No place I’d rather be (Run Report #47)

Do you remember our Memorial Day weekend parkrun? Parkrun founder Paul Sinton-Hewitt was one of 180 attendees. Paul was a College Park parkrun first timer, as were 70 other attendees, including me. I quietly snuck in, did my run, and quiety snuck out. I spoke to no one except a volunteer at the First Timers desk, did not attend The Board and Brew, and, as per parkrun philosophy, left no trace, unless you count my name in the results section. Fast forward three months to our Labor Day weekend parkrun, and I’m debuting as a Run Director. How on earth did that happen?

I realized quickly, perhaps at my second parkrun, that there was something special about parkrun. So I kept coming. I introduced myself to Colin. I started going to B&B. On the day of what would have been my 7th parkrun, I was feeling achy, and there was a need for a golf course marshal. I volunteered and had the time of my life. The Wall Street Journal photographer even caught it on film.

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More summer aches meant more volunteer opportunities. More volunteer opportunities meant that I learned the ropes. I started scoping out spots for a Montgomery County parkrun. Then came the email I had been waiting for. Andrea asked, “Pam, would you like to try your hand at being a Run Director?” I happily agreed.

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My debut was, in a nutshell, very wet. By the end I was soaking and shivering. I realized, though, that if I had to be soaking and shivering, there’s no place I’d rather be than at a College Park parkrun. I’m sure many of you feel the same. The appearance of Harvey defined this week’s run and will make it one of our more memorable ones. But let’s not forget the other important bits. We had 58 participants and 12 volunteers! Andrea Zukowski did her first run in 6 weeks, just 5 weeks after having a kidney removed. Not a mole, not a polyp, but a non-vestigial organ! That must be a parkrun record! Ten-year old Nathan Widman set an age-category record and a PB. Brian Murphy kindly stepped in to chaperone Nathan, as Nathan is far too quick for his dad Andrew Widman. Thanks Brian!

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We had 7 first timers this week: Michael Mattson, Duane Rosenberg, Beth Hisle-Gorman, Mchorris Matt, Paula Tuttle, Will Gorman, and Karen Feagin.  Michael finished 2nd overall, even though he hadn’t run in a year! Very impressive Michael, and we hope that you’ll come back to give some of our speediest attendees a proverbial run for their money. Duane is “Mayor pro tem” of New Carrollton, MD; if he ever becomes mayor, College Park mayor Patrick Wojahn may find his unofficial reign as speediest mayor in the DMV in jeopardy.  Paula bravely pushed a double stroller in the rain. Let’s not forget that there were two brave children in that stroller as well!. Will and Beth joined relatives Greg Gorman and Annabel Gorman.

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Speaking of Greg Gorman, his time this week was almost 40 minutes faster than his time at last week’s Mansfield, OH parkrun. It wasn’t because he sprouted wings. Greg (like many of us) was unaware that some parkruns start earlier in the summer months. Greg went out anyway, caught the Mansfield tail runner, and finished. Gloria Cottman did her 7th parkrun today, and her dog joined her for the first time. Welcome to our new canine friend! Ryan Sibley’s dog was a welcome second timer this week. Dominique Blom and Frank Filteau (PB!) became the 10th and 11th members of our unofficial 25-run club. It was the 10th College Park parkrun for Francis Parks, the 5th College Park parkrun for Kevin Yatchet and Matthew Mullally (PB!), and the 40th parkrun for Lisa Wilson, our frequent turnaround marshal. Lisa is now officially in the home stretch towards her official 50-parkrun milestone, as are James Moreland, Clark Ridge, and Colin Phillips.

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Twelve, or a fifth, of today’s runners set PBs, despite (or perhaps because of) the rain. Harish Guda has set a PB on all but one of his 8 runs, and today he took another minute from his time. Janice Bernache has set a PB on all but one of her 7 runs. Solomon Ambaye also set another PB today. John Ramsey has now set PBs on 10 of his 17 runs. Yukun Fung, soon to be a dad, was today’s first finisher, and his wife and in-utero baby watched from the safety of the canopy. Eight-year old Violet Ridge demonstrated her love of rain and puddles, as evidenced in the photo below.

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We had 12 volunteers this week. Andrea Zukowski and Colin Phillips, as usual, took care of the back office business. This week a big part of that job involved drying everything out. And we mean *everything*. Even a hundred finisher tokens that we didn’t use. Hump Plotts marshalled the golf course and Lisa Wilson marshalled the turnaround. Chris McGranahan and Anouk Dieuleveut were our timekeepers. Jim Cantwell gave out finisher tokens and Yancira Amaya scanned. Nick Huang took finishline photos once he was done with his run. Kim Fisher was our tail walker, and Sigthor Waguespack sorted tokens with a little help from Jan Edwards. Most of our course volunteers did not have running to keep them warm, so we send out an extra-loud shout of thanks and round of cheers in recognition of their dedication.

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I wasn’t able to spend much time talking with attendees this week because of the storms. I’m hoping that the weather will be a bit more cooperative the next time I’m Run Director (TBD) so I can meet more of you and get to know you. Until then, stay healthy, be happy, and keep on parkrunning!

Pam