Originally, I had intended to visit Yeovil Montacute parkrun (or another event between Hampshire and Cornwall, such as Blandford or Henstridge Airfield) this weekend. However, some unfortunate planning means I have to be in London on Friday. I was intending to spend the week in Cornwall on holiday with my family. Instead, we drove to Cornwall on Friday night to make the most of our holiday. There are several parkruns in Cornwall that I still haven’t done, but they’re all a long drive away, so I decided to run one nearer to home. I like Penrose parkrun and have run it more than any other Cornish parkrun, but Heartlands parkrun is closer to my mum’s house.
I’ve only run Heartlands parkrun once before in May 2018. I haven’t returned since then as buggies are not allowed. Stu and I usually run with M in a buggy. This is a shame as my daughter would love the playground at Heartlands. (However, I think it’s appropriate as there is a narrow twisty-turny section on the route).
The briefing and start of Heartlands parkrun
We arrived in Pool in plenty of time. Stuart directed me a different way from last time and we hit the jackpot: free parking! Sadly, the sky was looking very grey. I was a bit worried that we were in for a torrential rain shower.
We wandered over to the start and were surprised at how few people were there. We also noticed that the finish funnel was set out the other way around from our previous visit.
The first-timer briefing was announced and almost everyone went over to listen. (At least 76/196 runners were first-timers!) I hung back as we’ve visited before, but paid attention when they were describing the course. However, I didn’t listen too closely as I figured that there would be plenty of other runners to follow and my Garmin would let me know when I’d done the right number of laps!
We then listened to the main run briefing. I was somewhere near the front. Then, as the Run Director, finished speaking, the people in front of me decided to position themselves further back. This meant that I unexpectedly ended up on the front row at the start line.
Of course, the challenge of starting on the front row was that there were lots of people to pass me and not many that I would pass.
I started off at a reasonable pace. I haven’t trained as much as I’d have liked to recently as I’ve been busy at work and it’s been too hot to run after work. This meant that I was a bit nervous about how I would do.
I knew that I would be passed by a lot of people because of my starting position. Stupidly, I had forgotten how much this would impact on my performance. I love aiming for a particular runner and endeavouring to pass them.
During my run, I also spoke to a few people, including the person running next to me in the photo below. She kindly commented on my 250 t-shirt and explained that it was her first time at Heartlands as she usually runs in Cambridgeshire.
There were lots of lovely marshals out on the course. I didn’t realise that the marshal who took the phots of me running had a camera as I was distracted by the bells she was ringing!
At various points in my run, I checked my watch. I was determined to run as hard as possible to ensure that I was under 30 minutes, but I was also hoping that I might achieve a sub-29 minute time.
I pushed really hard in the last kilometre but was starting to worry that I might not get under 30 minutes. It was really humid and I was feeling hot.
How did I do?
In the end, I didn’t achieve a sub-29 minute time, but I did get a season’s best. To beat my best time from 2018, I need to beat 27:18. That’s a long way off at the moment. I hope I can get under 29:39 at Southampton soon. It won’t be at my next run as I’ll be pushing M in her buggy then.
I was pleased by how my performance compared with others at the run. In my age group, I was first out of 17! I was 16/99 women overall. I was also pleased that Stu managed to get back under 20 minutes. He finished 4th overall and 1st in his age group.
I’ve got quite a few events coming up in the next few weeks, so my next parkrun tourism won’t be until the end of August.
Have you got any parkrun tourism planned?