Welkom parkrun in Free State launched in May 2017. This inviting parkrun has seen over 4,000 parkrunners complete the course more than 35,000 times between them! The core volunteer team tell us more about their story:
Who was responsible for Welkom parkrun being set up? The initial setup was done by Raffaele Moretti, Shane Waugh and Christo Van Eeden.
Volunteers Willie Niehaus, Jill Lombard, and Albert Niehaus are still actively involved since being at the first event.
What have been the highlights of your event so far? The first was that we had on our opening run both legends Bruce Fordyce and Louis Massyn (both known for their comrades records) participating in the run. We have also had the privilege of backpackers, high school netball and club rugby teams visiting our parkrun as part of their fitness training. This shows how parkrun bring all sectors of the community together.
What have been some memorable moments at Welkom parkrun? We have a Scottish terrier club participating weekly at our parkrun. We also celebrate special days like Woman’s day and TUTU day, which always make for memorable occasions.
Running in the rain is always memorable and we had our lowest attendance of 41 runners, with one runner Angela Smith celebrating her #100 run in the rain. We have only cancelled one event due to lightning, rain does not stop us as the course is run on a mixture of grass, sand and paving.
Who goes above and beyond to make Welkom parkrun a success? Willie Niehaus has volunteered for 149 out of 151 events. Linda Pretorius (95), Linieke Pretorius (94), Jonty Hall (85), Duan Pretorius (78) and the Barnie De Klerk (126) have all volunteered a huge amount.
What makes Welkom parkrun unique? We have music and water sprinklers for warm summer runs as well as a doggie swimming pool.
What is the course like? The course is run on a mixture of grass, sand and paving and very FLAT, with 4 tight corners that are a bit difficult. It’s ideal for a PB and is a double lapper.
What are the typical parkrunners who come like? We have a mixture of families, couples and individuals. Their ages range from 4 to 80-84 category and we have around 60% runners and joggers, with 40% walkers.
Have you had any notable visitors? We had two runners from Russia on 02/02/2019, Louis Massyn (comrades record holder for the most events) is one of our local residents and a very frequent visitor to our parkrun.
Sunil Soman Beni is a tourist parkrunner who visited us for his 119th parkrun. This runner never ran one venue twice.
What are the facilities like? Lots of parking with car guards, 200m from the start. Café and toilets are available at the finish point.
What is the one thing a first timer to your parkrun should know? Welkom parkrun is known for a no time pressure, casual, friendly festive atmosphere.
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