The Around the Island Walk has become one of the largest one-day fundraising events held in Jersey. In the past 26 years, more than 20,000 walkers have raised over £2 million in sponsorship, with every penny going to well deserving local charities.
The Island Walk is organised and run by the trustees of the Around the Island Walk Trust, formerly known as the ITEX-Rotary Trust (the Trust).
The Trust is registered as a non-profit organisation, registered number NPO0107, issued by the Jersey Financial Services Commission under the Non-Profit Organisation (Jersey) Law 2008. The board of trustees of the Trust consists of Joy Carry, Jake Crichton, Robert Norman, Robert Syvret and Edward Trevor. None of the trustees is paid and everyone involved in the organising committee, such as members of Rotary Club de la Manche does so on a voluntary basis.
The objects of the Trust are to:
- Raise and distribute funds for charities in the Island raised by the Island Walk
- Obtain financial assistance, grants and sponsorship in order to run the Island Walk each year
Since the event’s inception in 1991, an overriding objective has been to ensure that every penny raised by walkers actually goes to local charities, rather than cover expenses or salaries of the event’s organisers. This objective remains one of the Trust’s core values hence the voluntary basis of everyone involved in the organising committee.
Since 2014 (when ITEX ceased to exist), the trustees have sought sponsorship of the event from local businesses. Such funding effectively covers the Trust’s overheads in running the event each year and enables the trustees to continue their promise that every penny raised goes direct to charity. For instance, 100% of every walkers’ entry fee goes straight into the charity pot for distribution. Small surcharges (like P&P) help us offset the costs of buying walker packs, producing thousands of pieces of paperwork like sponsorship forms, newsletters, luggage tags, walk maps, postage and fulfillment costs by our supplier.
In summary, without such sponsorship it would not be possible to run the Island Walk, even with around 250 volunteers involved each year and certain items being donated, the cost of providing every walker with food and drink across 12 checkpoint during 24 hours is considerable. For instance, with an average of 1,000 walkers on the course at any one point, we need to ensure there are at least 12,000 bottles of water at all checkpoints. Everything we have to cater for is multiplied by the 1000 and again by a factor of 12!
We endeavour to make effective cost savings wherever we can to try and improve the event, but the safety of walkers throughout the day is a paramount concern. We were the first charity sporting event in the Island to embrace GPS tracking and barcode scanning at checkpoints – the majority of which are in remote areas of the Island without power supplies, or limited 3G/4G mobile coverage. The extent of connectivity between hardware, software and mobile technology is remarkable and due to the services provided by our supplier (Race Nation) and mobile technology donated by SURE.
This technology makes our life a lot easier when closing checkpoints – most walkers will probably never know, but we have a small team that effectively follows the course and closes checkpoints once we know everyone has passed through and been accounted for – sometimes, walkers simply forget to scan their cards and this team of closers are able to make contact and check they are ok before closing checkpoints.
The early years
At midnight on Saturday 22 June 1991, 15 intrepid walkers embarked on a clockwise walk around the Island’s coastline starting and ending at Rozel and the Around the Island Walk was born!
The first Island Walk was conceived by Paul Owen and his colleagues. They had no idea how many miles it actually was, or how long it would take. Seven of the 15 completed the inaugural walk and £1,500 was donated to Jersey Cancer Relief. The ratios of finishers (around 50%) and average funds raised per walker (around £100) continue to this day.
Initially, refreshments were provided along the route by other colleagues who followed the walkers in a car, equipped with a primus stove to make the now famous bacon butties, as well as large water containers and plenty of cups – there were no Checkpoints in the early days.
The following year saw both the number of walkers and the amount of sponsorship raised double. In 1993 there were 70 walkers, so the start / finish line was moved to the Esplanade. It was no longer feasible to have a supply vehicle following, so the first Checkpoints were introduced. In 1996, the numbers swelled to 345 walkers, so the start was moved to the Elizabeth Ferry Terminal and the finish moved to the Waterfront Car Park – it has remained the same ever since.
Rotary to the rescue
As the Island Walk continued to grow, the organisers realised they needed to recruit more help to ensure the event would continue to grow and prosper. In 2001, Rotary de la Manche, a local fundraising charity, came to the rescue providing an army of its members to help organise and plan the event throughout the year, register walkers at the start, man the checkpoints and courier walkers’ bags around the Island between Checkpoints.
To this day, the trustees and organising committee of the walk still consist of Rotary de la Manche members.
The Lieutenant Governor’s Challenge
Not everyone relishes the prospect of walking 48.1 miles in one go. In 2007, a new dimension to the Island Walk was conceived with the willingness and cooperation of the Lieutenant Governor of Jersey. Paul Owen challenged Lt. General Andrew Ridgway to complete the entire route in four consecutive stages each year during his tenure on the Island. He agreed and the LG Walk was born.
Each stage of the Lieutenant Governor’s Challenge runs parallel with the Main Walk and is becoming more popular, especially with young families. It is fantastic to see grandparents, parents and their children all enjoying the event together.
This year, the next stage of the challenge is the 13 mile route from Les Fontaines Tavern to Le Braye slipway in St. Ouen – it starts at 10:30am on Saturday, 24 June 2017.
REGISTER to join in.
Over the past 26 years, 160 local charities have benefitted from donations exceeding £2,077,600 raised by more than 20,500 people treading the same path as Paul Owen and his colleagues back in 1991.
A few small steps can make a BIG difference to the charities being supported, so we encourage every walker to try and raise as much sponsorship, as possible. You can download the Sponsorship Form – pass it around your family, friends and work colleagues
OR you can DONATE NOW to help your local charities.
The founder walkers have helped to create a true community event that embraces the entire Island, not only by walkers enjoying the beautiful scenery as they walk around the coast of Jersey, but also helping to support well deserving local charities in the process.
The first walker home usually crosses the finish line around midday, with the last one making it just before midnight. That being said, the Island Walk is not just about finishing all 48.1 miles, but each walker reaching their own goal. There are plenty of Checkpoints along the route if walkers want to set their own goals on the day.
What better way to enjoy the most of Jersey on one of the year’s longest days? If you are up for the challenge
2017 and beyond
2017 marked a new era for the Island Walk with a new sponsor; whilst our focus remained on fundraising and walker safety, we overlooked another important aspect – the overall walker experience. For organiser and participant alike, it is an endurance event and we are glad when it is over; however, as organisers our job doesn’t end at the finish line.
We have received some constructive criticism about the lack of medals for finishers to mark the occasion and the lack of atmosphere at the end to help celebrate great feats of endurance. We are sorry to have dropped the ball on this occasion and promise to make amends in future. Our promise going forward is that everyone finishing the walk will receive a medal.
This year the presentation of fundraising cheques to the chosen charities will be presented by His Excellency Air Chief Marshall Sir Stephen Dalton at the Royal Yacht in early September 2017. We have a limited number of seats available (50) to walkers if they would like to attend and see what all their efforts results in – hopefully, this may make some small amends for the lack of medals this year. If you would like to attend, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org – if demand for these seats is high, we shall allocate seats by ballot.