Mushoni Bulagi is the record holder in the Parkrun Louis Trichardt event.
Date: 04 April 2019 By: Anton van Zyl
Mushoni Bulagi completed the Parkrun in Louis Trichardt in 18 minutes and 34 seconds on Saturday morning, just two seconds shy of his record. A week earlier he set the course record, completing the five kilometres in 18:32.
However, the Parkrun event in Louis Trichardt is still in its infancy. Last Saturday was the eighth official event held in the park next to the tourism info centre. On average, about 100 runners and walkers participate in the event. It is growing in popularity and Saturday mornings are starting to become a festive affair with young and old and even the odd dog joining the line of athletes.
The local Parkrun forms part of an international initiative to encourage people to follow more active lifestyles. In South Africa, more than 60 000 Parkrun athletes compete in more than 150 venues across the country. Worldwide, hundreds of thousands of people get up every Saturday morning for a five-kilometre run or walk in parks across the globe.
Parkruns 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 Parkrun events, as well as the global Parkrun family.
A very important characteristic of the Parkrun concept is that it is free. No-one collects any entry fees, and everyone is welcome; one does not have to register and be “accepted”. Participants are, however, encouraged to register on the Parkrun’s official website. Registration is quick and easy and does not cost anything.
Once one has registered, a unique bar code is generated for every athlete. This gets printed out and participants display it when finishing the event. Each finisher gets a token and this, together with the unique barcode, is scanned in. Later that same day, the results normally appear on the Parkrun website and participants can compare their own results against previous results and others in their various categories.
Parkrun events make use of volunteers to do the timing, mark out and maintain the course and post the results. Their only reward is witnessing dozens and dozens of people leading active lifestyles and improving their physical and mental health.
Anton van Zyl has been with the Zoutpansberger and Limpopo Mirror for over 27 years. He graduated at the the Rand Afrikaans University (now University of Johannesburg) and obtained a BA Communications degree. He is a founder member of the Association of Independent Publishers.