South Africans are flocking to the parkrun

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parkrun launches in Springbok

As spring arrives in South Africa the parkrun numbers are starting to grow rapidly. Last Saturday, according to the weekly newsletter, over 26,000 people ran parkruns and they expect the largest attendance figure (28,766) to be broken before the end of the year. Equally astonishing is that last year the total SA parkrun attendance figure was 782,009 runners and walkers. There are still 4 months of the year to go and they’ve have already topped that figure (785,833). By the end of the year they may well have total registrations of half a million and attendance figures of over a million.

With numbers growing, new venues pop up and one such venue is Springbok in the Northern Cape. The following is an extract from the August 25th newsletter.

“When Nasreen Hassan first contacted me about starting a parkrun in Springbok, Northern Cape, I was initially very sceptical.  For those of us who live in one of the big cities Springbok is one of those mythical places far, far away and a long time ago! To be honest I was hoping Nasreen would lose interest and the distant Springbok parkrun would vanish off the edge of my radar screen. I did not take Nasreen’s unbounding enthusiasm and tenacity into account and she just kept battling on never taking “no” for an answer.

For weeks the enthusiastic Springbok community held their own informal parkrun time trials while Nasreen gathered an enthusiastic volunteer group around her and spread the word. Eventually there was nowhere for me to hide and Springbok parkrun was given its starting date.

I should have remembered that these far-flung parkruns are often some of the most successful as we have seen from the success of parkruns like those at Upington, Langebaan and Mogol. The local communities are driven to make them succeed and the volunteers are motivated people.”

For a list of venues click through to the parkrun list of venues.

parkrun tourist

The first Springbok park took place on August 18th, let’s pick up the story from the newsletter again.

“So it was that last Saturday 90 of us gathered to run the inaugural Springbok parkrun. The group included a crowd of local runners and parkrun tourists from all over South Africa. We ran along traffic free soft dirt roads past Quiver trees, windmills and of course the beautiful Namaqualand flowers.

Yes it’s flowers season in the Northern Cape and there are thousands of beautiful, yellow, orange blue and white flowers blanketing the rolling hills. I’m already planning a trip for Spring 2017 over two weekends where I can run Springbok parkrun one Saturday and Langebaan the next.

Speaking of tourism, I must pay tribute to the remarkable group of parkrunners known as the parkrun tourists. The tourists are a completely parkrun addicted group who run parkruns all over South Africa and in many cases as many different ones as they can. This was the case at the launch of Springbok parkrun where about 20 tourists joined the locals for the run. Some had flown up and others had driven nearly 2,500 kilometres to be there. On one level, this seems ridiculous; travelling vast distances to run 5 kilometres, but such is the strength of their parkrun addiction that nothing will stop committed parkrun tourists.”

 

The #IGNITEJozi team are already at the start #parkrun #modderfonteinreserve

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Volunteers

I have volunteered twice in recent weeks, on both occasions I could’ve stayed in bed but once you’ve registered you’re a part of the community. Helping the other runners get their times and keep records or just handing out tokens, the jobs are all equally important and need to be done so that the operation can run smoothly. Let me put it this way, it’s the right thing to do if you run parkrun. The volunteers usually get their run in before the parkrun proper starts but they welcome you to the finish with a cheer and a smile, and sometimes even sweets.

What are you waiting for? Join the phenomenon of parkrun

It's pretty out here #parkrun #modderfonteinreserve #IGNITEJozi

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Parkrun records

Number of events: 8,056 Number of runners: 271,188 Number of runs: 2,104,238
Number of locations: 83 Number of clubs: 1,297 Number of PBs: 438,002
Average runs per event: 261.2 Average number of runs per runner: 7.8
Average run time: 00:39:47 Total hours run: 159Years 112Days 18Hrs 59Min 51Secs Total distance run: 10,521,190km
Female record holder:
Jenna CHALLENOR – 16:35 – Event 40 (03/08/13)
Male record holder:
Adam LIPSCHITZ – 14:17 – Event 142 (18/07/15)
Age graded record holder: Margie SAUNDERS – 98.48 % – 19:42 – Event 69 (08/11/14)

 

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