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WATCH: Parkrun's most motivated marshal, Pascal Simba, in action

13 September, 02:05 PM

Sharlene Rood

Meet Pascal Simba, a motivator and park-runner extraordinaire whose positivity seemingly knows no bounds – and he's funny to boot.

A video of him encouraging fellow runners at the Roodepoort parkrun has gone viral on social media for all the right reasons.

The super-motivated marshal says he is humbled by all the attention the video has garnered.

"I am very humbled. I believe in love… and this is my way of expressing love to anyone I meet, especially my fellow park-runners and park-walkers," he told News24.

Simba has been inundated with phone calls, messages and invitations to join other parkruns.

And while South Africans are celebrating him, he will be celebrating his 46th birthday on Friday.

Weight loss journey 

Simba, who was born the Democratic Republic of Congo, is a chemical engineer by profession. He's currently completing his PhD in this field.

The father of three told News24 he joined the Roodepoort parkrun in 2016. 

"I had difficulty breathing. I was overweight. That's what pushed me to start running," he said. He has lost 12kg since starting on this journey. His goal is to lose 20kg.  

But during those early days, he hardly ever stuck around after a race.  

"I didn't want to be noticed," he said. "I would just run and then disappear."

When Simba realised the event was organised with the help of volunteers, he decided to volunteer from time to time.

Helping people finish strong

Not long after, he began actively encouraging his fellow runners.

"After having done so much effort, after the race, you need someone or something to just uplift you," Simba said.

"My main focus is just to help people to finish strong in those final metres of the race. I want everyone to relish that moment, to enjoy it, to have a smile, to give it their all and finish in style.  

"If we can just do those small things, they will impact each and every one of us and I hope that will make our world a better place to live," he said.

"It's the strugglers and stragglers who he really gets running," Kip Norman, regional parkrun ambassador for the West Rand told News24.

He described Simba as the most selfless person he had ever come across.

"One particular morning we were short of volunteers and he just jumped in and helped.

'Everyone's number one fan'

"He is a very intelligent person, very humble, with a fantastic sense of humour. He's always got this naughty glint in his eye – that he's up to something."

"Everyone just loves him," Norman said.

Norman asked Roodepoort park-runners on Facebook to share the love and shower Simba with hugs.

Ashleigh Laurent who posted the video on Facebook described Simba as "everyone's number one fan".

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