The logo of the baRUNNER website. HOME NEWS DIARY

baRUNNER - a website for the British Airways Athletics Club

The logo of the baRUNNER website.

WARR warm-up opportunity - Root 44 5k parkrun Saturday 12th October 08:00

Please note that this is not an official WARR event but is an opportunity to do a warm-up run with locals – which we rarely manage on these WARR events. I strongly encourage you to join us and if you do then I doubt very much that your first parkrun will be your last. The parkrun is from 08:00 on Saturday 12th October hence is at the same time as our WARR races but the day before – hence a good acclimatisation opportunity.

The Route 44 parkrun is run around the Audacia vineyard just off the R44 main road four miles south of the centre of Stellenbosch and three miles south east of the Spier hotel. The vineyard is near to the Awards Dinner venue for Sunday evening. Details of the course are on the website and is described “on gravel roads through the vineyards with 2 average inclines & 2 steep declines.

The organiser of the Root 44 parkrun who responded to my enquiry is Elana Meyer and she said “You are most welcome to come and join us at Root 44 parkrun in October. We will make sure we can accommodate all interested to join us!! There is a lovely market at the venue where you can enjoy a lovely coffee and breakfast afterwards.” A more observant WARRior than I pointed out that Elana won a silver medal at the Barcelona Olympics and has set records for the half marathon. But don’t think that that is the minimum standard – checking the results for a recent week there were 150 parkrunners and three of them spent over an hour completing the 5k course.

The time trial is FREE and registering for it will also entitle you to run at any of the other parkruns at all worldwide venues every Saturday of the year (but remember some cash for the lovely market, coffee and breakfast).  So what do you have to do to register?  Please do the following THREE actions BEFORE setting off for Stellenbosch:

1) Visit the website, click on “countries” and click on the flag of the country relevant for you. The “events” tag on the next screen allows you to see where the parkruns are in your country. Observe the name of the parkrun you are most likely to run at and then click on “register”. If your country wasn’t listed then choose “South Africa” and use the “Root 44” parkrun in the next step. Clicking on “register” brings up a form on which to add your details. This asks you to select a “Home Run” – enter your nearest parkrun or “Root 44”. Note that on another occasion you can change your home parkrun within a country and you can email parkrun if you need to change your country.

2) After you have registered you will be sent an email which will link to a unique barcode that represents yourself. You MUST have a printed copy of this for you to take part in any parkrun so print it off and put it with your passport or your running kit bag. It may prove very difficult to print off this barcode once we are in Stellenbosch.

3) Email me at to say that there is a chance that you may run at Root 44. This is so that I can advise Elana how many of us to expect. She and her team are all volunteers and whilst they are keen that we join them (and it will be a boost to them if they have hundreds of extras) it is polite to tell them how many of us are coming since they may need to make slightly different arrangements for the larger than normal field. You are welcome to tell me whether you have or will need transportation to/from the parkrun and where your hotel is and I’ll see what I can do to match people up. Oh and of course you are just as welcome even if you want to turn up but not run.

A bit more information about parkrun:–

It is not a race it is a 5k time trial; you against the clock and the distance.  Those at the front of the field may treat it as if it is a race but everyone who finishes is a winner.  Before the start there is no local registration, no numbers to pin on your shirt, no tags for your shoes; anyone and everyone just turns up and stands at the start line. The starter will advise new runners of the course and make any other housekeeping announcements and then start the run. As you cross the finish line the finish team will record the time, another volunteer will give you a position tag and a third volunteer will scan in your parkrun barcode and the barcode on the position tag. This then gives them all the information needed to link you to your position to your time and you will be emailed or texted the result during the afternoon. That description makes it sound complex – in reality it is a very simple process and nearly foolproof. Results are also posted on the website by the next morning and you can compare your stats week by week, run by run.

The first parkrun was started in October 2004 in Bushy Park, London with just 13 runners. The format was a simple measured 5k course with a time trial run at the same time every Saturday morning. More runners quickly joined in and the second venue, Wimbledon Common, was added in 2007. Since then parkrun has roughly doubled in size every year. In September 2010 there were 50 events and about 5,500 runners every week. Now there are 290 events and over 44,000 runners each week (and over 400,000 have registered). Over 200 of the events are in the UK but parkrun has spread and is continuing to spread with 40 Australian locations, 18 South African, 8 in Poland, 7 in Denmark, 4 in New Zealand, 4 in Ireland and 3 in the USA. Those numbers will be probably be out of date by the time you read this. The format is the same in every country with the slight difference being the start time which is 08:00 in South Africa, 09:00 in England and 09:30 in Scotland. The start time difference is to ensure that in each country the run can be done in daylight the whole year round or at a time when it isn’t too hot.

parkrun is coming so get to know it – note in particular that it is one word and the “p” should never be capitalised - and it is a time trial not a race.

Let me know if you’ll be parkrunning on the 12th Roderick Hoffman



Full Index