Dave Manners’ Jersey Adventure, 9th and 10th June 2018
Jersey Adventure 2018
While in Jersey for a short break in 2017 on the Sunday morning I came across the finish of the Jersey half marathon. I only saw the slower runners and thought “I could do that”. With no holidays yet planned this year the idea re-entered my head and so cheap Easyjet flights on the Wed before and Tuesday after were booked along with an expensive hotel! Then “is there a parkrun in Jersey”? Yes there is, “might as well do that as well”…
Saturday 9th June, Jersey parkrun
Woke up to torrential rain (the edge of a big thunderstorm in France), didn’t expect rain so had no wet weather running gear apart from a thin shower-proof top. Soaked after ten minute walk/jog to bus station in St Helier, 25 minute bus ride then soaked walking to Les Quennevais sports centre (near the airport). Nice sports centre with 20p lockers and showers etc available.
Although the previous week there were over 300 runners this week there were less than half of that and apparently at least half of those were tourists most likely also doing the half marathon the following day. The parkrun is approx. a lap and a half around a tarmac cycle loop at the sports centre. Then out through some trees and down a cycle path to a turning point back up past the sports centre to another turning point then back to the finish (not far from the start). The course is relatively flat but does have inclines. The locals were friendly but I was soaked so didn’t hang around to visit the café, just headed off for my bus back to St Helier. Got back just in time to catch breakfast at the hotel!
Sunday 10th June, Jersey Half Marathon
Woke up to light fog or maybe very low cloud, very dull and overcast but quite warm. Went to catch the free bus in St Helier, quite hectic lots of runners and no proper queue, got on the third one that came. Then got talking to a lad in a Newcastle United shirt who it turns out lives approx. a mile from me in Gateshead!
The half marathon starts in St Ouen and the first three miles is downhill on country roads (although there is a short sharp hill at Etacq). You then run, first on cycle path then on a flat road, the length of St Ouen’s Bay (3 miles plus). At this point some runners pull out as a few run as relay teams. Then the toughest part of the course quite a steep climb at La Pulente, but it’s not too far and then you turn onto a cycle path which gradually climbs to Les Quennevais (this is the cycle path used in the parkrun). From there on the same cycle path it is all downhill to St Aubin and you are on the seafront having ran 10.1 miles. So that just leaves 3 miles of flat run along the promenade from St Aubin to the finish in St Helier. Being overcast it was very warm and humid and being overweight and under-trained I really struggled and lost time here. Maybe running the parkrun the day before didn’t help, although it had to be done.
In the general scheme of things the Jersey Half Marathon is flat and very scenic and most years I think you would expect it to be sunny and just a little warmer than Newcastle. So well worth considering.