Land’s End parkrun

Stuart and Tamsyn Smith at Land's End parkrun.

One of my goals this year was to complete all of the parkruns in Cornwall. To help me achieve that, I’d planned to run at Tamar Lakes today. However, my hometown of Hayle was flooded a couple of days ago. Torrential rain is forecast until tomorrow. I thought it would be unwise to attempt a long drive to a parkrun, especially as Tamar Lakes parkrun is around a lake. Parkruns across the country have been cancelled because of flooding. However, all was not lost. Land’s End parkrun started not so long ago, so we decided that it would be a great alternative.

Lan’s End parkrun is less than 20 miles from my mum’s house, with a straightforward route just down the A30. This meant that we didn’t have to get up too early.

We set off in plenty of time and were pleased to learn that parking was free. There were also toilets available at the start.

Dressing for Land’s End parkrun

I had been hoping to wear my parkrun adventurers ugly Christmas singlet. Sadly it’s stuck with customs and I won’t receive it until after Christmas.

A running singlet featuring a koala holding a pineapple hanging on a Christmas tree.
All I want for Christmas… is my ugly Christmas singlet!

The good news was that I had received some elf leggings that I ordered online in November. Also, I should be able to wear my singlet before Twelfth Night.

The run briefing

We’d read the course description before turning up, but it was great that the Run Director gave a clear description. She also warned us that parts of the course were underwater and that we would get our feet wet. Having driven through one part whilst parking, we knew this was true.

The Run Director giving the briefing at the start of Land's End parkrun.

The first part of the run is on a smooth tarmac path/road before going onto the coastal cycle path. It’s a one-mile out and back, before doing three loops around the First and Last.

There were plenty of visitors to Land’s End parkrun with some people having travelled from Leeds and York. We happened to be standing in front of some tourists from Northampton.

The crowd in front of the Run Director at Land's End parkrun.
I’m in this photo, but am hidden entirely by the woman standing in front of me! ©Land’s End parkrun
parkrunners listening to the run brief.
I can be seen wearing my stripy leggings and smiling at Stu.

Lining up at the start

We headed to the start line. It felt so strange being in a crowd of around 50 people when I’m used to being with around 1000 for parkrun.

Lining up at the start of Land's End parkrun.
The small crowd meant that I thought I could head towards the front.

I started relatively close to the front as I was hoping that I might be able to beat my season’s best of 27:40.

Runners getting ready at the start line.
Runners all looking at their watches at the start of Land's End parkrun.
Garmins at the ready!

I set off at quite a quick pace. I’ve checked my Garmin data and can see that I ran the first kilometre in 5:05. That’s much quicker than I’ve been managing recently. Sadly, it didn’t last, but I was really enjoying the run as the scenery is stunning.

In places, the puddles were across the entire path and couldn’t be avoided. At points, I tried to miss the puddles by going on the muddy verges, but this was quite tricky.

Three loops around the First and Last

The final part of the run is three loops around the First and Last house at Land’s End. The path around this building is quite rocky, so I had to watch my step.

The temperature was quite warm (about 10C), so I was fine wearing a t-shirt. However, there was a definite headwind on the return leg of the out and back… and I could feel the strength of the breeze as I rounded the house.

The path dropped away from the house, before climbing back up towards the finish (or next loop).

Final push

Stuart finished ahead of me, so he accompanied me on my final loop. I was hoping that he would be a windbreak, but he’s far too skinny to be of use!

Elves pointing to the finish line.
Young marshall wearing a Santa hat and holding a sign saying "To the finish".

I crossed the finish line and then sat down on a bench to recover for a couple of minutes. Then I got scanned. There was one young lad scanning and no queue at all, which was a lovely change!

The finish funnel at Land's End parkrun.

So how did I do?

I had several goals today. I was desperately hoping to beat my season’s best of 27:40. In the end, I didn’t even manage sub 30 minutes.

Tamsyn's result for Land's End parkrun on 21st December 2019: 30:13.

However, there were some successes today:

  • Firstly, this was event #6, so I’ve improved my ‘Wilson Index’ to 19.
  • It was my 48th different parkrun.
  • I just have Tamar Lakes to run to have completed all of the parkruns in Cornwall.
  • I also equalled my best gender position of 7th, which I’ve now achieved 5 times.
  • It was my second-highest ever finishing position.
  • I had completed 46 more parkruns than the next highest number (Stuart has done 275). We were the only people there who had run more than 250.
  • It also means that I’ve run more parkruns in December than any other month. (I’ve run 33 in December, whereas I’ve run 32 in January).
  • My number of runs this year is 45. This is more than any other year since I started.
Stuart and Tamsyn Smith at Land's End parkrun.

Godolphin Trust 10

We’ve also realised that we’ll be around for Godolphin Trust 10 tomorrow. Depending on other commitments (such as sleep!) we might go along to that. I think it’s possible to do one lap (5k) or two laps. It’s not timed and trail shoes are recommended (we didn’t bring any), but it’s tempting. (Apparently, there are four hedges to be climbed on each lap!)

I'd love to hear your thoughts...

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