More than 250 parkrun-runners with dogs and children gather on a chilly Saturday morning for the Fish Hoek parkrun. Fully dressed and therefore very content, I observe the eager faces and excited chatter as the athletes jump, hop, run and stretch to both prepare for the run or walk and to fight off the cold.
Welcome and Announcements
A few minutes before 8am, Adrienne gets up on her ‘soap box’ to welcome new runners, foreigners, Fish Hoek parkrun tourists (those from other parkruns around South Africa), 50th and 100th runners. Runners who make 50 or 100 runs get a t-shirt at Fish Hoek parkrun which is a decent way to show appreciation given that membership is free.
Ready, Set, Fish Hoek parkrun is a GO
At exactly 8am, they set off as dogs pull owners from side to side and kids race ahead of their parents. Happy people, I thought, such focus…. commitment.
In the words of a parkrun volunteer run director
I wander over to soap box woman to learn that she is one of the volunteer run directors for the Fish Hoek parkrun. The chief run director is Richard Healy who was just too involved with the runners to attend to nosy me. Adrienne is from Johannesburg and has been part of parkrun for 2 years and a volunteer for the same period of time. Hooked from the start, she ran the 5km (3.1miles) in 44 minutes; today she does it in just 30! Progress!
Runners from the USA and the U.K.
While I forced cold fingers to write, Adrienne answered my questions and took photos for the Fish Hoek parkrun Facebook Page, which she manages. As we talked about the event and runners, she tells me that her cousins from the USA and U.K. were among the runners and just then they passed by, waving with great glee. Adrienne, a photographer, owns a consulting business that provides marketing, project and social media management.
An International runner’s perspective
After the Fish Hoek parkrun, I asked Lorette, one of the 30 minute finishers a few questions. She loves parkrun because it provides the inspiration that she needs to keep on doing better. It’s a family event and free of charge for everyone. Some come to walk, others run, but everyone comes for fun.
Although she ran 5 mini-marathons in Indianapolis (2013), Sfax (2014), Turkey (2014), Boston (2015) and Cape Town (2015), she loves the no pressure aspect of parkrun. ‘I run against myself, against my own time, which is relaxing, while enjoying so see how runners inspire others’, she said.
The week before she was first in her age group at the Zandvlei parkrun! Lorette is a professed vegan and claims that her energy levels are better than ever and that she is healthier than before. I know this is true because she is my wife!
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