It was a beautiful morning for a parkrun. Sunny most of the time, and as our short mid-Atlantic winter starts to wind down, we’re acclimated enough that 34 degrees feels kind of warm. I could have sworn that when I asked if there were any newcomers to parkrun not so many hands went up but according to the results we had 19 first-timers in a field of 107 parkrunners. This doesn’t include the 5 “unknowns” we had this week. While nobody will be turned away, if you want to get your results and see them posted and counted we encourage you to sign up for your free parkrun barcode. The sooner you are official the sooner you start your count to a 50 run shirt. (More on that below.)
We were pleased to see lots of people enjoying a walk on the trail this week. We have ‘run’ in our name, but as long as you can cover 5k by foot, and enjoy doing it in the company of our supportive community, then you’ll fit right in.
Among this week’s first timers was a group of UMD ROTC Cadets, led by Kristina McKenna. They had a great time, and they’re looking to come back soon with lots of other young ladies from their battalion. Also, a big high five is in order for Gary Madsen, who completed his first ever 5k at College Park parkrun this week. Congratulations, Gary, and we look forward to many more.
This week we recognized Junjie (JJ) Su, volunteer extraordinaire, as the College Park parkrunner of the month. JJ is a grad student at UMD who started parkrunning with us last June, and since then he has run 18 times and volunteered at least 15 times, stepping up to help in *all* weathers. Just as important, JJ spreads smiles and encouragement wherever he goes, especially in his regular role as timekeeper. This week JJ and Win Persina were our timekeeping team and a special thanks goes out to them for work above and beyond the call of duty in quickly defusing a conflict in the finish chute. Win was also doing her 10th volunteer stint at parkrun, putting her well on the way to the coveted purple 25-time volunteer shirt.
No official parkrun milestones this week, but lots of people are reaching unofficial milestones. Tsegaab Hailemichael and Lauren Supina both did their 25th parkruns this week - halfway to 50! Bonnie McClellan did her 10th, showing the youngsters how it’s done. Trace Huard also did his 10th parkrun -- great way to celebrate a birthday! 5 parkrunners joined the College Park parkrun 5-club this week: Ashley Ward, Abe Cutler, Jules Russell, Maia Swisdak, and Adrian Dover. Maia deserves special mention because it was her first time as a volunteer - she and her dad, Marc, were your tailwalkers this week, and Maia also was a roving photographer. Adrian deserves another kind of shout out, as he is the first international parkrun tourist to join our 5-timer club. Adrian normally does his parkruns at Newent parkrun, in the west of England, but he is a regular visitor to the area, and has adopted us as a kind of second home parkrun. When Adrian first joined us, on Christmas Eve 2016, we had just 25 finishers. We’ve grown a little since then.
In miscellaneous acts of speediness, congrats are due to Erin Munsell, who set another PB on her 21st parkrun. Andreu Orell was back for the second week in a row and proceeded to break the age-category record that he set last week. Nice going! In doing this he made a valiant effort to outrun Clark Ridge. No cigar on that one, but Andreu did succeed in pulling Clark to his fastest run in 10 months.
As usual, we are grateful to our wonderful volunteers. In addition to JJ, Win, Maia, and Marc, this week’s parkrun was brought to you by Andrea Zukowski, Anna Tinemore, Bernard Kelly, Colin Phillips, Enrique Jograj, Hump Plotts, Julie Russell, and Lisa Wilson. Extra thanks to Jonathan Foley for stepping in to help out as a second barcode scanner when things got busy, and thank you to Nina McGranahan for taking over as finish photographer. Bernard has been a very regular volunteer in the past couple of months, and we’re excited that he’ll soon be returning as a runner. Bernard got injured after returning home for the Dublin Marathon in the Fall, and since then he has been one of our most regular volunteers. He’ll get an extra cheer next time that he runs.
We have some upcoming attractions to share with you. Next week, February 24th, will be Andrea Zukowski’s 50th parkrun. As many of you know, Andrea is the mama of College Park parkrun, who got it all started, and who is thrilled to see you all every week. Do come out to celebrate Andrea next week. And it looks like warmer weather too, so even more reasons to come out.
March 24th is the official launch of Kensington parkrun, our sister event, on the Rock Creek Trail. College Park parkrun will definitely go ahead as usual that day, but we won’t be offended if you pack up your barcode and head over to Kensington to check out their scenic double out-and back route. That will be the first of a series of new parkrun launches in the early Spring. The following week (March 31st) parkrun will arrive in Boston, at Jamaica Pond parkrun. And the following weekend should see the launch of the world’s highest parkrun - watch this space for more news.
See you soon,
Chris McGranahan and Colin Phillips