Pembroke Bay among best parkrun locations
One of my running goals for 2018 was to tackle a run abroad. To this end, I hopped across to Guernsey for a bash at their parkrun. And as parkrun locations go, the one used for this Channel Island event is a gem.
The parkrun is set against the fantastic backdrop of Pembroke Bay on the north of the island. Put simply, Guernsey’s offering must be right up there with the most picturesque.
After taking a bus to recce the area on the day before, the start point at the bay was a handy warm-up of two miles from my hotel.
The course describes itself as undulating, which can sometimes be misleading and give an impression of hideous hills aplenty. I’ve been to parkrun locations where the terrain can look quite daunting.
With bay views on the runners left as you set off, the course is two laps of coastal path bliss. It’s not trail running as in the very muddy sense, and the grass looks to be kept a nice, short length.
You need to watch your footing and it can be single file on particular stretches of the route. But this is no bad thing, as it will keep you from getting too excited and ahead of yourself.
On the day I recced the setting, the wind was howling a gale. But come run morning – bingo – there was hardly a breeze. A volunteer parkrun organiser for the week told me this was extremely rare. I’d mentally prepared for a windy battering up a coastal trail, so the calmer conditions were a huge bonus.
The start and finish of the route runs adjacent to a golf course and passes a few loophole towers. These towers were built in the 1780s and are prominent across Guernsey. With 15 in total, they played a key role against the threat of invasion by France.
Guernsey is a relative newcomer to the parkrun world. The event I took part in was No.107 and it attracts over 100 runners per week. It’s ideal for beginners and from what I learnt, the Guernsey group are keen to get more to line up weekly. And with such great scenery, there’s little excuse.
A final note about the firing range next to the course. Whaddaya mean I neglected to mention this? Well don’t fret. At least not until the red flags are out.
Luckily I didn’t hear any target practice until I’d finished. I didn’t fancy jumping my way round under fire after all…