Thanksgiving is about friends, and family, and about getting an extra serving of things we like. This Thanksgiving we certainly enjoyed, friends, family, and an extra slice of parkrun. We held our first ever Thanksgiving Day parkrun, plus our regular Saturday gathering. And so we’re doing a double-header run report this week.
With 99 finishers on Thursday and 90 on Saturday we had 189 finishers this week. 27 finished both days, and a further 7 volunteered one day and ran one day. That’s a lot of people taking part, despite it being the coldest Thanksgiving in the DC area for a long time.
We had a LOT of things to celebrate this Thanksgiving.
On Saturday Gus Campbell and Cindy Cohen became the first “home-grown” CP parkrunners to join the 100 club. Cindy started parkrunning downtown at Fletcher’s Cove in February 2016, but has done most of her parkruns at CP. Cindy is a great supporter of the local running community, especially through Prince George’s Running Club. Gus started parkrunning at our very first event in October 2016, at which point he said that he had barely run in 50 years, since he was in the military. Since then he has run 100 times, plus 5 days as a non-running volunteer. That’s an impressive turn-around. We already had a black 100 sash on hand, but luckily a second one arrived in the mail Friday afternoon.
Meanwhile, on Thursday Gus’s daughter Jen Murphy reached her 50 parkrun milestone and ran with the red sash … just a few days after she ran in the purple superhero cape for volunteering for the 25th time. And on Saturday Gus’s other daughter Jessica Gerbig did her 10th parkrun, pushing Gus’s granddaughter Cora in the stroller. Quite the week!
Another milestone: on Saturday Hump Plotts did his 100th volunteer role (spread across 97 events). But on Thursday he got to see the pre-run gathering for the very first time. He’s normally waiting for us at the golf course, so he doesn’t see the crowd. The driveway was closed for Thanksgiving, so he came over to join us, took the bullhorn, and wished everybody a happy Thanksgiving. Fantastic!
Meanwhile, on Saturday Hump and Lisa brought along Lisa’s dad Jim, who accompanied Lisa on her regular parkrun jaunt. No biggie, except that Jim is 100 years old. The stats-inclined might be interested to know that this makes him the oldest US parkrunner (by far), and likely the slowest ever at CP. But really it’s just inspiring that Jim is able to walk 3 miles with his daughter at age 100. Hands up if you’d love to be able to do that!
We wanted to ensure that Jim would stay warm. So Hump brought along a mug of hot chocolate, and handed it off to Colin as he ran past. Luckily the lid was solid, so the hot chocolate did make it to the turnaround. And Cotter and Tomas got to enjoy the experience of running down the trail paced by an old bald dude who was carrying a mug of hot chocolate.
We welcomed many first timers, from near and far. On Thursday David Piper joined us from London, UK. David is what is known as a parkrun “uber tourist”, as he visits as many different events as possible. David has now done 310 *different* parkruns among his 386 parkruns, making him the most traveled parkrunner to visit CP parkrun. Though we’ll note that parkrun founder and overall star Paul Sinton-Hewitt remains the most traveled parkrunner to visit CP parkrun and actually stay for coffee and to chat with the natives.
We were very happy on Thursday to welcome visitors from local parkruns that were not offering a Thanksgiving event. Jennifer Flather is one of the organizers of the Anacostia parkrun. She got to meet Neil and share some Navy stories. Kat joined us from Roosevelt Island parkrun. And Dave Scarnato joined us from Fletcher’s Cove. Turns out, Dave works for a local TV station, so he quietly captured some video at the run, and it featured on WUSA9 TV later that day.
And we were really happy to welcome a lot of family and friends over the holidays. Alina Zhang’s mom Wei was visiting from China. Ashley Ward’s dad was visiting. And Clark Ridge’s dad Doug was visiting from Delaware, so Clark got to tear around the course on Thursday while Granddad got some quality time on the trail with Violet.
We saw 24 PBs over the two days. Adrianne Bradford and Magdalena Duhagon deserve a special shout out. Both did their 5th PB in 5 parkruns. Impressive. In Adrianne’s case she’s now 15 minutes faster than first time out. For 2 years Magdalena had been staying home while husband Eddie Matus became one of our most regular parkrunners. We’re thrilled that she’s now part of the community and we’re loving watching her progress.
Francis Parks seems to be on a real streak right now, and set another big PB on Thursday. And on Saturday Eric London took a chunk from his parkrun PB. Not easy to do when you’re on the wiser side of 50 and running your 64th parkrun. Similar big improvement by Aaliyah Al Amin and Kimberly Cruce on Thursday.
Other PBs were Stewart Mayhew, Michael Laing, Derek Symer, Külli Puusta, Justin Bridgman, Teresa Perdomo, Janice Bernache, Jim Cantwell, Marvin Perdomo, Marta Laskowski, Hannah Collins, Delia Reyes, Maria Ialacci, Dottie Li, Marcia Abrams, Sherell Fuller, Angela Perdomo, and Teresa Bippus.
Lots of people reached unofficial milestones this week. Joel Goldberg, Trace Huard, and Janice Bernache all did their 25th run with us. Halfway to 50!
We saw 6 new members of our unofficial 10-parkrun club: Teresa Perdomo, Justin Bridgman, Andrew Widman, Alina Zhang, Ken Witcher, and Ben Brosch.
And we saw *13* new members of our unofficial 5-parkrun club: Rob Gerbig, Matt Laskowski, Doug Ridge, Kimberly Cruce, Adrianne Bradford, Kristen Wares, Marcia Abrams, Matt Gembecki, Derek Symer, Juan Saavedra, Noe Saavedra, Magdalena Duhagon, and Angela Perdomo.
One more category of notables: in November we had 5 parkrun days. 28 people finished 4 or 5 times in November. Nice! They are Magdalena Duhagon, Noe Saavedra, Angela Perdomo, Teresa Perdomo, Meghan Gieske, Maria Ialacci, Frank Snyder, Kalonji Collins, Helena Santos-Collins, Külli Puusta, Duane Rosenberg, Carlos Chaverri, Jim Cantwell, Aileen Kroll, Eddie Matus, Yancira Amaya, JJ Su, Gus Campbell, Nick Huang, Cindy Cohen, Cotter Rosenberg, Anna Tinnemore, Dagne Ture, Russ Dickerson, John Ramsey, Frank Filteau, Lisa Wilson, and Dom Blom.
There will be 5 parkrun days in December, too. Can you complete at least 4 of them? Of course, there would be no parkrun without our wonderful volunteers. Thanks to Elmer Hernandez for volunteering for the first time. Elmer got to see what many others have seen before: it’s really kind of fun to be in the middle of the action, coordinating with the other volunteers, giving high fives, and generally feeling part of something good for the community. Over 250 of you have tried volunteering at College Park parkrun already. It’s totally, well, voluntary, but we highly recommend it.
Our other volunteers this week included a cast of heroic stalwarts: Dan Walker, Brian Murphy, and JJ Su did timing. Zoe Phillips, Jake Foley, Lori Dominick, Marc Swisdak, and Jim Parsons ensured that everybody got their finish token and barcode scanned, and Saul Goldberg and Nick Huang were troubleshooters. Ben Brosch and Diana Gough (and Ruby) were tailwalkers and tailwaggers. Lisa Wilson and Hump Plotts filled the role of, well, Lisa and Hump. They’re rather good at it at this point. And Andrea and Colin shared the run directing, volunteer wrangling, and propagandist roles.
On Thursday The Board and Brew was closed for Thanksgiving. We’re so grateful to the B&B crew for welcoming us every week. After 109 weeks of working through results at B&B it felt odd to be doing it at the kitchen table at home. Join us any week that you’re available for a post-parkrun chat and brunch.
And if you’re still with us at the end of this bumper report, here are a couple more news items.
1. Know of friends in other places who would like to enjoy what we have in College Park every Saturday? parkrun USA is expanding, and looking to connect people in different cities who would like to start a parkrun in their community. This week they shared a story and a map of possible locations. Ask Andrea or Colin if you have any useful leads.
2. Congratulations to regular parkrunner Bonnie McClellan who has been named by the University of Maryland’s Office of Community Engagement as their “Community Champion” ofr 2018. Bonnie lights up the city, just as she lights up the trail with us on a Saturday.
3. Mark your diaries for the special New Years Double parkrun on January 1st. Kensington parkrun and Leakin Park parkrun in Baltimore will both be holding 8:30am events. Then we’ll be welcoming folks from across the region to College Park for a 10:30am parkrun, followed by a big brunch at The Board and Brew. It’s the biggest parkrun party of the year, so do join us: run, walk, or volunteer once or twice, or just join us for brunch. We’ll be happy to see you either way.
4. Interested in helping out as part of our rotating crew of run directors? Or do you have social media skills that you could put to good use spreading the word about CP parkrun? We’d love to hear from you.
See you next Saturday! We’ll be celebrating better weather, the start of December, and a milestone for Duane Rosenberg (50). Run Director Nick Huang will be volunteering for the 50th time, too. See you there!