It’s hard to believe that this time last week I was packing my suitcase for a short break to Guernsey! My mother goes to Guernsey every year to meet members of the Foresters Friendly Society, an organisation based all over the UK and the Channel Islands which raises money for various worthy causes. I have been a member since birth and was excited when my mother asked me to go to Guernsey with her. I’d never been to Guernsey before, and it was an exciting opportunity to meet members who live on the island.
We travelled by plane last Friday, a very small plane with propellers which was a different experience! Driving to the hotel was interesting as well, as the maximum speed limit is 35 mph and the roads are so narrow, that quite often vehicles have to go up the kerb to get by traffic on the opposite side. I eventually got used to this, as my mother and one of her friends drove around a lot of the island.
While the formalities were in the evening at the hotel where most Foresters (i.e. members of the society) stayed, we got to explore the beautiful island of Guernsey by day. In the space of three full days I got to see a lot of what Guernsey has to offer, including Saumarez Manor, Catherine Best‘s jewelry studio, the capital of St Peter Port and even Victor Hugo’s house!
The food in Guernsey is delicious, and portions are never small (ask for lunch and you get a large dinner time meal!). I tried a delicacy called Bean Jar which I had on toast with melted cheese on top. From what I could taste, it was a mixture of different types of beans with strips of gammon/ham. It was delicious!
Another delicacy in Guernsey, which I’ve had before because my mum always brings back loaves with her, is Guernsey Gauche. Gauche is a fruit tea loave which can be enjoyed plain or toasted, and is best served with Guernsey butter. It is a light cake with juicy raisins inside, which goes nicely with a cup of tea as an afternoon treat.
When I was packing my suitcase the night before going to Guernsey I decided to pack my running gear. I thought it would be pretty cool to run in a different country for the first time. I was going to find somewhere near the hotel to run on my own one morning, until I heard someone on the plane mention about the parkrun.
I had never heard of this before, but the parkrun takes place all over the world at 9am every Saturday. It is a 5km run which anyone can participate in, as long as you register first. Once you’ve registered, you receive a unique barcode which is scanned at the end of the race to log your time. It just seemed such a coincidence that I took my running kit with me and there turned out to be an organised run on the Saturday morning!
I went with one of the Foresters to the Guernsey parkrun, which took place at the Beach House in Vale. The route was along the coast, near one of the many fort towers dotted around the island. It was a 2.5km route which we ran around twice to make it 5km.
I was rather chilly at first. It was quite windy and being right next to the sea means it feels a lot cooler. I was jogging up and down on the spot to keep myself warm before we started, as I was wearing a short sleeved t-shirt. However, I’m glad that I didn’t wear a jacket as I soon warmed up when I started running.
The route made a refreshing change, since I had never ran by the coast before (in a different country to boot). I had to watch my feet quite often as the terrain varied and the path sometimes became narrow with a few small ditches. At one point I felt my right ankle swerve to the side near a ditch, but I didn’t injure myself. The gradient was varied too, going up and down small steep slopes. I took my time on those parts of the route, and ran faster when the gradient was flat and smoother.
It was nice to see such a wide age and ability range. There were young children with their parents and much older people running the 5km route. Everyone felt comfortable running at their own pace, and there were no problems over taking people if you wanted to run faster.
The results were soon published online after the race, and I was very pleased with mine. I came in 71st place out of 88 participants, with a time of 35 minutes and 38 seconds. I came first in my age category and was the 25th female to finish the race. The results are very detailed! I could list more statistics but I will refrain.
Considering that this was my first parkrun, my first run in a different country and my first 5km route by the coast, I think I did pretty well overall. I had to stop once because my shoelace became loose, but I managed to keep up a steady speed. I enjoyed a well deserved bacon and egg butty in the Beach House cafe after the run!
I’m so glad that one of the Foresters told me about the parkrun. I have found out that two parkruns take place in my home city, one next to my place of work. I can’t go this week, but one Saturday morning I’ll definitely go along to one of the parkruns. It will be a great way to meet new people and other runners, since I currently go running on my own. As you’d expect, I will write a blog when I complete my next parkrun!
Happy reading and blogging!