About BALEKA

Run. Connect. Grow.

We have all heard the saying, "Hurt people hurt people" but we would also add, "Sick communities produce sick people." At BALEKA Run Club we know that healthy communities produce healthy people and we believe people need other people to be well, to be whole, and to be healthy.

BALEKA Run Club uses group walks, runs, hikes and other social events as the catalyst for building individual and community wellness. BRC aspires to be a practical example of how to transform and/or create healthy communities. Our aim is to create communities that are emotionally well, physically fit, aware of their surroundings, and educated about proper nutrition.

BALEKA Run Club began in helping its founder prepare for his first marathon. While running through the Gugulethu township, in Cape Town, South Africa, our founder would often hear the children yell out, "Baleka, Baleka!" Baleka which translates to "Run" eventually became the rally cry that pushed him though the Two Oceans Marathon. BALEKA Run Club originated in South Africa but has expanded into an international organization, changing lives around the globe
About The Founder

Jon Parker is a licensed professional counselor and life coach who has found passion in helping heal and restore people and the communities they live in. He obtained his Master's degree in Marriage and Family Therapy and received his Bachelor of Arts from the University of California, Berkeley.

Originally from East St. Louis, Illinois, he was raised in Southern California and educated in the Oakland/San Francisco Bay Area. He has travelled to over 15 countries and has lived on both the North American and African Continent. In all of his travels one theme rings true, people need people to become their best self.

Jon's psychological background coupled with his international education has helped him to understand the interconnected nature of human beings. As such, the model and aim of BALEKA Run Club is to utilize wellness as a means of bringing people and their communities together.

ABOUT THE PRESIDENT

Jacob Parker is a former college athlete and fitness enthusiast who strives to create human connections within the community. His passion for individual and community development paved the way for various mentor and leadership opportunities. Jacob graduated from the University of Mississippi with a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology and Business and went on to serve in a leadership role as the Competitive Sports intern at Cornell University. 

Jacob was born and raised in East Saint Louis, IL, but has claimed many places as home, living in several different states and in the French Riviera. Currently in Washington D.C., he is eager to invest in bringing the DMV community together through health and wellness advocacy and fellowship with the BALEKA Run Club.

Meet Our Program Manager

Boitumelo Itumeleng is an avid runner, outdoors enthusiast, and a student of the culinary arts and hospitality management. She formally studied at South West Gauteng College but began cultivating her love for health and wellness long before her time there. Her early upbringing in Kimberley (Northern Cape), South Africa, is where her passion for community development began.

Boitumelo has had the opportunity to travel to various provinces in South Africa including Cape Town, Northern Cape, and the free State but most of her youth was spent living in Johannesburg. Throughout her travels, wherever Boitumelo has called home, she has been intentional in sharing her resources as well as passing on numerous life skills. Boitumelo has mentored and volunteered in various community centers and was instrumental in the success of a feeding scheme program at a youth center in Kliptown, Johannesburg. 

Combining her formal training with her passion for educating youth, Boitumelo partnered with Jon Parker to begin BALEKA Run Club in late 2018. The forming of BRC saw Boitumelo flourish in her gifting as a chef, a mentor, a tour guide, and big sister to numerous youth. Boitumelo has dedicated her life to investing in the betterment of her community and leads by example through living an active and healthy lifestyle. She was instrumental in the formation of BALEKA and continues to lead the local chapters in South Africa.