First parkrun draws 100s

2017-01-31 06:02
South African running legend Bruce Fordyce joined 515 runners at the first Bridgetown parkrun on Saturday.  PHOTO: Rashied Isaacs

South African running legend Bruce Fordyce joined 515 runners at the first Bridgetown parkrun on Saturday. PHOTO: Rashied Isaacs

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People from all walks of life joined in the festivities of the first Bridgetown parkrun at Nantes Park on Saturday, including South African ultra-distance running legend Bruce Fordyce.

Fordyce, who attends every inaugural parkrun, was pleasantly surprised by the 515-strong turnout.

“It was wonderful. 515? Our first parkrun ever we had 26 and the following week we had 17 because it rained. I am absolutely thrilled, because we are reaching out to all the different communities now and it is wonderful to see down here in the Cape. It is catching on like wildfire,” Fordyce exclaimed.

He also invited the greater parkrun community to join the runners in Bridgetown every Saturday as part of their parkrun tour.

He said he was impressed by the atmosphere the organisers created. Caroline Peters, one of the organisers, said the day could not have gone much better.

“I am extremely happy. When I woke up this morning, I already looked at the weather and saw that it would be a beautiful day. It was like the gods were shining down on us today,” she said.

She added there were two minor incidents, but they were swiftly dealt with by the paramedics who were on site for the duration of the event.

“These are people who have come out to walk for the first time. These are people who are coming off the couch, so you can imagine those incidents. But we are equipped to deal with those incidents here at the park.

“Thank you to everyone who came out today. Let’s grow this and own this parkrun.

Fordyce reiterated the parkrun initiative’s all-inclusive mantra.

“I think the magic ingredient is that [the parkrun] is all-encompassing. You saw there were some very fast guys. I mean, I was running fast and they dropped me for dead. They were gone, I just saw them in the distance and there were just bits of dust. But there is that category, the really fast and talented athletes, but at the back there is Tannie Labuschagne and she takes an hour and 15 minutes and she is just as important. We wait for her and let her take her time and she comes back the next week and runs 10 minutes faster. It is a very healthy addiction and I love how the community here have taken to it and embraced it,” he said.

He added the parkrun series is continuing to grow rapidly with more events to be launched in the coming weeks.

“We are going all over the country. There are two or three venues every month. There were 45 000 walking and running around SA in 93 different venues – twice the size of the Two Oceans and bigger than the Cycle Tour,” said Fordyce.

He concluded by saying that the most important people at the parkrun were the volunteers.

“If you don’t feel like walking or running because you just think that you can’t do 5km, come and be part of it by volunteering.”

Peters believes the parkrun event can change lives.

“We would like to change lifestyles. Diabetes and hypertension are diseases of lifestyle, so come here and change your lifestyle.”


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