Marie Eyre was born with Spina Bifida, is wheelchair bound and cannot drive. I met her through church and she offered to help when she heard Pongola parkrun was short of volunteers.
The first time Marie volunteered, I introduced her to a timekeeper, Andre Steyn, who took her under his wing and quickly taught her perfect timekeeping! Marie became a permanent volunteer and it was our habit to pick her up every Saturday morning. Because Marie was fairly new in town, she didn’t have many friends. Saturday mornings at parkrun quickly became her highlight of the week where she could interact with many people and have lots of hugs and laughs. parkrun gave her a new purpose, which she loved and took very seriously!
Marie says that what she enjoys most about parkrun is meeting new people and getting to know them.
After a while, Marie relocated to Brits and on 4 May I went to visit and introduced her to a new parkrun volunteer team at Hartbeespoort. The team took her in and helped to arrange a lift for her to get to parkrun. Even though it is more difficult for her to get to parkrun now, her heart is still there and she loves the parkrunners!
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As parkrun continues to grow across South Africa, it is not only helping people to get active, but also to bring communities together, and restoring a sense of pride in previously neglected public spaces. Martin Woodbridge tells us how Goodwill parkrun has made a difference: Mahikeng (meaning place of stones), is a medium-sized town and…