Centurion runner uses own money to build running trail

The trail along the R55 Voortrekkerweg.

A local Centurion businessman and enthusiastic runner has spent more than R200 000 of his own money to build a running trail in the Zwartkops area.

The trail is 15km long and open to all members of the public – both runners and mountain bikers.

About two years ago, Philip Boardman (68) grew sick and tired of the traffic and overgrown bushes on his regular exercise run and decided to do something about it.

So he began work on the running trail, never realising it would take more than simply cleaning up some bushes. It would also entail putting up signs; getting permission from the municipality and much more.

ALSO READ: LISTEN: Centurion runner attacked by thug

In the end, it would take him two years and more than R200 000 of his own money, spent on labour and equipment.

“I did not mind using my own money,” he told Rekord. “At the end of the day, this is a trail that every jogger can use.”

The trail, named the Zwartkop Rondo, has now also been listed on The Trail Run Project, a downloadable mobile app used by joggers all over the world.

“The beauty of this trail is that runners now have a trail in the city that never requires them to cross any roads,” said Boardman.

The Zwartkop Rondo trail starts at Wierda Road, turns right into Voortrekker Road on the R55, right on Alaric Road and continues onto Campbell Road until it connects with Wierda Road again.

Building the trail has been eventful for Boardman.

While cleaning, removing stones, rubbish and pruning trees he came across TV sets, printers and other items.

“I believe these items were stolen and hidden in the thick bushes. Some of the stuff were taken apart and some parts were noticeably missing.”

Jogging along Alaric Road one day, he ran into an old friend. While chatting, he spotted an object made out of concrete in the dense bushes.

Upon investigation, he found that it was a concrete resting area – with a seat, table and resting bin – which was completely overgrown.

“I immediately called my guys to have the area cleaned,” he said.

Boardman said he would check up on both the trail and resting area and have maintenance and cleaning work done.

“With every visit, it is clear that more and more people are stopping there to have something to eat or drink.”

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Boardman’s enthusiasm for the new trail remains undimmed, even though he was recently attacked while jogging on the very same route.

As was previously reported in Rekord, Boardman’s attacker forced him to the ground and tried to pull him behind some bushes.

Fortunately, a car drove by and the two women inside saw what was happening and honked, scaring the thug away and likely saving Boardman’s life.

“That is why I am hiring people to help me keep this path clear, so it can be safe and for joggers to be seen by motorists.”

After the incident, Boardman and some hired help removed the dense bushes into which his attacker tried to drag him and pruned some trees.

“I hope that the locals and those who come from afar will appreciate the trail and, if possible, contribute in keeping it clean,” said Boardman.

A remarkable discovery of a resting place for joggers and motorists.

The 15km Zwartkop Rondo trail.

Philip Boardman at the start of the Zwartkop Rondo trail. Photos: Jason Milford

Do you have more information about the story? Please send us an email to [email protected] or phone us on 083 625 4114.

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Jason Milford

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