The Around the Island Walk has become one of the largest one-day fundraising events held in Jersey. In the past 33 years, more than 30,000 walkers have raised over £2.8 million in sponsorship, with every penny going to well deserving local organisations.
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 Jersey Charity, number 228. The board of trustees of the Trust consists of Robert Syvret, Jake Crichton, James Sabin and Jonathan Vibert. None of the trustees, the organising committee, or volunteers are paid for the role that they undertake.
The objects of the Trust are to:
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 fulfilment 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 litres 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.
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.
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 members of Rotary de la Manche continue to provide assistance and support to the trustees and organising committee of the Island Walk.
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.
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.