Donuts for Violet (Run Report #49)

20170916-ParkRun_0047Summer was back for a brief visit this weekend, Sep 16: temperatures in the 80s, 70% humidity. And that was probably why we saw participant numbers dip: 69 parkrunners and 10 volunteers. Nevertheless, a good parkrun overall. How so, you ask? Here we go:

First, we recognized Diana Gough and her son Carlos as parkrunners of the month for September. They both took a break from parkrunning today to volunteer: Diana scanned barcodes and tokens, while Carlos handed out tokens, filling a volunteer gap in the last minute. Thank you guys for volunteering!

Carlos, Diana, and Andrea talk about the art of scanning barcodes

Second, we welcomed nine newcomers. Six were local: Yogarshi Vyas, Sarah Sopher and her aunt Lisa Sopher, Seun A, Emily Cruikshank, Stowell Davison. We also had three visitors from Europe: Mike Richardson (from Sheffield, UK), Paul Cleaver (Tamar Lakes parkrun, UK, but also a UMD alum and who used to run at Greenbelt Park), and Robsahm Trude from Norway. Mike has run at 179 different parkrun locations, and was our first finisher for Saturday.

Welcome!Welcome, Mike, Paul, and Robsahm

(What happened to our local speedsters? Well, Clark Ridge was running with his daughter Violet, and co-event director Colin Phillips was in Missouri doing a parkrun test event in Moberly. Moberly, MO, parkrun launches Oct 28.)

Moberly parkrun: note the big M in the URL

We also celebrated a couple of milestones. Co-event director Andrea Zukowski finished her 25th College Park parkrun, Anouk Dieuleveut her 20th, Jeff Lunsford his 10th, and Paul Kittredge his 5th (while finishing 2nd overall). And in the junior category, Anna Colette Foley and her brother Jonathan each completed their 9th parkrun, putting them closer to their free 10-parkrun t-shirt milestone.

A few milestones: Anouk, Andrea, and Paul

Our regulars continue to astound with their performance. Despite the warm weather, we saw 16 PBs today, that is, one in four people beat their parkrun records. A few notable PBs: Pam Marcus, taking a break from planning a parkrun in Kensington, MD with Jeff Lunsford and a few others, set a PB. Matthew Mullally is on a streak: 6 PBs in 6 runs, and getting very close to breaking the 20 minute barrier. Judy Barnes walked her way into her 7th PB -- how she walks this fast is beyond us. Emily Flamm and Martin Mittendorff made sizable improvements in their times. Andrew Widman, perhaps fortified from Nathan Widman's birthday cake, took a minute and 20 seconds off his PB last week, and Violet Ridge took 3 minutes off hers. I was told by a parkrunner (who I will not name) that after the run Violet told her dad Clark "Daddy! I DEFINITELY earned a donut today!" Food does amazing things to your willpower.

(For the record, my source also said that Clark replied to Violet, clarifying that he does not do donut bribes, although it was unclear whether this policy applies to participating in parkruns in general, or setting a PB.)

PBs: Clockwise from top-left: Violet and Clark, Emily, Matthew, and Andrew

And where would we be without our volunteers, who continue to dazzle with their stylish lime-green vests while making all this possible. As mentioned earlier, Diana and Carlos took care of scanning and tokens, Kim Fisher made sure everyone turned around at the right spot; Hump Plotts kept the golf-course crossing safe; Jenn Augsburger left no one behind, Clare Imholtz and Rachel Lukens got everyone their times. If you wonder why some of the photographs are so nice this week, that is because we were joined by Norm Bernache (Janice Bernache's dad), and a pretty capable photographer. Thank you all! If you can help in a future week, drop us an email at collegeparkhelpers@parkrun.com. And if you update your parkrun profile to receive our weekly volunteer email circular (yes, only one per week), then your parkrun community will thank you.

Coming attractions at College Park parkrun:

  • September 23rd: event #50 already!
  • September 30th: join us at The Board & Brew after parkrun to meet with Tom Williams, COO of parkrun global, and founder of the original college town parkrun.
  • October 21st: First Birthday Celebration!
  • October 28th: UMD Homecoming 5k @ College Park parkrun.

Let's hope that we will get some regular fall weather this coming weekend. Same time, same place. Don't forget your barcode!

Nick Huang

 

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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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

 

No place I’d rather be (Run Report #47)

Do you remember our Memorial Day weekend parkrun? Parkrun founder Paul Sinton-Hewitt was one of 180 attendees. Paul was a College Park parkrun first timer, as were 70 other attendees, including me. I quietly snuck in, did my run, and quiety snuck out. I spoke to no one except a volunteer at the First Timers desk, did not attend The Board and Brew, and, as per parkrun philosophy, left no trace, unless you count my name in the results section. Fast forward three months to our Labor Day weekend parkrun, and I’m debuting as a Run Director. How on earth did that happen?

I realized quickly, perhaps at my second parkrun, that there was something special about parkrun. So I kept coming. I introduced myself to Colin. I started going to B&B. On the day of what would have been my 7th parkrun, I was feeling achy, and there was a need for a golf course marshal. I volunteered and had the time of my life. The Wall Street Journal photographer even caught it on film.

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More summer aches meant more volunteer opportunities. More volunteer opportunities meant that I learned the ropes. I started scoping out spots for a Montgomery County parkrun. Then came the email I had been waiting for. Andrea asked, “Pam, would you like to try your hand at being a Run Director?” I happily agreed.

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My debut was, in a nutshell, very wet. By the end I was soaking and shivering. I realized, though, that if I had to be soaking and shivering, there’s no place I’d rather be than at a College Park parkrun. I’m sure many of you feel the same. The appearance of Harvey defined this week’s run and will make it one of our more memorable ones. But let’s not forget the other important bits. We had 58 participants and 12 volunteers! Andrea Zukowski did her first run in 6 weeks, just 5 weeks after having a kidney removed. Not a mole, not a polyp, but a non-vestigial organ! That must be a parkrun record! Ten-year old Nathan Widman set an age-category record and a PB. Brian Murphy kindly stepped in to chaperone Nathan, as Nathan is far too quick for his dad Andrew Widman. Thanks Brian!

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We had 7 first timers this week: Michael Mattson, Duane Rosenberg, Beth Hisle-Gorman, Mchorris Matt, Paula Tuttle, Will Gorman, and Karen Feagin.  Michael finished 2nd overall, even though he hadn’t run in a year! Very impressive Michael, and we hope that you’ll come back to give some of our speediest attendees a proverbial run for their money. Duane is “Mayor pro tem” of New Carrollton, MD; if he ever becomes mayor, College Park mayor Patrick Wojahn may find his unofficial reign as speediest mayor in the DMV in jeopardy.  Paula bravely pushed a double stroller in the rain. Let’s not forget that there were two brave children in that stroller as well!. Will and Beth joined relatives Greg Gorman and Annabel Gorman.

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Speaking of Greg Gorman, his time this week was almost 40 minutes faster than his time at last week’s Mansfield, OH parkrun. It wasn’t because he sprouted wings. Greg (like many of us) was unaware that some parkruns start earlier in the summer months. Greg went out anyway, caught the Mansfield tail runner, and finished. Gloria Cottman did her 7th parkrun today, and her dog joined her for the first time. Welcome to our new canine friend! Ryan Sibley’s dog was a welcome second timer this week. Dominique Blom and Frank Filteau (PB!) became the 10th and 11th members of our unofficial 25-run club. It was the 10th College Park parkrun for Francis Parks, the 5th College Park parkrun for Kevin Yatchet and Matthew Mullally (PB!), and the 40th parkrun for Lisa Wilson, our frequent turnaround marshal. Lisa is now officially in the home stretch towards her official 50-parkrun milestone, as are James Moreland, Clark Ridge, and Colin Phillips.

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Twelve, or a fifth, of today’s runners set PBs, despite (or perhaps because of) the rain. Harish Guda has set a PB on all but one of his 8 runs, and today he took another minute from his time. Janice Bernache has set a PB on all but one of her 7 runs. Solomon Ambaye also set another PB today. John Ramsey has now set PBs on 10 of his 17 runs. Yukun Fung, soon to be a dad, was today’s first finisher, and his wife and in-utero baby watched from the safety of the canopy. Eight-year old Violet Ridge demonstrated her love of rain and puddles, as evidenced in the photo below.

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We had 12 volunteers this week. Andrea Zukowski and Colin Phillips, as usual, took care of the back office business. This week a big part of that job involved drying everything out. And we mean *everything*. Even a hundred finisher tokens that we didn’t use. Hump Plotts marshalled the golf course and Lisa Wilson marshalled the turnaround. Chris McGranahan and Anouk Dieuleveut were our timekeepers. Jim Cantwell gave out finisher tokens and Yancira Amaya scanned. Nick Huang took finishline photos once he was done with his run. Kim Fisher was our tail walker, and Sigthor Waguespack sorted tokens with a little help from Jan Edwards. Most of our course volunteers did not have running to keep them warm, so we send out an extra-loud shout of thanks and round of cheers in recognition of their dedication.

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I wasn’t able to spend much time talking with attendees this week because of the storms. I’m hoping that the weather will be a bit more cooperative the next time I’m Run Director (TBD) so I can meet more of you and get to know you. Until then, stay healthy, be happy, and keep on parkrunning!

Pam

 

 

Never the same run twice (Run Report #46)

A couple of weeks ago, when I was walking parkrun as the Tail Walker (because I was grounded from running, post-surgery), I passed Andy Fellows, who shouted out ‘Thanks for being here.’ ‘Where else would I be?’ I shouted back, surprised. Indeed, where else? At times, I have wondered whether one day I’ll get tired of running the same 5k event week after week.  But it hasn’t happened yet, and after almost a year’s worth of ‘official’ parkruns on the Paint Branch Trail, I’m starting to think that day will never arrive. That’s because it’s never the same event twice. Each week there are new first timers to greet (typically 10 or more), a different subset of parkrun veterans to welcome back (out of the 1100 people now registered), and each week you give us new accomplishments to celebrate. Far from getting tired of parkrun, every Saturday it leaves me feeling energized, proud, and happy. I hope it does the same for all of you too!

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Last Saturday for our 46th event, the 3000th finisher crossed the finish line. It was 20 weeks before we saw our 1000th finisher, 15 weeks before the 2000th, and then just 11 weeks before the 3000th. Here’s a prediction: we will see our 4000th finisher by Halloween (9 weeks). We are growing! In fact this week we had 103 finishers, even though it was just a ‘regular’ weekend. The gorgeous weather probably played a role in that.

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It was wonderful to welcome back Chris Kujawa (who spent his summer in Michigan, doing 8 parkruns there at Livonia parkrun) and Xander and Tara (Xander’s CF forces them to seek out cooler running conditions in the summer). Xander’s enthusiasm is contagious, and he has been missed! This week he brought along his grandma, Janet Tate, for her first time. Janet turns out to be among the speedier grandmas!

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Among the new faces this week were Yoopadee Wongsuptawee, who was our female first finisher, and Vivienne Miller and her daughter Autumn. Vivienne is a US transplant from Scotland, a long-time resident of Ellicott City, and although this is her first North American parkrun, she is no stranger to parkrun. Her brother, Euan Bowman, is the mastermind behind parkrun Canada, which celebrated its 1-year anniversary last week, and has launched 10 new parkruns in the past year. Look up Vivienne and Autumn’s coolest-ever running club: Hogwarts Running Club (we absolutely need to get that one onto our list of officially-recognized clubs so that it will show up in the results!).

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We had lots to celebrate this week (with cake, as usual). Kayla Hayes completed her 10th parkrun (and judging by the t-shirt her mom Jackie made for her, she was as proud as we were). Suerken Matsuyama actually completed his 11th parkrun today, but he caught us unawares last time, so we celebrated this week. Besides these official t-shirting earning milestones, lots of us older folks achieved some unofficial but equally admirable milestones: Tami Graf, Jackie Hayes, Kidus Haile, and Orla Collins all ran their 5th College Park parkrun, Rumi Matsuyama, Clare Imholtz and Susan Whitney all ran their 10th, and Elliott Hamilton and Crystal Bergemann each ran their 25th (!). Frank Filteau has run 24 parkruns at College Park, and one at Deep Run parkrun in Richmond, VA, so he’ll join the CP-25 club next time he comes.

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The beautiful weather probably played a role in the unprecedented 33 PBs we witnessed this week–congratulations to all!  Two age-category records were broken this week too, both in the 65-69 age group: Judy Barnes, who walks the course at lightning speed (this week she broke into a jog at the finish, and came in under 42 minutes), and James Moreland, who has just 5 parkruns to go before earning his red 50 shirt.

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This week we saw two parkrun ‘PB streakers.’ Matthew Mullally has had 4 PBs in his 4 visits, and Gloria Cottman has had PBs in 5 out of her 6 visits. Both have improved by leaps and bounds. Also this week we had whole families whose members all saw new PBs. That included John Wilkerson and Susan Whitney, Orla Collins and Kate Murray, Laura and Richard Goemann, Mark Shroder and Susan Keller, Roman and Kathy Zentek, and Tyler and Rob Stephens. Some of our PB setters this week improved on their previous bests by an impressive 2 minutes! Congratulations Moe Siddiqi, Cameron McPhee, and Chris Rasmussen.

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The final group to celebrate is our volunteers, who made it all happen. If you’ve never volunteered with us before, we need you! Please opt-in to our weekly volunteer appeals, and sign up for a Saturday soon. Here’s the great company you will be joining:

Lisa ‘turn-around-Zen master’ Wilson
Hump ‘zebra-stripes’ Plotts
Jenn ‘almost-ready-to-run-again’ Augsburger
Sam
‘grounded-so-might-as-well-volunteer’ McGranahan
JJ
‘can’t-decide-whether-I-like-running-or-volunteering-better’ Su
Pam
‘love-parkrun-so-much-I’m-starting-one-in-my-backyard’ Marcus
Dale
‘scan-master’ Morey
Zoe
‘finish-funnel-master’ Phillips
Diana
‘any excuse to bake’ Gough
Andrea
‘where-else-would-I-be?’ Zukowski
Looking forward to seeing you on Saturday.

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Andrea

 

 

Barcodes will melt (Run Report #45)

Although it was a bright sunny day on Saturday morning, the dew point and the temperature were almost the same. Never a good thing, unless you are an amphibian. The ground was saturated too. So special thanks goes out to the 90 brave parkrunners and the 8 gracious volunteers who came out on this less than perfect day for a run. Several runners learned that printed barcodes do “melt” when subjected to being saturated in a pocket in humidity like this. 10-year old Ginger Wilkerson did her best to scan the remains, but several were beyond the scanning point by the time the run was finished. Thanks Ginger! And for parkrunners with soggy barcodes, we would like to mention the virtues of ziploc baggies, or laminating if you’re feeling fancy.

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Our sincerest apologies to Suerken Matsuyama, who reached his official 10-parkrun milestone this week, and we failed to notice his achievement until afterwards. We’d like to blame it on the fact that Suerken reached the milestone so darn quickly (10 consecutive weeks), but it might have been because our brains were fried in the heat. For good measure, Suerken also took over 2 minutes off his personal best, finishing within seconds of Sam McGranahan with a strong time of 22 minutes and change. Congratulations Suerken! We will be celebrating your milestone next weekend, when your mom, Rumi Matsuyama, will also be doing her 10th parkrun (... but grownups need 50 runs to reach an official parkrun milestone, sorry Rumi!)

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A number of this week’s parkrunners must have been less troubled by the heat and humidity than the rest of us, because they had already run MCRRC’s Eastern County 8K at 7:30am on Saturday morning, and then still showed up for parkrun at 9am. We offer a mix of applause and what-are-you-guys-thinking to Cindy Cohen, Mike Klamm, Kirk Gordon, Ted Poulos, Alan Mulindwa, and Lokesh Meena. More power to all of you.

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We suspect that this may have been the last hot-and-sticky parkrun of the summer, and we’re looking forward to sweet relief in the coming weeks. We are just thrilled that so many people kept active in our parkrun community during the summer months. A few months ago, today’s turnout would have been a cause for celebration. Now it’s just a normal week, as we have averaged 90 parkrunners per week since Memorial Day weekend. Thank you all again for coming out throughout the summer!

This week we welcomed back to Berwyn Heights’ councilman Chris Rasmussen. He earned a PB, taking a full 5 minutes off his time on only his second visit, and he was happy to see that more walkers are joining us. We hope to see more and more walkers at parkrun.

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Welcome to this week’s first timers.This included five members of the Stephens family of Berwyn Heights: Denise, Rob, Wyatt, Tyler, and Levi (aged 4). Rob Stephens is already familiar to some of our parkrunners, as he is a popular cross-country coach at Eleanor Roosevelt HS in Greenbelt. In addition, Samantha Crews, John Howard, Joseph Zanta, Daniel Ju, Trace Huard, Moe Siddiqui, David Donaldson, and Richard and Laura Goemann all joined us for the first time.  Welcome! We hope to see you all again.

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This week’s unofficial milestones included:

  • 1 new 25-timer: Ian Parsons
  • 3 new 20-timers:  Amanda Mercer, Nick Huang, and Jon Palks.
  • 2 new 15 timers: Lisa Parsons and Dustyn Kujawa
  • 1 new 10-timer: Suerken Matsuyama (PB!). Plus 3 more did College Park parkrun for the 10th time: Lokesh Meena, Alan Mulindwa, and Greg Gorman.
  • 6 new 5-timers: Evan Hirsche, Niko Fedkin, James Madden, Gloria Cottman (PB!), Doug Hamilton, and Mike Klamm.

Meanwhile, Clark Ridge has now done College Park parkrun 40 times, so we’re starting to count down towards his 50. And Ted Poulos ran his 49th parkrun, so next time out he’ll earn a coveted red 50-run shirt.

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It always surprises us when anybody sets a PB or other acts of speediness on days like this, but you didn’t disappoint.

  • Tamryn Thornton-Fillyaw set a PB on her 6th parkrun, also an age-category record
  • Sisters PBs by Teresa Mittendorff and Verena Ettner
  • 4 runs, 4 PBs by Aaron Visnic - more than a 4-minute jump this week! Also 4-in-4 for Jim Sebastian, and 3-in-3 for Matthew Mulally.
  • 10 minute improvement by 2nd timer John Barnhardt, who this week ran without a stroller. (And welcome back to Erica Barnhardt, who this week was in charge of the stroller.)
  • Harish Guda just keeps on getting faster. Another 1 minute jump on his 7th parkrun. 2-minute jump by Maggie Pooley on her 4th parkrun.
  • Yet another PB by Solomon Ambaye, on his 7th parkrun, and for Janice Bernache on her 6th.
  • And new PBs for Gloria Cottman, Paul Kittredge, and Tim Waterhouse

You guys are going to be flying when the weather improves!

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There were no parkrun tourists at College Park parkrun this week (smart people!), but we also had some College Park parkrunners on tour this week. At Livonia parkrun in Michigan, Chris Kujawa did his 8th run as “tourist in residence”. We’re looking forward to welcoming him home to College Park next Saturday. Also, Chris’s mother-in-law Lynn Burkart joined us for the second time and got a nice PB. Meanwhile, at Deep Run parkrun in Richmond, VA they were happy to welcome College Park regulars Steve and Cindy Feld.

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You know that we would be nowhere without our wonderful parkrun volunteers. And nobody knows it better than a broiled run director like me. The heat was really taking its toll on me on Saturday, and it was such a relief to know that you were in great hands when I had to head off for relief. 10-year old Ginger Wilkerson was amazing as our barcode scanner, and results helper. She managed to herd hordes of sweaty grownups and did her best with the soggy barcodes. Thanks also to her mom Susan Whitney, who was a timer today, together with JJ Su. Jim Cantwell took care of tokens, Hump was master of his eponymous crossing, Debbie Levenson took care of my turnaround grove in the forest in my absence, and Diana Gough tail walked and took photos.

Remember that our parkrun goes ahead each week because of people like you who step up to help. You can see what slots are needed in coming weeks on our future roster page, and we encourage you to join the many in our parkrun community who have opted in (via their parkrun.com profile) to receive Andrea’s once weekly volunteer email circular. Go on, you know you’ll look great in hi-vis yellow.

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Coming Attractions

As the fall approaches, we’re going to be parkrunning every week, of course. But here are some special coming attractions to keep in mind.

  • October 21st: College Park parkrun 1st birthday celebration.
  • October 28th: UMD’s Homecoming 5k will be held in conjunction with College Park parkrun.
  • November 11th (tentative): tree planting with Prince George’s Parks by our start/finish area, to provide more shade for next summer. (We planted only smaller trees in the spring, because the larger trees survive better if planted in the fall.)

And finally …

A few more communities in the DMV will soon have a parkrun event for their neighborhood. But to get underway the events need a team of people who are willing to sometimes help out as volunteers. We’re excited about the prospects for a parkrun in SE DC. Do you know of anybody based in the Anacostia, Navy Yard, or Capitol Hill who might be interested in being involved? If you do, please let us know.

Lisa Wilson

 

No washout this time (Run Report #44)

When I checked the forecast on Friday I was a little concerned: there was plenty of rain forecast on Friday night and Saturday, and the last time we got a Friday storm, a section of the trail was flooded and impassible. Fortunately, this time we got less rain than expected on Friday, and there was no flooding -- no need for a double out and back for our 75 parkrunners! (For those of you who were wondering, there was no rain on Saturday.)

and we're off!

We celebrated Kirk Gordon's 50th parkrun. Kirk has earned himself a free red parkrun t-shirt, joining fellow College Park parkrun regular, Cindy Cohen. Special thanks to event director Andrea Zukowski for baking a chocolate cake. Other unofficial milestones include: 20 College Park parkruns: Patrick Wojahn, mayor of College Park; 10 College Park parkruns: Jeanette Novak; 5 College Park parkruns: Noah WoodMisrak Awegichew, Michael Roberts (PB!), and Susan Keller. Congratulations all!

Clockwise from left: Kirk, Steven, Greg, Misrak, Michael. Susan is in the Board and Brew photo below, in the green shirt.

Clockwise from left: Kirk, Patrick, Jeanette, Michael, Misrak. Susan is in the Board and Brew photo below, in the green shirt.

We also welcomed 7 first-timers: Frank Byskov, Dave Walser, Marty Brandon (who was convinced to come moments earlier by Finiana Joseph), John and Erica Barnhardt, Geoffrey Roberts, and Bhavani Khandrika. Also joining us for a few moments near the golf course crossing was a 5-foot long ratsnake, but our golf course marshal Steve Goetzinger moved it off the path (parkrun rules allow dogs, but snakes are hard to keep on a short leash).

Clockwise from left: Frank, Dave, Bhavani, John and Erica, Marty and Finiana, Geoffrey

Clockwise from left: Frank, Dave, Bhavani, John and Erica, Marty and Finiana, Geoffrey

Unfortunately, in my pre-run briefing, I forgot to mention that we always meet at The Board and Brew after parkrun for coffee and/or breakfast. So, if our first-timers are reading this: sorry about that, and please join us at The Board and Brew the next time you come. (Regulars are of course also welcome.)

Post-parkrun coffee at the Board and Brew

Post-parkrun coffee at the Board and Brew

Despite the humidity, many of you continued to push the envelop; there were 18 personal bests in total. This included Mark Shroder, who just keeps on setting PBs, this time smashing through 30 minutes. Michael Roberts has now had a PB in each of his 5 parkruns (all at College Park). Speedy first finisher Travis Boltjes was 3 seconds away from his PB, but improved on his age-graded performance -- which probably means that he recently celebrated a birthday. Happy belated birthday, Travis! Karen Prestegaard took almost 2 minutes from her PB, and Judy Barnes set a big PB too -- we don't have documentary evidence of Judy breaking into a run, but she's reaching a pace where it's hard to walk. Kate Murray and Orla Collins again scored mother-and-daughter PBs. Rumi Matsuyama scored a big PB on her 8th parkrun. Jordan Foley set a PB, while still pushing Charlie in a stroller. Meanwhile Ben Flamm, running without a stroller for a change, came close to cracking 20 minutes. ... And the list goes on. Great running to all of you.

PBs: Michael and Travis

Michael and Travis

A special mention is in order for PBs by Nina and Graham Mold, who visited us for the second time as parkrun tourists. Nina and Graham normally run at Rugby parkrun in the UK. They visited us for our special flooded parkrun on July 29th, and returned this week to see the full course. They were really glad to meet our parkrun community.

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I also wanted to give a shout-out to three other members of our parkrun community. First, Noah Wood, who donated bottled water. We didn't have to open up the pack of water this week but we will have them next Saturday. Second, Clara Burkart Schaffer wasn't scheduled to volunteer, but decided to help with tokens and barcode scanning. Third, Clark Ridge. Like Clara, Clark wasn't scheduled to volunteer either, but offered to stay after his run and help out with barcode scanning duties, even though he has a 3-week old baby at home.

From left: Noah, Clark, Clara and Lois

From left: Noah, Clark, Clara and Lois

Lastly, our volunteers. Pam Marcus joined Jenn Augsburger, parkrunner of the month for August, as timekeeper. Dale Morey took a break from running a parkrun to hand out finish tokens, with help from Clara. Barcodes and tokens were superbly scanned by Lois Zukowski and Clark -- results processing was a walk in the park (pun intended). Andrea Zukowski, whose post-surgery progress has been incredible, was our tailwalker. JJ Su and Steve Goetzinger were our turnaround and golf-course marshals respectively, our regular marshals, Lisa Wilson and Hump Plotts, being away this weekend. We are always on the look-out for volunteers, so please email us (collegeparkhelpers@parkrun.com) if you are interested.

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Clockwise from top left: Pam, Lois and Clark, Steve, Andrea and JJ, Dale, and Jenn (last two photos from a previous sunnier parkrun)

Meanwhile, co-Event Director Colin Phillips was doing a spot of parkrun tourism himself. While in Oslo he tried to check out Norway's first parkrun, due to launch next week at Tøyenparken. He only got to see part of the course, as the park was blocked off for the Oslo Jazz Festival (first world problems!). Then on Saturday he visited the interestingly named Nonsuch parkrun, set in an expansive park in the suburbs of London. Colin received a warm welcome from the Nonsuch team. They are a long-established parkrun, on a scale that we can barely imagine at College Park. For event #310 they had 605 parkrunners, supported by 50 volunteers. To handle the busy traffic they have an elaborate double funnel set up at the finish. Over 200 of their participants on Saturday had already done 50+ parkruns. The Nonsuch team has an informal "twin parkrun" relationship with New Farm parkrun in Brisbane, Australia, and they suggested a similar special relationship with College Park parkrun. Our events have much in common -- including the excellent coffee shops. Theirs is set in the gardens of Nonsuch Mansion, right by the start/finish area, and their selection of cakes is to die for. Sounds tempting! Then, on Sunday, Colin was at the London Olympic Stadium, watching the world's fastest women 5k runners in the world championships. And there he was joined by Karen Harris and Paul Martelletti. We met Karen and Paul when they visited College Park parkrun last week, with Paul setting our course record. With our event founder Andrea unable to travel to London, Karen and Paul were able to put Colin's spare tickets to good use. Some perspective on how fast the world's quickest women are. Paul's incredible time of 14:57 at College Park last week would have placed him 8th in the women's race in London. Wow.

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That's it for this run report. For more photos, visit our Facebook or Flickr pages. Or follow us on Twitter or Instagram, or join our Strava page.

See you next Saturday and don't forget your barcode!

Nick Huang

 

A Reason to Celebrate (Run Report #43)

It was an absolutely stunning summer day for College Park parkrun this week and we had 93 parkrunners come out to celebrate the low humidity, low temperatures, and wonderful sunshine. However, it wasn’t just the stunning weather that made this day special. There were plenty of reasons to celebrate.

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As we mentioned last week, our founder Andrea Zukowski underwent cancer surgery just a week ago Friday, but if you know Andrea, it’s going to take a lot more than that to keep her away from parkrun. We were delighted to have her smiling and enjoying parkrun with us. She walked the course with the volunteers and enjoyed taking pictures of you as you passed in the opposite direction. We so happy for your progress, Andrea!

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We also celebrated an official parkrun milestone. Violet Ridge reached the 10-parkrun milestone. Congratulations, Violet, we hope you enjoy your parkrun 10-run shirt. We love having you join us, slowing your dad down a bit, and running through the puddles after a rainstorm. Thank you to Lisa Wilson and Diana Gough for baking cakes for this celebration.

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Along with Violet, we also had a number of people reach unofficial milestones. Russell Dickerson joined us for number 10. Russell first joined us on the big May 27th parkrun and has been a regular since. Tsegaab Hailemichael also joined for number 10 after first joining us back in Janurary, always bringing that wonderful parkrun smile! Meanwhile, Kirk Gordon ran College Park parkrun for the 25th time. This was also his 49th parkrun overall, so next time out is #50 for Kirk. And a shout out is in order for College Park regular Chris Kujawa, who ran his 25th parkrun this week at Livonia parkrun in Michigan, where he has been the “resident parkrun tourist” this summer. His new Livonia PB is just one second shy of his College Park PB, but the grassy Livonia route is more challenging.

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Quite a number of people hit their 5th parkrun on Saturday, too. Kristen and Marco Limarzi joined two family members who did #5 last week. Kristen and Marco both did their first parkrun back in March, as did Bridget Pooley, who also did #5 this week. Janice Bernache, Martin Mittendorff, Dale Morey and Solomon Ambaye all did their first parkrun in early July and have been with us almost every week since then. At this rate, they will have earned their 50 shirts by this time next year. Dale will be taking a week off from running this week to volunteer -- thanks Dale! Solomon, Martin, Janice, and Dale all celebrated this week by setting new PBs.

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We also saw 10 first timers at parkrun. This included a number of people who brought along family members. Paul Wester brought his daughters Mary and Abigail, and his wife also walked much of the route. Kara and Matt Wharton brought along Kara’s parents Steve and Marcia Teolis, and their dog George. And Teresa Mittendorff brought her sister Verena Ettner. We have lots of families with younger children that come to parkrun together, but parkrun is also a great way for families with grown children to meet up. My father-in-law Gus Campbell is one of the most regular runners at College Park parkrun, and it’s great for me and Jen to meet up with him for a run and a breakfast chat, or, like this week, to work together as volunteers.

Welcome everyone -- we look forward to seeing you back for more!

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We mentioned that we had 93 parkrunners come join us. Out of those 93 there were 28 PBs (35% of returning finishers)! Solomon Ambaye made a big step forward on his 5th parkrun. July parkrunner of the month Frank Filteau got a PB on his 22nd parkrun. Elliott Hamilton scored a substantial PB to mark his birthday. So this meant that it was an especially large PB in age-graded terms. Dale Morey deserves a special shout-out for his big PB this week, as he’s one of the people who might have missed out on a PB last week due to our last-minute course change. Matt and Kara Wharton got his ‘n hers PBs this week, as did Yolanda and Mike Roberts. Teresa Wertz probably wasn’t chasing a PB, but she got one anyway. Annabel Gorman made a big 2-minute improvement, as did Alex Limarzi and Harish Guda. Jake Foley took a week off from pacing duties so was able to set a PB of his own. Steve Goetzinger threw down a PB and then raced back along the trail to join his wife, tail walker Tiffany Goetzinger.

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We announced our parkrunner of the month award for August. This month’s honoree is Jenn Augsburger, who was one of this week’s timekeepers. Jenn was a regular parkrunner, and we hope that she will be again, but since being sidelined with injury she has been one of our most dedicated volunteers. Thank you, Jenn! And we hope that you enjoy the gift card from our friends at The Board and Brew, and that you’ll be able to run with us again soon.

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We also welcomed a few parkrun tourists. Paul Martelletti and Karen Harris joined us on holiday from London and Paul brought the speed! The College Park parkrun course record was held by Tom Bean at 15:24. Tom showed up to defend his record, but had his work cut out for him. Paul has an impressive running history as a 2:16 marathoner, and a world record holder for fastest marathon in a Spiderman suit. He also held the course record at 27 different parkruns. He can now add a 28th, as he ran a blazingly fast 14:57. This is also now the overall parkrun USA record. Maybe just as impressive was Paul’s run later that evening (I’ll let you find that on your own). Tom Bean was just a couple of seconds shy of his own PB with 15:27, but was far behind Paul. Keep at it Tom, I think you can get the record back! All credit to Tom for being a good sport and welcoming Paul to College Park. Right after the run, Tom took Paul for a run around Lake Artemesia (... because a 5k just isn’t enough), and then they met up for a long run the next morning.

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We had such a blast this week and it was all possible because of our amazing volunteers. The volunteers have almost as much fun as the parkrunners, so if you are looking to help out, don’t be shy, and let us know (collegeparkoffice@parkrun.com). Over 100 of you have helped out already, and the more that contribute, the more our free, weekly event will thrive.

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Golf course marshal this week was Hump Plotts. Turn around marshal was Lisa Wilson. Tail walker was Tiffany Goetzinger. Timing was well handled by Steve Feld and Jenn Augsburger. Finish tokens given out by Gus Campbell. Barcodes were scanned by Andrea’s mom, Lois Zukowski. Thanks for filling in and letting Andrea participate in parkrun, Lois! And as usual we had a wonderful collection of photos from around the route, thanks to a team effort by Jen Murphy, Colin Phillips, Lisa Wilson, Tiffany Goetzinger, and Andrea Zukowski. You can see the full set of photos at our Facebook page or in high resolution at our Flickr group.

Brian Murphy

 

A Near Washout (Run Report #42)

The week leading up to College Park parkrun #42 was not a typical one. With our event founder Andrea Zukowski undergoing cancer surgery on Friday, our thoughts and concerns were with Andrea and her family. About mid-week, however, Mother Nature put us on notice that we had better be paying attention to run preparations as well. The forecasts were dire, and quite unusual for July, with as much as 6 inches of rain predicted on Friday. We knew from experience that flooding of the course could be a concern. The forecast proved fairly accurate with just about 5 inches of rain falling in College Park. Shortly after daybreak Saturday we scouted the course and indeed found one section inundated and realistically impassable. Rather than throw in the towel, however, we elected to modify the course from an out-and-back to a double out-and-back which avoided the flooded section, and College Park Parkrun #42 was on!

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With the storm moving away, Saturday was delightfully cool compared to recent weeks and an impressive 82 parkrunners assembled for the start including 14 first-timers. Among these were several international visitors. Graham and Nina Mold visited from Rugby parkrun and Ruth Babalola from Bracknell parkrun, both in England. We had two other first-timers who had only run parkruns abroad before. Tim Waterhouse had previously done parkruns in Queensland, Australia, but we suspect that College Park is closer to home. And Annabel Gorman came along with her dad, regular parkrunner Greg Gorman. She did her first parkrun a couple of weeks ago at Amager Strandpark parkrun, which appears to follow a very interesting route along a beach in Copenhagen, Denmark. Other first-timers included Abe Cutler, James Hudson, Paul Kittredge, and four year old Charlie Foley. That gave us six (!) Foley finishers today, as parents Jake and Jordan and siblings Elizabeth, Colette, and Jonathan, all parkrun veterans, were also present.

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The last minute change to a two-lap course meant that we had the challenge of figuring out at very short notice where the new turnaround point should be. This involved me sending course photos to Colin Phillips, who was with Andrea in Georgetown Hospital. Then Colin pored over maps and measurements to come up with guidelines to send to our ace turnaround marshal Lisa Wilson, so that she could find the place to plant her cone. It went something like this. First walk to the 2.5 mile post, then walk to the start of the chain-link fence, counting the number of paces as you go. Then proceed 6 fence posts, multiply the pace count by 0.75, and then walk that many paces to the turnaround. What could possibly go wrong! We think this got the turnaround to within a few yards of the 1.25K point, and we thank Lisa for taking on this task under time pressure. Probably the route was around 5.1K, and we plan to use more accurate tools than legs to re-measure for future reference, but you can assume that your 5K time this week was a few seconds shorter than your finish time.

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Despite the slightly extended course, there were still a dozen of you who recorded PBs this week. This included Janice Bernache, Joe Danger, Harish Guda, Kayla Hayes, Brigid Limarzi, Cameron McPhee, Martin Mittendorff, Judy Mulusa, Joan Myles, Mike Roberts, Erin Saddler, and Kevin Yatchet. And a handful of others who were mere seconds away from their PB can claim a “moral PB” for themselves.

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Among other speediness, Niko Fedkin was first finisher, on his third visit to College Park parkrun, and we had the rare sight of Niko lapping 21-time first finisher Clark Ridge. Clark was running with daughter Violet, and they had more important things than PBs on their mind. Puddles! Among the ladies, Lisa Parsons was first across the line for the fourth time at College Park parkrun. Lisa had been due to volunteer as golf course marshal, but she was able to run at the last minute when Hump Plotts joined us, having returned early from a trip due to the rain storms. Good that Hump was with us, as Hump's Crossing has never seen so much traffic as today.

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Nobody reached an official parkrun milestone this week, though a few people are closing in. Violet Ridge did her 9th parkrun, so we’ll be celebrating her 10-run milestone next week. And both Kirk Gordon (48 runs) and Kayla Hayes (8 runs) are getting very close. Meanwhile, we had a record 10 parkrunners join our unofficial 5-run club. That included five member of the Foley family, Joe and Alex Limarzi, John Tirador, Harish Guda, and Judy Mulusa.

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I want to thank all the volunteers again for their help this week, especially Lisa Wilson who in addition to being the turn-around marshal, handled several other tasks and made sure all went smoothly.  In addition, Yuhan Zhang did an excellent job as photographer while Chris McGranahan and Fanda Hartono handled the timekeeping. Michelle Hermanson, Diana Gough, and Junjie Su took care of the finish tokens and barcode scanning. Hump Plotts was back on marshal duty and Cindy Feld was our tail walker. I’d also like to thank Colin Phillips and Nick Huang for helpful consultation prior to the run. Finally, a shout out to Andrea Zukowski, who even with everything else going on in her life this week, still made sure we were all on board.

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For a full set of pictures from this week's run, see our Flickr group. And you can always follow our updates on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram

For next week we’re expecting fine weather and a return to our regular course. See you there!

Jim Parsons

[Ed. Update on Andrea’s progress. Her surgery was a success. She’s now down one kidney, but importantly she appears to be cancer free. On Saturday her limit was an out-and-back course of about 50 feet in Georgetown Hospital, but she is recovering remarkably quickly and by Tuesday she was able to walk a couple of miles. No running at parkrun for a little while, but she plans to be there on Saturday to offer her support.]

 

 

This show will go on (Run Report #41)

8 years ago I weighed 50 lbs more than I do now. I was in the worst shape of my life. Many reasons, but the mid-Atlantic summer heat is one of them. 1 year ago, on a sweltering morning much like last Saturday, Andrea and I went to Acredale Park for our weekly unofficial pre-parkrun, and nobody else showed up. We were concerned that the soon-to-be-launched parkrun would struggle to survive in the hot summer months.

Fast forward 12 months, and we were thrilled to see a crowd of 80 parkrunners and volunteers on the trail, despite the sauna-like weather.

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So what made the difference? Community. It’s easier to stay active in the worst parts of the DC summer heat if you’re doing it with familiar faces. We have that every week, always meeting old and new friends on a Saturday morning. And it helps even more if there are extra human motivations. We had two this week.

First, we celebrated Cindy Cohen, who became the first College Park parkrunner to reach the 50-parkrun milestone. That’s a whole year of Saturday morning 5ks, and for this she has earned a fancy (and free) red 50-shirt from parkrun. You might be wondering how Cindy managed to do this when we’ve only had 41 runs so far in College Park. She reached the 50 by running 25 times at Fletcher’s Cove parkrun, 5 times at Roosevelt Island parkrun, and now 20 times at College Park. Cindy is also president of Prince George’s Running Club, and there were a good number of PGRCers on the trail with her this week. We also celebrated with a special cake, which was appreciated by parkrunners of all ages.

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Second, we celebrated Andrea Zukowski, the founder of College Park parkrun, who was doing her last parkrun before kidney cancer surgery. Andrea was thrilled to see so many people from our parkrun community, despite the oppressive heat, and she is looking forward to following everybody’s progress while she is recovering from the surgery. It will be a little while before Andrea is able to run again, but prospects are good for a full recovery, helped by the fact that she is in such good shape through running. She has been enjoying running every day that she can, and she cannot wait to be back on the trail with you all on a Saturday morning.

One of Andrea’s many parkrun hats is as volunteer coordinator. With her sidelined over the next couple of weeks, we’re trying to fill the volunteer rosters earlier than usual. Drop us a line at collegeparkhelpers@parkrun.com if you can help out. We’re so happy that College Park parkrun is doing so well that everything will run very smoothly while we’re away.

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We were very happy to welcome three generations of the Ridge family this week. Clark Ridge did his 36th run with us, and the 21st time as first finisher. 8-year old Violet Ridge did her 8th parkrun, putting her within arm’s reach of the 10-run milestone. And this week Violet ran with her granddad, 3rd time parkrunner Doug Ridge. Why was Doug visiting from Delaware? To visit the newest member of the Ridge family, 5-day old Felix Ridge. Best wishes from all of us to Clark and Lilly and their family, and we’re looking forward to meeting Felix at some parkrun in the future. Clark was a few seconds below his normal pace this week. It could have been due to the heat. But it could just as well have been due to recent lack of sleep.

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We didn’t expect any PBs on such a hot day, and we encouraged everybody to slow down a little. But somehow 13 people still turned in a PB. Especially notable was Mark Shroder, who set a PB on his 10th parkrun. Other PBs were by Matthew Olivencia-Jacques, Solomon Ambaye, Mike Klamm (with a hot dog), John Tirador, James Madden (without the stroller), Dale Morey, Alex Limarzi, Harish Guda, Sandy Gawlas, Karen Prestegaard, and Yolanda and Mike Roberts.

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In addition to former city councilman Mark Shroder reaching his 10th time at College Park parkrun, we also had 8 people who joined us for their 5th parkrun. Fanda Hartono, Steve Goetzinger, and Pam Marcus have been with us more than 5 times already, as they have also joined our growing group of volunteers. Fanda is a graduate student from Indonesia who studies at American University and lives in College Park. Steve is a Hyattsville resident who has a taste for ultra-distance running, and who this week ran (in the heat) from Hyattsville to parkrun and back. Pam is a cancer researcher who is scouting possible parkrun routes in Montgomery County. Rumi Matsuyama, Kate Murray, Meredith Phillips, and Chris Munar are folks who recently discovered College Park pakrun and have been coming frequently ever since. Welcome! Meredith is part of the growing group of walkers, often coming with her dog. Walking is a great way to enjoy the trail and the good company. Adam Kiely is one of our growing group of regular parkrunners who are members of Montgomery County Road Runners Club.

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College Park parkrun is a community-owned and community-produced event, and its strength owes a lot to the many people who volunteer each week. This week we welcomed two first-time volunteers, Letricia Avalhais (scanner) and Greg Gorman (photos). Current parkrunner of the month Frank Filteau volunteered as timer, and former parkrunner of the month Yancira Amaya handled tokens. Jenn Augsburger is proving to be a regular (and excellent) timer while she recovers from injury. We hope you’ll get to run again soon, Jenn! Lisa Wilson was back in her role greeting you at the turnaround, while Debbie Levenson stepped into Hump Plotts' role as golf course marshal. We were very happy to welcome back Diana and Carlos Gough, who have been away for a little while due to swimming season. Diana and Carlos and their dog Ruby were this week’s tailwalkers, and Carlos doubled as roving photographer, as did Kim Fisher, who showed up with her camera and took some nice pictures as she walked the trail Thanks, Carlos and Kim!

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If you’re not already on our volunteer email list, please join the 80+ parkrunners who already receive our once-weekly volunteer email. No spam, we promise. Just edit your parkrun.com profile to opt in.

Next weekend, July 29th, parkrun USA will be reaching a milestone, as the 1000th individual event will be held (the 42nd for College Park). Andrea and I are looking forward to celebrating this milestone in Georgetown Hospital, where we will be eagerly awaiting the parkrun results email and the pictures of your smiling faces.

Colin Phillips

 

 

Hazy, hot, and humid (Run Report #40)

Three words that define the summers in the D.C. area, and we certainly got a reminder of these words this week. However, College Park parkrun caught a bit of a break and - even though it was still a bit hot - had a cold front help take a bit of the nastiness out of the air for parkrun Saturday. The heat did not stop a fantastic crowd of 91 finishers at our 40th event. This helps tip us over 2500 runs completed at College Park - by more than 700 different people!

Hi - I'm Brian Murphy. I discovered parkrun at Fletcher's Cove in early 2016, together with my wife Jen. We visited College Park for one of the unofficial parkruns shortly before the launch, and we've been regular runners and volunteers since then. This was our first time in the Run Director role. I confess that getting up on Saturday wasn't the easiest, but from the moment that we got to the park and started meeting so many familiar and new faces, it was a blast.

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We’re always impressed to see the number of new PBs on such warm days. Emily Flamm took 5 minutes from her PB on her 5th parkrun. Great stuff, Emily! Kate Murray, Gloria Cottman, and Letricia Avalhais are all on PB streaks right now. Kate’s daughter Orla Collins snuck under 30 minutes for the first time, and Judy Mulusa posted a PB on her 4th run. And although Jacqueline Hayes was a first-timer at College Park, she ran a full 10 minutes faster than her previous 6 visits to Fletcher’s Cove parkrun.

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The warmer weather didn’t prevent some people from posting speedy times. Our regular speedster, Clark Ridge, showed up just as we said “Go!” and still managed a fast 18:49 at his 35th (!) parkrun, though this left him well behind 17-year old Matthew Laskowski, this week’s first finisher. Another notable is Jesse Melchiori, who has been edging closer and closer to the sub-20 minute mark, ran a new PB of 19:38 at his 9th parkrun. Great job, Jesse! Right behind him was first timer, Art Drisko, who came out to see if he was still able to break that same 20 minute mark. Pulled along by Jesse, Art was well under that mark at 19:41 - we think you’ve got years of sub-20s in front of you, Art. One more speedy note comes from the amazing Cindy Conant, who now has run 5 of the 6 total 90%+ age-graded times ever run in parkrun USA. Ellen Hamilton joined in the fun by setting a new age category record for VW65-69. Nice job, Ellen!

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We say it all the time at parkrun: “it’s not a race!” People come out and set their own pace. Whether that’s pushing themselves to a new PB or enjoying a comfortable run or walk with friends. On a personal note, I love seeing this. I’ve been able to see my father-in-law Gus Campbell come out in all weather types to run a total of 33 parkruns (including a few playing parkrun tourist at Leakin Park and Fletcher’s Cove). It’s great to see him stay healthy and it’s great that Jen and I get to see him each week and catch up over parkrun and usually breakfast at The Board and Brew. If you are unsure if you’re “fast enough”, know that if you can walk or run 5K between 15 minutes and an hour and 15 minutes, you’ll fit right in.

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First timers were also not dissuaded by the warm weather. We had a total of 16 first timers join us. First timers this week included Ben and Michael Lee, who were Googling local 5Ks and came across the free parkrun options so close to them - yes, we will always be free! We also had Patricia Shaffer and Leslie Keiser who saw us while walking on the trail last week and decided to join in the fun this week. Other first-timers this week included Yolanda and Michael Roberts, and Gloria and Ben Melson. We are happy to have all our first timers join our parkrun community! Come back and see us (we’re here every week), and don’t forget your barcode!

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We welcomed a couple of parkrun travelers from New Zealand - did we mention that parkrun is a global community? - who have been hopping around the growing USA parkrun options. Savannah Hyssong and Dave Wooldridge (of Pegasus parkrun) have been to Livonia, Heritage Harbor, and now College Park parkruns in the US. As more people look to do similar parkrun tourism, they may have more options soon. We were happy to have on site Pam Marcus, who is looking to start a parkrun in Montgomery County, MD and Nick Young who is looking to start one at Fort Hunt, VA, close to Mt Vernon. We hope it works out, Pam and Nick, and we look forward to visiting!

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Just as we were getting started our new parkrunner of the month joined us. With just one shoe on. We were so thrilled to present parkrunner of the month for July to Frank Filteau. Frank first joined us at our 20th parkrun, and has been a regular ever since. He now has a total of 19 parkruns, plus some volunteering. This despite the fact that he generally has to be at work by 10am on a Saturday. We had planned to present the award last week, but then it turned out Frank was away at Deep Run parkrun in Richmond, VA. Congrats Frank and thanks for bringing a positive attitude each week. And thanks also to The Board and Brew for sponsoring this award with a $25 gift card.

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The community of parkrun USA is continuing to grow. This week we had another attendance record with 712 runners and walkers and 90 volunteers across the country. College Park regular Cindy Cohen has played a big role in these numbers. This week was her 49th parkrun, and she is slated to hit the big 50 parkrun milestone at her next parkrun event. Do join us to celebrate this achievement. Cindy is is also president of our partners the Prince George’s Running Club, so wear your club shirt if you’re a PGRC member.

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In addition to the official parkrun milestones (10 for under 18s, 50 for grown-ups, 25 for volunteers), we always give a shout out to our parkrunners when they reach unofficial milestones at 5, 10, or 25 times at College Park. This week Larry Washington and Cindy Feld ran with us for the 10th time. And the new 5-timers were Bob Slevc, JJ Su, Cindy Conant, Emily Flamm, Catherine Jellison, and Suerken Matsuyama. It’s great that so many people are joining us regularly.

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Some of our regulars were visiting other parkruns this week. Last week we found Nick Huang in Oxford, England. This week he was at East Coast parkrun in Singapore, where he ran into Scott Anderson, a regular at our neighbors Fletcher’s Cove parkrun in Washington DC. Small world. Chris Kujawa is summering at Livonia parkrun in Michigan, where he got another PB this week. Closer to home, we had a delegation at the new Leakin Park parkrun in Baltimore. Lisa Wilson and Hump Plotts, our stalwart course marshals, didn’t just visit -- they went and volunteered, too. Colin Phillips also went along to add to his collection of US parkruns. My family visited for their inaugural run, and we encourage you to check it out sometime.

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Of course all of this would not be possible without all of our wonderful volunteers. The volunteers have just as much fun as the parkrunners (and they get less sweaty in the summer months), so if you are looking to help out, don’t be shy, and let us know. It takes just one minute to update your parkrun.com profile to opt-in to our once-weekly volunteer email. Thanks to the many of you who have already done this.

Golf course marshal this week was Jim Parsons, in the absence of Hump Plotts. Hump - your crossing was well managed this week. With Lisa Wilson also in Leakin Park, our turnaround marshals were Rachel Lukens and 3-year old Marty Lukens. Tail walker was Junjie (JJ) Su. Timing was in the capable hands of Kim Fisher and Jenn Augsburger. Finish tokens given out by Cindy Ricker. Cindy is Rachel’s mom, so we had three generations of the Lukens-Ricker family helping this week! Barcodes were scanned by Pam Marcus.

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Last but not least we had absolutely wonderful photographs this week by Jen Murphy and Jonathan Bird, with more from Rachel and JJ. Jonathan’s collection of pictures of you running through the tunnel of trees is stunning. You should check them out, on our Flickr group or our Facebook page. We have super high resolution versions of Jonathan’s pictures from the tunnel of trees -- if you’d like a copy, please drop us a line at collegeparkoffice@parkrun.com.

Brian Murphy

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