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.
You can find out more about Bere Island parkrun here.
2. 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!”
You can find out more about Bressay parkrun here.
3. Guernsey parkrun, Channel Islands, UK
The first of two parkruns in the Channel Islands, separating the UK from France, Guernsey parkrun, on the beautiful island of Guernsey, joined the parkrun family in April 2016.
The two-lap course takes place in an area of natural beauty with a wide diversity of grassland, gorse, birds and associated wildlife. As well as that, the route is sandwiched between a golf course on one side and a rifle range on the headland at Fort Le Marchant, which is often “in session” whilst parkrun is underway.
Therefore, it is particularly important that parkrunners do not wander off the course!
With spectacular cliff paths, beaches, and an interesting history, Guernsey is a popular spot for tourists, and as far as post-parkrun coffee goes, the spectacular Beach House Cafe (above) takes some beating!
Whats more, they offer free teas and coffees on the first Saturday of each month on production of your parkrun barcode. Just #DFYB
You can find out more about Guernsey parkrun here.
4. Hamilton Island parkrun, Queensland, Australia
One of the Whitsunday Islands in Queensland, Australia, Hamilton Island is located close to the Great Barrier Reef and since October 2015 has been home to Hamilton Island parkrun.
The beautiful, predominantly flat course has one small hill that is completed twice, but offers incredible views of the beach at the end point of the course, 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.
You can find out more about Hamilton Island parkrun here.
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!
You can find out more about Jersey parkrun here.
6. Kangaroo Island parkrun, 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 almost 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.
You can find out more about Kangaroo parkrun here.
7. Medina I.O.W parkrun, Isle of Wight, UK
The Isle of Wight is an island off the south coast of England, UK, in the English Channel and less than two hours from London via the Isle of Wight Ferry.
The island is famous for its annual music festival, and is one of the most important areas in Europe for dinosaur fossils and bones, which can be seen in and on the rocks exposed around the beaches on the island.
Medina I.O.W parkrun launched in May 2011 and is one that appeals to locals and tourists alike, with the undulating course offering views of the River Medina.
Thankfully parkrunners might be a few million years too late to see any of our Jurassic friends along the route, but you can join more than 200 fellow parkrunners for post-parkrun refreshments as part of an action-packed, family friendly weekend on the island.
You can find out more about Medina I.O.W parkrun here.
8. Nobles parkrun, Isle of Man
The Isle of Man sits in the Irish Sea between the islands of Great Britain and Ireland. It is known for its rugged coastline, medieval castles, rural landscape and an annual motorcycle race around the island. And now… parkrun!
The event takes place in Nobles Park in Douglas, the capital and largest city on the Isle of Man with a population of around 28,000. Nobles Park is a beautiful, well maintained park with plenty of facilities, and snowmen from time to time!
A relative baby in parkrun terms, having launched in October 2017, the course itself is two main figure-of-eight laps completed by a final circuit of the top park area, covering mainly grassed park with some sections of concrete pathways.
Nobles is an ideal venue for parkrun tourists to tick off whilst enjoying this unique environment – why not stay and check out the historic coastline, Laxey wheel, heritage steam railway, horse tram and castles!
You can find out more about Nobles parkrun here.
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