In December 2019, I posted that I’d completed all of the parkruns in Cornwall. However, in October 2021, a new parkrun started: Penryn Campus parkrun. I was hoping to visit on 18th December, but that ended up being the start date of Bartley Park parkrun, an event that I’m the ambassador for. On 25th December, I felt that I shouldn’t miss too much of Christmas day with M, so I stayed local and went to Heartlands.
Arriving at the start
Getting to the start was easy. I knew how to get to Treliever roundabout. Then there were clear signposts to the car park nearest the start. It was a short walk from the car park to the front of Tremough House.
The weather was particularly mild today with New Year’s Day temperature records being broken across the UK. Even before I got out of the car, I could tell that it wouldn’t be too cold. We had passed daffodils in bloom on campus. However, there was a gentle breeze. I didn’t bring any shorts to Cornwall with me, so I was wearing my 2020 parkrun Adventurers t-shirt and full-length leggings.
I was surprised by how few people had gathered at the start area. Pre-Covid it was possible to run a double on New Year’s Day. parkruns were allowed to start at any time between 8:30am and 10:30am, so local Run Directors would coordinate start times. Runners could complete one run and then travel to another local run to complete the double. This often led to record numbers that were also swollen by people deciding to take up parkrunning as a New Year’s resolution. My last New Year’s Day Double was Heartlands followed by Penrose in 2020. My home parkrun is Southampton, which is usually the second-largest parkrun in the UK. (It has had attendances up to 1600). I always think it’s lovely not to be in such a large crowd of runners, joggers, and walkers.
The Run Director’s briefing was short and clear. With a small crowd, everyone was polite and listened, which was really helpful. It’s so frustrating when you’re run directing and you know that people at the back have no chance of hearing what you have to say.
There were no special announcements except to let everyone know that the cafe and toilets were closed today. The RD asked if there were any tourists. People joked about coming from Redruth and Stithians and apparently there was also a runner from Amsterdam… but I didn’t see any obviously Dutch names in the results.
What’s the course like?
The main path that is used by the run is flanked by Cornish hedges. I was surprised to see that tiny yellow primroses were in bloom. I commented on this to Stu, but I think he’d been more focused on running than admiring the flora. There are also some large tree trunks by the side of the path with some impressive fungus growing on them.
The route is straightforward as it’s essentially three out and backs. We ran down from Tremough House to the bottom of the hill where there was a turnaround point. about 3/4 of the way back up the hill was a right-hand turn, out to some other buildings. We did a short loop there and ran back to the main path. It was then back down the hill, before repeating the main loop twice more. After the final out and back to the side, instead of going down the hill, we had to turn right and head back up the steepest part of the hill to the finish. I enjoy being on an out and back course as it means you get to see lots of other runners.
Tremough is famous for its rhododendrons, which were cultivated by its Head Gardener Richard Gill just over 100 years ago. I passed several large bushes (recognisable by their large green glossy leaves). Typically, they flower in March and April, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they flower early this year if the weather stays mild, so March would probably be a lovely time to return here and run.
The run itself
I found the run quite challenging. As usual, I set off at a fairly swift pace but then had to slow as I had a ‘shoelace incident’ in the first 150m. I found this particularly frustrating as I’d checked my shoelaces and retired them in a double knot before starting.
Stu had a good run today despite the tough terrain. He finished in 7th place and was first in his age group. We passed each other several times during the run. Stu was kind enough to come back after finishing his run to complete my final lap with me.
I was very grateful that M decided to stay at home with her grandma today as I don’t think I’d have wanted to tackle the hill with a buggy. This was my slowest run for quite a long time.
How did I do?
I finished in 37:46 which is one of my slowest parkruns ever (even including all of my buggy runs). However, because of the size of the file, it sounds much more impressive than it was – I was 17th female, 38th overall and 2nd in my age category.
Another advantage of the small turnout for me was that, despite being second from last, I achieved one of my highest ever finishes (only bested by attending Penrose and Land’s End in dire conditions or by running at Cowra and Orange, two tiny events off the beaten track in Australia).
I agreed to write the run report for Penryn Campus parkrun today. This meant that I received a volunteer credit as well as a run credit. I like writing run reports so may try to write a few more this year.