Jason Huntley, Event Director at Shongweni parkrun, recently volunteered for the 250th time at parkrun and has seen a huge growth in the popularity of parkrun since he first joined. Jason shares his story with us:
I started my parkrun journey in 2013, I had never heard the word “parkrun ” before, nor did I even know what it was all about. Robin Archer introduced me to my very first parkrun at Shongweni and I was hooked after that, who does not love a free event that you can attend every Saturday.
I started my volunteer role as the photographer as my main goal was to capture the events as well as the amazing course, as I wanted to encourage more individuals to register and participate in Shongweni parkrun. There were around 200 likes on our Facebook page and in no time it grew to over 3,000 likes, we now have around 5,000 likes and this hugely increased our attendance each and every Saturday, from 50 participants to an average of around 300 participants each week.
Myself and Robin together took over Shongweni parkrun in 2014, as the founders Pete and Erita Garthwaite immigrated to Australia.
Robin handed over the total reins as Event Director to Shongweni to me in 2016 as he took up his new role as parkrun ambassador. It has been amazing to see how much our parkrun has grown, we were also the very first parkrun to host a New Year’s Day double with 1000 hills. The concept of parkrun is amazing as it gets individuals out and about with their families on a Saturday morning, having loads of fun while striving towards a healthier lifestyle, with the added bonus of working towards the milestone shirts.
I love the interaction with everyone and the various volunteer roles, I have gotten to know so many people, from various backgrounds and hearing positive feedback about Shongweni is amazing, One year I ran Comrades with my brother “Darren” and along the way I was cheered with “Well done Mr parkrun”
I just want to thank my team of volunteers, from past till present for the amazing job they do and for the sacrifices they always show towards Shongweni. parkrun is not a parkrun and would never happen if it was not for our amazing volunteers and what they do behind the scenes to make sure that the event happens without any issues each and every week. I would encourage everyone who participates to step forward and volunteer as you do not know how much fun you are missing out on.
I have volunteered 254 times and completed 195 parkruns at 17 different courses.
Saturdays would not be the same without parkrun, It’s like something is missing in your life if you do not attend a parkrun on a Saturday morning, amazing way to start off one’s weekend.
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