Shongweni parkrun was one of the first parkruns in South Africa, launching in June 2013. Since then, the event has gone from strength to strength and recently celebrated it’s 300th run!
Event Director, Jason Huntley, tells us more about the KZN event:
How did Shongweni parkrun come about? It was initiated by Pete and Erita Garthwaite who now reside in Sydney Australia.
What have been the highlights of your event so far? The main highlight has been seeing how our parkrun has grown over the years and seeing so many people enjoying the outdoors and living a healthy lifestyle.
Who helps to make Shongweni parkrun a success? We have a small team of very dedicated volunteers who volunteer each Saturday and are there come rain or shine. We battle to fill in most of the roles each week and without my dedicated team, Shongweni would not be the success that it is today, so a HUGE thank you too, Amie Huntley, Darren Huntley, Desire Armansin, Roger Downard, Debbie Smith, Lewis Smith, Hallie Thomas and Michelle Kerr. I don’t even have to ask for things to be done, everyone works in sync and the team just make things happen.
How would you describe the atmosphere at Shongweni parkrun? Ours is a very friendly, social, family orientated event.
What is the route like? Our route is a lovely scenic trail event. The course varies with a few small hills, single track and running through the main paddock at Shongweni. There are other events that happen at the same time as we run so you will get so see horses being trained, mountain bikers and radio controlled aircraft flying around. Our course is pram and dog friendly and our volunteers always encourage all the participants and keep them going. It is a two lapper so at some points along the route it can be congested and that is why we stipulate each week of the keep left pass right rule.
What are the typical parkrunners who come like? We have a wide range of participants, ranging from 4 years to 83 years old. We are very family orientated and its awesome to see so many families taking part to live a healthier lifestyle and seeing the smiles on their faces makes it worth while.
Have you had any notable visitors? We treat all our visitors the same, they are all heroes and each participant is working towards their own goals and achievements and being able to help them along their way is amazing and seeing them achieving their goals is the icing on the cake. Receiving positive feedback from our visitors is great.
What are the success stories of Shongweni parkrunners? There are actually far to many to mention, Over the past six years there have been so many people who have achieved great success in their running/walking careers that it is difficult to just pick one. I think everyone who takes part in our event is a success story and deserves a medal.
What are the facilities like? We have loads of parking at our event, inside the main paddock as you drive in on your right hand side, it is a few meters from the start line. There is an amazing coffee shop on the ground which makes the most amazing breakfast, toilet facilities are also on site. You can watch the show jumping while enjoying their breakfast.
What is the one thing a first timer to your parkrun should know? Don’t forget your barcode! Come along to our amazing event, even if you only are able to complete one lap, the parkrun bug will bite you and you will be back and will conquer our amazing course. Our friendly volunteers and participants will make you feel right at home.
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