JERSEY’s weekly Parkrun has been praised as an ‘institution’ by a leading figure in Island sport, as the event prepared for its 300th staging today.
The first Island Parkrun took place at Les Quennevais in September 2015, and since then a total of 11,497 runners have completed the five-kilometre course.
Catriona McAllister, chief executive of Jersey Sport, said: ‘It really is a fantastic event for a lot of people and has become an institution.
‘Parkrun gives people something to aim for, whether they start off seeking to make the “couch to 5k” journey or want to improve their times, and being part of a community is an important positive factor for people’s mental health.’
Michael Chaytor, who has been co-director of the event for the past six years, said Parkrun had also brought a lot of visitors to the Island.
‘We had around 50 visitors last weekend and it’s become popular for people wanting to complete the most southerly Parkrun in the British Isles, or those doing an alphabetical list, as there aren’t many beginning with ‘J’,’ he said.
Mr Chaytor said the average number of participants had reached 360 per week prior to the event being suspended in March 2020 as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Since resuming in April last year, the weekly average has built back up to 275, he added.
Parkrun is one of many events in Jersey reliant on volunteers. Mr Chaytor said a total of 736 people had helped stage the event since 2015, including those taking part in the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award scheme.