Bryanston Relay Team Beats Parkrun World Record!
Jukskei Park Runners has beaten the parkrun world record, which was broken by Andy Baddeley in a time of 13:48 at Bushy Parkrun, London, in August 2012. They ran the distance as a relay team of 14 in a time of 13:28.21, at Bryanston parkrun in Johannesburg, on 19 January 2019.
“We’re a social group of runners from different clubs who’ve been running together on mornings from the local garage in our suburb – some of us have been doing so for 15 years,” Jukskei Park Runners member Riaan Barnard explains. “There’s a wide range of abilities over the 5-K, from 17 minutes to 25 minutes.”
Barnard took Baddeley’s time, divided it by 5km and realised none of his friends would be able to sustain that pace for longer than a couple of hundred metres. And given Bryanston is not the most even of parkruns, he divided the downhill stretches into 300m sections and the uphill stretches were divided into 200m sections. The team of 14 ran 19 legs, some of whom ran two of them.
To prove it actually happened, the Jukskei Park Runners attached a GPS watch to the baton passed between each runner.
“I think we were all as nervous as we would have been at the start of the Comrades,” Barnard admits. “There was the thought of not letting each other down, and the thrill we might beat the world record – even as a relay team – because no-one believed we could do it. We proved it was possible for the average runner who can’t achieve any of those times on their own.”
It was a team effort in more ways than one: the rest of the Jukskei Park Runners either supported on the sidelines, filmed the runners’ attempt or acted as time keepers.
Jukskei Park Runners have discussed beating the 5-K world record on the track, which is one minute faster than their combined parkrun time at Bryanston. And provided they can recruit enough runners, it’s possible they’ll attempt the 10-K and half-marathon world records in the future.
Parkrun world record holder Andy Baddeley is thrilled the Jukskei Park Runners broke his record. Check out his interview with the relay team here:
Bryanston Parkrun footage by Philip Knibbs