A couple of residents recently tried out the local park run track in Louis Trichardt. The town's first official park run will take place on 9 February next year. Photo supplied.
Date: 22 December 2018 By: Andries van Zyl
Louis Trichardt will join a group of towns and cities from across the world to buy into the unique “Parkrun” initiative on 9 February 2019.
The concept of park runs is simple: You turn up every Saturday and run 5km, or if you’re 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.
As from September, Louis Trichardt will also host park run events each Saturday and Sunday like in countries all around the world. Each event is based in a unique location such as a park, beach or promenade, and all events are organised by a group of wonderful, dedicated volunteers. In Louis Trichardt’s case, one of these volunteers is Jaco Voigt. In May this year, he officially got permission from the Makhado Municipality to host these weekly park runs in the tree sanctuary between Stubbs and Songozwi Street, next to the N1.
The first ever parkrun was in Bushy Park, Teddington in the United Kingdom, when 13 intrepid park runners got together on 2 October 2004. The volunteer team included Paul and Joanne Sinton-Hewitt, Duncan Gaskell, Simon Hedger and Robin Drummond.
It took nearly two years before park runs spread beyond Bushy Park. Wimbledon was the chosen venue and they had to prove to themselves that they could manage more than a single event at a time. This was the start of the ‘cookie cutter’ approach to events that would allow park run to expand.
To begin with, they collated all results on paper and the finish tokens were washers from the local hardware store! But eventually they ramped up the technology, and so the park run registration and barcode result system was born.
Now, many thousands of runners are processed, websites are updated, and emails are sent each week. The park run 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.
Park runs are all about inclusiveness and well-being. Organisers want as many people as possible to feel part of a real local community, brought together by park run events, as well as the global park run family. In Limpopo, the only other park runs are hosted in Polokwane, Leeupoort and Mogol.
For more information about Louis Trichardt’s own park run, 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.