Parkrun SA is eager to open its runs soon, along with safety protocols

JOBURG – Bruce Fordyce, parkrun SA founder, discusses the reason parkrun has not reopened yet.

The ever-popular parkruns are a little closer to opening after the move to lockdown Level 1, but restrictions on how many people are present at gatherings mean they must still wait.

Record nine-times Comrades Marathon winner, and parkrun SA founder, Bruce Fordyce likened the effort to reopen parkrun in the country to a run with an unknown distance. “The restrictions on numbers gathering outdoors is preventing us from starting,” he told Caxton Local Media.

Bruce Fordyce and Jo van der Walt run Golden Harvest Park parkrun before the lockown. Photo: Nicholas Zaal

“At 250 [people at an outdoor gathering], we cannot start any parkruns. Delta Park usually attracts over 1 000 participants.” Despite this restriction, Fordyce believes the free weekly runs could easily open safely now. “We will implement the safety protocols that are necessary to hold parkruns as we have always known parkrun.   

We will never implement booking for parkrun. Everyone is welcome, parkrun will be no different from the parkrun we love except for some safety protocols if they are still required.” In 2017, parkrun celebrated its sixth anniversary in South Africa and its first venue in the country, Delta Park, saw 1 700 runners one Saturday that November.

Comrades marathon serial-winner and head of parkrun in South Africa, Bruce Fordyce enjoys a parkrun at Golden Harvest Park. Photo: Nicholas Zaal

The parkrun global fitness movement started in London, in the United Kingdom, in 2004 by Paul Sinton-Hewitt, who also visited Delta Park in 2017 to cut parkrun SA’s birthday cake with Fordyce. The parkruns are free, 5km group runs in parks around the world. Participants can take their dogs on leads, and choose their own pace.

Residents can register on the parkrun SA website ( for a barcode that will allow them to receive information such as times, positions, age-graded scores and other information. Discovery medical aid points are awarded per run.

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