This past Saturday saw our local Parys park run welcome 100 participants. One of the smaller park runs, Parys has only had 100 or more runners three times since the first event almost 18 months ago. The inaugural park run in Parys (8 November 2014) saw 123 participants and on 4 April 2015 they had their highest number with 126 park runners.
Park run is a free, weekly, timed event for walkers and runners of all ages. These five-kilometre events take place on Saturday mornings in parks, cities and towns throughout the world. South Africa loves park running and it has taken our country by storm. There are now 72 park run locations in South Africa. There are 215,000 registered park runners in South Africa.
Cooler temperatures and clear skies on Saturday morning saw local numbers get a boost with visitors from across the country and as far away as Malawi. The Moodley family from the Modderfontein park run in Johannesburg came to Parys for the first time on Saturday. They have each completed over 100 park runs: Kesaven with 119 park runs completed, Jamilah with 125 and Sagren with 133.
“Even though it is called ‘park run’, we welcome walkers. In fact, more participants walk than run,’ says Lisa de Speville, one of the Parys parkrun Run Directors. She shares the role with Karen Addison, Lorette Pretorius, Rene Hartslief.
“Parkrun is not a competitive event,” de Speville explains. “It is a fun, Saturday morning activity for the whole family. We have many children who participate every week as well as older folk in their 70s and 80s. Many people enjoy seeing their times improve as they get fitter and faster, but for most participants it is just about being out there on the route.”
The Parys parkrun is a dog-friendly event. Four-legged participants are very welcome provided that they are kept on a lead at all times to prevent people from being tripped or bitten and to avoid incidents with other dogs.
As a free, weekly event, parkrun is made possible by volunteers.
“A number of volunteers take time out from participating to assist at events,” says de Speville. “We rely on their goodwill to help with tasks like timekeeping, handing out position tokens, capturing results and marshaling to make each event possible. It is fun and rewarding to volunteer and a lovely way to get to know fellow park runners.”
When participating in a parkrun for the first time, remember to register on the parkrun website (www.parkrun.co.za). Complete the form to receive your unique barcode. Print it, cut it out and bring it along with you to every parkrun event. We recommend putting it into a zip-seal bag. The barcode is used to log you in at the finish and it can be used at any parkrun in the world. After every event you receive an email from parkrun with your time, position (overall, gender and age group), personal best time and number of parkruns completed. It’s a wonderful way to track your progress.
Parys Parkrun website is www.parkrun.co.za/parys/
Date: Every Saturday morning
Start time: 08h00 (aim to arrive at least 5 minutes before the start)
Venue: Mimosa Gardens, corner Kruis and Boom Street, Parys
Distance: 5 kilometres