Westbury ParkRun organisers fight to survive

Race director, Irene Jacobs at the Westbury ParkRun.

After just a few Saturdays of the Westbury ParkRun being reopened, the event has hit another obstacle. The run was stopped last year April to January 13, this year due to construction on the premises of the Union Stadium.

Bruce Fordyce, a well-known South African ultramarathon athlete and Founder of ParkRun SA was present at the reopening and was well pleased with the run in Westbury.

On March 1, an email from the City was sent to race director, Irene Jacobs saying: “Apologies for the late notification but we have been informed contractors will be on site by next week to lay Storm Water Pipes.



“Due to construction that will be taking place at the mentioned facility, please be informed no activities will be allowed as it will be a construction site.”

Edmund Bailey who is a volunteer at the run has explained how frustrated he is about the whole situation. Bailey said that they had to drive around on that Thursday looking for an alternative place for the run but could not find one.

“When we arrived on Saturday (March 3) they already had their campsite up. But the run continued. They want to cancel the ParkRun until end of June and it usually always takes longer as we all know what happens with construction.


Participants at the Westbury ParkRun.


“We are fighting for our ParkRun to stay open, we are reaching our goal for more people from Westbury to attend the event. The construction will only kill the momentum again,” said Jacobs.

On March 6, a meeting with the contractors and other relevant persons was held to discuss the situation. After the meeting, Jacobs said that she cannot say that she is happy but its more about construction to carry on.

“We have no choice, otherwise our area won’t be developed but what we ask is for them to give us enough notice. They gave us short notice, it was really a shock to our system.


Joanne van der Walt with Zorro at the Westbury ParkRun.


“Due to Edmund Bailey having the experience in these things we still carrying on with Parkrun until Saturday, March 10. The contractor was kind enough to allow us on the premises and said that he will try to work out an alternative route for Parkrun,” explained Jacobs.

The run is a success and Jacobs believes that it is bringing change to the community.

According to Jacobs, the contractors said that they will meet once a month with the Westbury Parkrun organisers to discuss the progress of the site.



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Janice Beckett

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