Double, No Trouble (Run Report #81)

It was such a good morning for a 5k in College Park that some of us decided to do TWO. Our friends at the College Park Community Foundation held their 5th annual 5k race at City Hall at 8am. And at 9am we had our 81st weekly College Park parkrun. And with perfect weather, there were few excuses for not getting out and enjoying the outdoors with the community.

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Congratulations to the parkrunners who ran both the 8am and 9am events: Patrick Wojahn, Marc Swisdak, Tsegaab Hailemichael, Cindy Cohen. Thanks to the folks who attended the CP5K and then volunteered at parkrun: Frank Filteau, Janice Bernache, Andrea Zukowski. And it was great to see the names of parkrunners in the CP5K: Alan Mulindwa, Sharon Chi, Elliott Hamilton, Diana Gough, Carlos Gough, Sheilah Kast, Jane Hopkins. The event is a key fundraiser for the foundation that supports so many good causes in our community.

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And a special shout out to Clark Ridge, who did both 5Ks pushing his son Felix in a stroller. In the CP5K they gave the strollers a slight head start, and Clark was so fast that none of the stroller-less runners were able to catch him. Then at parkrun he was joined by his daughter Violet, and they proceeded to inadvertently pace Xander and Tara Mease to a big new PB. As Tara recounts: “what happened is that Xander started chatting with Violet, and he had to keep up in order to stay in the conversation with her, and he didn't even realize he was going faster than he thought he could.” Perfect!

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We again welcomed a new event to the parkrun USA family. Charleston parkrun in West Virginia’s capital city launched as the 21st event (CP was #7). We’ve been welcoming so many new events lately that the kids jumped right in to hold the sign.

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Nobody reached an official milestone this week, but there are more and more people making strides towards the parkrun milestone. Jordan Foley did her 25th parkrun, halfway to 50, and what better way to enjoy it than running with young Charlie, discussing science. We had 4 new members of our unofficial 10-parkrun club: Cindy Conant, Yukun Fung, Claire Hinrichs, and Dan Sarmiento. And another 5 members of our unofficial 5-parkrun club: John Barnhardt, Emily Sheil, Lee Babcock, Lori Dominick, and  Wenyan Li. Excellent stuff, folks.

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It was a day of much speediness, with a lot of PBs, some new age-category records, and even a parkrun USA record.

Martin and Lin Lascelles visited us from the UK, and took a hatchet to a couple of our age-category records in the process. Martin and Lin have been doing quite a lot of parkrun USA tourism lately, visiting events in California, Colorado, and Massachusetts already. We don’t see many international parkrun tourists in College Park, as visitors to the DC area tend to gravitate to Roosevelt Island parkrun, but Martin and Lin clearly had done their research and knew that CP is where it’s at. Martin took 2 minutes from Duane Rosenberg’s 60-64 record. Impressive.

Martin and Lin got to meet Cindy Conant, who was doing her 10th College Park parkrun. Little did they know that they were chit-chatting with the person who is, in age-graded terms, the speediest adult parkrunner on the continent. Cindy then went and improved upon her own record. Cindy’s now part of the core team at Kensington parkrun, where she’s helping to make her own community even healthier, but she  likes to sneak over to College Park for a time trial now and again. Another benefit of coming to College Park is that Cindy gets to meet with her niece Erin Munsell, who set yet another PB this week, now running under 8-minute miles for the first time. Fantastic, Erin! To add to the fun, Cindy’s husband Carleton Conant also set a PB.

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We have a few people who are on PB streaks. This included Steven Moore, who did his 6th run and his 6th PB. Almost 6 minutes faster than his first time out. Eric Skidmore did his 3rd run and his 3rd PB. James Hudson took 2 minutes from his PB, and Alina Zhang dipped under 30 minutes for the first time. Yvette Tamukong also set a nice PB. We knew that this was due. It was just a matter of her getting out of bed in time to start with everybody else. Other PBs this week were by Lee Babcock, Franz Wien, Jefferson Ruiz, and Dave Heintzelmann.

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We would be nowhere without our wonderful volunteers. With Lisa Wilson still in Scotland, Yancira Amaya again was your turnaround greeter. Hump Plotts guarded his eponymous crossing, as always. Janice Bernache, Frank Filteau, Jake Foley, Larry Washington, Xinzi He, and Win Persina took care of business at the finish line. And JJ Su was tailwalker, making sure that nobody got lost. Chris McGranahan was run director.

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And although I’m writing this run report, I was thousands of miles away when the run happened, visiting with family in the UK and dropping in at Chipping Sodbury parkrun near Bristol. There I was one of 423 parkrunners on a narrow 3-lap course around some soccer and rugby fields. I think the locals were a little taken aback by my enthusiastic “American style” cheers of encouragement. … But even though I was very far away from College Park, after spending an enjoyable flight home editing photos sent by our College Park volunteers, I feel like I was almost there.

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See you all soon!

Colin Phillips

 

 

Late to the party (Run Report #78)

This run report is so late that you probably assumed it would never happen. But far away in Bristol, England, my mum is a dedicated reader of our run reports, and she noticed that the tree planting day report never appeared. So this is my (late) (American) Mother’s Day gift to her. And to the American mom who was going to write this report but who has been sidelined by being an awesome mom to somebody who really needed it. And any other moms out there who enjoy reading these reports. And don’t mind too much when things are sometimes late.

This week three pictures tell the story of why we’re happy that College Park parkrun is bringing together different parts of our community.

When we arrived at the park our jaws dropped when we saw the amount of debris left by a big student party that had taken place at the park the night before. This disdain for the environment and the community gives all students a bad name in the community.

CP-parkrun-78-1It’s unfortunate that irresponsible behavior by some students hides the good things that many other students do. Such as the 50+ members of Sigma Chi fraternity who joined in the tree planting event organized by Prince George’s Parks and UMD’s Office of Community Engagement. Together with the many parkrunners who stayed behind after the run, we planted 140 trees in the park near our start/finish area. In a few years those trees will provide valuable shade in the warmer months. Thanks to all of the parkrunners who worked on improving the course, we had the largest ever volunteer count for a parkrun USA event. collage_planting

Third, we celebrated Xinzi He as parkrunner of the Month for April. Xinzi is a UMD graduate student who has been running with us since shortly after she arrived in College Park from China last August. She started volunteering after only a couple of weeks. She has brought friends along. And she joined Prince George’s Running Club, where she has met many other community members and seen many new parts of the area. Wonderful!

CP-parkrun-78-146This week we also celebrated Maia Swisdak reaching the official 10-parkrun milestone. Maia is  a regular volunteer as well as a regular runner. Thank you, Maia! We also had many people reach unofficial milestones this week: Suerken Matsuyama is now a 25-timer. We had 5 new members of our 10 parkrun club: Cathy Madsen, Janisse Flores (PB!), Jim Sebastian, Helena Santos-Collins, and Maia Swisdak. And we also had 5 new members of our 5 parkrun club: Alina Zhang, Herman King, Benno Wien, Mark Blue, and Christy Calder (PB!).

An even more impressive milestone. Mike McClellan celebrated his 81st birthday at today's parkrun. We sang Happy Birthday to him before the run. And then he went and scored finish token #81. Perfect!

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As usual, we wouldn't be able to do any of this without everybody who steps up as a volunteer. We were very happy to welcome new volunteers this week, in addition to some regular volunteers.

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Whether you’ve run with us 50 times before or whether you’re coming for the first time, we’re always so happy to see you at the trail on a Saturday morning.

Colin Phillips

 

 

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

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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.

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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!).

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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A muggy Mother’s Day parkrun

Many of you know that I do linguistics, and to start this run report I want to discuss two words.

The first is "mom" -- Happy Mother's Day to our parkrunning mothers. I made a note to say that in my run briefing, but I forgot. As they say, better late than never. Here are some photos of mothers spending quality time with their children on the trail.

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CP-parkrun-82-140And bonus word, "dad". A few photos of dads hanging out with their kids... CP-parkrun-82-95
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The second word is "spring", which seems to have left us already. Where did spring go? It was warm and humid this Saturday morning, a taste of what is to come in the next few months. The volunteers were a little concerned about the weather's impact on turnout, but we were happily shown to be too pessimistic.

We welcomed 13 official first timers: Mike Ashford, Amanda Hackett, Jerome Blackwell, Jon Fink, Alexey Kuznetsov, Ashley Barnes, Tina Heineman, Sean Turner, Tina Fink, Veronica Jones, Ben Bartlett (our first finisher!), Michael Coit II and his parents, and Thomas Hool.

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And just as we welcome our newcomers, we should also recognize our regulars. More than a few of you hit important milestones this past weekend. Abbie Tran, Jim Cantwell, Angela Gentile, Chethan Parameshwara, and Yvette Tamukong, joined the unofficial College Park 5-club. JJ Su  completed his 25th parkrun, marking it with a PB. Dominique Blom ran her 49th -- making her one more parkrun away from earning her red 50-parkrun T-shirt. We hope to celebrate Dom's achievement this coming parkrun! And Clark Ridge ran his 75th -- 25 more parkruns to the 100-parkrun T-shirt. I also note that he did it in style by pushing a stroller and coming in second.

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And in the same way that it didn't affect turnout, the weather didn't seem to affect performance either. We recorded 16 PBs, which works out to be about one in five regulars. Here are some notable ones: Crystal Bergemann came in under 30 minutes, breaking the 50% age-grade; Eric Skidmore set his 3rd consecutive PB; Kim Fisher crossed the 40 minute barrier. There were also a few who are coming real close to smashing some age-grade and/or time barrier: e.g. John Ramsey, Matt Miller, Joel Goldberg, Marc Swisdak. If you didn't ring the PB bell, please make sure to do so next week!

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Let's not forget our volunteers. Lisa Wilson and Hump Plotts were our marshals and took care of the gear; Anna Tinnemore and Larry Washington were our timekeepers (although Larry had to leave toward the end to give an exam!); Lori Dominick gave you your tokens, Ben Brosch scanned your barcodes and made sure you didn't take your token with you. Anthony Nolan and his son Thomas, Michelle Bernard and her daughter Maia Swisdak, as tailrunners, made sure no one was left behind. JJ Su and Ben also sorted tokens. Photo credits go to Maia, Lisa, and yours truly.

Lastly, you might be wondering, where were event directors Andrea Zukowski and Colin Phillips? The answer: at the Jamaica Pond parkrun in Boston, doing some parkrun touristing.

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Nick Huang

 

PBs, PJs, and PBJs (Run Report #80)

I popped out of bed this morning energetically ready to take on the role as run director. As I drove to the park, I even had my own made up tune of “Power of the Vest, Respect the Vest” playing in the back of my mind. A lot of drums were involved. I was even going to be able to use the bullhorn. Oh, I really wanted to say lots of things with that bullhorn in my hand. It’s like playing – but I had to get serious and say the things I was supposed to say.

I arrived to find that Denise Vause had made PB&J sandwiches. Yikes, I was already distracted.  PB&J on soft bread. Okay, focus here. Duties. Let me just grab one more. … Okay, now I’m ready.

I walk about, proudly wearing my yellow vest, when I see one of our unsung heroes, Cindy Feld, who is always diligently taking photos for our parkrun community, seeming to want to keep a low profile. I say unsung as she’s humble and doesn’t throw on a yellow vest like someone I know, while singing a tune in her head which no one else can hear.

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Her husband, Steve Feld, is training for his first 10K – it will be the Marine Corps 10K in October. Our parkrun team here is helping him get there, right, Steve?

First we welcomed some new parkrunners. Welcome to Claudia and Marcela, who came along with 6th timer Geoffrey Mason. Welcome also to Liz Hottel and to Rachel Moglen. We want them to be a part of our amazing community so come back out! We had no parkrun tourists this week, but we did have one out-of-town visitor, Ming from Chicago. We’re glad that you could visit us!

Marcela, who is nine, is already a seasoned runner and had even been interviewed after a mile race some time ago. I was kind of hoping that parkrun would be her first press interview, but after discussing with Marcela for awhile, we determined it would be her first interview after a 5K run. So folks, we, College Park parkrun, have the exclusive. Remember when and where you first heard of Marcela! Marcela actually started running organized events when she was only three. She was staying at her grandmother’s house one night and there was a quarter mile race the next morning. When Marcela woke up, there wasn’t much time to get to the race, so she wore her PJs to her first event! Now that’s a cool starting out story. In today’s run she said she felt great and at the end she even sprinted. Awesome!

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We also had a very special guest, Julie King, who came all the way from Alexandria, VA to assist in handing out tokens. Actually, she didn’t know that this is what she was coming for. But she’s my very dear friend. Thank you!

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At the start of the run I saw six dogs. Apparently the term of art is “barkrunners”. Now this is an important group that doesn’t get enough attention in our run reports. They put in their miles, they go out in the rain – what about THEM? Well here are some updates from today!

Prior to the start, I noticed that they didn’t interact much. Maybe they were getting focused and putting their game faces on. Scout – yes, we’re still talking about dogs - not only led the dogs, but she led the whole run, finishing ahead of everybody else. Well, apart from Ken Leonard, her parkrunning pal. Sure, she likes to run fast, but she really just came to have fun. She was followed home by Sophie, another of our speedsters, who lost some time when she had a call of nature around the two mile mark. Then there was Heidi, Ela, Prince, and Ringo. After the run, they all admitted that their humans held them back. But they did so with those dog smiles they have where their tongues hang out. After the run, the rivalry was gone and they were running and playing around with one another. Just happy frolicking.

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Now back to the humans. Farrah Darbouze completed the course pushing Jordan in his stroller. She usually walks the stroller however this was the first time running the course with him like that.  Major congrats! Meanwhile, Charlie Foley has often ridden the course in a stroller, but today ran the whole way. He set a PB, and his mom, dad, and big sisters proudly escorted him to the finish. He enjoyed ringing the PB bell. But to be honest he enjoyed the PB&Js more.

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Charlie was one of 13 PBs today. So many of you are progressing. Gary Madsen declared that he hoped to break 30 minutes for the first time today. He went and beat that by almost 2 minutes. Wenyan Li continues her hot streak. In the last 4 weeks she has improved by over 4 minutes. Her friends Nishant Nemani and Ankit Modal are in hot pursuit. Katie Hirsche, who already holds the age-category record for 11-14 year olds, recently joined the 15-17 age-category. And today she took over a minute off her PB, just a few seconds off the course record in her new age category. Today may have been the first day that she left her dad (and her dog) in the dust. Glenn Moglen must have had the biggest PB of the day. Last week he accompanied his wife Jenny Lee. This week he ran with his (grown-up) daughter Rachel, and was 20 minutes faster than last week. (Jenny had company - Ringo enjoyed the walk a lot.) Other PBs this week were Ian Cutler, Paula Tuttle, Abbie Tran, Eric Skidmore, Joel Goldberg and Daniel Walker.

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No official milestones this week again. But there are a bunch of people who are getting close, so we can look forward to some celebrations in the next couple of months. We did have some unofficial milestones. Alan Mulindwa became the 50th person to do College Park parkrun 25 times. We had 4 new members of our unofficial 5-parkrun club: Long Nguyen, Thelma Cordón, Jefferson Mercado Ruiz, and Ryan Madrid. Jefferson was rather speedy today, and he covered the course faster than anybody else. But he gave the field a 10 minute head start. Oops.

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We would be nowhere without our wonderful volunteers. Larry Washington and Claire Hinrichs had the timing under control. Claire is saving herself for a longer race on Sunday. Larry is saving himself for when he is uninjured. Larry and I go way back. Julie King was our impromptu token wrangler. Denise Vause was so in control of barcode scanning that Dave Vause was one of our paparazzi. Kim Fisher tailwalked, and she was more like a pied piper today, as she returned with quite a following. Andrea Zukowski was another of our photographers, and she took over results processing when I had to head off to take care of my chess team. Thanks to Yancira Amaya for taking over Lisa’s role as turnaround marshal. Today was Yancira’s 45th parkrun, so we were pretty confident of where to station herself. And Hump Plotts took care of Hump’s Crossing. The finish line crew didn’t see him, but the parkrunners all reported saying hi to him en route.

What an awesome group! Let’s keep our community strong!

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Note that next week, May 5th is our special Double 5K day. Our friends at the College Park Community Foundation are organizing their annual 5K race, starting at City Hall downtown at 8am. We encourage you to support them. All proceeds go to good causes in our community. Such as parkrun, which they helped us to launch. If you’re feeling adventurous you could try running the CP 5K at 8am and then parkrun at 9am. Double points if you ride your bike the mile or so between the two events. Alternative, consider running one and volunteering at the other. If you can help with parkrun, please drop Andrea a line at collegeparkhelpers@parkrun.com.

Win Persina

 

 

Bring Your Dad Day (Run Report #79)

Lovely weather brought out the male progenitors of several of our regulars. We were happy to welcome several visiting fathers to our 79th parkrun. Valerie Silinsky was accompanied by her dad Phil from Tucson, AZ and Will Bobseine took a break from volunteering to run with his dad Michael down for a visit from (snowy!) Fredonia, NY. I was assisted in my run director responsibilities by my son Calvin who made falling out of a chair at the finish line his preferred activity. Benji Brennan took in the scenery while his dad Nick did the work of pushing his stroller. Ginger Wilkerson closed the gap on her father John by running a course PB. We’ll see if we get a bunch more moms out for the run before Mother’s Day in a few weeks.

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The near perfect running/walking conditions were confirmed by a whopping 18 PBs encompassing nearly a quarter of the day’s participants! Regulars Nick Huang and Deborah Gayle were close the whole way and both were pushed to PBs. Win Persina was encouraged to a PB by knowing that super-volunteer JJ Su would be cheering her home at the finish. Racking up more runs and new PBs were Janice Bernache on her 15th run, and Dave Heintzelmann on his 10th. A quintet of runners dipped under 30 for the first time: Ashley Ward, Jenny Pitre, Misha Bernard, Wenyan Li, and Phoebe McDougal. Steven Moore improved from an already impressive time by more than a minute. Astrid Salguero and Christy Calder are both on hot streaks. Astrid has PBed five straight times and Christy six.

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We had 11 first timers this week. Among those were nurses Lillian and Denise who walked together after finding us on meetup.com. Our runningintheusa.com posting brought us Eric Skidmore who liked it so much he might bring the family next time (please do, Eric!). First-timer Jenny Lee is part of a group at UMD’s School of Public Health that is studying how to increase participation in physical activity, using College Park parkrun as a case study. It has certainly increased the activity of my family.

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College Park parkrun super-kid Xander Mease was not content with one 5K as he took on a second as part of a fundraiser for cystic fibrosis. We had 23 walkers today which is a good number but can be greatly increased. This is a decidedly run/walk event. If you know walkers who want to enjoy the outdoors with some friends and friendly strangers then bring them out! My daughter got hooked on the event by jumping in puddles and picking up interesting leaves and rocks (really!). It is a great way to get out regularly and enjoy nature and good company at the same time.

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There were no official milestones this week but we should have some in the coming weeks as several people are fast approaching their 50th parkrun. If you want to contribute a cake or baked good to any future events please let us know. The unofficial 25 club welcomed Emily Flamm. Halfway to 50! Great to see her running again, after being sidelined for a few weeks. Ashley Ward, Dave Heintzelmann, Moe Siddiqi all joined the unofficial 10 CP parkrun club this week, and Steven Moore, Joel Goldberg, Astrid Salguero did the same for the 5 CP club.

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As always, the volunteers who make this event possible were of great help. We had first time scanners Dave and Denise Vause keeping things smooth at the finish. Colin and Andrea were indispensable in figuring out a finish token mystery (we were missing a token before the race and didn’t know). JJ Su entertained Calvin in addition to his timing duties. Thanks to Jenn, Alexander, Ben Brosch, Steve Feld, Valerie Silensky, Lisa Wilson and Hump Plotts as well. Also, thanks to Nick Huang for helping figure out the post-run upload at The Board and Brew. We really have an embarrassment of riches when it comes to volunteers. If  you haven’t done it yet then please give it a go. It is fun and helpful. Drop a line to Andrea at collegeparkhelpers@parkrun.com.

 

Clark Ridge

 

 

Flipping awesome! (Run Report #77)

It’s normal for people to be smiling and waving when they reach Lisa at the turnaround point. But today was the first time that we had folks doing cartwheels at the midpoint. For real.

Welcome to parkrun, UMD Gymkana!

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The original plan was for a delightful spring day, combining some parkrunning with helping out with UMD’s Good Neighbor Day. Things didn’t quite turn out that way. The forecasts were for a rare April snowfall in DC. So GND was cancelled. But we went ahead with parkrun anyway (of course). And the weather forecast turned out to be a dud. Surprise! We counted around 3 snowflakes. It was chilly and grey, but pretty good weather for PBs, as many of you found out. The Gymkana crew had originally planned to helping with GND, taking part in parkrun, but they came along to run and walk anyway. They definitely brightened the morning. Do join us again, guys!

And parkrunners, note that Gymkana will be doing their annual big show at Xfinity Center next Friday & Saturday evenings. Tickets still available. Lots of cool stuff like jumping through rings of fire. Fun for kids and grownups alike.

We are still planning to team up with our friends at Prince George’s Parks to plant trees and do trail maintenance near our start/finish area. This will now take place next Saturday, April 14th, after parkrun. You may have noticed that PG Parks has cleared much of the area near the stream, and they have 95 trees for us to plant. Yikes. So do join us if you can next week. It promises to be a lovely morning. If you have high schoolers looking for volunteer hours, let us know, and we can probably arrange something (collegeparkhelpers@parkrun.com).

For the third week in a row we welcomed a new member to the parkrun USA family, this week with Aspen parkrun in Colorado joining the line-up. Aspen is at 8000’, and so it is the world’s highest parkrun, taking the mantle from events in South Africa. If only we could find a way to visit!

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Despite the threat of a wintry mix and the cold wind, 90 of you showed up to run or walk the trail this week. Imagine how many will come along when it finally gets warm. For those of us who were volunteering around the finish line, it was exciting to see how many people set PBs this week. When you are standing in the cold and watching for parkrunners to appear out of the woods, and a familiar face appears ahead of schedule, it’s really great to see. Today we had 17 new PBs, and with it many opportunities to ring our new PB bell.

Steven Moore showed that life begins at 40. He came along to parkrun while his family was at a class at UMD -- Gymkana, in fact. And on his first visit since turning 40 he took two and a half minutes from his PB. Wow. Also in the massive improvement club was Helena Santos-Collins, who returns more than 6 minutes sooner than she has before. 5-year old Xander Mease and his mom Tara have been edging closer to 30 minutes for a while now, but this week they blew right through that barrier. Now THAT is worth ringing the bell for. Cotter Rosenberg set a new PB, paced by his dad Duane. Duane didn’t set a PB but he *did* set a new 65-69 age-category record, so this means that he must have had a birthday since last week. Happy Birthday, Duane. Xinzi He snuck under 25 minutes for the first time, as did Abdur-Rahman Quadri and Adam brown. Crystal Bergemann scored a PB on her 36th parkrun. This was notable because it was a 1-second improvement over a time that she did one year ago this weekend. Meanwhile, Christy Calder and Mark Blue are on a roll - they now have 4 PBs in 4 visits, and yesterday’s walk was 20 minutes faster than their first time with us.

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Nobody hit official parkrun milestones this week, but so many of you are edging closer. Jim Parsons completed his 47th parkrun, so he’ll likely be the next to wear the 50 sash. 3 parkrunners did their 40th runs this week: John Ramsey, Cindy Feld, and Eddie Matus. Rod Green completed his 10th, and 4 people joined our unofficial 5 run club, which now has around 300 members: Jonathan Garcia, Joel Goldberg, and Catherine Spirito and Pete M.

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We love it when you bring family and friends along. Everybody can take part, and it still costs $0. This week Gary Madsen brought along all of his kids. We hope you had a good time guys!

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Many of this week’s volunteers were resting up ahead of the Cherry Blossom 10 miler and 5k race downtown on Sunday morning.

Erin Munsell, this week’s token wrangler, was resting up ahead of her first 10 miler. When she first joined us last spring she was doing her first ever 5k, so she has come a long way. Fantastic! Erin’s a meteorologist, so while we were waiting for you all to run, she was able to explain to us why we were cold but not wet.

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Nick Huang was one of today’s timekeepers and also was results guru. He and JJ Su ran as part of a Singaporean team in the Cherry Blossom 10 miler. Steve Feld (timer) and Cindy Feld (tail walker and photographer) took part in the Cherry Blossom 5k.

Chris McGranahan (scanner) did his 20th time as a volunteer today. He’s closing in on the coveted purple shirt for 25-time parkrun volunteers. And Andrea Zukowski, Lisa Wilson, and Hump Plotts have volunteered more times than you can count, and we are incredibly grateful for that.

As for me, I was really happy to be back at College Park parkrun this week. Thanks to work travels, in the past couple of months I have been fortunate to do a good amount of parkrun tourism. I took part in inaugural runs and trial runs for both Jamaica Pond parkrun (Boston) and Kensington parkrun. I visited Crissy Field parkrun in San Francisco, splashing through the puddles by the Golden Gate Bridge. I stopped by Nidda parkrun in Frankfurt, Germany. And I completed by DMV collection by visiting Anacostia parkrun on a morning when I took an early flight home. One weekend I was nowhere near a parkrun, so I did a half marathon instead. I saw lots of cool places. But there’s really nothing like the familiarity of home, recognizing most people who show up, and knowing right away when somebody has reached a personal achievement. That’s why I love College Park parkrun, and it’s hard to beat.

Colin Phillips, co-event director

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A hint of spring (Run report #76)

An announcement, before we proceed with the regular run report: it's Good Neighbor Day on the trail this coming Saturday (4/7) and we are looking for volunteers to help with trail maintenance and tree planting -- our friends at Prince Georges Parks are planning to bring *95* trees along, as we were so efficient last time around. Here's the plan: "We’ll be doing some bush honeysuckle removal, planting trees, installing tree guards, and (if we have the time/volunteer hands) collecting litter from along the trail and stream, and maybe watering some of the trees." There is of course some self-interest here, since we all benefit from having a clean and shaded parkrun course and a shaded start/finish area. But as active trail users, this is also a great opportunity for us to give back to the community and to the parks department that support us so well. So please come on out! We welcome anybody who would like to join in, including your high schoolers looking for volunteer credit. But if you can drop us a line at collegeparkhelpers@parkrun.com that can help us to get a rough headcount.

And back to the regular programming. Turnout the past few weeks has been on the lower side, thanks in part to the cold weather (boo!) and the successful launch of Kensington parkrun (yay!). This week, we were back in three-digit territory, and it was nice to see familiar faces and some warm(ish) weather again. And it was great to welcome Boston's Jamaica Pond parkrun (pahkrun?) to the family. Colin was in Boston for their inaugural run, as he had been working with the JP team over the past year to help get the event started, and he had a great time.

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As a run director, it's always gratifying to see people introduce parkrun to their friends, family, and coworkers. This weekend, we welcomed a number of younger parkrunners (e.g., Ealisayd Triplett and Marlyne Anaya), who learned about parkrun from their coach, Jim Parsons. We were also joined by Samirah Ali, the Aguilera family -- Carolyn, Jorge, and their children, Adam Brown, Torey and Jennifer Bryant and their children, Helen Burns (1st female finisher and 2nd fastest ever female on this course), Joyce Bernache-Cohoon, Stephen Cotter, Jennifer Halsey, Kim Hoang, Kun Meng, Janis Jackson, Matt Miller, Sotiria Stathopoulou, and Rachel Sutcliffe. (I hope I got everyone. Apologies if I left out your name!)

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Our regulars also did well, setting a total of 17 PBs. This comes right after we introduced the PB Bell last week: set a PB, ring the bell afterward!  Unfortunately, as far as I can tell, most people who set a PB didn't do so. Perhaps they were too shy to come forward to announce it. If you didn't ring the bell, or didn't realize you set a PB on Saturday, please do so this weekend! (Jennifer Halsey and Janice Jackson show us how it's done in the photo below; you can also watch videos where Cindy Cohen and Amanda Mercer give a demonstration).

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And if you were wondering which kind soul brought these delicious balls of oatmeal, chia seeds, and M&Ms, please thank Cindy Feld. More generally, since the launch of this parkrun, we have had parkrunners occasionally bringing snacks and beverages to share with the rest of the community, and I want to take this opportunity to thank these parkrunners for their generosity.

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Another commendable group of parkrunners are our volunteers who gave up their Saturday morning to make sure this parkrun happened. If you are a first timer, you heard Steve Feld explain how parkrun works. As you ran/jogged/walked the trail, you passed by our super volunteers Hump Plotts and then Lisa Wilson. Along the way, you might have waved at Lisa, Andrea Zukowski, and/or Cindy Feld, who took photos. Emily Flamm made sure that there were no stragglers. You then came through the finish funnel, expertly timed by Crystal Bergemann and Clare Imholtz. Guarding the other end of the funnel, Win Persina made sure you got a finisher token. Chris McGranahan or Bernard Kelly, wielding barcode scanners, electronically recorded your parkrun ID and finish position and collected the tokens. (Note: the tokens are not souvenirs -- please make sure you return them!) The tokens were then deftly sorted by Anna Tinnemore and Valerie Silensky. As the event director and results processor, I was glad to be working with these dedicated individuals. Thank you, volunteers!

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We're looking forward to seeing you again on Saturday. The weather forecast is, shall we say, less than perfect. But nobody has ever regretted showing up for a run on the trail with friends.

Nick Huang

 

More cowbell! (Run Report #75)

It is spring, right? Cold mornings make it tough to get excited, but coming to parkrun and seeing so many warm faces makes it much better. College Park was dealing with snow midweek - our largest snowfall this winter (yes, I know it’s technically Spring). Luckily, the snow did not stick around long with that strong Spring sun helping clear the trail.

We now have so many parkrun options in our backyard in the DC area. Everyone at College Park parkrun gave a warm welcome to the newest parkrun, Kensington. Kensington being less than 10 miles from College Park, many of our regulars brought those warm personalities we are so used to seeing and went to give Kensington a great welcome to the parkrun community. Even my father-in-law Gus Campbell deserted me and Jen to check out the newest parkrun in the area.

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We were also celebrating our own big milestone at College Park. Marvin Russell celebrated his 50th parkrun with us on Saturday. Such a great accomplishment! We love having you join us and so thankful you’re a part of our community, Marvin. Looking ahead a bit. It looks like we quite a few College Park regulars hitting this milestone in the coming weeks and months. Come celebrate with us. (And we’re going to need more bakers.)

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Our friends at parkrun Global also released an update this week on the new process for claiming those free parkrun milestone shirts. Read about it here: Milestone t-shirts: A new process.

Speaking of milestones: We had two parkrunners hit an unofficial parkrun milestone of 10 parkruns - Monique Bourque and Travis Boltjes. Travis did his in style by being this week’s first finisher. Keep coming back, Monique and Travis, and you’ll be at Marvin’s level in no time.

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Many of the College Park parkrun community know that Jen and I traveled abroad to Australia over the New Year. Of course we did some parkrun tourism while we were there - shoutout to Parkville parkrun, Albert parkrun, St Peters parkrun, and Mosman parkrun. One thing we saw that we really liked there was a PB bell. We saw this at a few parkruns and thought, “How cool would that be at College Park!” Of course, Jen was all over this and we introduced it this weekend. Although the run director could have announced it a little better, we did have our first rings by Alisha Thompson and Claire Alolga. Many other PBs this weekend. So Sheilah Kast, Emmanuel Ruiz, and Barbara Gusack, when you come back, give it a ring for your shiny new PBs! It will be decorated in style next time you see it.

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What an amazing team of volunteers we had to help us this week. Junjie (JJ) Su’s energy and big smile at the finish line as timer always has everyone finishing with a smile. This week he had help from Jen Murphy, and with JJ there to help, Jen did great! Of course, we are always thankful for the course marshal expertise brought by Hump Plotts and Lisa Wilson. First time volunteer Ben Brosch helped give out finish tokens - he handled the out of order tokens flawlessly (oops!). Results processing was easy as can be thanks to the scanning skills of Diana Gough. We are all grateful for our tailwalkers, this week by Hannah Collins and Helena Santos-Collins. We can’t forget to mention the communication by Colin Phillips and organization (and cake baking) by Andrea Zukowski - thank you both each and every week!

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Some forthcoming attractions:

March 31st: temps in the 40s for parkrun. Let’s just pretend that this counts as Spring.

April 7th: Good Neighbor Day at College Park parkrun. We’ll be doing some trail cleanup and tree planting after parkrun, together with Prince George’s Parks and the University of Maryland. We have “adopted” our section of trail, so come help look after it. Here's a recent parkrun USA story featuring our parks partnership: Supporting our greatest supporters.

April 21st: We welcome the women of the UMD Army ROTC Battalion. Some of the young women of UMD ROTC have been joining us regularly. On the 21st, they will be coming out in force to both run and help out with volunteering. Hope you'll join us.

May 5th: 2nd annual College Park 5k double. 8am 5k downtown, a fundraiser for our friends at the College Park Community Foundation. Enter here. Then at 9am our regular parkrun 5k on the Paint Branch Trail. Do one, or both, or run & volunteer. Bonus points for biking from one event to the other.

Until next parkrun,

Brian Murphy

Run Director

 

Editor’s note: here’s where the expression “More cowbell!” comes from. You’re welcome.

 

 

Chomping at the bit (Run Report #74)

If you were at the start line last Saturday, you may remember that Ken Leonard’s pup Scout was whimpering impatiently with high-pitched excitement, straining hard to be let loose, so she could unleash her energy (and pull Ken along for the ride). I was thinking about that image this weekend, because I feel like it’s a metaphor for this particular moment in time for both College Park parkrun and for parkrun USA. At College Park, something changed after the new year, and we have been surprised to see 100 or more of you most Saturdays. We keep wondering what will happen to attendance when warm weather finally arrives—will it be like a spring being released? And for parkrun USA, it feels like we are at a tipping point. As of today, there are 16 parkruns in the US. But a slew of new parkruns have been incubating behind the scenes, and starting this Saturday with the launch of Kensington parkrun on our doorstep, 5 new parkruns will be kicking off over the next 7 weeks (and there are many more coming). We are so excited to be a part of this, and we can’t wait to watch the wave of good vibes be unleashed, and do its good work.

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We’re very excited to be getting more walkers, and would love more! This week’s walkers included second timers Marc Blue and Christy Calder (thanks to encouragement from Bernadette Gormally), and Monique Klaus-Bourque, Megan Winsor-Lovely, and first time parkrun recruit Shannen Hill.

In case you were wondering, ‘word of mouth’ is absolutely still a thing.

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As usual we had a healthy number of PBs. Rob Bryden is on a streak - 4 visits to College Park, and a PB every time. Astrid Salguero and Thelma Cordon joined us for the 4th and 3rd times, respectively, and both maintained their perfect PB streak. Meanwhile Kim Fisher edged close to ducking under 40 minutes, and Alina Zhang is so close to cracking 30 minutes.   No official parkrun milestones this week, but Marvin Russell completed his 49th parkrun, so we’d better dig out the red 50 sash. And lots of people reached unofficial milestones this week. Thomas Parsons became the fourth member of the Parsons family to do 25 College Park parkruns, while Jake and Colette Foley became the first two Foleys to reach the same mark (with two more Foleys in hot pursuit). Jake gets extra credit for getting into the St Patrick's Day spirit wearing a kilt. And Bernie Gormally, who is a bona fide Irishwoman, also did her 25th parkrun, with friends in tow. We saw three new members of our unofficial 10-parkrun club: Kim Fisher, Marc Swisdak, and Sheilah Kast. Kim was one of our proto-parkrunners, running with us before we were Officially A Thing. Marc and Sheilah both discovered us around Thanksgiving and have joined us regularly since then. (We hope they don’t mind warmer weather.) Meanwhile, 3 more people completed their 5th College Park parkrun: Anna Damm, Alexander Swisdak, and Michelle Brandy. We’re thrilled that you’re all coming back regularly!

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We were again blown away by the volunteer support this week, with a roster of 15 people helping out. Yancira Amaya stepped in to Lisa Wilson’s regular turnaround role, as Lisa was off adventuring. We gave Yancira detailed instructions on where to find the trail markings that indicated the turnaround … only to learn that the wonderful folks at PG Parks had laid down a stretch of smooth new asphalt, so no markings remained. Thanks to Judy Mulusa and her daughter Kacey Nyongesa who joined this week’s finish line crew, together with Will Bobseine and Amber Phillips. Diana Gough had good company this week as tail walker, and took some pictures, too, as did Kim Fisher. Jim Parsons held everything together as Run Director. A number of other people were able to run and volunteer, by helping with results, token sorting, the pre-run briefing, and more.

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Kensington parkrun launch

We are excited to welcome our sister parkrun in Kensington, which launches this Saturday, March 24th. Kensington parkrun follows a double out-and-back route on a pretty section of the Rock Creek Trail, starting at Puller Neighborhood Park, at mile marker 6.5. The same barcode that you use at College Park is your ticket to Kensington parkrun. We encourage you to check them out some time. Kensington parkrun is led by a team that includes many College Park regulars, and you’ll find the same warm and welcoming vibe that you know from College Park.

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PARKING: If you visit Kensington parkrun, be aware that parking is limited and demand remains uncertain. So allow a little extra time to find a spot. A couple of lots are listed on the Kensington parkrun website, but it’s also ok to park on the gravel shoulder of Beach Drive, as long as you are not in the roadway.

HOW TO GET NEWS FROM BOTH EVENTS: We hope that you enjoy our weekly news email from College Park parkrun. This comes to you because College Park is set as your “home” run in your parkrun profile. If you would like to receive updates about both College Park and Kensington parkruns, then you can do this by updating your parkrun.com profile. After you sign in, select “email options”, and then opt in for the Kensington volunteer appeal email. Kensington parkrun has an active Facebook page that you can follow for updates, too.

POST PARKRUN COFFEE. Kensington parkrun holds regular post-parkrun coffee meetups at Java Nation in Kensington. Very friendly, all welcome, just like in College Park. JN is on the small side, and you might be feeling torn about which community to visit, so one option is to run in one location and then zip over to the other for coffee and brunch. We’ll be happy to see you either way.

VOLUNTEERING. With Kensington parkrun drawing the attention of some regulars, and the DC march drawing others, we’re going to need some extra volunteer help at College Park this weekend. Brian Murphy will be your intrepid Run Director, and he’ll be happy to get any help you can offer. Drop us a line at collegeparkhelpers@parkrun.com and we’ll send you some great karma in return.

Andrea Zukowski

 

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