Hogsback parkrun in the Amathole Mountains of the Eastern Cape launched in April 2016. This parkrun has a great community feel, with an average of 25 parkrunners completing the course each week. Event Director Vannessa Kruger tells us more.
How did Hogsback parkrun come about? I did my first parkrun at Nahoon Point, which then was my closest parkrun but more than 130 km away. I decided that the only way I would be able to do parkrun regularly was to have one at home. Hogsback is also a tourist area and parkrun is a great tourist offering.
Are there any particularly dedicated volunteers who are there week in week out, or who go above and beyond to make your parkrun a success? We have a very small volunteer group and battle to fill all the volunteer roles every week. I go down in a running gear every week in the hope of a run in the event that we will have enough volunteers. More often than not I miss my run, but we have never missed a holding a parkrun (even when the temp is below 5 degrees). We do however have 3 fantastic volunteers who hold the event together. Ian Weir, who has volunteered a lot more than 100 times can pretty much set up the whole event in a few minutes on his own – and does so on a regular basis.. Ian is supported by two other stalwarts, Chris Gladwin and Vincent Blackbeard.
What makes your parkrun unique? It’s small and very personal. We have roasted marshmallows post-run in the cold. It is a beautiful run in the Amathole mountains. As one of our visitors noted a few parkruns ago, there is not a piece of litter anywhere in site on the course. We are still waiting for our first parkrun in the snow, but have had a few rather cold parkruns surrounded by snow covered mountains.
What is the route like? It’s a high altitude (around 1200m) trail run with one rather steep hill which you get to run up once and down once. The course looks out onto the mountains and down into the Thyme valley. Due to the terrain it isn’t great for children in prams.
What are the typical parkrunners who come like? We have a small group a regular locals who range from 7 years old to around 78. Our visitors are generally families with children and young couples. We have an equal mix of runners and walkers
Have you had any notable visitors? All our visitors are notable! We do however pride ourselves that Lusapho April and Mariano Eesou register their home parkrun as Hogsback and come up regularly with their trainer, Karen Zimmerman, for their high-altitude training camps. parkrun is part of their training schedule.
What are the success stories of Hogsback parkrun? Unathi Ncapayi, one of our local youngsters, did his first parkrun at our launch in 2016. This was most likely his first organised run as there is no sports programme at the rural school he attends. He was our first home-grown 50 and 100. He pretty much discovered that he was a runner at parkrun and has gone on to run in other formal events and has stood on the podium a number of times. He has become known among visiting parkrunners. Last year some time, a visiting parkrun couple, kitted him out with running shoes and other gear and, in true parkrun spirit, refused to allowed me to thank them publicly.
What are the facilities like? Runners and walkers can park right next to the start/finish. There are toilets and a restaurant at the Edge where parkrun starts.
What is the one thing a first timer to your parkrun should know? The weather is not very predictable in Hogsback so come prepared for all eventualities.
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