Putting our best foot forward (Run Report #48)

In stark contrast to last week, the weather was near perfect for running on Saturday September 9th. At 9am it was a beautiful 61° F with a light north breeze and a very comfortable dewpoint. The predictable result was a slew of personal best times this week. An amazing 34 out of the 100 finishers recorded new PBs!  Among them was co-event director Colin Phillips, 2nd finisher today, who lowered his already impressive PB by 21 seconds!

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In addition, there were 11 first timers in the field this week establishing PBs on the College Park parkrun course. These included Jim Scott from Australia, a regular at Armidale parkrun in New South Wales. Jim’s debut here was his 71st overall parkrun. He and wife Marianne have spent the summer in the US with Jim running at Eagan parkrun in Minnesota six times. John and Julie Czerkowicz were visiting from Boston. John is a first timer while Julia had already run with us way back on New Year’s Eve 2016. Julie’s brother is College Park regular Chris Kujawa. Also, Yared Zeleke joined younger brother Kidus (a parkrun regular) for the first time. Others making their debut in College Park included Aaron Trulock, Jesse Chasteen, Ramiro Rodriguez, Kelsie Mathieson, Caleb Kiesow, Hannah Saltmarsh, Fasika Delessa, and Daysi Cruz. Welcome!


We were pleased to see that half of this week’s first timers were in the 20-24 age group. The start of Fall brings a big influx of young people to our community in College Park, and we hope to see many of them at parkrun on Saturday mornings.


First finisher this week for the 23rd time was Clark Ridge, though Colin was hot on his heels. Among the ladies, Lisa Parsons recorded her 5th first finish. Also, Michael Mattson and Nico Fedkin established new age category records this week. Great job, guys! Nathan Widman ran his final parkrun as a 10-year old this week and narrowly missed lowering his own age category record. We wish Nathan a happy birthday and look forward to him going after the 11-14 age category record. Fortunately, this will mean that Nathan will no longer need chaperones at parkrun. Surely a relief for his dad, Andrew Widman, who was one of this week’s PBs, though far behind Nathan.


A few notable milestones this week. Sam and Chris Mcgranahan both reached 20 runs at College Park parkrun on the same day. Dave Waguespack, Steve Hendrix, Brie Gibson (PB!), and Ryan Sibley (PB!) all recorded their 10th finishes. Hans Meurer (PB!), Cliff Bedore (PB!), Maggie Pooley (PB!) and Kayla Hayes all ran their 5th College Park parkrun.


Among the many other PBs this week were some family doubles: Steve and Cindy Feld, John Wilkerson and Susan Whitney. Some parkrunners made notable time breakthroughs: Brie Gibson, Andy Fellows, Judy Mulusa, and Andrew Widman all ran under 30 minutes for the first time. Paul Kittredge and Ben Flamm ran under 20 minutes for the first time. Tsegaab Hailemichael ran under 25 minutes for the first time, and Maggie Pooley ran under 35 minutes for the first time (huge PB!). Walkers Bhavani Khandrika and Chris Rasmussen both scored PBs. It’s not just the runners who are getting faster.


Our dedicated volunteer crew made life easy for the run director as usual. Thanks to timekeepers Janice Bernache and Cindy Conant, the finish token and scanner team of Will Bobseine and Kacey Nyongesa, course marshals Hump Plotts and Lisa Wilson, tail walker Xinzi He, and photographer Nina McGranahan. Afterwards at The Board and Brew, Sam McGranahan pitched in to help with results processing.


Lastly, we’d also like to give a special volunteer shout-out to Kim Fisher (another PB today!), who was last week’s tail walker and photographer in the rain storm. And then went and spent the afternoon designing and sewing for us a wonderful new carrier for our parkrun flag and poles. Thank you so much, Kim!


As you know, we’ll be back at the same time, same place every week. But take note of a few upcoming special attractions at College Park parkrun.

  • September 30th: parkrun global COO, founder of the very first college town parkrun, will likely be joining us at The Board and Brew after parkrunning downtown.
  • October 7th: our second Prince George’s Running Club day
  • October 21st: 1st birthday celebration!
  • October 28th: UMD Homecoming 5k @ College Park parkrun
  • November 11th: teaming up with Prince George’s Parks to plant some larger trees at our start/finish area, providing shade for future summers

See you again soon.

Jim Parsons