Sunday, 4 May 2014

The Inaugural Naval Hill parkrun

Aaaaand, Bloem now has its own parkrun.  Sela.

I was running late, as usual, and made it to the parking area on top of Naval Hill at exactly 07:58 this morning.  Parkrun starts at 08:00.  (I have two children aged 2 and under - don't judge).  Perfect timing, some would say, except for one small little detail...


Drat.  There I was, stuck in the parking area alone with an ostrich, and I had two minutes to get to the starting line.  On foot.  Foo.  I kind of evaporated out of the front door of my car and kept a low, low profile until I deemed the distance between me and my feathered friend adequate enough to start running.  Ha, I was actually anticipating Leon Schuster to jump out from behind a bush at any time!

Thankfully Bruce Fordyce's pre-run briefing was quite lengthy (and included the fact that the ostrich in the parking lot is very tame and friendly, pfffft), giving me a few minutes to catch my breath before we were off.

Pre-race briefing at Madiba's feet.

I was just in time to hear that every parkrunner who completes 50 parkruns gets a free tech t-shirt sponsored by Adidas...  Well, say no more.  You'll know where to find me for the next 48 Saturdays.

I simply love the route (they're still busy with construction on Naval Hill, so the route might slightly change in future) - it starts at the foot of the statue of former president Nelson Mandela, and then winds along a gravel road for the largest part of the route.  

Kilometer markers.

The entire route winds through the Franklin Nature Reserve.

I spotted no game en route this time around (perhaps I was too busy panting), but I'm sure that there will be lots of game viewing on future runs.

The route ends back at the Madiba statue, where runners are treated to an amazing view of Bloemfontein.

View from the finish line.

The finish line.

Bruce said in his pre-race briefing that parkrun is addictive, and I can totally see why.  A free, safe, timed 5 km every single Saturday of the month; incentives to keep participating (in addition to the 50 and 100 parkruns milestone t-shirts, each parkrun venue also hosts a points competition throughout the year); and quick and accurate feedback on your performance at each parkrun - a concept that is sure to attract many more runners and non-runners alike in future.

See you next Saturday!


16 comments:

  1. How fun! That is so crazy to me that you can be that close to wild animals in South Africa. For FREE, while were stuck having to pay a zoo fee to see anything remotely cool. Not sure how close I would want to get to an ostrich though...pretty sure I wouldn't win that race ;) And race incentives are the best :)

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    1. You're right, Hailey - we're so blessed to be able to experience so many wonderful animals up close (and for free!) at so many places. But unfortunately I think that many (most?) South Africans take it for granted and think that that's just the way it works everywhere!

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  2. Ai... How I miss Bloem and Naval Hill! My mum lives just at the foot of NH, you should pop in and say Hi!

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    1. Many good memories, right :) ? I'd love to see your mom - I'll pop in one day and say hi.

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  3. What a great opportunity to do a short race and see the area! Will all the parkruns be at the same location, or do they change? We don't have parkrun, but there is a spring to fall season for inexpensive timed 5k racing once a month that is low-key. I wish it was once a week- because then I could attend more and select which weeks to just rest.
    The Ostrich can be a bit aggressive, no? Be careful! smalltownrunner.com

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    1. Hi Raina! There are many different parkrun locations throughout the country, but each one stays the same once it's been launched. There's about 30 in South Africa at the moment, but the list keeps growing! Some parkrunners even make it their mission to visit each one in SA. Such a neat concept!

      Ostriches, pffft. Not a huge fan. Yip, they can kick the living daylights out of you, so I'm steering clear... :)

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  4. Nice one Karien. I'm ashamed to say that after 4 weeks I still haven't managed to make it to even one Parkrun in George. It's such a great concept, but there are just too many races to run each and every weekend ;)

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    1. Thanks, Tertius! Unfortunately we don't have a lot of race options up here in Bloem (they're very few and far between!), which makes parkrun even more attractive for us. I'd love to do the George one too someday - I've heard very good things about it!

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  5. That is so awesome!! I would absolutely love to do a Park Run. Hopefully I can next year. :)

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    1. I really hope you get to do one when you're here! Please, please let me know when you're in CT - we might even be able to do one together if we're perhaps down there for the Argus while you're in town!

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  6. Beautiful photos, you are lucky to live in such beautiful nature with free animals. I would like a ParkRun circuit in Italy too. When I go to UK I always enter that race.

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    1. We are indeed blessed to have such easy access to many natural areas with a variety of wild animals. Sometimes I think that we take it for granted!

      A friend of mine lives in London and always does parkrun there, and she loves it!

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  7. Nice! We have one just around the corner from my house but I haven't been yet. There are a few more that I can go to here in JHB. I'm using my weekends for longer runs at the moment though.

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    1. True, I think scheduled weekend long runs, as well as races might potentially keep runners from doing parkrun. I think I'll try to find a way to combine parkrun with longer weekend runs in future.

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  8. Wow that is amazing about the ostrich!

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    1. It was soooo funny, Heather. I'm really thankful that I was running a bit late and that no one was around to see me try and out-sneak the ostrich, haha!

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