’t hold back one inch. This led to a large number of fallen trees in the forest where the parkrun route runs through.
As reports of danger spots on the route filtered through on the Monday morning, a number of parkrun volunteers and trail running enthusiasts were quick to step out with chainsaws and rakes.
A joint effort by the local Hillbillies mountain bike club, the GTR Trail Team (Garden Route Trailrunning) and Magic Moppers, a contractor company owned by parkrunner Andrew van Zyl, saw to it that more than 40 fallen trees were cleared off the trails in the area. Chad Lahana, a regular parkrunner and member of the GTR Trail Team, counted as many as 10 fallen trees on the parkrun route alone!
The parkrun community in George is blessed with eager volunteers always willing to help out beyond Saturday duties. Thank you Regardt Muller, Chad Lahana and Andrew Van Zyl!
I did my home Constantia Greenbelt parkrun. I checked the results and within 3 minutes of me, I saw the name of a friend who emigrated to the UK 15 years ago! Turns out he’s now a regular parkrunner in the UK. Well done parkrun for keeping people in touch! Brian Snelling …
Wits parkrun has taken place for the past year on the West Campus of Wits University. The core team of volunteers share more of its story: How did Wits parkrun come about? Wits parkrun had its first official event on 13 October 2018. It was a long time in the planning with several routes…