“Even before the finish came into view, I could tell that it was PGRC Day, because of all the enthusiastic cheers.”
This week’s parkrun was led by our friends at the Prince George’s Running Club, and they made a warm morning even warmer for the 93 assembled parkrunners. College Park parkrun is all about being active together, and PGRC is pretty much all about the same thing. So we love partnering with them. We have you covered on Saturdays at parkrun, but what are you going to do the other 6 days of the week, or if you’re feeling like something other than a 5k? That’s where PGRC can help out. Did you notice how much fun they were all having on Saturday morning!
Thanks to everybody from PGRC who ran, volunteered, cheered, or lit up the trail with smiles on Saturday. The PGRCers on hand have done over 200 parkruns between them, so they’re already a great part of our community. Thanks in particular to 14-time parkrunner Mark Shroder, who was this week’s Run Director. Mark wisely advised young kids to keep a close eye on their grown-up, as we didn’t want any of them to go missing. And also big thanks to 9-time parkrunner Finiana Joseph, who organized the great free raffle, with give-aways of PGRC shirts, race entries, and training program memberships. Maggie Gill, first-time parkrunner, and first female finisher this week (speedy!) was one of the raffle winners. She got a free entry into PGRC’s Wright Stuff 10k in December. It will be Maggie’s first ever 10k race.
One PGRC highlight that you might want to check out is their Tuesday evening track nights. They meet up at the UMD track in College Park at 6:30 for a fun workout. It’s fun, it’s social, and because you’re running laps around a track, nobody gets left behind. You might not think of yourself as a track athlete, but the Tuesday night runs consistently get rave reviews.
Ok, so back to that parkrun thing. This was the third consecutive week of 93-95 parkrunners. This is double the numbers that we were seeing at the start of the year. Word is continuing to get around. This week’s crowd included 17 first-timers (including 7 first-timers from PGRC). Welcome to all! It’s great to see how many parkrunners are bringing along friends to join us on a Saturday morning.
We know that some of you are really spreading the word. Which brings us to this month’s parkrunner of the month, Paul Wester. Paul first joined us in March, after we found him running on the Paint Branch Trail on a Saturday morning, and this week did his 18th parkrun. Since then we’ve lost count of the number of people who have told us that they found out about College Park parkrun through Paul. His smile lights up the trail, and he clearly is quite persuasive. This week he ran with his daughter Mary Wester, helping her to a new PB. Congratulations Paul, and we hope you enjoy your gift card from our friends at The Board and Brew.
We don’t see too many “parkrun tourists” at College Park parkrun (yet!), because the out-of-towners are understandably curious about running at Roosevelt Island parkrun. But those who do join us get a warm welcome. This week we saw our first tourist from parkrun Russia. You may have noticed a name in Cyrillic script in this week’s results. That’s Olga Koroleva-Pereleshina, who has done most of her parkruns at Gorky Park parkrun in Moscow. Saturday was “International parkrun Day”, celebrating the 13th anniversary of the first ever parkrun, and Olga decided to join us for that day. She loved our trail (we do too!). If any of you ever find yourselves in Moscow on a Saturday morning, you’ll know where to go.
Meanwhile, a few of our regular parkrunners were doing a spot of parkrun tourism themselves this weekend. We were thrilled to find pictures in our inbox from your travels. Steve Feld checked out Deep Run parkrun in Richmond, VA. Pam Marcus visited Durham NC parkrun, and she persuaded her friend Amy to go along as a volunteer. And Yukun Fung visited the brand new Kanata parkrun in suburban Ottawa, Canada. In the picture it looks like he’s holding a medal, but it’s actually a cake. Much better!
The weather on the trail wasn’t PB-perfect, but still 21 of you improved on your best times. Some PBs really stood out this week. Meredith Phillips improved her PB by 7 minutes (!) on her 7th parkrun. Heather Mundwiler improved by 3 minutes. 8-year old Violet Ridge has improved by 4 minutes in her last 3 outings. Kiera Parsons and Ginger Wilkerson both cracked 30 minutes for the first time. Ginger’s mom, Susan Whitney, also set a PB. Mary Wester beat 40 minutes for the first time. Rumi Matsuyama set a new PB on her 14th parkrun. And JJ Su celebrated his return from Singapore with a PB on his 8th run. Jordan Foley set a new PB on her 12th parkrun, while pushing Charlie in a stroller. Impressive.
Speaking of strollers, our youngest participant this week was Henry, 3-week old son of Ian Ross and Stephanie Coomes, two parkrunning stalwarts from Fletcher’s Cove parkrun. Henry listened carefully to Mark’s run briefing, but then slept for much of the 5k. Big kudos to Stephanie for completing her 160th parkrun so soon after giving birth.
We had a number of new unofficial milestones this week. Jenn Augsburger and Joe Limarzi became the newest members of our 10 parkrun club. And 6 new people became 5-timers: Duane Rosenberg, Joan Myles, Geoffrey Mason, Jim Sebastian, Lisa Jordan, and Lou Shapiro. We’re closing in on 200 people who have joined us at least 5 times. Wow.
This week’s volunteers came mostly from PGRC. In addition to Mark Shroder as Run Director, we had PGRCers Bex Williams and Sharon Bollers on the stopwatches; Valerie Rankin and Dom Blom on tokens, Richard Williams on scanning, and Jim Cantwell as tail walker. Hump Plotts and Lisa Wilson ensured that you did not get lost out on the course (again!), and Lara Ehrenhofer showed that PhD skills have real-world application, by deftly sorting the finish tokens. Andrea and Colin did whatever it is that they do every week, and they both were proudly wearing their new purple parkrun shirts at brunch this week. These free milestone shirts are for volunteering 25 times. Something to work towards on the days when you don’t feel like running.
A reminder about some upcoming special attractions …
October 21st: First birthday celebration! If you haven’t joined us in a while, this is the one to come for. Celebrating 54 free weekly events, 3700 runs, countless new friendships … and more cake than we care to mention.
October 28th: UMD Homecoming 5k @ College Park parkrun. We’re thrilled to be partnering with UMD for this big annual event. Join us to welcome lots of students and alumni to our special piece of College Park. Work up an appetite before tailgating. Halloween costumes optional.
November 4th: walking groups!
November 11th: tree planting with Prince George’s Parks
November 18th: kid takeover day (looking for younger volunteers!)
November 25th: post-Thanksgiving turkey burnoff
See you Saturday!