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Pints & Parkruns: Jersey

A slice of island life

By Andy PottsPublished 10 months ago 2 min read
Along Jersey's old railway path

It’s on an island, but Jersey parkrun is far from insular. It’s always been popular with tourists – for a long time it was the only ‘J’ for alphabet hunters, and it can claim to be the southernmost in Britain. Plus, with the start a 20-minute walk from the airport, it could hardly be better located for a flying visit.

Even allowing for all that, though, it was a surprise to see how deeply tourists are embedded into Jersey. Our run director, Sam, came from the Isle of Wight, fresh from following the recent Island Games on Guernsey. The first-time briefing was delivered by another visitor, Jodie, more often found running in the northeast of Scotland. And, on a summer Saturday, significant numbers of holidaymakers who come to Jersey for a sunny staycation also find their way to Les Quennevais Sports Centre. It all helps to secure a turn-out of 300+ - not bad on an island with a population of barely 100,000.

Assembling at the start

The centre is a genuine sporting hub. In addition to the indoor hall, the grounds offer a perimeter cycle track, plus pitches for hockey, softball and pétanque (yes, France is not far away). And, since 2015 it’s been home to the first parkrun in the Channel Islands.

The course is divided between a couple of laps of that concrete cycle track and an out-and-back stretch along a gravelly railway path. As you may recall, I’ve raised a glass to railway paths on previous parkruns, most notably at Wynyard Woodland near Stockton, or Hackworth in the cradle of the railways at Shildon. Jersey’s rail history was relatively brief, and the line that once linked St. Helier with Corbiere on the west coast was closed before the second world war. Now a tree-lined cycle path, it provides about 1500m of the total route and, unlike Hackworth, is definitely of the ‘fast and flat’ variety.

Welcome evidence that the end is in sight.

There is some elevation to worry about, but only on the cycle path. One short but noticeable rise early on each circuit will keep runners honest, otherwise it’s all very gentle. There are good surfaces underfoot (no need for trail shoes here) and nice wide paths. It never feels crowded and runners can quickly settle into their preferred pace. Jersey might fall slightly short of a genuine PB course in comparison with some of the zero-elevation coastal routes, but most runners are likely to get an above average time here.

The pint

Although it’s small, Jersey has a couple of breweries. Liberation Brewery, dating back to Victorian times, is the veteran. However, since we were staying near the so-called Stinky Bay (and yes, it does have a pungent whiff of seaweed about it), the Stinky Bay Brewery was the obvious choice. Inspired by the craft scene of British Columbia and committed to donating 1% turnover to good causes, it’s a company that’s easy to like. And, while the beers are decent rather than spectacular, they’re a good option while watching the sun set off the Atlantic coast – and offer a handy olfactory antidote to the seaweed. Grab the eponymous IPA, lightly chilled, for a perfect accompaniment to a fish supper at the end of a sweaty summer run.

First run: Aug. 2023; PB 26:16 (Aug. 2023)

Thanks for reading. For more Pints & Parkruns, please check out the website.

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About the Creator

Andy Potts

Community focused sports fan from Northeast England. Tends to root for the little guy. Look out for Talking Northeast, my new project coming soon.

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    Andy PottsWritten by Andy Potts

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