On Saturday 22 October, Delta parkrun, where parkrun first started in South Africa, celebrated its 500th event in style. Bruce Fordyce and his wife, Gill, were there to join the festivities and tell us all about it:
When I’m asked to choose one adjective to describe parkrun I always choose the simple word, ‘Happy’. parkruns are quite simply happy occasions filled with happy parkrun people. I have noticed that no matter how grumpy I may be, or how stressed from a difficult week, my mood always improves as soon as I arrive at a parkrun on a Saturday morning.
There was no happier parkrun venue than last Saturday at Delta parkrun in Johannesburg where parkrun South Africa began. Delta parkrun celebrated its 500th event and wow did it celebrate in style. There was a large and excited crowd of over 700 runners, walkers and volunteers who arrived to commemorate this special occasion.
There were many new and familiar faces who attended. Many parkrunnners had dressed up in bright party costumes which added humour to the already exciting atmosphere. It was incredibly heart-warming to see several old friends of Delta parkrun, particularly those who were part of its earliest days back in 2011. Especially noteworthy in attendance were Tracy Rankin, proudly wearing her bright blue 500 milestone shirt, an amazing achievement, and Dieter Meyer. Dieter chose the occasion of Delta’s 500th parkrun to run his 500th milestone with all his parkrun friends. Congratulations Dieter!
All the magnificent celebrations were filmed by ENCA for the national news channels as the energetic crowd of parkrunners and parkwalkers set off around the familiar Delta route.
As I ran, a hundred memories came flooding back; memories of parkruns when we had fewer than 50 people participating, memories of volunteers, runners, joggers and walkers. And memories of the groundbreaking steps we took in the past where we welcomed walkers at all our parkruns and all the multiple achievements which we have attained throughout the growth of parkrun South Africa. But our happiest memories were of parkrunners enjoying their Delta parkrun experiences on Saturday mornings.
The 500th milestone celebrations were very special, and I noticed how especially happy the entire volunteer team were in managing the parkrun and how grateful the participants were towards the volunteers!
It would be wonderful if parkrunners could mark this special 500 milestone occasion by donating to our defibrillator campaign: https://www.backabuddy.co.za/news/2022/09/29/bruce-fordyce-sets-his-heart-on-providing-defibrillators-to-200-parkruns-in-south-africa/
Let’s make our parkruns even safer, so that they are both safe and happy!
Here’s to the next 500th milestone at parkrun in Southern Africa. May they continue to be happy occasions they have always been.
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