Villiersdorp parkrun in the Western Cape launched in August 2018. Since then, over 11,000km have been run, walked and jogged as the event goes from strength to strength. Core volunteer, Maggie Chipps, tells us more.
How did Villiersdorp parkrun come about? The parkrun came about when a young man called Vernon Behr and his wife who were very involved with tourism in our town, thought it would be great for tourism and set about getting it organized. They have unfortunately since moved to Tzaneen, which was a great loss.
What is the course like? It is a trail run taking runners and walkers through a single rocky track for about 1 km and the rest is on gravel road which is slightly undulating.
Villiersdorp is a small town 33 kms from Franschoek and the drive takes you over the Franschoek Pass then along a road which gives you full view of the Three Waters Kloof Dam and the Fruit Farms into the Town. If you travel through the town you will notice restaurants like the Padstall, Country Classics and Kelkiewyn where after the run you can enjoy a breakfast.
What have been the highlights of your event so far? Our opening with Bruce Fordyce was definitely one of the highlights. As with him came all his followers, and with locals we had 193 participants which gave it a great atmosphere. There are a few other highlights like a teenager who was visiting and doing her 100th run with her dog that had just completed it’s 96 run. Then one of our local young men finishing the run and dropping his car keys in the pool and having to fish them out in the freezing water. We have also had visitors from the UK and Holland which was interesting.
We also had a notable visitor from Johannesburg, a member of the sports Trust and he was impressed with the location and scenery and rated the venue in his top 10.
We often have visitors and they all have commented on the beauty of our parkrun’s surrounds with its friendly marshals.
Who helps to make sure Villiersdorp parkrun continues to be a success? Three of our founder members, Garry Chipps, Peter De Kok and Chris Jewett are truly dedicated and I don’t think that Peter has ever missed a Saturday since its inception. I have to admit we have a really committed group of volunteers and it’s not often that we are let down. The other Run Director is David Bradley who with his computer knowledge, assists with the smooth running of the event.
What are the facilities like? The parkrun is held at a private camp site called Twistnet, situated on a farm just out the far end of the town and this is where the the run starts and ends. As it is a camp site it has adequate parking as well as being equipped with facilities like toilets, showers and a pool for those would want to cool down after the run.
What is the average Villiersdorp parkrunner like? The participants range from small children to people in there seventies. Unfortunately the weather effects our numbers with summer around 70 and winter about 25.
What should a first timer at Villiersdorp know? A first time participant needs to be aware that it is a trail run and thus is uneven terrain. We love having visitors and listening to their stories of their home runs and welcome them.
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