My parents had been married for almost 48 years when my Dad passed away in December 2019. My Mum (Gill Langebrink), having been my Dad’s primary carer in the last few years of his life, was suddenly at a loss as what to do with herself, especially on a weekend. Mum has always been incredibly supportive of me and my parkrun tourism, so naturally I suggested to her that she comes to parkrun with us on a Saturday morning. Unfortunately, at the age of 84 her knees will not allow her to walk 5km, so we decided that volunteering would be the best thing for her.
I contacted the Melkbosstrand volunteer team and asked them if there was room for Mum in the team. They were very keen to have her join. The Melkbosstrand team are very warm and friendly, and they welcomed Mum with open arms. parkrun on a Saturday morning became the highlight of her week!
We had an opportunity to travel to the UK in February and we both attended Bushy parkrun as volunteers. Mum did Finish Token support and I was the Tail Walker. Mum loved her international volunteering experience, even though it was freezing cold! Sadly, Mum could only volunteer at 2 more home parkruns before they were suspended due to Covid, but she is eagerly awaiting the reopening of parkrun again so that she can once again enjoy her Saturday mornings with the Melkbosstrand volunteer team.
In fact, a couple of weeks ago I told her that I was reading up about parkrun’s Covid framework and she excitedly asked me “When are we starting again, next week?”. Even though at 84, Mum is in the “high risk group”, she is more than ready to resume volunteering, as she believes that Covid is going to be here for a long time, and we need to get back to living our lives, and not just existing.
It was a warm summer’s day and we were all off to get some fresh air and exercise at Delta parkrun. What we didn’t know was what would follow after the next few parkruns. We didn’t know each other, as we had never met before.
As I arrived at Delta Park and walked through the parking lot, I was approached by an anxious Uber driver, who asked for my assistance. I followed him to his car, only to find a cheery lady getting out the Uber and unfolding a white cane. Yes, she was up for the parkrun today.
We walked hand-in hand to the start, introducing ourselves. Anel, my new parkrun friend, showed me how to assist by her holding my elbow for guidance. The awkwardness was now gone and we were up for a great walk. Yes, we walk, but only for now!
But that was not my first parkrun friend, nor my last. Prior to meeting Anel, I was standing at the start, commenting on the passers-by, when another lady and her daughter answered my question. We started a conversation, as I assumed she must be a friend of one of us in our new growing group of friends.
On questioning the group, no one knew their names. Our new friends – Karen and our very courageous 10-year-old Peyton, also assist and walk with Gavin and his guide dog too. They were introduced by Anel.
We now have an active WhatsApp group – had coffee, breakfast, Christmas decorating days and plan to have a braai soon. But most of all, it’s the giggles, laughs and jokes that we love to share. Going to parkrun is fun in the sun with some exercise for the dogs and us alike.
Thank you Delta parkrun for getting us together.
With current government guidelines in South Africa allowing for gatherings of up to 500 people in open spaces such as parks, we are delighted to be able to announce that some more 5k events in South Africa will be able to restart from Saturday 9 October. Given the current legal gathering limits, we won’t…
Been wondering what a parkrun looks like? Where do you go? What do you do? How do you sign up? Whether you’re joining us for the first time, or a more seasoned parkrunner that just needs your memory refreshed, we’ve put together this handy guide to everything you need to know about parkrun. …