Runners reap a harvest of exercise at Golden Harvest Park

    The siren sounds and everybody is off for the start of a parkrun.

    The parkrun at Golden Harvest Park is going from strength to strength, with runners of all ages, sizes and even dogs finding the event a thrill.

    More than 900 runners and sometimes more than 100 dogs take part in the weekly and free 5km Saturday morning event. This is double the number that attended the inaugural run, kicked off by nine-times Comrades Marathon winner, Bruce Fordyce, in 2015.

    Also read: GALLERY: Parkrun becomes golden

    “It is a nice way to start a Saturday, and it is the happiest my dog, Lue, ever is,” said a runner, Sally Leimer. Seven-year-old Saige van de Walt joked that she came because her parents forced her to, but she loved walking the family dogs.

    Vusi Sithole has been running all his life. “Now in my 40s, I think this is an easier run with no pressure that I can enjoy at my age,” he said.

    Once the siren sounds at 8am, man and beast make their way through a clearly marked route through the park at their own pace. Volunteers direct the runners at strategic points and take the runners’ times to be emailed to them later in the day.

    “The effect [of Parkrun] on the park has been only positive,” said Friends of Golden Harvest Park committee member, Leon Bradley, who is also occasionally the run directer. “Our registered members of Friends of Golden Harvest Park has increased, as has the use of the park. So many runners comment that they didn’t know the park existed and now visit often with their children to exercise and walk their dogs.”

    Kim MacCallum, who was responsible for bringing parkrun to the park, still volunteers to keep time. “We have been rated as one of the toughest parkruns in the country and we are very proud of that,” she said.

    Nicholas Zaal
    News Editor

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