Youngest ever volunteer for Port Alfred parkrun

Five-year-old, Damien van der Walt, made his mark at Port Alfred parkrun yesterday when he completed his 15th parkrun, and became the youngest volunteer ever in Port Alfred.

Damien van der Walt as the youngest ever volunteer in Port Alfred takes up the rear as the Tail Walker, while Grandad, Riaan Colyn, walks a few metres in front of him.

Riaan Colyn encouraged his grandson, Damien, to join him at parkrun since he is an avid volunteer and runner. Damien took the challenge, and the rest is history – 15 parkrun’s later he felt it was time to give something back. He asked if he could be a volunteer, and would like the role of the Tail-Walker.

The Tail Walker stays right at the back of the field and should be the last person to cross the finish line ensuring that everyone is accounted for. They let any marshal out on the course know that they can collect nearby signs and leave their post. Volunteers undertaking this role receive both a run credit and a volunteer credit.

Damien van der Walt

Children under 11 have to be accompanied by an adult who must always be at arm’s length of the minor, so Damien’s grandad agreed to accompany his grandson on his Tail-Walking mission, but had to walk ahead of him, as Damien took his duty very seriously and had to be the last person!

When the run director, Martin Neethling confirmed that Damien registered as a volunteer in Port Alfred with Gill Fordyce she was thrilled. “Martin, this is a brilliant story. Thanks for sharing”, she said. Under 18s may fulfil a volunteer role as long as they are supervised by an adult.

Neethling is checking if there are any volunteers as young as young Damien in SA, or the world for that matter.

Hats off to Damien and grandad Riaan.

Marietjie Robb flying the 100th flag as she nears the finish line, accompanied by her husband, Alan Robb.

Marietjie Robb also made her mark at Port Alfred Parkrun on Saturday when she completed her 100th parkrun. Congratulations Marietjie.

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