The Umhlanga Parkrun takes place every Saturday at 8am. An average of 500 to 600 runners/walkers/trotters gather at the Umhlanga Pier each week and set off in a northerly direction once the welcome has been given. Insanely fast runners sprint away at the front of the pack and a mix of others jostle their way onto the Umhlanga promenade behind them.
Dog walkers and pram pushers amble along beside everyone else, while ancient and young join in too. Some runners go like the wind, others shuffle or power walk. Arms punch the air, wave around while talking to friends, or swing in front of their bodies like windscreen wipers. Amongst the crowds red T-shirts are glimpsed with the words ‘50 parkruns’ or ‘100 parkruns’ emblazoned on them.
The weather, particularly in winter, is (usually) absolute bliss. Whilst parkruns are (by name) intended to be run in ‘parks’ the Umhlanga Parkrun is mapped out beside the sea along the promenade, an area which more than qualifies as a ‘pleasant surround’.
The atmosphere at the Umhlanga Parkrun is friendly and fun. Preneshree Perumal, coordinator of the Umhlanga Parkrun, says it’s something she herself looks forward to every week. ‘It’s a free, timed event and there is a sense of community and togetherness. Parkrun is all about improving, is run completely by volunteers, and has a happy, positive vibe. I always look forward to the weekend meeting.’
Parkrun is an international initiative that organises free weekly timed runs all over the world. Results are emailed to runners half an hour after the race and the event is open to all races, backgrounds and abilities. Other parkruns near to Umhlanga include KwaMashu, North Beach and Ballito. Before joining a parkrun be sure to register, and on the day bring your printed barcode with you.