December parkruns

Stuart, Tamsyn and M holding hands at parkrun. They are wearing gingerbread festive t-shirts.

December was a fantastic month for parkrun as there were six festive parkruns to take part in. Unfortunately, I was really unwell during the month. My regular runs from the YMCA in Eastleigh were cancelled, so I didn’t do as much running as I’d hoped to. I also missed most Monday night LRR runs because of family commitments.

02/12/23 – Run Directing at Southampton parkrun

The first Saturday of the month was my 12th volunteering slot for the year, so I’m maintaining my volunteering ratio of 35%. Hopefully, I can start to build on this next year by volunteering more regularly whilst M does junior parkrun.

I always enjoy Run Directing as there is a (brief!) opportunity to speak to all of the volunteers. However, with 70-80 people to sign in, there’s not enough time to properly chat until the event is underway. This usually leaves a 15-minute window for chatting (and cheering participants on) before the first finishers cross the line.

Thank you email from parkrun for volunteering at Southampton parkrun event #522 on 02/12/23.

09/12/23 – Bournemouth parkrun 31:21

On the 9th December, I paid my third visit to Bournemouth parkrun. I had been unwell during the week and the night before was Stu’s Christmas party, so I was feeling tired. We stayed in a Travelodge the night before and I had failed to pack a hairband, which was very frustrating. I never run with my hair down. I had remembered to pack my new parkrun Adventurers Ugly Christmas singlet/shirt. It’s blue and pink with budgies on it, which makes a refreshing change from red and green Christmas tops! I love wearing seasonal clothes for festive parkruns.

Despite feeling terrible, the route was on a new/different course that I liked. There were some huge puddles, but there were also some lovely flat bits of tarmac and some different surroundings to look at, so I enjoyed the run.

Tamsyn and Stuart standing behind a sign that says Bournemouth parkrun. Stuart has on a red and green Christmas t-shirt. Tamsyn is wearing a pink and blue festive t-shirt with budgies on it.

I was pleasantly surprised to finish in under 31 minutes. I had expected my time to be closer to 35 minutes.

Tamsyn's results email from Bournemouth parkrun: 31:21.

16/12/23 – Southampton parkrun 38:24 with M

M wanted us to wear matching t-shirts for our next parkrun, so the three of us dressed as gingerbread men.

Tamsyn , M and Stuart wearing gingerbread man t-shirts.

M really enjoyed her run and was happy when Stu joined us. She had chatted all of the way round and didn’t require any cajoling.

Stuart, M and Tamsyn running together.

It wasn’t M’s fastest run, but I was happy that we finished in under 40 minutes.

Tamsyn's results email from Southampton parkrun: 38:24.

23/12/23 – Bartley parkrun 31:12

I’ve been meaning to visit Bartley parkrun for several months, especially as Helena, the Event Director, had discussed alternative courses with me whilst the bridge is out of action. I love coming back to visit this event. I’ve been involved with it since its inception and think it has a lovely community feel.

I really enjoyed the new course, which still had some opportunities for splashing through muddy puddles. It’s not an out-and-back route, but there are chances to pass other runners and high-five them or wave to them, which M liked. It was also lovely to celebrate Jacqui’s 200th run.

Tamsyn running at Bartley parkrun. She is wearing a red and green Christmas vest with a koala on it.

I was too tired to run any faster, but managed 31:12, which wasn’t terrible.

Tamsyn's results email from Bartley Park parkrun: 31:12.

25/12/23 – Southampton parkrun with M and Stu 36:05

Christmas Day was an exciting day for many reasons. M got up at a reasonable time and was happy to put on some seasonal running clothes for my favourite of all of the festive parkruns. She also opened a couple of presents before heading to the Common for parkrun.

A small girl pointing at a doormat that has two large snowy footprints on it. She looks surprised.

Stu and I agreed that we would both run with M, so that it was a fun family event. M was in good spirits as she was excited about the day and also loved seeing all of the runners in fancy dress. She was also happy that most people were running more slowly than usual. There were a lot of people running near us, including some students who were playing festive music. (This was on top of Roger playing carols on his euphonium and some young women playing their saxophones).

M giving a thumbs up sign at the end of parkrun.

M loved her run and achieved a PB, which was a fantastic result for her. It was also my 450th parkrun, so – barring another pandemic or severe injury – I should reach my 500th run in about a year’s time!

Selfie of Tamsyn, M and Stuart wearing Christmas running t-shirts.
Tamsyn's results email from Southampton parkrun: 36:05.

30/12/23 – Netley Abbey parkrun with Dorte 31:09

The last of my festive parkruns of 2023 was an opportunity to visit Netley Abbey. My mum was staying, so M stayed at home with her and Stu and I were free to run as we wished. We chatted with some friends whom we’ve known for a long time and then, as we lined up, I was delighted to see my friend Dörte. Dörte and I met over 25 years ago when I took up gymnastics, and I swear that she hasn’t aged at all in that time.

Dörte was injured recently, so she agreed to run and chat with me, which was lovely. We spent our entire time talking about our children and what they’ve been getting up to. I hope that I’ll be able to get back here in spring when there’s better weather so that Dörte and I can have another catch-up and perhaps a picnic.

Tamsyn's results email from Netley Abbey parkrun: 31:09.

Although my time was nothing special, I finally achieved position bingo. It’s taken me 13.5 years to have a finish position ending in 42 – the answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe and everything.

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