Parkrun SA celebrates six years in style

Bruce Fordyce (Parkrun SA founder) cuts the cake while parkrun founder, Paul Sinton-Hewitt reflects on what a journey it has been. Photo: Nicholas Zaal

The sixth anniversary of Parkrun South Africa saw 1 700 runners celebrate the occasion in style and colour at Delta Park.

The founder of parkrun, Paul Sinton-Hewitt, founder of Parkrun South Africa, Bruce Fordyce, and other leading members of parkrun from as far as New Zealand were in attendance on 11 November, as runners celebrated by wearing parkrun shirts, singing happy birthday to the running movement, and running the 5km run with South African flags before sharing a delicious cake.

Paul Sinton-Hewitt (parkrun founder) and wife Joanne cut the cake, while Parkrun SA founder Bruce Fordyce recalls how it all started. Photo: Nicholas Zaal

“When I started parkrun in 2004 [in Bushy Park, London] I wanted it for everyone, whether young or old, disabled or not,” said Sinton-Hewitt.

“We are growing. Every month there are new events all over the world.”

He said the free weekly 5km runs built social cohesion and allowed friends to meet and have fun together while exercising, whether running or walking.

Fordyce recalled how he brought parkrun to South Africa, along with his wife Gill and daughter Cara.
“I remember six years ago we ran the first parkrun here at Delta Park and there were only 26 of us,” said Fordyce.

Now Delta Park parkrun sees 1 100 to 1 200 runners every Saturday morning at 8am. There are also 125 parkruns in South Africa each week.

“We have one of the largest parkruns in the country,” said event director, Gillian Findlay

“People who visit Joburg often come to run this one because it was the first in SA. We have a challenging route with nice hills, and also the best volunteers around.”

Parkrun SA selebrates six years in style at Delta Park. Photo: Nicholas Zaal

Some of the heads of parkrun: Gill and Bruce Fordyce (SA); Joanne and Paul Sinton-Hewitt (parkrun founder); Noel and Lian de Charmoy (New Zealand) with running legend Brian Chamberlain. Photo: Nicholas Zaal

Natalie Brand with her dog, Whiskey, have fun at Delta Park parkrun. Photo: Nicholas Zaal

Richard Cook and Bruce Berry share a joke or two before the run. Photo: Nicholas Zaal

Delta Park parkrun sees 1 700 runners for its sixth anniversary. Photo: Nicholas Zaal

Antoinette van der Walt with her dog, Strudel enjoy the parkrun. Photo: Nicholas Zaal

The Gannie family, Hasina, Ahmed, Raeesa Khan, Mehmooda and Shabir, with Yasirah in front. Photo: Nicholas Zaal

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