All information in this blog post is correct as of the publishing date, 24.01.20.
Jersey has an exceptional sporting heritage and over the years has become a great place for sports enthusiasts to visit. There are a host of competitions, races and challenges covering a variety of disciplines held annually, and we thought it would be a good idea to put together a calendar detailing what sporting events there are to look forward to in 2020.
The wide range of events held across the island are a mixture of fun and competitive, showing there is more to a holiday to Jersey than just the beaches, restaurants and attractions. Explore our calendar below to decide which events you’d like to experience, and start working towards a new, exciting goal for the coming year!
January to April
Winter Trail Series (Various Dates)
The Winter Trail Series is back for its third year in 2020 and comprises of four races over the first four months of the year. Each race is a 5k loop (approximately), with the option to do more to make it a 10k race. After following the fun, but at times tricky course, there will be refreshments at the end.
Be aware there are limited places on each race – just 50 people maximum, and entry is £12 for the 5k or £14 for the 10k. This year, the Trail Monkey Winter Series takes place on January 26th, February 16th, March 15th and April 19th, so if you are visiting the island around those dates and are bringing your running shoes, book a slot now!
Double Top Ultra Marathon (2 May)
An ultra-marathon is not for the faint-hearted, and the Double Top Ultra Marathon in Jersey is 40 miles along the north coast of the island. You start out at St Catherine’s Breakwater in the east, before making your way to Grosnez at the opposite end of the island, loop a little inland and then head back along the same coastal route.
You can choose to do the 40-mile solo challenge or the two-person relay where each person does 20 miles. This is a monumental challenge, but you’ll be rewarded with stunning views every step of the way!
Durrell Challenge (17 May)
Many of Jersey’s sporting events have a fun, family-friendly element to them, which is certainly true of the Durrell Challenge. Centred around one of the island’s top attractions, Jersey Zoo, the Durrell Challenge’s main event is a 13k road race and just one of many running events held on Jersey throughout the year. You set off from Victoria Park in St Helier and finish at the zoo, where loads of great activities are waiting, including the Really Wild Day for children which involves storytelling, walking trails and puzzles. Previous events have even seen Jersey native and Superman himself, Henry Cavill, join the challenge!
Jersey International Motoring Festival (4 – 7 June)
If you have attended the Jersey International Motoring Festival before, you’ll understand why it’s a highlight of Jersey’s event calendar and if 2020 will be your first visit, you’ll be happy to know that it offers something for everyone! The motoring event comprises of races for classic and vintage cars and motorcycles, a motor show, car demonstrations and a touring route that locals and visitors can follow in their own vehicles. There will also be the annual soapbox challenge, plenty of food and drink stalls plus live music over the four-day festival, and if your holiday to Jersey falls over this weekend, it’s sure to be a memorable one!
Jersey Half Marathon (7 June)
Jersey’s beautiful coast and combination of flat and hilly terrain have made it a popular place for amateur athletes, both locals and visitors. If you’re interested in running through the island’s stunning landscape but aren’t quite ready to make it to 26 miles, why not sign up for the Jersey Half Marathon? Starting in St Ouens and finishing in St Helier, the marathon follows much of the west coast before heading inland. But you don’t have to face the challenge alone – you can compete in teams of four or there is a two-person relay race. All participants will receive a medal for their efforts, but there are also prizes for podium finishers in all six age categories.
Around Island Walk (20 June)
Jersey is a superb walking holiday destination, with the tranquil countryside and a majestic coastline providing some amazing memories for ramblers. However, the Around Island Walk isn’t for the leisurely walker as it’s not exactly a relaxing stroll! You’ll be setting off at 3 am from St Helier before traversing the 48 miles of the island’s coastline, with an estimated finish time of 10 pm. There are other options if this sounds like too much, like the 13-mile ‘Lieutenant Governor’s Challenge’ which is recommended for families who want to tackle the walk together, or a relay event for teams of four. The Around Island Walk is also a fundraising event, having raised in excess of £2 million over the years, and that sponsorship will help motivate you to cross the line!
Jersey Triathlon (19 July)
The Jersey Triathlon is the most southerly triathlon held in the British Isles, and one of the most challenging and exciting courses in the country. The course has been revamped and is based around the waterfront of St Helier, making it one of the most picturesque in the UK, with participants soon discovering the almost seamless transition from swim to bike to run. The swim course is two laps in open water in front of Elizabeth Castle, followed by the 40km bike race around the west of the island and ending with the running course which is a four-lap run around the waterfront and Elizabeth Marina. The triathlon operates four race categories, so all levels of ability are welcome to participate.
Tour des Ports de la Manche (5 – 10 July)
The Tour des Ports de la Manche (translated to Ports of the Channel Tour) is an annual regatta based around the ports of the Manche region of France and also pays a visit to Jersey and Guernsey. It began in 1984 and soon became one of the biggest races in France, seeing hundreds of sailors take part each year. The tour always has a great atmosphere, as every port puts on a big welcome party for the arriving crews, where you can hear stories of adventures on the high seas and meet fellow sailing enthusiasts. Members of the public can register to race too, though you do need your own seafaring vessel.
Jersey Round Island Challenge (30 August TBC)
The last Saturday of August will see the formidable Jersey Round Island Challenge return for the fifth time. It has been described by Red Bull as one of the most extreme fitness challenges in the UK and sees amateur athletes circumnavigate the island specialising in various disciplines. All entrants to the challenge will need to have their fitness levels evaluated before being cleared to take part – which is enough to indicate how difficult it is! Competitors of the Round Island Challenge have a choice of taking on the course route by swimming, running, rowing, kayaking or by stand-up paddleboard.
Breca Jersey Swimrun (5 September)
In addition to triathlons, Jersey’s natural landscape makes it the perfect place to hold the challenging Breca Jersey SwimRun. The race is done in pairs, so entry is only open for teams of two, but the SwimRun is a task you’ll want to undertake with moral support and teamwork. The Jersey SwimRun will see all competitors race counterclockwise around the island, facing Jersey’s 40ft tides, which are some of the biggest in the world. The tides create an ever-changing 53km course, as teams must navigate the oceans, rocks and steep climbs and declines. The Breca Swimrun is possibly the island’s toughest sporting event along with the Round Island Challenge.
Jersey Regatta (11 – 13 September)
The sports events we have mentioned aren’t the usual activities to try out on a typical relaxing holiday to Jersey, so if you want to get involved with something that is slightly more chilled or step back and enjoy as a spectator, visit during the exciting Jersey Regatta. It is the last nautical event of the year in Jersey and is hosted by three of the island’s sailing and yacht clubs, offering a selection of race categories to suit every captain. Visiting sailors are welcome too, in both competitions and social aspects of the weekend. The sailing extravaganza sees cruisers, dayboats, dinghies, catamarans and more reach Jersey’s shores where they congregate at St Aubin’s Bay. There is also a packed-out social programme taking place on dry land that is perfect for families and spectators of the regatta.
Jersey Marathon (4 October)
The Standard Chartered Jersey Marathon is a favourite for sporting visitors to Jersey, with over half of the entries coming from off-island. The marathon race starts in St Helier and takes you along country lanes, paved tracks and traffic-controlled roads, making it an enjoyable run for newcomers and experienced runners alike. As with many of the events on our list, the marathon also has opportunities for runners of all abilities to join in the fun. In addition to the main solo race, you can choose to enter as part of a relay team, which helps to break up the course into more manageable chunks or the 3k Fun Run, which is open to runners as young as nine.
Jersey Rally (Dates TBC)
Many of Jersey’s top events are based around its stunning coastline, and traversing the cliffs and beaches is a way to help you feel happier and healthier. But for car enthusiasts, the Jersey Rally takes spectators to the beautiful wooded countryside and ‘Green Lanes’ road network. Anyone who has visited Jersey before will know that vehicles are limited to 15mph when travelling around the Green Lanes, but for the two days of the rally, over 170 drivers and navigators tear around the quiet roads at speeds topping 100mph. The sport is spectacular to watch, but there are risks so make sure to follow the safety advice and stay in the designated areas.
Durrell Dash (1 November)
The Durrell Dash is the winter version of the Durrell Challenge and is a road race that starts and finishes at Jersey Zoo. There is a choice of a more challenging 13km route or the easier 6km route. Runners must be over 16 to take part in the longer race, and over 12 for the shorter. Though it is a little chillier, it is a wonderful opportunity to slip on your trainers and enjoy exercising amid beautiful island scenery, while young children can take part in various activities at the zoo. After a year of training hard, the Durrell Dash is the perfect way to finish what is sure to be a fantastic year!