102 People Attend the First Guernsey parkrun

11th April 2016

Saturday saw the first parkrun, a global fitness initiative, take place in Guernsey at Pembroke Bay. Guernsey parkrun is a weekly, free, 5km timed run, jog or walk, that is open to everyone regardless of ability, experience or current fitness levels. The parkrun phenomenon has taken the world by storm with over 800 weekly parkruns already taking place across the UK and worldwide.

Event Director, Lorna O’Donnell, has been pivotal in getting Guernsey parkrun launched, with support from the Guernsey Sports Commission. Lorna explains how the concept works: ‘The parkrun concept is simple; you register on the parkrun website, print your barcode and turn up to run, for free. At the end, each finisher is handed a token, which is scanned alongside their personal barcode. Later on that day your time and results are published on the parkrun.org.uk website and also emailed to you. You can then have another go the following Saturday and track your own progress over time. One of the best things about parkrun is that you can run, jog or walk at entirely your own pace. It is a timed run, not a race and everyone is friendly and supportive,’ says Lorna.

Children age four years and over are welcome to take part although those under 11 years must be within arms reach of a designated adult. The social aspects of parkrun are important too with participants encouraged to stay on after the event for a post parkrun coffee in the Beach House Cafe. ‘Come along any Saturday morning at 9am to see what it is all about and meet new friends; you will receive a warm welcome,’ says Lorna.

Generali Worldwide has provided the funding to launch Guernsey parkrun, through their donation to the Guernsey Sports Commission in 2015 which funds the Generali Get Active, Stay Active programme. Jenny Murphy, Sports Development Officer with the Guernsey Sports Commission said: ‘We feel that parkrun fits in perfectly with what we are trying to achieve with the Generali Get Active, Stay Active programme. We want to encourage people of all ages and abilities to get active on a regular basis and parkrun offers just that. The donation from Generali Worldwide has allowed us to help launch this ongoing, regular and free event which will benefit the local Guernsey community’.
Guernsey parkrun is run by a team of volunteers. The volunteering and community aspects of parkrun are fundamental to its success and its appeal. Without the volunteers it simply cannot happen. Anyone interested in volunteering can contact guernseyhelpers@parkrun.com for more information.

The course for Guernsey parkrun starts on the footpath to the east of the Pembroke Bay car parks and is a gently undulating and scenic two lap course. Full details of the course, including safety information, tips and advice is available on the website at www.parkrun.org.uk/guernsey

Lorna adds: ‘Following the announcement that parkrun has agreed a new three-year partnership with Intersport, we are very pleased indeed to have the support of Intersport locally.  Guernsey Director Nigel Hurford has been following our progress closely and is hugely excited about this initiative which fits perfectly with the Intersport aim to provide sports to the people, a philosophy shared whole-heartedly by parkrun. ‘I would also like to take this opportunity to thank the Vale Commons Council who have kindly given permission to the weekly use of the common in support of this community fitness initiative and to the States Environment Department for their advice and help.’