In which we are entirely surrounded by water (Run Report #83)

“It rained and it rained and it rained. Piglet told himself that never in all his life, and he was goodness knows how old--three, was it, or four?--never had he seen so much rain. Days and days and days.

"If only," he thought, as he looked out of the window, "I had been in Pooh's house, or Christopher Robin's house, or Rabbit's house when it began to rain, then I should have had company all this time, instead of being here all alone, with nothing to do except wonder when it will stop." And he imagined himself with Pooh, saying, "Did you ever see such rain, Pooh?" and Pooh saying, "Isn't it awful, Piglet?" and Piglet saying, "I wonder how it is over Christopher Robin's way," and Pooh saying, "I should think poor old Rabbit is about flooded out by this time." It would have been jolly to talk like this, and really, it wasn't much good having anything exciting like floods, if you couldn't share them with somebody.”

-- A. A. Milne, In which Piglet is entirely surrounded by water


Sometimes the days with the most unsavory weather and the smallest turnouts are the best. They’re certainly the ones that we won’t forget easily. It felt this week like the rain would never stop. Some parkruns in the  region were forced to cancel due to washed out courses. We did NOT want to cancel.

A Friday morning run check of the course was encouraging. Then Friday night Zoe and I went down to Acredale Park at dusk to dig out a drain for a pond that had formed near the start. But it kept raining all day and night Friday. Saturday at 6am when I did a bike check of the course I found a small river flowing across the trail by the golf course, and some other flooded spots further down the trail. So we couldn’t even use our alternative “flood backup” two-lap course that we debuted last July. Not to worry. I measured the flooded section with my bike, and then headed over to the golf course to measure out an equivalent stretch of path. This new course would have two “laps”, including a spur on each lap, so that everybody would visit Hump *six* times in the course of 5k. Popular guy.


This week’s second innovation was our “indoor” start/finish area. We didn’t plan it that way, but once we had the canopies set up on the trail, we figured there wasn’t much point in moving them. We normally finish on the field, to leave the trail clear for other users. We tell you at every run briefing that we share the trail. But the field was more like a rice paddy, and it didn’t look like we’d have much competition for the trail this week. This week’s parkrunners were able to stay stay under cover for the run briefing and for the finish. And the finish line volunteers were nicely  sheltered, thank you very much. As were the delicious oatmeal bites that Cindy Feld brought along (thank you Cindy!).


The weather may have looked miserable when you peered out the window in the morning, but we were having too much fun to feel miserable. We celebrated Dominique Blom’s 50th parkrun and she proudly wore the 50 sash.


We also celebrated Mike McClellan as our parkrunner of the month for May. Mike is ever upbeat and he’s done 23 parkruns already. We should all be so lucky as to be so fit and positive at age 81. The PoTM award comes with a gift card generously provided by our friends at The Board and Brew … which we will remember to give to Mike the next time that we see him.


We also celebrated the newest mayor among our parkrun community. Congratulations to Duane Rosenberg, who this week was sworn in as mayor of New Carrollton. This week Duane celebrated by running his 30th parkrun, finishing second at age 65, just one second outside his own age-category record, and finishing ahead of his son Cotter Rosenberg (3rd) and College Park mayor Patrick Wojahn (4th). We look forward to the day not too far from now when it will be possible to ride the Purple Line from New Carrollton to College Park, perfect for parkrunners.


We frankly didn’t expect *any* first-timers this week, so we were thrilled to meet a half dozen newcomers. Mary Scheuermann undoubtedly traveled the furthest to be with us. She normally runs at Haga parkrun in Stockholm, Sweden, and arrived only late the night before. Elizabeth Bast and her son Silas joined us when Silas’ soccer game was canceled. Congratulations to Silas on his first ever 5k. Good luck with the rest of soccer season, and we hope you’ll join us again after the season. Derek Skaggs, Rodney Yates, and John Warthier were our other first timers this week, and we were very happy to see them all. Next time out, we hope to show you the part of our beautiful trail that you didn’t get to see this time around.


We were equally amazed that anybody set a PB this week. But some did. On her 15th parkrun Kim Fisher took a minute and a half from her PB that she had set only last week. Nice! Tina Heineman and Mike Ashford were first timers last week who returned and set a PB this week. Marc Swisdak continued chipping away at his PB. And Erin Munsell marked one year (plus a few days) since her first visit by setting a PB on her 28th parkrun. Erin has come a long way in that year.


In addition to Dom Blom’s official 50-parkrun milestone, we had a few people reach unofficial milestones. Jenn Augsburger and Mark Shroder both did their 25th and Cotter Rosenberg his 10th.


We are always grateful to our volunteers, without whom none of this could happen. Lisa and Hump were above and beyond this week. They were the first ones at the park in the morning, setting up the canopies. Then they set off to mark the course and wait for you all to run or walk past. Mark Shroder was tailwalker, meaning that he spent longer on the course than anybody. He and Susan must be looking forward to some finer weather when they visit Edinburgh parkrun next Saturday. Larry Washington is getting to be a veteran timekeeper now - he knows his way around the equipment better than I do. We were very thankful to Abdur Rahman-Quadri and Joel Goldberg who joined us as first-time volunteers this week. It was fun hanging out with you in the rain! Cindy Feld and JJ Su provided extra photos. And thanks to Zoe Phillips, who had fun with me digging drainage in the rain on Friday night.

Colin Phillips, Run Director