One day in early November 2019 we received an e-mail from a parkrun tourist from Gauteng by the name of Doris Dondur who indicated her plan to attend Outeniquasbosch parkrun (Mossel Bay in the Garden Route) and asked whether she could volunteer if we need an extra pair of hands – which we, of course, gladly accepted.
As Volunteer Coordinator I familiarised myself with our volunteer-to-be by looking at Doris’ Facebook profile. I saw a glamorous, fun-loving lady with a bright purple fringe, waving and smiling that is when I had an idea!
We had two mobile toilets for the ladies to use and these were normally “serviced” every Saturday morning by one of our dedicated volunteers, Joyce, so that they are in “spic and span” condition when the parkrunners arrive. I let Joyce in on my plan and we had a few giggles together in anticipation.
I spotted Doris when she arrived and alerted Joyce, who met her half-way to our starting area with a show of buckets, toilet brushes, rubber gloves and the works, and announced that they will start off with toilet duties! I can’t say what went through Doris’ head but I am sure she thought it was not exactly what she had in mind when she kindly offered to volunteer.
Unbeknownst to her, Joyce had already finished her normal routine – the bucket and brushes were just props. Doris admitted later that she was relieved when Joyce announced that everything was in order and did not need any intervention.
When I eventually met Doris, I revealed to her that it was a prank we played on her and we had quite a few priceless, merry moments. Actually, we laughed so much we had no mascara left on afterwards! She then proceeded with the pre-event set-up duties, was a pacer and even helped pack up afterwards.
A friend of Doris heard of the incident and had a one-and-only volunteer button made for her which she has since been wearing proudly on her cap. I think most readers will be able to guess which button it is on the attached photo!
parkrun is so fun, especially with people like Doris around, and I really miss it. Can’t wait to return soon.
Ita Janse van Rensburg
We have had a very successful return to parkrun at Umfolozi, with social distancing observed by everyone. Including the giraffes!
We took another big step forward last Saturday as 5k events returned in Denmark, the ninth country to see events restart post-COVID, plus we welcomed back junior parkrun events in Scotland. In total nearly 60,000 people took part in 775 events around the world last weekend, including nearly 2,500 for the very first time….
I first started doing parkrun in 2018 as I wanted to lose some weight. But in 2019, parkrun became my “way back”. Unfortunately, I suffered a serious attack from a dog back in August 2019 and lost 50% of my left hamstring. For any person, a serious injury, for a former Olympic Athlete… a…