I've just received this weeks' Parkrun newsletter (dated 6th October 2011) and I'm very chuffed to find this within it:
My reason for returning to South Africa was to spend a few days with an African running hero who has decided to bring parkrun to the masses in his homeland. Many of you were previously introduced to Bruce Fordyce last year when he ran Bushy parkrun the day before completing his forth London Marathon. For the unenlightened, Bruce is a running legend throughout the world with many records to his name not least of which is the nine wins at the grueling Comrades Ultra Marathon of which eight wins were consecutive. Bruce has won the London to Brighton ultra marathon three years in a row plus a number of other highly significant events and still holds the world record at 50 miles. He is a previous record holder for 100 mile distance too.
I first met Bruce in 1987 when I was part of a 6-man team providing information and support during his 7th Comrades win. Little did I know the circle would be closed when Bruce took part in the Bushy parkrun this year and decided that parkrun was something that South Africa needed. Introducing parkrun to Africa is not without challenges as the majority of the population does not have Internet access and don’t receive email. Nevertheless, it is with excitement and pride that I announce that Bruce is now our Southern Africa parkrun representative and if all goes to plan in the next few weeks we will see the first African parkrun start in Delta Park, Johannesburg on the 12th November.
This is brilliant news and I can almost guarantee this will be an incredible success. I would expect this Parkrun will be very busy from day one and I reckon it'll surpass any UK event in number of runners within a few weeks.
I used to run for the club Bruce runs for, Rand Athletic Club, (I'm assuming he still runs for RAC, I've not seen anything to say he doesn't) which is one of South Africa's largest running clubs with over 2300 members. They already have a very popular weekly 5 and 8k time trial on Tuesday evenings and I would expect these Parkruns to be just as popular, especially as Delta Park isn't far from Old Parktonian Sports Club. Delta Park is also nicely situated for Randburg's other large club, Randburg Harriers, so if you add their numbers too, this will be huuuge in no time. Of course the Randburg Harriers runners may not be too happy with the Parkruns clashing with their Saturday time trials, but who knows, maybe they'll ditch the Saturday runs in favour of the Parkruns.
I'll certainly be keeping an eye on the developments of this and may just pop round for a quick spin round Delta Park (I haven't run in Delta Park since I ran cross-country in high school) when I'm over in December.