This past weekend I attempted what I though would probably kill me… My first ever 5km run.

I’m in now way, shape or form a runner.  I mean the most I had done before was around 2.6km on the treadmill at gym, hence my nervousness about attempting about double that without any real prep before hand.

Luckily for me though, the folks from parkrun SA have created a fun social environment where you can test your running limits and build on it.

Parkrun is a worldwide initiative (with a branch here in SA) that organises free, weekly, 5km timed runs all around the world.  These runs are open to everyone (yup, all ages and all fitness levels welcome) and they always take place in a safe, leafy park environment.

Locally there are park runs which happen at various locations across SA, but here in Cape Town specifically, you have two options: Green Point or Rondebosch Common.  Then in the greater Cape area there are also parkruns over in Stellenbosch (Route 44), Fish Hoek and Big Bay.  (all event info can be found over here)

I chose the Green Point one as it’s closest to home.  You meet in Vlei Rd outside the stadium and then the route takes you through & around the Green Point park.

The thing I really loved about this organised run is that it really is for anybody and you can take it at your own pace.  If you need to start off at mostly walking, no stress at all, you’re really just competing with yourself and then seeing if you can improve on your time week after week.  I totally surprised myself and finished my run in 33min without needing to walk or stop.  I think the beautiful surroundings and fresh air might have had something to do with it thoug.  It definitely beats being stuck inside a gym.

It’s also a great thing to do with friends and family.  I even spotted some people who ran with baby strollers and doggies.  So no excuses for anybody.

How do you join in on the fun?

  • Register over here – it’s quick and easy and you only have to do it once.
  • Then print out your unique bar code which you must take along with you as they’ll scan it after your run to record your time.
    (the print out page will contain 6 bar codes, they’re just spares – it’s a good idea to maybe keep one in your car, another in your wallet, another in your cellphone case perhaps, that way you’ll be less likely to ever be without one)
  • The run kicks off strictly at 8am, every Sat.  So don’t be late as it will ruin your time. (they assume everyone starts at 8am)
  • When you complete your run, you get a tag to indicate your placing in the run, they scan your barcode to record your time and then later that day, you’ll get an email with your official time info.

Then as an extra bonus, for those on Discovery Vitality, if you link your ID number to your online profile, you also get Vitality points for every run you complete.

I know a lot of people put  “get fitter” or “lose weight” on their new year’s resolution list. This I guarantee you is a great way to make that happen.

But if you’re still unsure, just think about this:  if this little guy can do it, so can you:

And look how happy he is!