parkrun of the Month: Bressay

Event director Kate Willis talks wild weather and island spirit at the Bressay parkrun

“I wanted to start a parkrun on the island of Bressay, because I had just spent a year in Australia and wanted to recreate the family-friendly, free events I had run over there. Our remote location obviously prevents easy access to any other parkrun. I didn’t really have a choice – I had to start one!

“Choosing the route was a no-brainer as I grew up in Bressay and wanted to give back something to our little community of less than 400 islanders. Bressay is a scenic and friendly place where you can experience four seasons of weather in one day.

Community spirit

“The seven-minute ferry journey to get to the island from the mainland town of Lerwick, provides an additional opportunity for camaraderie.

“We’ve been amazed at the enthusiastic response Bressay parkrun has received. Every week so far someone has travelled to Shetland, with one of the main intentions of their trip being to take part in Bressay parkrun – an impressive commitment given our remoteness as the UK’s most northerly parkrun.

“My favourite part is the buzz among the runners, walkers and volunteers. Every week I look forward to my well-earned cuppa and bacon roll with fellow parkrun enthusiasts in the community-run cafe. Parkrun brings such a varied spectrum of people together and it’s great to catch up with everyone.

My biggest fear was that folk wouldn’t want to keep volunteering. But so far we’ve been inundated with offers, which is fantastically reassuring for Bressay’s parkrun’s future.”

Why we run it

“I enjoy Bressay parkrun both as a runner and volunteer because it brings Shetland’s running community together to do what we enjoy. I also love meeting the parkrun tourists who come to visit our island to take part in Britain’s most northerly parkrun. The unpredictable weather means no run is ever the same.”
– Steve Daye, 30

“I was taken by the friendliness of everyone and the beautiful scenery.”
– Peter Fordham, 65

“Bressay parkrun has turned me from someone who had no interest in running at all, into someone who is motivated to beat my time every Saturday! There is no pressure to be fast and the volunteers are extremely supportive, which is a great environment for me as a new runner. Not to mention the gorgeous route!”
– Kayleigh Gear, 24

parkrun of the month

Location: Bressay, Shetland, ZE2 9EL

No. of laps: 1

Terrain: Tarmac

Difficulty: 3/5

Average finishing time: 33:32

No. of runners: 41


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