This week’s parkrun profile takes us to Bronberrik parkrun in Centurion. Lucy Erasmus tells us more about the event
How did you get involved with parkrun? I started my parkrun journey at Voortrekker Monument because I felt I did not have anything in common with my husband and daughter who are very good athletes. They ran a few parkruns and asked me to join. After 15 parkruns Voortrekker closed down and we went to Valhalla where I did 4 runs.
I saw the information of Bronberrik parkrun that was much closer to my home and have done 71 parkruns in total here at Bronberrik. Bronberrik immediately got under my skin. The route was a challenge in the beginning but my family and I were received with so much love, kindness and affection that we made Bronberrik our home run.
Friendly volunteers to cheer you on and encourage you, different dog breeds but most of all the families talking, husbands encouraging their wives, mummies supporting their little ones and friends joking along the route is why I love my event here at Bronberrik.
How would you describe your course to a first-timer? Our course is a real trail with a steep uphill (Dumb Bell Hill) which has been a challenge for many a good runner. It’s slippery when wet with 2 dips, Ronda sloot and Hennops drift, mostly dirt and grassy route.
What would you say to a ‘parkrun tourist’ to encourage them to visit your parkrun? Allan Hill, a parkrun tourist in his own words on Facebook said: “Bronberrik was a really lekker run this morning and volunteers are tops here.”
Our parkrun is all about family and community. We encourage the wellbeing of families doing parkruns together and that the parkrun is not only for fast runners and experience runners but mostly for people who has never done sport and recovering from injuries or operations to knees and backs.
Where does everyone go after parkrun? We do not have an official place for post run coffee as the weather is usually so lovely that we stand around and chat in the finish area and sip on the water that we bring with us. The time together we also use to catch up with regulars, tourist and visitors.
What is unique about Bronberrik parkrun? Our event was the 100th event opened in Southern Africa.
Can you share any stories from Bronberrik parkrunners? We have a little Pomeranian dog called Jossie B who will be doing her 50th parkrun in 2 runs time. She loves her parkrun here at Bronberrik and knows the route so well. If her owner Lily tries to take her off route she goes and lies flat on her little stomach and will not move until Lily moves forward again. The best is when she is finished her 5km there is a bowl full of water for her to cool down. After rain she is so muddy and our regulars love her and newcomers cannot help but love her. I think she is the most petted dog at parkrun.
We also have remarkable reunion stories such as Andre’s story;
Rewind: it is 1985, 1986. Long before the days of parkrun, one of Bronberrik’s core volunteer team members, Andre Eagar, was training for Comrades and other races while staying in a youth centre in Pretoria. This is where he met two deaf runners, Phillip Dobson (who was partially sighted as well) and Johannes Campher. Phillip and Johannes were both still working at the former Volkskas Bank at the time. They used to run together and train together, which included Comrades and the first Long Tom ultra-marathon, where Andre and Phillip had supported Johannes, who was doing the race.
As time moved on, they separated ways. They all got married and both Phillip and Johannes had moved out of Pretoria.
Fast forward to 2019. Andre was doing another parkrun than his home run and on his return, looked through Bronbrerrik’s Facebook page to see what happened during the day. To his surprise, there was a picture tagged “Phillip Dobson”. Knowing there are not too many people in South Africa with that name, he immediately followed up through Facebook and was able to confirm that it was indeed the same Phillip Dobson, now staying in Worcester. They soon caught up with all the years.
Not much later, Phillip had to travel to Pretoria for business and the first thing he did, was to ask Andre where he would do parkrun that Saturday. Andre invited him back to Bronberrik and on 17 August 2019 they had an emotional reunion after 29 years. Phillip also put Andre in touch with Johannes, who now stays in Bloemfontein and who is still a keen runner.
Is this not amazing what parkrun combined with social media can do?
What impact has your parkrun had on the local community? We are joined regular by Heal the Hennops volunteers who assist in cleaning up our spruit and encouraging people to be more aware of the effect of littering and what it does to our environment. We have regular runs where our parkrun family help cleaning by plogging. We also thank Carla and the team from Fresh who not only used our event to clean up our area and spruit, but also planted five trees.
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