When I checked the forecast on Friday I was a little concerned: there was plenty of rain forecast on Friday night and Saturday, and the last time we got a Friday storm, a section of the trail was flooded and impassible. Fortunately, this time we got less rain than expected on Friday, and there was no flooding -- no need for a double out and back for our 75 parkrunners! (For those of you who were wondering, there was no rain on Saturday.)
We celebrated Kirk Gordon's 50th parkrun. Kirk has earned himself a free red parkrun t-shirt, joining fellow College Park parkrun regular, Cindy Cohen. Special thanks to event director Andrea Zukowski for baking a chocolate cake. Other unofficial milestones include: 20 College Park parkruns: Patrick Wojahn, mayor of College Park; 10 College Park parkruns: Jeanette Novak; 5 College Park parkruns: Noah Wood, Misrak Awegichew, Michael Roberts (PB!), and Susan Keller. Congratulations all!
We also welcomed 7 first-timers: Frank Byskov, Dave Walser, Marty Brandon (who was convinced to come moments earlier by Finiana Joseph), John and Erica Barnhardt, Geoffrey Roberts, and Bhavani Khandrika. Also joining us for a few moments near the golf course crossing was a 5-foot long ratsnake, but our golf course marshal Steve Goetzinger moved it off the path (parkrun rules allow dogs, but snakes are hard to keep on a short leash).
Unfortunately, in my pre-run briefing, I forgot to mention that we always meet at The Board and Brew after parkrun for coffee and/or breakfast. So, if our first-timers are reading this: sorry about that, and please join us at The Board and Brew the next time you come. (Regulars are of course also welcome.)
Despite the humidity, many of you continued to push the envelop; there were 18 personal bests in total. This included Mark Shroder, who just keeps on setting PBs, this time smashing through 30 minutes. Michael Roberts has now had a PB in each of his 5 parkruns (all at College Park). Speedy first finisher Travis Boltjes was 3 seconds away from his PB, but improved on his age-graded performance -- which probably means that he recently celebrated a birthday. Happy belated birthday, Travis! Karen Prestegaard took almost 2 minutes from her PB, and Judy Barnes set a big PB too -- we don't have documentary evidence of Judy breaking into a run, but she's reaching a pace where it's hard to walk. Kate Murray and Orla Collins again scored mother-and-daughter PBs. Rumi Matsuyama scored a big PB on her 8th parkrun. Jordan Foley set a PB, while still pushing Charlie in a stroller. Meanwhile Ben Flamm, running without a stroller for a change, came close to cracking 20 minutes. ... And the list goes on. Great running to all of you.
A special mention is in order for PBs by Nina and Graham Mold, who visited us for the second time as parkrun tourists. Nina and Graham normally run at Rugby parkrun in the UK. They visited us for our special flooded parkrun on July 29th, and returned this week to see the full course. They were really glad to meet our parkrun community.
I also wanted to give a shout-out to three other members of our parkrun community. First, Noah Wood, who donated bottled water. We didn't have to open up the pack of water this week but we will have them next Saturday. Second, Clara Burkart Schaffer wasn't scheduled to volunteer, but decided to help with tokens and barcode scanning. Third, Clark Ridge. Like Clara, Clark wasn't scheduled to volunteer either, but offered to stay after his run and help out with barcode scanning duties, even though he has a 3-week old baby at home.
Lastly, our volunteers. Pam Marcus joined Jenn Augsburger, parkrunner of the month for August, as timekeeper. Dale Morey took a break from running a parkrun to hand out finish tokens, with help from Clara. Barcodes and tokens were superbly scanned by Lois Zukowski and Clark -- results processing was a walk in the park (pun intended). Andrea Zukowski, whose post-surgery progress has been incredible, was our tailwalker. JJ Su and Steve Goetzinger were our turnaround and golf-course marshals respectively, our regular marshals, Lisa Wilson and Hump Plotts, being away this weekend. We are always on the look-out for volunteers, so please email us (email@example.com) if you are interested.
Meanwhile, co-Event Director Colin Phillips was doing a spot of parkrun tourism himself. While in Oslo he tried to check out Norway's first parkrun, due to launch next week at Tøyenparken. He only got to see part of the course, as the park was blocked off for the Oslo Jazz Festival (first world problems!). Then on Saturday he visited the interestingly named Nonsuch parkrun, set in an expansive park in the suburbs of London. Colin received a warm welcome from the Nonsuch team. They are a long-established parkrun, on a scale that we can barely imagine at College Park. For event #310 they had 605 parkrunners, supported by 50 volunteers. To handle the busy traffic they have an elaborate double funnel set up at the finish. Over 200 of their participants on Saturday had already done 50+ parkruns. The Nonsuch team has an informal "twin parkrun" relationship with New Farm parkrun in Brisbane, Australia, and they suggested a similar special relationship with College Park parkrun. Our events have much in common -- including the excellent coffee shops. Theirs is set in the gardens of Nonsuch Mansion, right by the start/finish area, and their selection of cakes is to die for. Sounds tempting! Then, on Sunday, Colin was at the London Olympic Stadium, watching the world's fastest women 5k runners in the world championships. And there he was joined by Karen Harris and Paul Martelletti. We met Karen and Paul when they visited College Park parkrun last week, with Paul setting our course record. With our event founder Andrea unable to travel to London, Karen and Paul were able to put Colin's spare tickets to good use. Some perspective on how fast the world's quickest women are. Paul's incredible time of 14:57 at College Park last week would have placed him 8th in the women's race in London. Wow.
See you next Saturday and don't forget your barcode!