Guernsey is a beautiful place and I have loved running there for years. I have friends who live there so I finally realised that I could combine a trip to see them with the Guernsey Dairy Milk Run half marathon. Last year I travelled on Saturday so just did the half on the Sunday. This year I travelled on Friday and as my friend works on Saturday mornings, I took the opportunity to participate in the Guernsey parkrun. It was a little low on numbers overall due to the half on Sunday but it had a good number of visitors, also due to the half! It’s a two lap course across the common and along coastal paths, making it slightly tricky under foot with rabbit holes and sandy patches. I was especially careful as I didn’t want to go over on an ankle when I still had the ‘main event’ of the weekend to come the next day.
The course is out and back with a loop around the common at one end and a turn around a sign at the other. Being out and back meant that there were runners going in both directions at one point, it was lovely to see the faster runners going past but the path was narrow in places so passing was a bit tight! It was also high tide and the waves were coming up over the sea wall! I was happy to finish with my best parkrun time for over a year and my first ever first place in my age category!
The next day started early as the race started at 9am and I need a good few hours for breakfast to settle before I run. There were 800 entries sold for the half which is the biggest field they’ve had. The first 500 entries get a free technical t-shirt and I wore it for the race instead of my club shirt, because if you run in the Guernsey shirt you could win a £100 voucher for the local sports shop (who sponsor the race along with the Dairy).
The run starts along the west coast and follows the coastline for the first four miles. It includes a few hills which weren’t too bad as I’ve done a couple of SJ Tuesday night hills sessions recently. (hint hint, they’re really good sessions!) After that it moves inland for a bit, along the lanes and through the Island’s housing areas across the north to the east coast. Then you follow the east coast southbound to St Peter Port. The last 3 miles were really hard. I’d pushed myself quite a bit and was determined not to slow down, however the last two miles are along the open sea front with no protection from the wind, which was coming straight towards us! I was running alongside a guy for a while until I realised that if I ducked in behind him instead, he would shelter me from the wind. This worked quite well for me, less so for him…
Finally the end came into sight and I crossed the line with a huge feeling of relief as I really had had enough by then. The Dairy provides each runner with a 500ml carton of Guernsey milk which I drank while stretching and changing my shirt, before meeting my friends for the rest of the day and then traveling home.
It was another good run for me with a 1:48:37 finish.
Coincidentally, the parkrun was #25 for me and the half was also my 25th!