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.

Running in a group: Why it’s the best thing for your running

Contrary to what people see at races, or experience for themselves, running IS a team sport.

All runners that have excelled at running (I’m talking even the Eliud Kipchoge’s of the sport) have done so because they trained in a team.

If you train solely on your own, you place yourself at a disadvantage, and you lose all the benefits that training in a group gives you.

Here are 5 reasons you should be training in a group:

  • You become accountable

It is incredibly easy to skip a session if there is no one waiting for you to join them. I mean, why would you put yourself through a gruelling sprint session or run a long run without a team mate to encourage you on?  When there is someone counting on you, you are more likely to show up.

  • You remain consistent

Running in a group allows you to remain consistent in your training and will help you stick to your programme or keep you on target for a race.

  • You never lack for motivation

When you run in a group there will more than likely be someone who is faster than you. This will encourage you and motivate you to be a faster, better runner. Even if you are a non-competitive runner, you will become a better runner by being motivated by other runners around you.

  • You will have the opportunity to learn from others

Running with others is a great way to learn tips and tricks from seasoned runners. Runners love to talk about running while they are running!

  • You benefit from ‘Social Facilitation’

Social Facilitation is a psychology term that describes the tendency for people to perform better when in the presence of others than when alone. Not only would you perform better at your running, but running with a group helps you have a better day!

At BOaST, we promote group training. If you are running on your own, talk to us, and we’ll welcome you into our group training sessions!