Three weekends into January and we are already seeing some really encouraging turnout numbers. This weekend, we had 105 parkrunners show up -- which is the 8th largest turnout we have had in the entire history of this parkrun. All previous turnouts were special occasions, like New Year's Day, UMD's Homecoming, Thanksgiving, etc., with lot of tourists and guests. But not this past Saturday. This was just a normal Saturday, a home crowd, lots of familiar faces. Of course, we were lucky that it was an atypically pleasant January morning: 40-degree weather and clear skies.
As always, people brought their family and friends. Our parkrunner of the Month Rumi Matsuyama brought two more members of Hyattsville Hyperactive, Eva Müller and Michelle Brandy. Last week's tailwalker Danielle Dunham this week brought a friend, Frederica Nash. Chuandi Jia and his mom Qiao Qiao were smiles all along the course. Astrid Salguero and her mom Thelma Cordón showed up a minute late, but caught up with the rest in no time. Will Etti has been following us on Strava for a while, and decided to join us in person on Saturday.
Plenty of PBs this morning: The Collins family had a great showing: Samuel, Hannah, and Helena and Kalonji *all* set personal bests. Matthew Mullally set a PB, after coming within a second of breaking his previous PB last weekend. Sheilah Kast set a PB on parkrun #4, and Emily Flamm set her 13th PB, out of a total of 19 parkruns, all at College Park.
We also celebrated landmarks. First, Ken Leonard celebrated the 3rd anniversary of the adoption of his dog Scout, with a dog- and human-friendly cake with lots of peanut butter. Scout has been a faithful dog and an enthusiastic parkrunner, completing 24 parkruns with Ken. Also special shout-outs to John Ramsey (30 parkruns); parkrunner of the month for January, Rumi Matsuyama (25 parkruns); Bernadette Gormally, Trinidad Molina, Evan Hirsche, Paul Kittredge (20 parkuns); Craig Thompson (10 parkruns). Ellen Gray, Enrique Jograj, and Valerie Silensky joined the unofficial College Park 5-club, which now boasts a total of 243 members. We wanted to also give a shout-out to Valerie for her enthusiasm: she only started on Dec 30, 2017, but she has been to every parkrun since, and volunteered twice.
Congratulations, too, to our friends at Fletcher's Cove parkrun, who marked their 100th parkrun with lots of pizza. Fletcher's Cove was the first parkrun to start in the DC area. On a personal note, this was where I did my first official parkrun, and it was really quite a revelation to see how parkrun worked. Unfortunately, I couldn't join them on Saturday. So, happy 100th, Fletcher's Cove, and here's to many more free 5ks! (Also: while there was only one parkrun in the DC area two years ago, there are now four -- soon five -- parkruns in the area, with more than 6,000 registered parkrunners.)
Co-event director Colin Phillips also helpfully pointed out that this Saturday was the 100th time we have had a parkrun at the Paint Branch Trail: there were 33 unofficial parkruns before College Park parkrun officially launched. So, happy unofficial 100th, us!
Lastly, as we like to say, parkrun is impossible without volunteers. As this week's run director, I want to thank the following for their help: marshals Lisa Wilson and Hump Plotts and tailwalker Valerie Silensky, for making sure our parkrunners completed the course safely, Dale Morey and Bernard Kelly, who did a great job keeping time, Jake Foley (and his dog Lola), for stepping in the last minute to hand out tokens, JJ Su, for scanning and sorting tokens (the Board and Brew regulars were very disappointed to hear that he had already taken care of them). Lisa, Norm Bernache, and Colin Phillips took up their usual locations for photographs, while co-event director Andrea Zukowski completed her 46th parkrun while taking photos along the course.
And that's it for this weekend. As it stands, the weather forecast next Saturday looks good, too. And it will be a special parkrun day, as we'll be celebrating our friends who are about to launch a new parkrun on the Rock Creek Trail in Kensington, MD. It will be a bittersweet moment for us. It means that some of our regular parkrunners will be in College Park less often on Saturday morning. But we're also thrilled to see this new community taking off, and they will be close by, so we are looking forward to lots of local parkrun tourism between Kensington and College Park. This week (1/27), our Run Director at College Park will be Pam Marcus, ringleader of Kensington parkrun, and she'll be joined by other members of the Kensington team. Next weekend (2/3) they will start weekly trial parkrun 5Ks in Kensington. Same arrangement as usual: 9am start, 5k, friendly and welcoming. And coffee afterwards. The official launch of Kensington parkrun, when you'll need your barcode, is set for March 24th.
See you all soon.