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 that there is a need for another parkrun in the West Rand so my husband (Paul Enslin) & I decided to start one close to us. We were part of the core team in for Secunda parkrun as well & always wanted to head up a parkrun one day.
We posted a message on the community Whatsapp group for people who would be interested in helping us as we didn’t know anybody here. Two people, Phillip & Ronald responded. The four of us did test walks at a few events and agreed that Ruimsig stadium would the best for a nice scenic one lap route & they then became our first Run Director’s. Kip Norman, the Ambassador for the area, introduced us to another few people who then also became part of our core team. Our team just grew from there and we new have a big parkrun family group.
What have been the highlights of your event so far?
We believe in having fun every Saturday but there are a few moments which stood out:
- Our New Year’s run. It’d been raining for a few days and we were concerned that we wouldn’t be able to use the route at all, I was at the point of canceling the run but Gill Fordyce convinced me to “make a plan” We couldn’t really change the route with such short notice so decided to stick to our route and give the people a proper water experience. Our famous water section was almost hip deep & everybody had to cross this, some parkrunners arrived in goggle’s & diving gear to add to the fun. Everything & everybody was wet but it was an amazing experience.
- Our birthday run, there was cake, snacks & cooldrinks. People came dressed up in their neon’s & we surprised our parkrunners with doing the route in the opposite direction which they all enjoyed…
Who makes your parkrun a success?
We have a lot of dedicated volunteers: Michael Vieira & Deon Koekemoer who are always willing to give up a run & help when we need; David Frame, our regular barcode scanner; Natalie Swart our dedicated and friendly tail walker; Jeremy Foster Jones who became a good friend and parkrun tourist with us; Margaux Needham our volunteer coordinator who ensure we have enough volunteers every week & the whole team of Run Director’s who’ve foregone so many of their own runs & time to make Ruimsig a success.
What makes your parkrun unique?
One moment you are stuck on the busy Hendrik Potgieter Rd and then suddenly we have this beautiful quiet area with a big beautiful dam, water streams, birds & friendly fishermen on the route. We have a very diverse group of parkrunners which makes it lively & a “happy place” to go to.
What is the route like?
Our route has been explained as not ridiculously difficult & not boringly easy. We have nice fast flat areas, some grass sections, water crossings & a nice slow hill towards the finish.
What is the typical Ruimsig parkrunner like?
We have a very diverse group of people. From the cross country athletes who are very competitive amongst each other, with a record time of just over 16 minutes, big groups of families of whom some are serious runners but mostly walkers, lots of older people who come to walk with their friends. We have a nice mix of about 40% runners & 60% walkers.
Have you had any notable visitors?
We’ve had quite a few visitors from overseas & also get lots of support from the parkrun SA tourist. Bruce & Gill Fordyce came to run by us on New Year’s day.
What inspirational stories have you heard at your parkrun?
My husband & myself have both gone on to run longer distances after starting at parkrun, I did my first parkrun at Voortrekker parkrun in 2015 as a depressed and overweight person. I actually cried when I finished because I never saw myself doing a 5km, my husband started joining me soon after and from there on we just got better and started doing 10 & 15km runs & I recently did my first 25km.
Another young lady Salome Nel who was part of the core team also started running more often and is doing her first 21km in November. We often see some of our regular parkrunners at the races doing long distances now.
What are the facilities like?
We have LOTS of parking & our start line is only about 100m from the parking area (depending on where you park) We have toilet facilities & several big shopping centers within a few km’s. We are just of the Hendrik Potgieter Rd which can get really busy so it’s better to plan your arrival for earlier than 7:30.
I did my home Constantia Greenbelt parkrun. I checked the results and within 3 minutes of me, I saw the name of a friend who emigrated to the UK 15 years ago! Turns out he’s now a regular parkrunner in the UK. Well done parkrun for keeping people in touch! Brian Snelling …
Wits parkrun has taken place for the past year on the West Campus of Wits University. The core team of volunteers share more of its story: How did Wits parkrun come about? Wits parkrun had its first official event on 13 October 2018. It was a long time in the planning with several routes…