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Jock Trail parkrun celebrates its first anniversary

Frieda Paton 

The Jock Trail parkrun celebrated its first anniversary in style on leap day February 29, although the cold and cloudy weather kept many regulars snuggled up in bed.

At the finish, the 36 brave participants each received a ceramic shot glass/egg cup with the words “Jock Trail parkrun” and sachets of an energizing drink. The ceramics were manufactured and sponsored by Run Director Grant Bosman and handed to each finisher by the lovely Miss Teen Tourism Globe Finalist, Bontle Ndlovu, from Sabie. Graskop Spar sponsored a gigantic birthday cake and cupcakes.

Being situated in a small town, Jock Trail parkrun is one of the smaller events in the country in terms of numbers – with only an average of 39 participants at each event. However, what it lacks in numbers it makes up in spectacular scenery and the friendliness of the dedicated core team of volunteers and regular local participants.

Many parkrun tourists, those who travel across South Africa to score up parkruns at different events, have rated it as one of the top 10 in the country. As a result, the Jock Trail parkrun has also become a tourist attraction. In its first year, 746 people completed the course one or more times and around 500 of them have been visitors.

“Great views all around this scenic area. Volunteers made us feel welcome. Must do for locals and tourists,” was a Facebook comment made by Filitsia Rockas, who has achieved parkrun world tourist status.

Parkrun had its beginnings in 2004 and today the free, weekly, timed 5km parkrun events are spread across 20 different countries. South Africa boasts 232 different events. Once registered, you can walk, jog or run at any parkrun in the world and have your run and time permanently recorded on the web. There is no cut-off time and you can never be last as there’s always a volunteer tail walker who brings up the rear.

All you have to do to join is log on to parkrun.co.za to register and print out your barcode. Then turn up at any parkrun event, complete the course, and have your barcode scanned at the finish.

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