The Epic trip to eSwatini for a group of passionate parkrunners has taken months of planning and coordinating with the local Mbabane parkrun Run Directors and volunteers to make the visit a memorable one.
The visitors descended on the town during the course of the day on Friday, with plenty of sightseeing done on the way through, to all meet up at Mbabane Club for a ‘meet and greet’ dinner to connect and share parkrun stories and accomplishments ahead of the parkrun on Saturday morning.
Over 30 SA parkrunners (from Blue Lagoon; Alberts Farm; Bryanston; Edenvale; Ernest Ullman; Lonehill; Rietvlei; Waterfall; Wits and Laudium parkruns represented) along with an overseas tourist Andrew Reynolds from Melbourne, Australia visited Mbabane parkrun with a blustering mountain wind to welcome them, to face Heartbreak Hill and finish the course so that they could celebrate a few parkrun milestones completed on the day.
A big thank you goes out to Neil and Kirsten Robinson who welcomed and treated the visitors like Swazi Royalty with their warmth and knowledge of the area and their pride of Mbabane parkrun, that were instrumental along with the volunteer team, to make this a successful event. This just shows you how the rainbow nation can pull together, and that visiting the smaller parkrun venues are worth the friendships made from the experience.
We even made the local paper on the Sunday!
I will never forget the day, 6th June 2017, when Gerhardus Linde stepped into our lives at Hartenbos parkrun. He was there to volunteer. I will also not forget when his mother put on his hi-vis vest and explained to him he must wear it because he is “going to work”. We discussed it beforehand and it was explained that he can be a tad unpredictable at times and it might happen that he would get up on a Saturday morning and decide he is not going to parkrun that day. And so Gerhardus’ volunteering journey started and continued.
Not ONCE since that day in 2017 has he ever been absent from parkrun out of choice. Rain or shine. Not even the occasional flu or cold or his mother’s foot operation could keep him away from parkrun. There was one time when they visited his sibling in Cape Town and he was very upset because he could not go to work on Saturday morning. With the next visit we arranged for him to volunteer at Greenpoint parkrun as a marshal. More recently he visited his grandmother in Gauteng and due to her not having her own transport was forced to go on a sabbatical of five Saturdays. It was a joyous day when he returned – not only for him but for all our regular Hartenbos parkrunners. To know our car keys are taken good care of, his marshalling skills to direct the participants to the finish and afterwards the post-event close-down duties he performs.
This is what Gerrit and Jarica Linde, his parents have to say: “Gerhardus is always excited to go to parkrun. Every day he asks when it is time for parkrun so that he can “work”. He also enjoys the themed runs when he can dress up. “Working” as a volunteer makes him feel important and very special. He is now doing many of the duties entrusted to him independently and with confidence. The Hartenbos parkrun community has accepted Gerhardus just as he is – and that means a lot to him and us. He just loves his ENTIRE parkrun family.”
Gerhardus achieved his 100th volunteering milestone recently and we were all very proud OF him and WITH him. You are indeed a bright star GERHARDUS LINDE!
Ita Janse van Rensburg
Volunteer Coordinator, Hartenbos parkrun
Harry Gird volunteered on 29th June, for the TWO HUNDREDTH time as photographer at Hartenbos and took over 30,000 photos. Thank you “oom Harry – onse kiekieman” for all the parkrun memories you captured for all of us over the years. Rain, wind or shine. Fortunately you could also be “snapped” from time t
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