Tuesday, 21 June 2022 14:59

Bruce Fordyce sets his heart on providing defibrillators to 200 parkruns in SA.

By Lehlohonolo Lehana.

@GalloImages.

Legendary South African ultramarathon athlete, Bruce Fordyce (66), who has won the Comrades Marathon eight years in a row and nine times overall, is supporting a new challenge to provide each parkrun event in South Africa, with a defibrillator to help save lives.

Fordyce, who took part in his first parkrun at Bushy Park in April 2011, says the event is a place where runners, joggers, walkers and volunteers gather to have fun and to experience happiness.

"When I took part in my first parkrun at Bushy Park in April 2011, I was completely captivated by the experience. I knew parkrun would have to come to South Africa and that it had the magic ingredients to bring communities together and to bring great joy to people. "says Fordyce.

In his role as president of parkrun South Africa, Fordyce is promoting a record-breaking crowdfunding campaign on BackaBuddy, working closely with global defibrillator supplier, Aero Healthcare, to raise R4m to provide almost 200 parkrun events with a defibrillator. Each defibrillator costs R20 000.

"This will be an ongoing project. It will be quite a challenge, but I know South Africans love to rise to challenges and the resilient South African spirit is legendary. Globally defibrillators have saved many lives. Now it's our turn, "added Fordyce.

Thankfully, critical heart-related incidents at parkrun are exceptionally rare. But, when they do happen, the chances of survival are 65% higher when a defibrillator (AED) is used within minutes, according to parkrun’s comprehensive reporting database.

"We want to keep parkruns as joyful places and to keep them happy we need to ensure that they are as safe as possible. I would like to invite you to join me in making the dream of providing 200 defibrillators a reality, for every parkrun event across South Africa," said Fordyce.