M’s first parkrun at Heartlands

A view of the houses by Heartlands with a rainbow over them.

Five years ago, I ran my first international parkrun at Amagerfaelled in Denmark. At the time, I was 33 weeks pregnant with M. Yesterday was M’s first parkrun at Heartlands! She’s taken part in junior parkruns and has run/walked parts of the event before, but she’s never completed 5km before.

Tamsyn running. She is wearing a purple parkrun V25 t-shirt.
Tamsyn running at Amagerfaelled parkrun in August 2016.

I’ve run at Heartlands several times before (5 other parkruns and a (not) parkrun freedom run. I’ve also pushed M around in her buggy, but this was the first time that I’ve brought her along to take part herself. My mum came and agreed to jog/walk with M, whereas Stu is still injured so he agreed to run with me. It’s a three-lap course with some long straight sections and a narrow twisty-turny section.

Tamsyn and Stuart running at Heartlands parkrun. Tamsyn is wearing a green 250 t-shirt and Stu has on a parkrun apricot t0shirt.
An older woman wearing running clothes holding hands with a young girl.

It was nice to pass M and my mum. As soon as Stu and I had finished, we went back to catch up with M and mum. M was starting to get tired, but three wine gums were enough to keep her going for the final lap. She even managed a sprint down the finish funnel. I was so glad that I’d printed out some barcodes for her in the morning so that she was able to get an official time.

So how did I do?

I did better than I thought, given that my legs were in pain. Afterwards, my Garmin told me that I needed 60 hours of recovery, which I think is the longest it’s ever suggested. It’s also downgraded my predicted race times. They’re completely unachievable for me right now, but are now all times that I could actually run (including the marathon time!) which is the first time that’s ever happened!

I completed the run in 34:51. It was a pleasant surprise to finish in under 35 minutes as I didn’t think that was likely.

Tamsyn's result from Heartlands parkrun: 34:51.

As I didn’t achieve anything else, it was nice to see that I was the parkrunner who had completed the most runs.

Screenshot showing runners with the most runs at Heartlands. Tamsyn has completed 337 and Stuart has completed 290.

How was M’s first parkrun?

M completed the run in 58:56. I have no idea what the balance of running, walking and skipping was, but she said afterwards ‘my little legs are tired!’ That didn’t prevent her from running around in the lovely children’s playground for 30 minutes afterwards!

M's result from Heartlands parkrun: 58:56.

M said that she wanted a medal for completing her run, so Stuart repurposed his medal from the St Ives Bay 10k, which made M very happy. If she keeps this up, we’ll be grateful that we’ve got a load of old medals that we can reuse!

M holding a medal and smiling.

My mum completed the run with M and was pleasantly surprised to find that she was first in her age category, as there aren’t many ‘mature’ female runners who take part. I’m hoping that she isn’t too achy and continues attending as I know she wants to get fitter again.

Did this run contribute to any of the parkrun challenges?

I’m currently working on my parkrun p-index:

The number of parkruns that satisfy the equation ‘p parkruns run at least p times’, e.g. If you have run 4 different parkruns at least 4 times each, your p-index is 4. If you have never run at an event twice, then your p-index will only be 1!


At the moment, my p-index is 5:

  • Eastleigh (70+)
  • Heartlands (6)
  • Netley Abbey (6)
  • Penrose (8)
  • Southampton (190+)

I’ve run at the following parkruns twice: Bournemouth, Brockenhurst, Lee on Solent and North Wollongong. I’m unlikely to be returning to North Wollongong as my sister no longer lives near there, but the other events are close enough that I could complete some runs there to improve my p-index. I’m also likely to run at Itchen Valley Country parkrun (which I’ve only run once so far).

Also, as it was event #103 at Heartlands, it filled a gap in my Wilson index.

Did you complete any parkrun challenges this weekend?

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