If you’re looking for a fun way to get active then you need to check out the weekly ParkRun in your area. That’s right ladies, they take place at a spot near you each and every week and they are the best thing ever! I did my first ParkRun a year ago and am now hooked. And the best bit? They are completely free! Here’s why you’re going to love this weekly outdoor run, no matter how fit or unfit you are.
The weekly runs take place all over South Africa and chances are there’s one right around the corner from your house. The 5km runs are the best way to get active outside and are organised by passionate community members who love nothing more than to give runners a safe and welcoming environment where they can exercise outside in the sunshine. The runs take place on a Saturday morning each week and usually start at 8:00. Runners are timed and the runs are open to anyone and everyone – even dogs! Which is quite possibly the best thing about them – the ParkRun community encourages people with every fitness level to come through and take part. From those taking their very steps in running to children and professional runners. everyone is invited.
The fact that the runs are outside and in some of the most beautiful settings is also a serious win. From a quiet and serene park in Lonehil, Johannesburg to the fresh and salty beach front in Big Bay, Cape Town the runs encourage people to get out and enjoy the open spaces in their community. I’ve done the ParkRun in Lonehil, Joburg a few times and it is absolutely stunning – running in Lonehil park really made me appreciate how lucky I was to live just a stone’s throw away from such an incredibly beautiful park. I’ve also done the Park Run at Rondebosch Common, Cape Town and loved being able to marvel at the stunning views of the mountain while I ran.
The organisers of ParkRun chose 5km because it’s a relatively ‘easy’ distance that can be tackled by people of all fitness levels. Runners are welcome to walk, run, or walk-the event and some ParkRun events that operate on a loop route also allow runners to do a 2.5km run if they don’t feel comfortable doing the whole thing. However you choose to do it the runs are super fun and you get your time emailed to your after each event so you can track your progress.
So now that you now that the runs are fabulous you’ll need to know how to sign up. As I said, the runs are free so all you need to do is visit the ParkRun website, find an event near you using the super easy map and then register to take part. You will be emailed a PDF with your runner code printed on it. All you need to do then is print out your runner code and bring it with you to each ParkRun. This code also allows Discovery Vitality members to get 500 points for every run they complete.
After years of working as an Editor and writer for popular websites like Joburg’s Darling, Cape Town’s Darling and Joburg.co.za, Crystal left her sanity and an established career in lifestyle journalism behind to follow her dream of creating a website for the intellectual and discerning woman. Today she spends her time chasing the thrill of being the first to know about ‘the next big thing’. She’ll try anything once and has been known to put her body, hair and health on the line – all in the name of research.