Guernsey parkrun Turns 1!
Tuesday, 28 February, 2017
On the 8th of April Guernsey parkrun will be celebrating its’ first birthday, after a hugely successful first year, attracting over 1200 participants to the weekly 5km run or walk.
Event Director Lorna O’Donnell says ‘We had a great turnout of over 100 participants for our inaugural Event last year and I was hopeful the parkrun formula would prove as popular in Guernsey as it has elsewhere.”
Lorna explains how it works. “The parkrun concept is simple, that everyone should be able to go running in their community regularly, safely and free of charge. You register once online, print out your barcode, and then turn up to run or walk for free. At the end of the run, participant’s barcodes are scanned and the results are emailed to them, so that runners are able to track their progress over time.”
The free global fitness initiative is now a worldwide phenomenon with 2 million runners having taken part in over 1,000 timed weekly parkruns taking place in 14 countries across the world. However, just as important as the runners are the volunteers who carry out a variety of roles each week including timekeeping, marshalling and bar code scanning. The volunteering and community aspects of parkrun are fundamental to its success and its appeal. Guernsey Sports Commission’s Sports Development Officer Jenny Murphy explains “parkrun is a fantastic, friendly, community event where everyone supports each other. All ages and abilities take part and anyone coming along for the first time are made to feel very welcome. After the run each week, runners and volunteers meet up in the Beach House Cafe to enjoy a chat and a coffee.”
Mrs O’Donnell further explains “as every parkrun event is run entirely by volunteers, it is recommended that each participant volunteers at least three times each year to help their local event to continue to function sustainably. Although we have a fantastic core of dedicated volunteers, we do rely on the runners themselves stepping up take their turn and give something back, and this is something we have seen more often as our Event has become established in Guernsey”.
Perhaps due to its global popularity, Guernsey parkrun has attracted over 300 visitors to the Island over the past year, many of whom come especially to take part in the Event. Mrs O’Donnell reports “we have welcomed many parkrun tourists to Pembroke who have expressed their enjoyment of our beautiful scenic course at L’Ancresse Common, and their desire to return in the future.”
Guernsey parkrun starts every Saturday morning at 9am at Pembroke. The organisers will be marking their 1st Birthday Event on the 8th of April with a special celebration and everyone is welcome to come along and join in the fun.