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Lace up your running shoes

The Root44 parkrun, which takes place every Saturday at 08:00 at the Root44 Market on Audacia Wine Farm, has hosted 289 consecutive parkruns and more than 30 000 participants since the first run with 136 participants on 25 May 2013.

Since then, numbers have grown to a peak of 1 686 runners and walkers on 13 January this year, with an average of 736 runners taking 40 minutes on average to complete the beautiful route, many of them enjoying a post-parkrun coffee at the Root44 Market.

Root44 is the seventh largest parkrun in the world by membership.

Somerset West resident Wallace du Plessis ran his first parkrun on 16 September last year in a time of 35:43, but improved to a best time of 25:53 recently. He completed his 50th – and red Mr Price Sport T-shirt qualifying – run on Saturday 8 December in a not too shabby time of 25:58.

Usually the fastest runner comes in under 20 minutes and the final walker in just over an hour.

Parkrunners get a purple T-shirt after volunteering 25 times, a black T-shirt after 100 runs and an orange cap after running 25 different routes or courses.

Registering for parkrun is free. Volunteers are very welcome to help as marshals, timekeepers or photographers.

Carina Smit and Torrin Theron are the heart and soul of Root44 parkrun, organising the volunteers and taking the responsibility of being race directors.

Smit did her first of 135 parkruns at Root44 in April 2016. She volunteered for the first time about four months after joining the parkrun and really loved it. Last year, Smit became the volunteer coordinator and recently the co-event director for Root44.

She has volunteered on 122 occasions as run director, timekeeper, handing out finish tokens, funnel manager, barcode scanner, marshal, token sorter and photographer.

Says Smit: “I joined parkrun to become more active and healthy, and I have made awesome friends. Being a volunteer also means that I can give back to my community. I love meeting up with parkrunners after the parkrun at the Root44 Market for coffee and breakfast.”

Theron, the event director of Root44, has been part of the original core team since the launch of Root44 parkrun, and is the Western Cape regional ambassador for Parkrun South Africa. She has volunteered at 266 parkruns and has managed to squeeze 113 parkruns in between volunteering.

Theron is a registered biokineticist, with a busy full-time private practice in Stellenbosch, who does parkrun as her community service.

V Join Root44 on Saturday 22 December for its Christmas run and don’t be shy to dress up or down. Come as a tree, an elf or even Father Christmas.

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