My First Parkrun

My First Parkrun

For the past year I’ve heard story after story about just how fun parkruns are, and how they’re the latest craze sweeping the globe. I’d even gone so far as to sign up for them 6 months ago but was yet to actually take part in one, despite the Shongweni parkrun being less than 5kms from my house.

That all changed on Saturday morning when I headed to the Shongweni Polo Club to experience the craze first hand. I was blown away by the sheer number of people arriving at the venue, which was far in excess of 200 by the time we started the run. Even more amazing was the pre-run briefing where they handed out shirts to people taking part in their 50th, 100th, and 200th run. It was mind blowing and warm.

The run itself consisted of 2 laps of a 2.5km trail course. There were sections of single track, sections of dirt road, and sections across the fields. The “runners” were young and old, fit and not-so-fit, kids and dogs, and so the list went on. Everyone was there, and everyone had a blast.

My only real complaint is that you get bottled in on the single track sections where overtaking was difficult, especially on the second lap when you catch up to the walkers. That said, it’s all about the fun and is really not meant to be race. The walkers also truly made every effort to clear the trail.

Parkruns take place at multiple venues across South Africa (and the world), and each is unique in their own way. For example, in my area alone, you can run the trails of the Shongweni parkrun, take on the hills of the Valley of a Thousand Hills, or experience on the vibrant Durban beachfront.

It’s also worth mentioning that one of the joys of running the Shongweni parkrun is that there is usually a large crowd of people flying model planes on the field, which the kids (and me) loved.

It was definitely a great way to start a Saturday morning and who knows, maybe next time I’ll join them for the post run cup of coffee.