Parkrun | J is for Jersey
I’d set my alarm for 3:45am to get to parkrun. Definitely the most mad touristing I’d ever done. After my crazy alarm clock went off, I shot off running the 4.5km to St Pancras station before catching the train to Gatwick. The guy at passport control asked if my legs were cold. “Does no one else go through the airport in shorts?” I ask, bemused my running attire is attracting so much attention.
Jersey is just a 45 minute hop from London and with return flights costing just £45, I saw it as the most fantastic way to spend a weekend while ticking off another parkrun alphabet letter in a fun way. The 7am flight from Gatwick arrived in to Jersey at 8am. It’s just a 2.5km run from the airport to Le Quennevais sports centre where parkrun is held so I’m the first to arrive after jogging there from my plane. The course itself is fantastic - 1.5 laps of tarmac then a change to a well packed trail path and a long out and back. Having completed the Country to Capital 70km ultramarathon the week before I wasn’t sure how my legs would feel but I was delighted that within the first kilometre I was feeling strong.
Now every time I go near to PB pace (7:30 min/mile) I feel one of two things: first at about half way I feel like I’m going to die and that the only options is to drop back to 10 minute mileing. Interestingly it’s never 'ease off' it’s always extreme and therefore somewhat easier to hear the irrational over the noise. Secondly I feel like I’m going weirdly slowly. I think it’s because about that pace there are quite a few, hmmm how to describe it politely, lanky 40-50 year old men who make my paciest pace look like a slow lollop. I’m there killing myself and they are so close to walking it’s practically unrecognisably different. Anyway, today I hung on. 3:45am alarm clock, 7km warm up. I’m having you. The trail path at roughly halfway was shocking to start with (“What?! Only 2.5km! I’m going to die!”) But then the beauty of the course, the phenomenal cheery spirit of the wonderful volunteers and the sense of what I could achieve given my ultra last week kicked in and I hung on for dear life. Sprinting down the finishing funnel I knew I was close to not just a quick time, but a lifetime PB. Lactic acid swilling, legs throbbing and lungs fit to burst I crossed the line and stopped my watch. 22:58. 2 seconds off a lifetime PB. One week post from an ultra having woken so early? Oh yes. I’ll take that!
I jogged back out on to the course to run firstly my mum in and then back out to walk my dad in. The volunteers enthusiasm didn’t let up and they clapped and cheered as both my inspiring parents made their way across the line.
We signed the visitors book, a nice touch for a parkrun I’m sure is inundated with tourists, and went to the cafe for delicious food and a great chance to warm up.
I know there is now a chance to go ‘just’ to Jersey Farms, St Albans, for your letter J parkrun tourism but why would you? Jersey is beautiful, a short and affordable hop from the UK and any trip will be rich with adventure. It’s got to be my favourite parkrun tourism trip of all time.
Nearest public transport: 2.5km run/walk from the airport. Buses run regularly from across the Island and fares are just £2.20.
Postcode is JE3 8LZ
Two laps and an out and back course
Toilets at Les Quennevais Sports Centre
Cost of a latte was £2.10. 5% off by showing your barcode
Great food options including cake and eggs.
Volunteers super friendly.
First runner: 17:34
Tail walker: 47:05
No of runners: 418
Bag drop: leave them by the finish line in the green storage unit
Shoe choice: road shoes but in bad weather the out and back is on a compact trail so a hybrid shoe might be better