Earlier this year, myself and a few others from my run club decided to take part in the Parkrun alphabet challenge. This is basically a challenge to complete a Parkrun for every letter of the alphabet. I love this idea because not only do we get to try some new Parkruns, which keeps it fun and interesting, we also get to see a few new places in the process. We started by doing a few of the different local Parkruns, then I decided to branch out further and went abroad in September to tackle Gdansk Parkrun in Poland. Then, on a bit of a whim one day, we decided to book a weekend away to complete Parkrun over in Jersey, as this is one of the main Parkruns to visit for the elusive J.
What I really love about this whole thing though, is somehow, I have managed to find a group of people as mad as me that will think nothing of booking a weekend away to complete a Parkrun. In fact they really enjoy it. I love this as it makes me feel like I have finally found my people after all these years of doing stuff like this by myself or feeling like I’m weird!
Anyway, I wanted to write a bit about the trip because it was so much fun, and I hope to do more trips like this over the coming months and years.
FRIDAY: EN-ROUTE TO PARKRUN
We set off for Manchester airport on Friday morning, the flight was mid morning and we expected to arrive around lunchtime, as it was only a short flight (about an hour). I was really excited about the whole thing, as I had never been to Jersey before and I was curious to see what it was like. There were 5 of us travelling together and we were meeting 2 others at the airport, so we had a good gang of us representing our run club!
After a very quick flight, we arrived in Jersey and took a taxi from the airport to our hotel, which was just outside St Helier (where the Parkrun was) in a small coastal town called St Aubin. My first impressions of Jersey was that it was very quiet but pretty. The taxi driver proceeded to tell us how he didn’t like living there because it was so small that everyone knew everyone’s business! It did give off that “local” vibe to it, like if you weren’t a local, people knew and stared at you. It was a very pretty place though, with a cute harbour, picturesque houses and windy side streets. It reminded me a little of Cornwall, and some of the fishing villages there.
Our hotel was located on a bit of a cliff side and had amazing views of the bay. I thought it would be a lovely place to come in the summer but as we were out of season, and the weather wasn’t great, it was very quiet.
We had a bit of a wander around that afternoon and ventured into St Helier, which was a few miles down the road. There wasn’t really that much to see and the weather was terrible (wind and torrential rain) so after a bit of sightseeing, we ended up in the pub for a while (hard life!) before eating out at an amazing fish restaurant and getting an early night ready for Parkrun!
SATURDAY: JERSEY PARKRUN DAY!
On the Saturday, we had a big breakfast at the hotel before grabbing a taxi across to St Helier for Parkrun. It was a very windy day, and several other Parkruns had been cancelled, so I think we were lucky that it was actually on after travelling all that way! Due to the rain the night before parts of the course were also flooded, but that didn’t stop us, just made it slightly more challenging.
Jersey Parkrun takes place at Les Quennevais Sports Centre. There were two laps around the sports centre, which was on a concrete path, as well as a few trailly bits. It was mostly flat apart from a gradual hill right before the finish which was a bit of a killer! Overall, I really enjoyed it. But it was the whole experience I enjoyed, seeing a new place and meeting new people.
After Parkrun we went back to our hotel, showered and changed, checked out at 11am and then headed for lunch before getting our flight back in the afternoon. We were back home in time for the evening so it was a bit of a whistle stop tour and it did feel a bit surreal. I’d love to do more weekends though like this and try some different Parkruns in the process!
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