Comeback kids! (Run Report #104)

“I was running 10-minute miles, and yet so many people were cheering for me along the trail!

One highlight of this week’s parkrun was the return to running of Larry Washington. Larry last ran with us 18 weeks ago, due to injury. But he has been a near constant presence as a volunteer in the interim, becoming a leading dispenser of high fives at the finish line, and even filling in as Hump last week. That’s why so many community members were happy to see him running with us again.


Anne Gaston last ran with us 101 weeks ago, in our 3rd ever event. She was back this week, together with her 4 daughters. Eldest daughter Phoebe Gaston is one of the CP parkrun ‘pioneers’. This weekend Anne was visiting from CT, and sisters Zoe, Sophie, and Keiley from NY, SC, and NC. So, naturally they all wanted to come to parkrun. Anne proceeded to break our longest standing age-category record … the one that she set when she joined us previously.


Alia Abdelkader first joined us one year ago, for our UMD Homecoming 2017 parkrun. Then she graduated and moved to N. Virginia. Some time later she started regularly joining Roosevelt Island parkrun. This weekend was Homecoming  2018, and Alia was back for her second College Park parkrun, setting a big 10-minute PB. She was pretty pleased about that.


Gloria Cottman had surgery this week (success!), and shouldn’t be running right now. So she joined us for a walk this week instead. No problem, as there are more and more walkers at CP parkrun.


Emily Jensenius is another person on the comeback trail. She alternates stroller-pushing weeks with husband John, but she has been taking big chunks from her College Park PB, including another minute this week, heading back towards where she was when she was a regular at Oxford parkrun in the UK.


Clark Ridge staged a bit of a come-back this week, too. Life happened, and he rolled up at the park almost a minute after the start. You may have noticed him flying past in the first mile. He was gaining on everyone, but in the end he ran out of trail.


Yes, it was a week of comebacks at College Park parkrun. And great weather. And milestones. And visitors. And a lot of PBs. Really, the cooler weather brought out a whole lot of PBs.

The most visible milestone was Russell Dickerson’s 50th parkrun. When we had a big Memorial Day weekend event in May 2017, a friend of Russell’s persuaded him to come along. He clearly enjoyed it, as he has been back a lot since then. Russell is an ever positive presence at parkrun, and he’s going to look great in his new parkrun 50 shirt in the near future.


The other milestone was that College Park parkrun completed its 2nd journey around the sun. Event #104 was the final event of our 2nd year. So it’s hard (for me) to resist pulling out a few numbers. Whichever way you look at it, it’s a growing community.

Events: Year 1 - 53, Year 2 - 51
Finishers: Year 1 - 3605, Year 2 - 5421
Average finishers: Year 1 - 68, Year 2 - 106
10-timers: Year 1 - 90, Year 2 - 147
50-club milestones: Year 1 - 2, Year 2 - 19
Participants: Year 1 - 898, Year 2 - 1158
Volunteers: 250 individuals have volunteered over 1200 times across the 2 years.

Oh, and one more milestone that we reached this week was our 9,000th finisher. It was Alex Swisdak.


We welcomed some visitors from far away this week. Seamus Kavanagh has run nearly 250 times at Malahide parkrun in Dublin, where they run around a castle. He got a change of scenery this week at College Park. Meanwhile, Nigel Milius and Wendy Hare do most of their parkrunning in New Zealand, but joined us this week, en route from back home from the Arctic Circle, where they keep busy as guides on cruise ships.


In addition to Russell Dickerson’s 50th parkrun, we saw one person join our unofficial 25-run club: Valerie Silensky was proudly sporting her shirt from last week’s Chicago Marathon, and she’s gearing up for the upcoming New York City Marathon. Nobody became a 10-timer this week. And we had *8* new members of the unofficial 5-club: John Way, John Sener, Yogarshi Yvas, Madeleine Naleski, Janis Jackson, Tomas Marambio, Dottie Jograj, and Julian Gordon.


The cooler weather this week brought SO many PBs. 38 in all!

Cotter Rosenberg had been waiting for good weather to try to go under 20 minutes for the first time, and he made it, with half a minute to spare. Between injuries and mayoring and being in his late 60s, it’s going to be hard for his dad Duane to keep up now.


Evan Hirsche was another who went sub-20 for the first time at College Park, though we suspect that Evan has done this many times elsewhere. In Evan’s case it was a day without a puppy “comfort break” that helped his time.

Maria Breckert and her mom Laura Breckert scored a cool double PB. We were very happy to again welcome the young ladies of Elizabeth Seton HS cross-country team to parkrun. Maria runs with the team, and she shaved a few seconds from her PB. Meanwhile, Laura runs whenever the ESHS team joins us, and she has set a PB every time so far. Great job to both!


Another Seton family group was the Naleskis. Madeleine runs with the ESHS team and she set a PB. Her younger sister Molly didn’t set a PB, but that’s because she was pacing their mom, Carmie Naleski to a PB of her own.


Other PBs this week were by: Delia Reyes, Dottie Jograj, Terrye Verge (3 in a row!), Julian Gordon, Edwin Hernandez, Doug Hamilton, Maria Cantwell, Makiko Inoue, Jackie Rosette, Jay Bao, Frank Snyder, Külli Puusta, Princesse Owona, Elena Bailoni, Kalonji Collins, Doug Kerr, Noe Saevedra, John Sener, Neha Joshi, Yogarshi Yvas, Chetan Parameshwara, Joe Barrow, Jenna Jeletic, Elizabeth Foley, Zora Stovall, Keiley Gaston, Eric Pino, Tomas Marambio, and Francisco Reyes. … Phew.



We are thankful for the volunteers who make parkrun happen every week. They don’t just cover the mechanics of the event, they also create the warm, fun vibe that we all enjoy. This week Lisa Wilson and Hump Plotts were back in their regular roles on the course. Brian Murphy and Nina McGranahan were timekeepers, Jen Murphy took care of finisher tokens, and Deborah Gayle and Ellen Hamilton did the scanning. Misha Bernard did tailwalking honors. We had an entire posse of token sorters at The Board and Brew: Valerie Silensky was joined by visitors Nigel Milius, Wendy Hare, and Elizabeth Sheridan. Chris McGranahan confidently directed the show  as run director, and Sam McGranahan used his steady hand to be photographer. And Andrea and Colin did this and that, as they do.



Now, listen up for the upcoming attractions.

October 20th: BIG DAY AHEAD. It’s our 2nd birthday -- prospects of cake are rather high. We will also be celebrating Xander and Tara’s 50 parkrun milestone (red sashes!), and also Brian Murphy’s 25-time volunteering milestone (purple cape!). You won’t want to miss this one.


October 27th. WALKERS DAY & HALLOWEEN PARKRUN. You could run or walk as usual, but on this day we’re making a special push for walkers: we will be welcoming the nice folks from PG Parks Club 300, and also from the American Cancer Society’s Making Strides for Breast Cancer community. How about taking a break from running to walk with these folks and help to welcome them to our community? And we would love to hear from you if you would be interested in helping in some way with our new partnership with ACS and Making Strides. ALSO, it’s the parkrun before Halloween, so we’d love to see you (and/or your kids) in their costumes.


November 3rd: TREE PLANTING DAY. We’ll be teaming up with our friends at Prince George’s Parks & Recreation to hold another post-parkrun tree planting and stream cleanup. These events help to strengthen the watershed, and in future years we will appreciate the shade that the trees provide.

November 22nd: COLLEGE PARK PARKRUN TURTLE TROT!! We will be holding a special Thanksgiving morning parkrun. Thanksgiving is the world’s largest running day, with around 1 million Americas taking part in a running event to start the day. So our favorite running and walking event does not want to miss out on the fun.

It’s going to be a fun few weeks ahead!

Colin Phillips
Co-Event Director



New Years 2019 parkrunning

On January 1st 2019 we will hold our 3rd annual College Park Resolution parkrun. It is a wonderful way to start out the new year, and we hope that you can join us.

The College Park Resolution parkrun will start at the unusual time of 10:30am on January 1st. This is because New Years is the one day of the year when it is possible for parkrunners to log two parkruns in the same day. Currently at least Leakin Park parkrun and Kensington parkrun have expressed an intent to hold an 8:30am event, and a couple of the DC parkruns  are considering this.

So you can sleep in a little longer, or you can try a double parkrun. Either way, plan on staying behind afterwards for a big start of the year brunch at The Board and Brew, with parkrun friends from our community and across the DMV.


Thanksgiving 2018 parkrunning

Subject to confirmation of permission by Prince George's Parks, we plan to hold our first ever College Park parkrun ("Turtle Trot"?), at 9:00 on Thursday November 22nd.

Thanksgiving is the largest running day in the world, with around 1 million people taking part in running events across the US. And Thanksgiving is all about family and community ... and the odd bite to eat. So a Thanksgiving parkrun seems like an obvious choice.

And of course it's totally free.


To infinity and beyond! (Run Report #100)

When I arrived at Acredale Park (and Hurricane Florence didn’t), I could feel an extra buzz in the air. Then again, I could have easily mixed that up with the smell of the cookies, cakes, and confectionery (vegan and otherwise, contributed by various parkrunners!).


The special buzz was because we were celebrating our 100th parkrun in College Park, just 23 months after the first one. And a LOT of people came out to celebrate this milestone. 210 finishers was easily our largest crowd yet at College Park parkrun, and with volunteers, barkrunners, kids in strollers, and supporters, it was quite the crowd.


In addition, there were also several extra exhibits that you would not normally see on a ‘regular’ parkrunday. Here’s three that you probably couldn’t miss:

100 Reasons Why We Love Parkrun, by what-were-you-smoking-if-you-told-me-5-years-ago-I’d-organize-100-running-events Andrea Zukowski.


100 (I guesstimated) photo collage, by Cindy & Steve Feld.


100 & Fabulous sash, by Lisa Wilson, pinned on the parkrun flag


Did you know, black is also the color of the parkrun milestone shirt that you can proudly wear after completing 100 parkruns? (It’s free, too.) Just like red is the color of the 50 milestone shirt that we’re seeing on more of our regulars. Now you know why the 50 sash that Emily Jensenius wore this week for reaching her 50th parkrun was red. A junior parkrunner, Benno Wien, also reached his 10-parkrun milestone (for juniors only) this week. We don’t seem to have a white 10 sash yet. Or maybe a cape would do the trick.


We also take this opportunity to congratulate those who are on their way to the official milestones:

5 College Park parkruns: James Hudson, Silvia Lesic, Calvin Ridge, Kristine Rogers, Erin Schneider, Josh Schneider, Raffaele Simpson, and Sotiria Stathopoulou. Among these, Justin Bridgman (PB), Külli Puusta (3rd PB in a row!), and Samantha Schneider (4th PB in a row!).


10 parkruns: Adam Brown, Tami Graf, Dexter Guillaume, and Zak Mellen. Dominique Lisiero managed to complete 10 parkruns within 2 months and a day of first joining us. Impressive.


25 parkruns: Susan Keller, Jay Bao,and Abdur Rahman-Quadri. Both Elizabeth Foley and Katie Hirsche got a chance to ring the PB bell on their 25th parkrun!



Talking about PBs, there were a LOT of PBs this week. In fact, the total of 48 PBs was the highest ever for our event, and the highest ever for parkrun USA. Here’s the full list:

Joseph Barrow, Erika Barnhardt, Laura Beckert, Kimberly Bills, Adrianna Bradford, Justin Bridgman, West Coile, Angela Dadak, John Elliott, Elizabeth Foley, Jonathan Foley, Ben Gieske, Alyssa Heintzelmann, Dave Heintzelmann, Katie Hirsche, Janis Jackson, Mary Keane, Pride Kewkam, Aileen Kroll, Jinhan Long, Suerken Matsuyama, Bonnie McClellan, Leyla Merlo, Rachel Muzakir, Talor Nickens, Princesse Owona, Lara Pagano, Francis Parks, Teresa Perdomo, Funita Phan, Matthew Phillips, Denis Primakov, Külli Puusta, Francisco Reyes, Samantha Schneider, RJ Spalding, Sarah Starett, Zora Stovall, Derek Symer, Chris van Vlack, Daniel Walker, Chyna Waugh, John Way, Benno Wien, Franz Wien, Tess Wood, Wendy Young, Yogarshi Yvas.

... Phew! These guys certainly kept the PB bell busy!


Among the many PBs, 3 lowered our event’s age category records. Katie Hirsche set a record in W15-17, Bonnie McClellan in W75-79, and John Elliott in M80-84. John already holds our 75-79 record, so he must have had a recent birthday.


A big Thank You to the parkrunners who brought friends and family to celebrate event #100 with us, such as Jim Cantwell and family, and many others in the week’s photos.



Next, my thanks goes to all the volunteers who joined me to make event #100 happen! I am grateful for Lisa & Hump Plotts’ perennial presence on the course. Did you know, ‘Hump’s T-shirt collection’ made it to the 100-reasons-why board? Bringing up the rear of the huge (record 210) parkrun posse this week were Julie Russell, Enrique (Neil) Jograj Jr., Xinzi He, and Xiao Ji (the latter two were among our parkrun paparazzi for the day). Back at the finish line, Larry Washington & Eduardo Valente kept the stopwatches clicking, while Kayla Hayes and Tomas Marambio teamed up on the finisher tokens. Tomas recently moved to College Park from Santiago, Chile, and he has jumped in right away as a runner and volunteer. Welcome! And we hope that last week’s excellent puddle photo will just be the first of your many parkrun memories! Chris McGranahan and Jenn Augsburger took care of scanning lots and lots of barcodes, and Xiao (Jay Bao’s wife) joined Colin as our finish line photographer, capturing some great moments.


As this week’s run director, I was glad to see all the familiar and new (that’s you Tomas!) faces. I’m especially grateful to Kayla and Xiao, who agreed to my last minute requests to don the hi-viz vests! At the Board & Brew, Neil and Valerie Silensky had the novel experience of sorting three huge safety pins worth of tokens. Andrea and Colin checked if I was comfortable enough to process results on my own. I did (almost) everything entirely by myself this time around. Thanks to Nick Huang for showing me the very last step. ;)


And we have some announcements for upcoming weeks:

#101 - September 22nd. Park cleanup day. Have you seen the state of the parking lot? So much litter! Not from parkrunners, of course, but we’re looking after the park in recognition of the warm welcome we receive from PG Parks. Please arrive early to help out, e.g., 8:15. We have bags and grabbers. Also, it’s a UMD Home Football Game, 12pm. Don’t try to park in UMD Lots.

Oh, and a certain mayor will be doing his 50th parkrun.

#102 - September 29th. parkrun by Broomstick Day! This is the one day per year when Acredale Park is taken over by a Muggle Quidditch tournament. Parking will be in short supply. So dust off your broomstick and fly to parkrun. Or ride your bike. Or park in UMD Lot 11b (5-mins walk) or at the bowling alley across Route 1. In any case, allow a few extra minutes. Or head to Fletcher’s Cove parkrun, where they’ll be having a special event to commemorate the Nelson Mandela centenary, featuring legendary ultra-runner and manager of parkrun South Africa, Bruce Fordyce.

#103 - October 6th. Walking Day and College Park Day. At parkrun we’ll welcome the walkers of Club 300. Hoping that others will walk with them on that day to help welcome them to our community. In the afternoon we’ll have a parkrun booth at the College Park Day event at College Park Aviation Museum. Can you help out? Let us know.

#105 - October 20th. Our 2nd birthday!

So much to look forward to this fall at College Park parkrun.


Remember to check out our album of great photos from this week’s event, and from every other week’s event.  Till the next #parkrunday!


P.S. My personal contribution to the 100 reasons why board.

The community, camaraderie, and sometimes cake is as cool as the salt, sweat, and support I know I will find at College Park parkrun.


P.P.S. how is it possible to go to infinity and beyond? If it is not possible to even reach infinity, because it is, well, infinite, then how can one go beyond it? Apparently, according to Wikipedia, there is a difference between actual infinity and potential infinity. I probably meant the latter. In potential infinity, there is a non-terminating process, such as ‘add 1 to the previous number’, which in turn produces a sequence with no last element. (The parkrunners who are also mathematicians can probably correct me if I’m wrong). In any case, the title of this run report is my wish for our parkrun on its 100th event.




Making a splash (Run Report #99)

On Friday evening I was speaking with some folks in a faraway part of the country who are working on creating a parkrun for their community. I said, “I don’t know what will happen tomorrow morning, but there are sure to be a bunch of cool stories that I have no idea about now.” And sure enough, that’s what happened at our 99th free, weekly parkrun.

If you prefer pictures over words, stop reading now and just head over to our photo album from this week. Lots of really cool pictures, as usual, some of them used here.

After a rather stormy night I set out on my bike to do a course check, and found that it was a day for our puddle lovers to rejoice. After conferring with Run Director Jim, Course Marshal Lisa, and Big Kahuna Andrea, we decided to go ahead with the full course. And to use the official turnaround, so that you wouldn’t have to start on the soaked field. It worked out well, and made for some cool pictures of parkrunners navigating the unavoidable puddles, and some parkrunners embracing the easily avoided puddles.





We had a friendly sweepstakes among the week’s volunteers to predict how many people would join us in the not-so-awesome weather. Even the highest guess (that’s you, Larry Washington) was low, as 133 community members came together to enjoy the trail and each other’s company.


We celebrated two official parkrun milestones. Both Lucy Bills and Diego Aguilera Kelley did their 10th parkrun, and as under 18s that earns them a fancy white parkrun shirt with a 10 on it. Good stuff, Diego and Lucy.


But while Lucy and Diego were getting the accolades, their parents were quietly setting PBs. Nice running Jorge and Kimberly!



These weren’t the only parents setting PBs. We love how John and Erica Barnhardt were able to both run fast this week, with Erica setting a 3-minute PB. Her mom came along for the first time and pushed the stroller. Wonderful!



In recent weeks most of our handful of parkrun tourists have been visitors from down the street at Kensington parkrun. This week broke the mould, as Sabine Ruckriegel and Andrew Halls joined us all the way from Perth, Australia. That’s a long way to come for a parkrun, you know.


We had one of our biggest ever crop of unofficial milestones, too. The 10-timers at CP parkrun now include John Jensenius, Erica Barnhardt, Angela Gentile, Catherine Spirito (PB!), Matt Miller, and John Scott. And the new 5-timers were Jessica Gerbig, Janete Amaya, Cheryle Galloway, Dinah Cohen, Kimberly Bills, and Carly Mills.


This week’s many first-timers included Marylynn Mills, mom of Carly Mills and Erin Munsell, one of our volunteers this week.


Other first-timers included Aydil del Valle Rodriguez and Eric Stoker-Spirit. They get a special shout out thanks to their entertaining sprint finish. It was too close to call, but Eric wisely declared Aydil the first to finish.


Sharyn Gordon is now one of our regular walkers. It’s great to see her smile lighting up the trail. And this week she brought along a friend: her grandson Julian.


Running and walking at parkrun is fun, but volunteering is a lot of fun too. This week’s crew had Lisa Wilson and Hump Plotts guarding the course, with Yancira Amaya tailwalking (ably assisted  by daughter Janete). One-handed Trace Huard did timekeeping, while Win Persina had enough hands to take times and give high fives. Erin Munsell and Judy Mulusa scanned the many barcodes. Judy picked up a minor injury at last week’s parkrun and so she offered her help this week. We hope that she’ll be running again with us very soon. Jim Parsons was the day's Run Director, and kept everything running smoothly.

Neil Jograj and Anna Tinnemore sorted finisher tokens … and in doing so they solved the mystery that had befuddled poor Larry Washington, this week’s token distributor. A few times during the event Larry found that he was out of sync with the time keepers. How was he missing people who were coming through the funnel? It turns out that he was playing with a bad deck of cards. Our esteemed Event Director had made a pile of replacement tokens to replace ones that had been scanning poorly. But she made the tactical error of replacing them before having her morning coffee, and so some of the old ones did not get removed from the stack, and we gave out some doubles this week. Oops! This led to a longer-than-usual results processing session at The Board and Brew, with Jim, Andrea, Colin, and a pile of finish photos reconstructing what had happened.



With 99 parkruns now under our belt, this means that the next one will be our 100th. We’re very much looking forward to making a celebration of this. If you can help with a spot of baking, then we’d love to hear from you. … But also keep an eye on the weather forecast and on our website and social media. Hurricane Florence is looking menacing currently, and so there’s a risk of some seriously adverse weather next weekend, which might disrupt our plans.

Looking a couple of weeks into the future, we’ll be holding a special parkrun on October 6th joint with M-NCPPC’s Club 300 program. This is a free walking program for seniors that started as a summer program with the goal of logging 300 miles, the distance across the state of Maryland. But it was so successful that it grew into a year-round program in which seniors virtually walk across America. If you can join as a walker that week, that would be wonderful. That also goes if you’re normally a runner.

Later that same day we’re also planning a booth at the annual College Park Day festival, which draws thousands of visitors. If you can join us at the booth for an hour or two that afternoon, we’d love to have your help in reaching community members.

Stay dry, everybody!

Colin Phillips

Co-Event Director


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