The ‘parkrun Raiders’ are most probably the oldest group of parkrun tourists in South Africa. They formed a week after Roodepoort parkrun was launched and “toured” between Roodepoort, Delta and Modderfontein Reserve parkrun events. The Raiders and their offspring, the ‘barkrun Raiders’ visit different events on a weekly basis, Carmen Walker Campbell and Charlotte Megannon share their stories about Dobby and Alf.
Carmen writes, “we needed a friend for our young St Bernard, Ben, and I was looking for a new running partner, so I started researching dogs that love running.
I found Dobby, a year old German Shorthaired Pointer. When I got there, I pulled out the money they had advertised her for, and they said: “No, just take her”, I should have known… she is crazy. Crazy for running! My husband says most of the time her expressions look comatose, except for when she is running – then her smile is from ear to ear.
I started taking her to parkrun. She cannot contain herself at the briefing and doesn’t understand why we are all just standing around waiting for the start when we could already be running. I have to walk her round and away from everyone as it becomes a noisy affair. About 30 seconds before 8:00, I start to rejoin the crowd and we set off. She still barks as if she is on a hunt for the first couple of hundred meters but once the initial excitement has settled, she’s on a mission to win! Her only draw-back to her competitiveness is me; I really have to run to keep up.
parkrun is extra exciting because we get to drive to different events, I hate it if the parkrun Raiders vote for an event where dogs are not allowed because that is another time her face has expression, but the expression is sad.
My best friend and running partner Dobby gets me out of bed often when I could possibly have chosen to take the lazy route. Since getting Dobby I’ve enjoyed my runs so much more.”
Charlotte adds, “Alf (the Bull Terrier) started going to parkrun as a small puppy, his home parkrun is Roodepoort, however he has completed many other parkruns. Saturdays are always his favorite days seeing his people in their running shoes, he would do a dance of joy waiting to get into the car to leave. He has completed over 100 parkruns.
It’s been a long time since Alf was able to go to a parkrun and the effect has been huge. Alf has always loved the wind in his hair and the sun on his back but ever since lockdown he has been unable to experience his one true joy of parkrun (other than napping on the beds and roast chicken). The lockdown runs up and down the driveway with his Dad, Michael, could never measure up to the freedom of the wide-open space and endless possibility of a parkrun. Although he’s coming out of lockdown a bit chunkier than he went in, Alf is ready and raring to go and can’t wait for parkrun to start up again.”
My parkrun journey started by chance back in August 2015 at Ebotse. A year earlier, I had a life-changing accident which prevented me from participating in many fitness activities. A colleague at the time suggested that I try this new craze called parkrun that her and her family had become addicted to. So, off I…
Last Saturday we were delighted to see parkrun events in Japan and Western Australia restart. Alongside parkruns currently operating in New Zealand, other Australian states and Territories, and the Falkland Islands, we saw 89 events welcome more than 8,500 walkers, joggers and runners, with over 900 volunteers, almost one hundred of whom were volunteering with…