Plans for Bressay to join global parkrun network

A scheme to introduce a fun run to Bressay which will be part of the global parkrun network is bidding to bag a cash boost from the Tesco Bags of Help initiative.

Director of the Bressay run Kate Wills says it will bring a host of benefits to participants and Bressay itself, with the idea being to help put the isle “back on the map”.

Ms Wills, a social worker, said the run will be for “social health as well as physical health” as it is a great way to meet people.

For that reason Kate and her husband Kevin Gifford took part in many runs while they lived in Australia and even took it “run about” to push the pram while the other ran.

While the parkrun enables runners to pit themselves against people in similar categories of age etcetera participating in the same run, it must be absolutely at the low end of the scale of competitiveness, with some of the “runners” actually walking the gentle five kilometre course.

Ms Wills said: “We only need a one-off entry fee of £3,000 to get started and then it’s free for anyone to participate. We are really hoping the Shetland community will get behind this project.

“As a family, we tried various parkruns when living in Australia last year and it is something Shetland could really benefit from. There are over two million people taking part in parkrun internationally but we would be able to claim the title of The UK’s most northerly parkrun so it could even become a tourist attraction.

“With the growing popularity of initiatives to get people living healthier lives, this is an achievable goal for anyone thinking to start taking better care of their physical and mental health. Everyone would be welcome.”

The cash goes towards buying barcode scanners and a computer which will allow runners to have their own personal barcodes scanned at the finish line and then have the results emailed to them. To register for (or learn more about) parkrun, go to

Anyone can register online, print off a personalised barcode and then take part by walking, jogging or running any of the “parkruns” which take place across the world.

The proposed Bressay parkrun would be a weekly 5km walk/jog/run event every Saturday starting at the Bressay ferry terminal and taking in many of the isle’s amenities along the route such as the heritage centre, pub, marina, shop, football pitch, new sports field, playpark and ship wrecks and rescues trail.

Bressay Development Group has also agreed to open the Speldiburn cafe in the school once the “run” is over, so worthy participants can fuel up with a hearty fry up after the exercise.

According to Ms Wills the scheme has won the enthusiastic backing of many entities including the development group, the community council, SIC health improvement, Voluntary Action Shetland and others.

Now it is bidding for a share of the community funding scheme run by Tesco teamed with Groundwork, which sees grants of £4,000, £2,000 and £1,000 – all raised from the 5p bag levy – being awarded to local community projects. Greenspace Scotland is working with Groundwork to provide support to communities in Scotland.

Three groups in every Tesco region have been shortlisted to receive the cash award and shoppers are being invited to vote for who they think should take away the top grant.

Voting is open in stores throughout May and June. Customers will cast their vote using a token given to them at the check-out.

Funding is available to community groups and charities for local projects that bring benefits to communities. Anyone can nominate a project and organisations can apply online at


Add Your Comment
  • Rosemary Mallace

    • May 7th, 2017 16:23

    Yes! Well done Bressay and Kate and Kevin. I love Parkrun and was bemoaning that there isn’t one in Shetland. I really hope that you get it up and running (see what I did there). I’ll definitely come and guest there when I’m up in August.

  • Andrew Fox

    • May 8th, 2017 13:45

    Excellent news. I was hoping there would be a Parkrun here when I moved up last summer.

  • Richard Selby

    • July 1st, 2017 10:29

    Will this be up and running in time for August 2017? Would love to join in when my family visits the island.

  • Stewart Pottinger

    • July 10th, 2017 11:59

    Best of wishes for the Bressay (Shetland) Park Run. Looking forward very much to that event coming to fruition.


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