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Kayamandi parkrun asks for special gifts

Kayamandi parkrun, which celebrates its first birthday this Saturday (8 September), needs a very special birthday gift from everyone so that the event will be the inclusive phenomenon it is intended to be.

The organisers and volunteers are requesting that running shoes be donated so they can be distributed to the young participants of this parkrun, who often have to participate without the correct footgear.

Ros Koch, one of the volunteers at the Kayamandi parkrun, and her family discovered the parkrun community a few years ago – though not all the runs take place in parks. They started going to their first parkrun event at the Root 44 Market.

“We noticed many familiar faces there and realised that many of us have this common desire to get outside and get some exercise, as a family or with friends, in a beautiful setting,” she said.

“There is also a great sense of community, through mutual encouragement, finding running buddies, providing accountability or simply companionship.”

Koch considered a Kayamandi parkrun an inspired idea, and was jubilant when it started last year. Not only is it another great setting – the entire 5 km route runs through Papegaaiberg Nature Reserve, with stunning views of Stellenbosch.

“But from a completely selfish perspective, it’s also a bit closer to where we live – so we don’t even need to drive to get there!” she says. “The same, of course, goes for the Kayamandi residents for whom both cost and transport are so often a barrier.

“The global parkrun movement is all about inclusiveness and well-being, and this is particularly true at Kayamandi, where a growing number of people from diverse backgrounds are brought together by their local parkrun, and are developing a very real sense of community from it.”

One doesn’t have to be a runner to get involved in a parkrun. There are a number of ways people can get involved, including as volunteers involved in timekeeping, taking photos and marshalling along the route.

Another way to get involved in the Kayamandi parkrun, and help celebrate its first birthday, is by donating running shoes for youngsters participating in it.

“There is a big need for the right running gear,” says Koch. “Every time I go, as a runner or a volunteer, I see at least two or three kids without the right footwear, and some adults, or perhaps they are wearing running shoes that are past their prime.”

If you would like to donate running shoes, you can bring them with you to the Kayamandi parkrun.

V For more information, contact 2 kayamandihelpers@parkrun.com. Visit Kayamandi parkrun’s Facebook page for more information about what type of shoes are needed.

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