Ladysmith parkrun in KZN celebrated their third birthday on the same day the Springboks celebrated their third Rugby World Cup victory. Event Director Gerhard de Lange tells us more about their first 3 years:
How did Ladysmith parkrun come about? Lianda (my wife) and I experienced parkrun in East London, and with the opening of Three Silos I asked Bruce Fordyce how do we go about to start an event in Ladysmith. We did the research, and somebody from our local golf club suggested that we make use of the golf course. They gave us the green light, we measured the route, and the rest is history.
What have been the highlights of your event so far? From the beginning we had a very diverse field. We have different races and religions. With all this diversity, we are a happy parkrun family. We reached a high point of just over 500 runners after we started, but now we are between 150 and 200 runners per week.
Who helps to make Ladysmith parkrun such a success? Since the start we never had a problem with volunteers. Some Saturdays we have marshals all over the route, and they are very keen to help. One of our volunteers is Doug Hamilton, a Comrades legend. He is now 88, and in his days he ran just over 6 hours and came 12th, he won the 100 miler a few times, and still loves it to be with the running community.
What makes Ladysmith parkrun unique? The diversity, and everybody accepting each other, and enjoying an hour together once a week.
What is the route like? The route is on the golf course, with inclines and down hills, with a paved path for about 100 metres. The rest on grass or pathways.
What other events do your parkrunners do? We have a few runners who started with parkrun and then got hooked on running and now already completed two Comrades marathons.
What are the facilities like? We make use of the club house with the permission of the golf club. The parking area is big enough and the walk to the start and finish is about 300 meters.
What is the one thing a first timer to your parkrun should know? Do not start too fast, for the first kilometre is a steady incline which can easy cost you. During summer months, bring water, for Ladysmith reaches very high temperatures.
As I took to the road yesterday, another glorious meeting up with fellow parkrunners, suitably masked and keeping our obligatory distance, I could not help but think how important these moments of meeting on a Saturday morning have become for me. Now in our 5th month of lockdown and for many who live on their…
As the growth of parkrun continues apace (even during a worldwide pandemic) understanding the views and attitudes of 7 million registered parkrunners is not only critical to the organisation’s decision making, but also incredibly challenging. The evolution of parkrun, from a single event and a handful of participants, to thousands of locations across five continents…