Barcodes will melt (Run Report #45)

Although it was a bright sunny day on Saturday morning, the dew point and the temperature were almost the same. Never a good thing, unless you are an amphibian. The ground was saturated too. So special thanks goes out to the 90 brave parkrunners and the 8 gracious volunteers who came out on this less than perfect day for a run. Several runners learned that printed barcodes do “melt” when subjected to being saturated in a pocket in humidity like this. 10-year old Ginger Wilkerson did her best to scan the remains, but several were beyond the scanning point by the time the run was finished. Thanks Ginger! And for parkrunners with soggy barcodes, we would like to mention the virtues of ziploc baggies, or laminating if you’re feeling fancy.


Our sincerest apologies to Suerken Matsuyama, who reached his official 10-parkrun milestone this week, and we failed to notice his achievement until afterwards. We’d like to blame it on the fact that Suerken reached the milestone so darn quickly (10 consecutive weeks), but it might have been because our brains were fried in the heat. For good measure, Suerken also took over 2 minutes off his personal best, finishing within seconds of Sam McGranahan with a strong time of 22 minutes and change. Congratulations Suerken! We will be celebrating your milestone next weekend, when your mom, Rumi Matsuyama, will also be doing her 10th parkrun (... but grownups need 50 runs to reach an official parkrun milestone, sorry Rumi!)


A number of this week’s parkrunners must have been less troubled by the heat and humidity than the rest of us, because they had already run MCRRC’s Eastern County 8K at 7:30am on Saturday morning, and then still showed up for parkrun at 9am. We offer a mix of applause and what-are-you-guys-thinking to Cindy Cohen, Mike Klamm, Kirk Gordon, Ted Poulos, Alan Mulindwa, and Lokesh Meena. More power to all of you.


We suspect that this may have been the last hot-and-sticky parkrun of the summer, and we’re looking forward to sweet relief in the coming weeks. We are just thrilled that so many people kept active in our parkrun community during the summer months. A few months ago, today’s turnout would have been a cause for celebration. Now it’s just a normal week, as we have averaged 90 parkrunners per week since Memorial Day weekend. Thank you all again for coming out throughout the summer!

This week we welcomed back to Berwyn Heights’ councilman Chris Rasmussen. He earned a PB, taking a full 5 minutes off his time on only his second visit, and he was happy to see that more walkers are joining us. We hope to see more and more walkers at parkrun.


Welcome to this week’s first timers.This included five members of the Stephens family of Berwyn Heights: Denise, Rob, Wyatt, Tyler, and Levi (aged 4). Rob Stephens is already familiar to some of our parkrunners, as he is a popular cross-country coach at Eleanor Roosevelt HS in Greenbelt. In addition, Samantha Crews, John Howard, Joseph Zanta, Daniel Ju, Trace Huard, Moe Siddiqui, David Donaldson, and Richard and Laura Goemann all joined us for the first time.  Welcome! We hope to see you all again.


This week’s unofficial milestones included:

  • 1 new 25-timer: Ian Parsons
  • 3 new 20-timers:  Amanda Mercer, Nick Huang, and Jon Palks.
  • 2 new 15 timers: Lisa Parsons and Dustyn Kujawa
  • 1 new 10-timer: Suerken Matsuyama (PB!). Plus 3 more did College Park parkrun for the 10th time: Lokesh Meena, Alan Mulindwa, and Greg Gorman.
  • 6 new 5-timers: Evan Hirsche, Niko Fedkin, James Madden, Gloria Cottman (PB!), Doug Hamilton, and Mike Klamm.

Meanwhile, Clark Ridge has now done College Park parkrun 40 times, so we’re starting to count down towards his 50. And Ted Poulos ran his 49th parkrun, so next time out he’ll earn a coveted red 50-run shirt.


It always surprises us when anybody sets a PB or other acts of speediness on days like this, but you didn’t disappoint.

  • Tamryn Thornton-Fillyaw set a PB on her 6th parkrun, also an age-category record
  • Sisters PBs by Teresa Mittendorff and Verena Ettner
  • 4 runs, 4 PBs by Aaron Visnic - more than a 4-minute jump this week! Also 4-in-4 for Jim Sebastian, and 3-in-3 for Matthew Mulally.
  • 10 minute improvement by 2nd timer John Barnhardt, who this week ran without a stroller. (And welcome back to Erica Barnhardt, who this week was in charge of the stroller.)
  • Harish Guda just keeps on getting faster. Another 1 minute jump on his 7th parkrun. 2-minute jump by Maggie Pooley on her 4th parkrun.
  • Yet another PB by Solomon Ambaye, on his 7th parkrun, and for Janice Bernache on her 6th.
  • And new PBs for Gloria Cottman, Paul Kittredge, and Tim Waterhouse

You guys are going to be flying when the weather improves!


There were no parkrun tourists at College Park parkrun this week (smart people!), but we also had some College Park parkrunners on tour this week. At Livonia parkrun in Michigan, Chris Kujawa did his 8th run as “tourist in residence”. We’re looking forward to welcoming him home to College Park next Saturday. Also, Chris’s mother-in-law Lynn Burkart joined us for the second time and got a nice PB. Meanwhile, at Deep Run parkrun in Richmond, VA they were happy to welcome College Park regulars Steve and Cindy Feld.


You know that we would be nowhere without our wonderful parkrun volunteers. And nobody knows it better than a broiled run director like me. The heat was really taking its toll on me on Saturday, and it was such a relief to know that you were in great hands when I had to head off for relief. 10-year old Ginger Wilkerson was amazing as our barcode scanner, and results helper. She managed to herd hordes of sweaty grownups and did her best with the soggy barcodes. Thanks also to her mom Susan Whitney, who was a timer today, together with JJ Su. Jim Cantwell took care of tokens, Hump was master of his eponymous crossing, Debbie Levenson took care of my turnaround grove in the forest in my absence, and Diana Gough tail walked and took photos.

Remember that our parkrun goes ahead each week because of people like you who step up to help. You can see what slots are needed in coming weeks on our future roster page, and we encourage you to join the many in our parkrun community who have opted in (via their profile) to receive Andrea’s once weekly volunteer email circular. Go on, you know you’ll look great in hi-vis yellow.


Coming Attractions

As the fall approaches, we’re going to be parkrunning every week, of course. But here are some special coming attractions to keep in mind.

  • October 21st: College Park parkrun 1st birthday celebration.
  • October 28th: UMD’s Homecoming 5k will be held in conjunction with College Park parkrun.
  • November 11th (tentative): tree planting with Prince George’s Parks by our start/finish area, to provide more shade for next summer. (We planted only smaller trees in the spring, because the larger trees survive better if planted in the fall.)

And finally …

A few more communities in the DMV will soon have a parkrun event for their neighborhood. But to get underway the events need a team of people who are willing to sometimes help out as volunteers. We’re excited about the prospects for a parkrun in SE DC. Do you know of anybody based in the Anacostia, Navy Yard, or Capitol Hill who might be interested in being involved? If you do, please let us know.

Lisa Wilson