News - 4th November 2021

From East to West


Beverley and Henry Gomes started their parkrun journey in South Africa, but it has taken them to the other side of the world, on a parkrun adventure from the far East to the Westernmost parkrun in the world! Beverley tells us more. 


We did our first parkrun at Bellville, near Cape Town, with me staggering in on the 60th minute, then spending the rest of the day on the couch to recover!


It took us a long while before we did our second, but then as usually happens the bug firmly bit and we became regular parkrunners, we enjoyed it so much.




I began volunteering in the tail walker position at Franschhoek, which has become our “home run”. It suited me perfectly – my goal was more to get the km under my feet than to achieve a good time. Henry, on the other hand, is super competitive and he began chasing time and achieved a sub 30 minute regularly.


parkrun for me became my health and fitness introduction. Never having been sporty as a youngster and having never walked further than my car to the office for the majority of my adult life, I knew that I needed to take control of my weight and my health and parkrun became a non negotiable part of that journey.


My early goals were to complete two parkruns a month to clock up 10km – I now average 100 km a month, have lost 23kg and love walking. However setting the goal gets you out of the warm bed that is the biggest deterrent to any fitness goal.


As we were now firm parkrun addicts, when the opportunity came for us to attend our first overseas parkrun in Inverness, Scotland in 2018 – we made sure that we were in the town on Saturday morning keen to fly our South African flag. It was a great experience and we were made to feel very welcome. We committed to making sure our future holidays included a parkrun wherever we could.


In April 2019 we set off an an epic holiday and this time we arranged our schedule to allow us to do two parkruns. The first was Futakotamagawa in Tokyo, Japan. A lovely flat course following along a river through an enormous sports field, with every kind of sport being played that morning. For me it was one of my personal best times! We met four other South Africans on the course that day including the South African Event Director and his family.


Finishing the Parkrun in Japan with Rob and his daughter_resize_47


We then boarded a cruise ship and set sail across the pacific ocean, crossing the international date line and the equator in 16 days.


16 sunsets at sea_resize_63


We disembarked in Canada and spent a week on Vancouver Island. We selected our guest house for its proximity to the Clover Point parkrun. This was a beautiful course too, an out and back run along the edge of the bay with large green spaces along the way. There was a yacht race taking place in the bay and Victoria harbour that day and beautiful snow topped mountains on the horizon.




Again we found that parkrun is really a big global family. Everyone makes you feel so very welcome. We met a lot of South Africans on this run. They laughingly told us if we needed a hairdresser, a doctor or a dentist we would find a South African one easily!


This course was the furthest west in the world at the time!


You can be sure that our next overseas trip will be planned around a strategic Saturday morning location.

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