Bruce Fordyce and wife Gill photographed with local parkrun volunteers during Louis Trichardt’s first ever parkrun on Saturday. From left to right are volunteers Hennie Coetzee, Bruce, Jaco Voigt, Gill and Ferreira Nel.
Date: 15 February 2019 By: Andries van Zyl
More than 100 enthusiastic athletes of all ages, shapes and sizes set off for Louis Trichardt’s first ever official parkrun on Saturday, 9 February.
Nine-time Comrades Marathon winner Bruce Fordyce and CEO of Parkrun South-Africa was at hand to welcome athletes and thank the volunteers who made the parkrun a reality after almost five years of planning.
“Finally, at last! Louis Trichardt! Also, you know, this is a very contagious drug. So, we know that, shortly, it will be Musina, Tshipise … that’s how it goes, it travels ... So, we are thrilled to be part of parkrun,” said Fordyce in his opening remarks.
Fordyce added that on Saturday, local runners not only joined the 60 000 plus parkrun athletes at 150 venue across South Africa, but also the hundreds of thousands of athletes across the world. “You are about to embark on the most exciting journey of your life, because parkrun is global. It is all over the world. As you were sleeping last night, parkrun New-Zealand, organised, by the way, by two ex-South Africans, was running. As you were waking up, parkrun Australia was running. Now it is our turn, and as we finish, parkrun Vladivostok, parkrun Russia will go and then parkrun Europe, Poland, Ireland, France, Italy, all over and after we finish, parkrun America because they are always last,” said Fordyce jokingly.
The concept of parkruns is simple: You turn up every Saturday and run 5km, or if you are a junior, then 2km every Sunday. How fast you go does not matter and neither does what you are wearing. What matters is taking part.
The first ever parkrun was in Bushy Park, Teddington in the United Kingdom, when 13 intrepid parkrunners got together on 2 October 2004. Fordyce introduced the parkrun concept to South Africa in 2011, with the first run taking place at Delta Park in Johannesburg. A mere 26 athletes took part. “The next weekend there was less, because it was raining,” said Fordyce. However, today the parkrun community is growing all the time – but everything is still based on the simple, basic principles formed from the start: weekly, free, 5km, for everyone, forever.
To join the local parkrun family, all walkers, joggers and runners, young and old, with or without a pet or pram, need to register online by visiting https://www.parkrun.co.za/register/form/. This single registration will allow people to take part at every parkrun event across the world and have their times registered.
For more information about Louis Trichardt’s own parkrun, phone Jaco at Tel 084 616 2299.
Andries joined the Zoutpansberger and Limpopo Mirror in April 1993 as a darkroom assistant. Within a couple of months he moved over to the production side of the newspaper and eventually doubled as a reporter. In 1995 he left the newspaper group and travelled overseas for a couple of months. In 1996, Andries rejoined the Zoutpansberger as a reporter. In August 2002, he was appointed as News Editor of the Zoutpansberger, a position he holds until today.
More than 100 walkers, joggers and runners, including a team from Louis Trichardt High School, took part in Louis Trichardt’s first official parkrun the past weekend.
Bruce Fordyce mingles with the 100 plus athletes who joined Louis Trichardt’s first ever parkrun on Saturday. Pictured to Fordyce’s left is a runner who stood next to him at the start of the 1981 Comrades Marathon.
“Finally, at last! Louis Trichardt! Also, you know, this is a very contagious drug. So we know that, shortly, it will be Musina, Tshipise…” said nine times Comrades winner Bruce Fordyce at Louis Trichardt's first ever parkrun on Saturday.