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Jock Trail parkrun attracting interesting tourists

Frieda Paton

The Jock Trail parkrun in Graskop, launched just under two months ago, is already proving to be a tourist attraction – and we are also learning some interesting reasons why.

Unfortunately, this parkrun has been plagued by the more than usual rainy weather. The initial launch in February was postponed by a week and the April 6TH event had to be cancelled.  To get to the start of the run on March 30TH, participants had to hop over air bricks serving as stepping stones to cross the low water bridge.

However, despite the typical cold, wet and misty Graskop weather on the day, two interesting groups of non-locals joined the parkrun.  All five persons in the groups were avid parkrunners on unofficial parkrun challenge quests.

The first was a couple from the United Kingdom. They’re working on the alphabet challenge where the aim is to complete a parkrun for each letter of the alphabet according to the names of the venues. There is no “J” in the UK – hence joining the Jock Trail Parkrun all the way in South Africa. Mark was the first finisher on the day.

The next group was three ladies from Johannesburg who were also able to tick off “J”.  In addition, they’re collecting parkruns at as many venues as possible while not repeating any.  To date, South Africa has 198 different parkrun venues.

Denise King has done 64 parkruns, all at different venues across the world and qualifies for the worldwide Hoffman challenge where you have to log 50 parkruns at different venues, without any repeats. In July last year, she even did one in the forest at the foot of Mount Edna, Sicily. The volcano erupted again in August after which the parkrun was cancelled for a while.

With King was her friend Jenny Fung who has completed 283 park runs, 70 of them at different venues, and her daughter, Cheyenne King, with 37 parkruns under her belt. This group also act as volunteer helpers at the parkruns they join, referring to themselves as “voluntourists”.

King said that she would definitely tell people to do the Jock Trail parkrun.  “It’s beautiful. You can really become one with nature. You’ve got everything – the water, the rocks, the animals, the flora,” King said. “Because of the fog you couldn’t see the views, but near the end, it just opened up that was a sight to behold!”

Parkrun is a free, timed, 5Km run, jog or walk for young and old, the fit or aiming to get fitter. From April to September the Jock Trail parkrun starts at 08:00 every Saturday morning.  To get your run and time logged on parkrun.co.za, register on the website and get your barcode.

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