Isn’t it fantastic how parkrun makes the world a whole lot smaller?
It started with our family holiday (Ian, Davina and Verity from Portsmouth in the UK). We are keen parkrunners and so when we went on our annual holiday to South Africa we simply had to also run some parkruns while there. We did several around the Johannesberg area, but the one that always calls us back is Nkomazi. Such a fantastic rural, friendly, and soul lifting one.
The first time we went to Nkomazi, before we left home we put the call out with our local running club (Portsmouth Joggers, where I’m the Membership Secretary) for running kit and shoes – we were flooded with items. We packed a 60kg of a mix of shoes and tech clothing and when we got to Mpumalanga we handed the shoes and kit over to Lordrick (Nkomazi parkrun RD). The items were all distributed to the local runners. It was astonishing to see the impact this had and all the shoe donors from Portsmouth were taken aback with the appreciation from Nkomazi.
So, every 2 years since our first visit, we have returned to Nkomazi parkrun. Each time laden with kit (and more importantly, good running shoes). The links formed between Portsmouth Joggers and Nkomazi have been superb. In 2018 two of the Portsmouth Joggers ventured to Comrades, and met up with Lordrick and Simon from Nkomazi parkrun. It was so lovely to see the team spirit and how Lordrick and Simon welcomed the Portsmouth runners to South Africa and supported the UK guys over the weekend.
Then this year, we worked with Lordrick to pair up Comrades runners with some of the Portsmouth Joggers who paid for the Nkomazi parkrunners Comrades entries, and followed their training from afar.
On race day we had a “ZA Comrades day” in Portsmouth, UK – watching the SABC live stream of the race, nervous for “our” runners. We ate pap and sheba, bobotie, wors rolls, milk tart…and even had some ZA wines.. we tracked our runners and celebrated when they finished. All part of one big ‘family’.
So, always make the time for that tourist visit to parkruns wherever you go in the world, you just never know what mighty oaks grow from these acorn actions.
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