Comrades champions support PMB’s first parkrun

2013-07-24 00:00

PIETERMARITZBURG’S first parkrun, a new, five-kilometre fun-running concept, takes place on July 27 at 8 am, starting and finishing at the Natal Canoe Club in Camps Drift.

The concept has taken off around South Africa and the world, and is backed nationally by Comrades legend Bruce Fordyce.

Locally, the event is organised by 1995 Comrades champion Shaun Meiklejohn and Kerry Koen, who was ninth in the women’s race this year.

“It’s not a race. That’s probably the biggest single advantage it has over other running events,” Fordyce, who will be attending Saturday’s first Pietermaritzburg parkrun, told The Witness.

“In the front, there are people who race each other or race against themselves, and there are some quick runners.

“The other day, at Elana Meyer’s parkrun in Stellenbosch, we had 10 people who ran the five kilometres in 15 minutes,” he said.

“That’s absolutely flying for that distance. On the other hand, at the back, you will get a woman pushing a pram, who might take over an hour.”

The concept has a number of advantages over running events as local organiser Shaun Meiklejohn explained: “It doesn’t cost any money to take part. It’s for all ages.

“Anyone can participate and have their time taken on a barcode system. At the end of the race, within a couple of hours, it will be on the parkrun website.

“SMSes will also go out with the runners’ times, so they can track their progress. It’s a free, safe environment, which is not on roads. So there is not a traffic problem.

“You don’t have to belong to a club. You don’t have to pay money, a registration fee or have a licence number,” he said.

All that is needed to enter is to register online at www.parkrun.co.za

The parkrun will be held every Saturday, starting at 8 am, at the Natal Canoe Club.

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