BEV Leal has taken part in 67 Parkruns, and she has the T-shirts to prove it.
Confronted by an ever-growing pile of shirts, wanting to show them off somehow, Bev followed her daughter’s advice and had them sewn together and made into a quilt.
Leal said not only has she gained a beautiful and useful quilt, but the Parkruns have also improved her health, increased her self-confidence and scored her plenty of friends.
“It’s a wonderful family activity,” she said, “suitable for all ages from veterans to babies pushed in prams.
“Obviously there is a competitive side to the sport, but participants are free to set their own pace.
“They can walk it if they wish. There is no pressure to achieve, although there is a certain pride in improving your time”.
Parkruns take place weekly over measured 5km courses countrywide and internationally. Bev and her husband Carlos were encouraged to do their first one in 2014 by Leal’s daughter Dianne.
Dianne signed them up, but Bev declined initially, as she didn’t feel ready.
Carlos and Dianne went ahead and ran the course, and four weeks later Bev entered her first ParkRun.
She hasn’t looked back, and now at the age of 58 just can’t wait for every new event. Bev says that ParkRuns have improved her health. “You take a new look at your diet and exercise regimens,” she says.
“There are practical safety precautions that one has to take.
“For example, obey the marshals, wear proper running shoes, watch out for traffic, potholes, slippery patches, tree roots and other hazards. Keep hydrated and realise your limitations.”
After a while, Bev gained enough confidence and stamina to enter the Discovery Surfers Marathon, a tough 17.5km event from Kwelera along the beach to Nahoon. Shows what one can do with a bit of encouragement, determination and purpose.