“We will never again be as small as we are today” were the stirring words of parkrun Global CEO, Nick Pearson at the conclusion of the parkrun UK conference.
It was a momentous statement and reiterated that fact that parkrun continues to grow at a phenomenal rate and that at almost 15 years old we are still dealing with a young teenager. The future looks full of promise, both exhilarating and frightening.
However, I have no doubt that the team that gathered from around the parkrun world at Warwick University are more than capable of taking us into this exciting future. A future that could be borderless and truly global, where the words “free for everyone on a Saturday morning, don’t forget your barcode” are universally understood.
For 3 days parkrun ambassadors, volunteers and international delegates met to learn, to discuss and to network. We listened to some amazing presentations and a lot of hard work was completed.
We, the South African parkrun Board, started our weekend off by holding both our quarterly Board meeting and our A.G.M. which were both chaired by Jaco Van Der Walt.
But it wasn’t all just hard work. A group of Ugandan parkrunners whose home run is Burgess parkrun in London, danced and drummed their way into our hearts.
On our last evening, during the dinner, I was asked to say a few words and present parkrun Founder Paul Sinton-Hewitt with a gift from everyone at parkrun. I suggested that Paul’s invention; parkrun, may prove to be one of the most important inventions of this century.
Looking back, I argued, we all know that Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone, but if he hadn’t someone else eventually would have. Again, we know that if Watson and Crick discovered D.N.A but if they hadn’t someone else eventually would have.
But if Paul hadn’t “ïnvented” parkrun it is doubtful that anyone else would have.
As if to emphasise this point, earlier that day we had all run Kingsbury Water parkrun. 750 of us ran past lakes and ponds and through English woods. Afterwards, I noticed that everyone was laughing and smiling. People were excitedly chatting about parkrun while thanking volunteers.
I joined a group who started an encouraging Mexican wave for those parkrunners who were coming in. Everyone was having fun and then someone suggested;
“If parkrun could be measured in smiles, we would absolutely smash it “
Yes, Paul’s invention is set to absolutely smash it in future!
Cheers for now,
I love greeting everyone when I volunteer at parkrun. When I do timekeeping, I encourage everyone to “finish strong” and when I barcode scan I always ask how the run was. I’m sometimes a bit slow on the scanning but I want every participant to feel valued and let them know how friendly parkrun is!…
Ruimsig parkrun in Gauteng joined the parkrun family in September 2018. In the first year 9,000 different people completed the course, covering 175,000km! Adele Enslin, Event Director at Ruimsig tells us more: How did Ruimsig parkrun come about? We moved to Stubensvalley from Secunda in April 2018 & some parkrun tourist friends mentioned to me…