New Year’s Day Double

After having an incredibly successful parkrun year in 2019 (in terms of volume rather than speed), what better way to start 2020 than a New Year’s Day Double? I’ve only managed this once before in 2016. Sadly in 2017 and 2018, I was really ill at the start of the year and didn’t make any parkruns.

In 2012, I ran on New Year’s Day in Eastleigh and in 2014, I ran on New Year’s Day in Southampton. In other years, I was in Cornwall, where it wasn’t easy for me to get to a parkrun.

First run of my New Year’s Day Double at Heartlands parkrun

I was worried that it was going to be really busy at Heartlands and that we would arrive too late to get a parking space. I had a fairly quiet New Year’s Eve and had gone to bed before midnight. However, I’d still found it hard to get up in time for a parkrun starting at 8:30am.

Fortunately, my fears were unfounded. There was plenty of parking at Heartlands. Parking is free at Heartlands until 9:30am, so I didn’t need to worry about my running pace.

It was wet and cold when we arrived, so we sat in the car for five minutes. It was also darker than we’re used to.

Lining up at the start

There was quite a large crowd at the start, but not as many people as I had been expecting. I positioned myself in the middle of the crowd, hoping that I’d get a good start. I really wanted to beat my time from Christmas Day. In the first 15 seconds, I heard a crash and everyone around me looked back. I think someone had run into a sign (or possibly a parked bike). There was nothing I could do to help, so I ran on.

I was surprised by how sluggish I felt. My legs were really aching and I just couldn’t pick up my speed. Also, I started to have a stomach ache and felt like I needed the loo for the first 3km, which wasn’t pleasant.

Stuart had a good run, so he joined me for the second half of my final lap. I found it really helpful to have him running beside me. For several of my recent runs, I’ve had really tingly hands towards the end. I asked Stu to hold my hand, which helped to warm it up and I felt better.

How did I do?

Sadly, I was nowhere near my Heartlands PB set on Christmas Day. I was 138/238, which doesn’t sound great. However, I was 38/108 women, which put me just outside the top third. I was also 3/12 in my age group, which is the top 25%.

Second run of my New Year’s Day Double at Penrose parkrun

I had a ‘comfort break’ after my run at Heartlands, which turned out to be a sensible move. We had time to kill and there are plenty of toilets at Heartlands. It was then a short drive to Penrose.

On the way, we passed a few people who were cycling between the two events. On a warm sunny day, this would be a nice ride… but on a cold, wet and windy day, it can’t have been pleasant.

When we arrived at Penrose, again I was surprised by how quiet the car park was. We could choose almost any space. I think parkrun frenzy hasn’t hit Cornwall yet. Also, as Land’s End is still fairly small, I don’t think that there was a large contingent from there.

Stuart and I were soaked through. He’d removed his soggy t-shirt and was just wearing his hoodie, whereas I thought it was best to keep my wet t-shirt on.

Getting ready for my second run of the day

After waiting in the car for nearly an hour, Stu decided to find the toilets. It turned out that only one was open and there was a long queue, so I was glad that I didn’t need to use it.

We joined the runners at the start. I was pleased that the Run Director chose not to give the brief in the field. Previously, the grass has been very boggy and it’s been hard to get everyone lined up on the path.

The Run Director giving the briefing at Penrose parkrun. For many runners this was their second run as part of a New Year's Day Double.

My legs were still tired, but I felt better than I had earlier. I also think Penrose is an easier run as the path only has gentle inclines and no technical sections like Heartlands.

The start of Penrose parkrun.

About a third of the way into the run, someone behind me noticed the woman in the red Southampton 10k top (seen in the photo above). She was one of the quicker runners, so she was heading back towards us (it’s an out and back course). The man commented to his friend that he thought it was someone from Lordshill. I turned and asked him if that was his running club. It turned out that he was from Halterworth Harriers, a club that’s based quite close to where I live. We had a lovely chat before I encouraged him to run on.

How did I do?

I was 215/462, which put me firmly in the top half. I was 67/219 women (top third) and 11/32 in my age group. However, it was over 5 minutes slower than my fastest time at Penrose, so that’s something to work on in 2020. A positive is that I beat my Heartlands time from earlier in the day and was reasonably consistent.

Back to Southampton parkrun

It’ll be a few weeks before I get to run at Southampton parkrun as I’m run directing on 4th and 11th January.

Thank you message for volunteering on 04/01/20.
Tamsyn signing in a volunteer pacer at Southampton parkrun.

It was another busy event with 1387 runners (a record for Southampton), which meant that there was a lot of funnel managing to be done!

Did you do a New Year’s Day Double? Which ones?

I'd love to hear your thoughts...

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