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Parkrun: Increase in weekend joggers

News | Published:

‘PARKRUN tourism’ has contributed to a surge in participation levels for the Island’s weekly 5km jog.

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Jersey parkrun will celebrate its fourth birthday next month and the Island has become a popular destination for visitors wanting to tick off a box on their running bucket list.

Held each Saturday morning at Les Quennevais, the event has averaged 269 runners per week, but 2019 has seen a marked increase, with an average of 332 people taking part so far this year, including 558 who lined up for the 200th parkrun earlier this month.

Among those who took part in the milestone event was Anna Harding, who produces videos for UK-based YouTube site The Running Channel.

Ms Harding made a day-trip to Jersey from London to highlight the accessibility of the event for those wanting to expand their running horizons, and her video was viewed more than 12,000 times in the first ten days after it was published online.

‘I’d seen quite a lot of talk about Jersey on various running blogs and thought it would make a good video,’ she said. ‘The only downside was the 3am alarm, so I hope next time I come I’ll stay a bit longer.’

Seasoned parkrunners strive to complete different lists of events. These include ‘alphabeteers’ whose goal is to complete a parkrun for every letter of the alphabet. Jersey is one of just two Js in the British Isles, although there isn’t an event beginning with the letter X. There is also an online roll of honour for runners who have taken part in 20 different events, while some enthusiasts have amassed more than 100 global parkruns on their CVs. Jersey may be a popular destination for those wanting to complete the British Isles’ most southerly parkrun.

Senator Steve Pallett, who is both an assistant minister in the Economic Development Department with responsibility for sport and an assistant minister for Health, said he was delighted to see the continued success of the event.

‘Ever since it started, parkrun has had a very positive effect,’ he said. ‘It’s a very inclusive event and has helped lots of Islanders in being fit and active, as well as becoming a destination for visitors.

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‘We have lots of different sporting events that bring visitors to the Island, but parkrun is something that anyone can take part in and I think that’s part of the attraction.’

Michael Chaytor, co-event director, said that there had been discussions with Visit Jersey about making information more readily available for people coming to the Island for the parkrun.

‘We don’t have precise numbers regarding visitors, but we know there are people who arrive on the early flights on Saturdays for day-trips, while others include it as part of their holiday,’ he said.

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