TAKKIE TALK parkrun-golf

Few sporting folk would rush to suggest there is any correlation between distance running and golf, save to say that many golf courses offer ideal training terrain.

Indeed in days past when security issues were of a lesser concern and golf courses were readily open and available, groups of some of the finest runners ever produced in this province would use the hills of a course for both strength and speed training.

The relationship between golf course and runner is once again growing stronger, albeit in a more organised and controlled fashion.

South Africa sadly does not have nearly enough parks, as is the case in the United Kingdom for instance, but we do have the most beautiful beaches, wine farms, game ranches and parks and yes golf courses.

Along comes parkrun, one of the fastest growing sporting cultures the world has ever experienced.

In the Eastern Cape there are, or soon will be, many a parkun hosted at a Golf Club. The first was at the magnificent St Francis Links, which has been a huge success and has attracted in excess of 2700 registrations as a home parkrun and have had many thousands of visitors over the six years of its existence.

Stutterheim Country Club has well over a thousand parkrunners, Komani at the Queenstown Golf Club host 2300, King Williams Town are on close to 2000 and then there is a new one, launched just three weeks ago at Kei Mouth and two attached to Mashie Golf courses at iMonti (Cambridge Club) and Python Park.

Each week these venues benefit from the presence of hundreds of parkrunners, who in turn have the luxury of safe, country style running to enjoy.

The latest parkrun-golfing fraternity to team up is in Mthatha. It has not launched yet, but we visited to recce the facilitates and proposed route on Tuesday and it is going to be a winner. A winner for the golf club and a winner for the people of one of South Africa’s busiest cities. They are crying out for recreational opportunities.

The golf course, close to the commercial centre is absolutely beautiful with a tranquillity that most runners long for.

Mthatha has produced many outstanding international athletes. The golf course itself is one of the five oldest in South Africa and has been declared a heritage site.

Could it uncover still more running talent at a parkrun on the edges of its fairways?  I believe so.

It costs nothing to participate in a parkrun, but the participants do eat breakfast, drink tea or coffee and are part of a 1,045,500 South African community, many of whom travel. The tourism spin off speaks for itself.

Having lived on the boundary of a golf course in Gonubie for over 15 years I have an idea of how convenient it is from a running point of view. Upon moving away it became blatantly obvious what a motivating factor the greenery, the sea views and the silence and solitude offered daily.

5 ab workouts that will make you run FASTER

I went to a Pilates course a while ago and when I told the instructor that I am a runner, she said ‘I will help you run with your abs’. My first thought was: ‘Um, I run with my legs, not my abs!’ Needless to say, I did not go back. A terrible mistake I have since learned. The more I read about running and strength, the more I realise that strong abs actually DO allow you to hold a faster pace and run better.

Here are 5 great ab workouts that will make you a better runner:

1. Leg Raises
• Lie flat on the floor with your arms at your sides and legs stretched out next to each other. Raise your legs, keeping them as straight as possible, and lift them until they are pointing at the ceiling, or as near as you can get. Make sure your toes are pointed.
• Lower your legs until they are hovering just above the ground, and then raise them again. Be careful to keep your movements measured. Aim for three sets of 10 reps, or simply do as many raises as you can.

2. The Plank
• Lie on your stomach and prop yourself up onto your toes and elbows with feet slightly apart. Your toes should be about hip distance apart with the elbows resting on the ground in a straight line under shoulders.
• You’ll start feeling this after 30 seconds, trust me!

3. Side Plank
• Lie on your side, supporting your upper body on your forearms, while holding your arm at the side, and your feet stacked on top of each other. Keep a straight line from your head to your feet.

4. Glute Bridge with Marching
• Lie with your right foot on the ground and your left leg extended out. Lift your hips and left leg up. Hold for two seconds. Then, while keeping your hips up in the air, switch legs. Alternate sides for 30 to 60 seconds.

5. Bicycle Crunches
• Lie on your back with knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Clasp your fingers behind your head or cup the back of your head.
• Contract your abdominal muscles and alternate pulling each elbow to the opposite knee. Concentrate on curling your torso forward with each rep.

So, if you are serious about improving your performance and staying injury free for the long haul, then building strong abs is of utmost importance. You’ll also feel better overall. Now isn’t that a goal worth striving for!