There were quite a number of people who turned up for the U3A parkrun talk held at the Settlers Park retirement village last week Thursday, a very insightful talk about the history of parkrun.
Martin Neethling, the Port Alfreds parkrun run director, gave a brief history of him being a runner and how the parkrun was started back in 2004 in The United Kingdom by a man who wanted running partners.
“Parkrun started due to a person who wanted to have a normal jog with friends but no one took him up on the offer. So he spoke to a couple of people and, fortunately for him, there were people who wanted to join him and he got together about ten people and they all ran together,” said Neethling.
Port Alfred started its parkrun last year. Neethling also pointed out that parkruns are worldwide in different countries such as Australia, Canada, Denmark, Ireland, France to name just a few.
“We started our parkrun in Bushy Park on December 9 2017, and since then it has grown to 1,842 participants who have completed 8,597 Parkruns covering distances of 42,985km, including 1,962 new personal bests. A total of 94 individuals have volunteered 980 times,” Neethling said.
Port Alfred parkrun is a free weekly 5km event for runners of all standards, taking place every Saturday at 8am from the Port Alfred Town Hall, Causeway Road. It is not a race against other runners, but a 5km timed run, and Neethling said it can really be whatever you want it to be, whether that’s for fun or as part of a training plan.
“It offers an opportunity for all the local community, male or female, young or old, to come together on a regular basis to enjoy and get physically active in the bargain. We want to encourage people to jog or run together irrespective of their ability – this event is truly open to all and best of all it really is free,” Neethling added
Neethling said taking part is easy, just register before your first ever parkrun. The great thing is that you only ever need to do this once. Then just set your alarm for Saturday morning and get yourself there.
Dr Glenda Hicks also added that people are allowed to bring dogs on leashes and people can also come and take walks with their babies in prams on a nice day.
BY NTOMBENTSHA MSUTU