Michel Bega
Multimedia Editor
2 minute read
27 May 2017
6:01 am

PICS, VIDEO: SA has parkrun fever

Michel Bega

Each week about 35 000 people throughout SA wake up early on a Saturday morning and head to the starting line for the 8am start of their local 5km parkrun.

Mofolo parkrun, in Soweto. Finishers last week: 31. This is a fairly flat 5km which sees runners pass the Mofolo Cultural Bowl stage, with its rainbow-coloured arched roof, and take in some wonderful graffiti-decorated homes. Picture: Michel Bega

There are 106 parkruns around the country and Joburgers have a fair number of there runs to choose from.

We explore a few of them here.

parkrun (yes, always spelled with the lowercase ‘p’) organise free, weekly, 5km timed runs around the world. They are open to everyone, are always free, and safe and easy to take part in.

Woodlands parkrun, at the Woodlands Office Park in Woodmead. Finishers last week: 701. Picture: Michel Bega

Woodlands parkrun, at the Woodlands Office Park in Woodmead. Finishers last week: 701. Picture: Michel Bega

The parkruns are open to everyone irrespective of running ability. The concept was introduced to South Africa by nine-time Comrades Marathon winner Bruce Fordyce, who has completed 263 parkruns to date.

The South African record for the quickest run is held by Adam Lipschitz and is 14:17, but many walk the routes in just over an hour.

Roodepoort parkrun, at Len Rutter Park in Roodepoort. Finishers last week: 688. The parkrun team has contributed significantly to reviving this park as a safe space for locals and visitors. It also takes runners past the Rand Society of Model Engineers mini-train station and an old steam-locomotive. Picture: Michel Bega

Roodepoort parkrun, at Len Rutter Park in Roodepoort. Finishers last week: 688. The parkrun team has contributed significantly to reviving this park as a safe space for locals and visitors. It also takes runners past the Rand Society of Model Engineers mini-train station and an old steam-locomotive. Picture: Michel Bega

On 18 May parkrun South Africa was awarded the Participation Event of the Year Award at the 2017 Discovery Sport Industry Awards.

Golden Harvest parkrun, in Northgate. Finishers last week: 716. Fordyce rates this as the hardest parkrun in Johannesburg, and possibly the hardest in South Africa, alongside Thousand Hills parkrun in Botha's Hill, KwaZulu-Natal. Picture: Michel Bega

Golden Harvest parkrun, in Northgate. Finishers last week: 716. Fordyce rates this as the hardest parkrun in Johannesburg, and possibly the hardest in South Africa, alongside Thousand Hills parkrun in Botha’s Hill, KwaZulu-Natal. Picture: Michel Bega

Since its inception in the UK in 2004, parkrun has grown to have hundreds of events in countries such as the USA, Australia, New Zealand and even the Camp Bastion British military base in Afghanistan.

* All photographs were taken with a mobile smartphone camera.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H-aVU3opCV8

Delta parkrun in Delta Park, Victory Park. Finishers last week: 1,028. The run features a long hill climb two kilometres in which runners refer to as the Polly Shorts of Delta Park. The first parkrun in South Africa took place here on 12 November 2011. Twenty-six runners took part in the first run. Picture: Michel Bega

Delta parkrun in Delta Park, Victory Park. Finishers last week: 1,028. The run features a long hill climb two kilometres in which runners refer to as the Polly Shorts of Delta Park. The first parkrun in South Africa took place here on 12 November 2011. Twenty-six runners took part in the first run. Picture: Michel Bega

Alberts Farm parkrun in Greymont. Finishers last week: 491. The course is quite challenging with gradual uphills. You also pass a lake as well as enjoy stunning views of the Joburg city skyline from the highest point. Picture: Michel Bega

Alberts Farm parkrun in Greymont. Finishers last week: 491. The course is quite challenging with gradual uphills. You also pass a lake as well as enjoy stunning views of the Joburg city skyline from the highest point. Picture: Michel Bega