When you think of parkrun, you might envisage an idyllic, green, parkland setting in the countryside, or an inner-city park bustling with people. But what about those people who live on an island? That’s no excuse to miss out on their free, weekly, timed 5k!
With almost 1,400 parkruns across the world, we take a closer look at some events that take place on islands that will be shore to greet you with a friendly wave!
1. Bere Island parkrun, Bere Island, Ireland
Bere Island is a small island off the Beara Peninsula in County Cork, Ireland. The island may only be roughly 10k x 3k in dimension, but that’s more than enough space for a parkrun!
The population of the island is only 220, but parkrun tourists can make their way to the start line via… a ferry!
Bere Island Ferries leaves Castletownbere at 9.00am, and provide bus transport to the event, getting you there safely in time for the pre-run briefing and the 9:30am start. Or for those who prefer a leisurely start to parkrunday, there is accommodation available on the island.
The single-lap course offers spectacular scenery of Bantry Bay, whilst the route takes in in a Bronze Age wedge tomb and the remains of a Viking boatyard. As well as that, it’s also possible to see dolphins and other sealife off the coastline, so you’ll be sure to have a whale of a time!
The Bere Island parkrun experience is completed with post-parkrun coffee in the Bakehouse Cafe in Rerrin Village.
2.Elagin Island (Elagin Ostrov) parkrun, St Petersburg, Russia
Elagin Island parkrun is located in St Petersburg, Russia, on a lovely little space of land surrounded by the Bolshaya Nevka River. It is an event not known for large numbers but what it may lack in quantity it surely makes up with quality.
You run through a wooded park and parallel to the river and get up close and personal to the 19th century Yelagin Palace. A lovely sight if you need a distraction. After scanning you may be fortunate to be looked after with hot tea and pancakes. Be mindful of winter conditions. The river can freeze and ice on the course may cause a cancellation.
Flat, two laps and a short Metro trip from the city centre.
3. Bressay parkrun, Shetland Islands, UK
The most northerly parkrun in the UK launched earlier in 2018 on the island of Bressay, a small community of less than 400 people on a land mass around 11 square miles in size.
The island offers amazing beaches, cliffs, lighthouses, archaeological sites, geology, wildlife and more, whilst the parkrun course itself is an out-and-back taking in the best the island has to offer.
Given the remote location, traveling to Shetland can be tricky, but there is a Northlink boat, two airlines and an inter island ferry which arrives in good time for the 9:30am start.
Bressay parkrun Event Director Kate Wills has some advise for those making the trip to Shetland: “Bring waterproofs and warm clothing all year round. Maybe a survival suit and some binoculars. And definitely pack your sense of humour!”
4. Hamilton Island parkrun, Queensland
One of the Whitsunday Islands in Queensland, Hamilton Island is located close to the Great Barrier Reef and since October 2015 has been home to Hamilton Island parkrun.
The beautiful but hill course offers incredible views of the beach, so try not to get distracted!
There is a commercial airport on the island, with short direct flights from Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Cairns, making it a popular destination for parkrun tourists, and fans of the movie Muriel’s Wedding may recognise the island, as it was filmed on the island.
Finisher numbers average between 20-40, with post-parkrun coffee every week at the nearby Marina Café.
5. Jersey parkrun, Channel Islands
The second Channel Islands parkrun to be featured takes place on the island of Jersey, which is the largest and southernmost of the Channel Islands located near the coast of Normandy, France.
The island has a population of approximately 100,000 people, and Jersey parkrun has been part of the parkrun family since September 2015, thriving ever since.
The scenic two-lapper has proved popular with regulars from the local community, and with a minor international airport on the island, Jersey parkrun features high on the must-run-list for many parkrun uber tourists keen to tick the illusive letter ‘J’ off their parkrun alphabet!
6. Kangaroo Island parkrun, South Australia
Kangaroo Island parkrun is in the state of South Australia. And as the name suggests, wildlife is a huge part of the island life.
With 300 parkrun events currently in Australia, Kangaroo Island parkrun is a relative ‘joey’ having launched in October 2017.
The dramatic out-and-back course along the coastline is staged in the island’s biggest town, Kingscote, which has an airport just a 30-minute flight from Adelaide, or a two-hour drive via the regular ferry services.
Kangaroo Island, known as ‘KI’ locally, is Australia’s third-largest island, but despite a small population of only 4,500, this parkrun community has grown steadily over the Australian summer months.
7. Roosevelt Island parkrun, Washington DC, USA
Roosevelt Island parkrun is located on Theodore Roosevelt Island in the Potomac River. Access to the island is only via a pedestrian bridge as no bikes or cars are permitted on the island.
The course is all trail, utilising many of the trails that weave through the island. A memorial plaza featuring a statue of Roosevelt is the main attraction and is surrounded by lots of natural flora and fauna. The locals are very warm and friendly, and with a large variety of sights to see and experience in DC, there is something for everyone.
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