More are joining the parkrun movement

2018-01-17 06:00
Runners ready for action at the Rooifontein Game Farm. Photos: Facebook

Runners ready for action at the Rooifontein Game Farm. Photos: Facebook

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Bruce Fordyce, Comrades legend and CEO of parkrun in South Africa, says in one of his recent newsletters that parkrun has become as much a part of South African culture as braaivleis and brandewyn and coke.

Every Saturday morning, 35 000 people walk or run 5 km at 126 venues across South Africa.

The Kimberley parkrun began on 23 March 2015 with just 157 runners and walkers. The number of parkunners showing up at the Rooifontein Game Farm each Saturday has grown remarkably, with numbers sometimes exceeding 300 runners.

On Saturday (21/01), Kimberley parkrun will be hosting its 153rd event.

Since 25 November, Jacobsdal also has its own parkrun.

The popularity of parkrun can be attributed to various factors.

Firstly, it is free. Runners and walkers will never be charged to participate in an event.

Secondly, the 5 km parkrun in Kimberley is arguably one of the most iconic parkrun routes in the country, with the Du Toitspan mine dump in the background to remind runners of Kimberley’s rich diamond history.

A sunrise over the Rooifontein Game Farm in winter is also something stunning to behold.

It is perhaps also the only parkrun which stretches over two provinces – the Northern Cape and the Free State.

Thirdly, it is fun. People from all levels of athletic ability get together every Saturday morning.

Olympic athletes come and blitz the route in just over 15 minutes. Soldiers come and sweat bullets to try and beat their commanding officers. School kids do the parkrun to get fit for hockey and rugby.

However, the bulk of the participants are people who come to walk the course, taking an hour or more, leisurely chatting to friends and simply enjoying the outdoors.

Parkrunners also get recognised for their efforts. People register on the parkrun website (www.parkrun.co.za) to recieve a barcode.

They need to bring this along to each parkrun so that their time and position can be recorded.

After 50 parkruns, participants receive a red T-shirt to acknowledge the achievement.

Similarly, after 100 and 250 runs, they receive black and green shirts respectively.

Juniors (u.18) receive a certificate after they have completed their first ten runs.

The Kimberley parkrun starts at 07:00 at the Rooifontein Game Farm outside Kimberley every Saturday.

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