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 went on Saturday 22 August 2015 with my wife and mother-in-law to give this parkrun thing a try. Never could I imagine that I would become hooked!
Not being a runner at the time, what fascinated me when I arrived at my first parkrun was the welcoming and energetic vibe from the volunteers. I got the immediate impression that parkrun is an activity and event for everyone no matter how young or old, fit or unfit you are. The simple nature and continuous encouragement from the amazing volunteers ensured that it was perfect way to get a Saturday started – and a great excuse to go for a coffee or breakfast with family and friends afterwards!
For those with a competitive nature, parkrun gives you that freedom to push yourself to beat your PB, but there is no pressure. The main purpose is to participate, enjoy the experience and have fun, finish the event with a smile on your face and then give a volunteer a high five at the end. For me, the most attractive aspect of parkrun is that it provided an escape from my daily life pressures, but it also provided a great opportunity to spend time with my family and friends.
parkrun has allowed to reconnect with some old mates and expand my network. I have been privileged to meet some amazing and passionate parkrunners from across the country over the past 5 years.Five years and 167 parkruns later, I really had high hopes of achieving the 200 mark by the end of the year. Unfortunately, as we all know, the year 2020 has sadly become too synonymous with COVID-19 and it’s meant that I will need to wait a little bit longer to hit my double-century. However, in its absence, (not)parkrun has encouraged me to become a more active runner during the week.
Thanks to parkrun, I have become a keen runner with the ambition of one day joining the #parkruntocomrades club. My two-year-old son is a parkrunner in the making as he often joins me on my (not)parkrun adventures. I cannot wait to enjoy the traditional parkrun experience again with my wife and son, and the rest of our amazing South African parkrun community that have contributed so much over the past few years in making Saturday mornings #parkrunday throughout our beautiful country.
Giulio Di Stefano
What will your #parkrunresolution be? As we get ready to welcome in a new year, we’d love for you to make your own #parkrunresolution and join us for a special eight week campaign. Here’s everything you need to know. There’s no doubt that 2020 has been an incredibly challenging year and, now more…
It was wonderful to see another record attendance last weekend, with 27,500 participants across 218 events, in 5 countries. And, of course, we would particularly like to welcome the 1,640 first timers who walked, jogged, ran or volunteered with us for the very first time. Whilst it’s sometimes easy to get bogged down in…