Blown away! (Run Report #108)

Most weeks your parkrun volunteer team trade bets on how many parkrunners will come along that day. With lower temps and a strong breeze that brought the word “windchill” back from its summer rest, everybody expected a smaller crowd this week. And at 8:50 this seemed like a good call. But then as 9:00 approached the park filled with smiling faces and suddenly we were feeling entirely warm and fuzzy, thank you very much.


After a 5k on the trail we were feeling nicely warmed up, but a few minutes after finishing we weren’t feeling quite so toasty. So we’d like to give special thanks to the volunteers and everybody else who stayed around to cheer in every single finisher this week.

For CP parkrun we had 119 finishers, with 17 first timers and 19 PBs.

Some first-timers join us because they were looking around online for running events and found us. That’s how newcomer Stewart Mayhew found us. Stewart started running just a few months ago and is making great progress.


Many first-timers join us because a friend brings them along. That’s how this week’s first-finisher Chris Teter found us, as he came together with CP parkrun regular and St John’s teammate Austin Rios-Colon.


Some first timers join us because they’re dedicated parkrun tourists who are looking for an interesting event to add to their collection. That’s how Shamiso Sisimayi found us. Shamiso normally runs at Woodhouse Moor parkrun in Leeds, UK, one of the world’s oldest parkruns. Last week she set a course record at the new Delaware and Raritan Canal parkrun in New Jersey, as a warm-up to the next day’s New York City Marathon. This week she ran to parkrun, zipped around the course, then ran back to her hotel to get ready for her flight home.


As it happens, 4 seconds behind Shamiso was Bernard Kelly, who also was recovering from last week’s NYC Marathon. You may recall that Bernard did a lot of volunteering at parkrun earlier this year while fending off injuries, so it’s great that he was able to bounce back strongly enough to run a marathon.


We celebrated one official parkrun milestone this week. 7-year old Lucas Aguilera Kelley joined his brother Diego in the 10 club by running around the course with his dad. We’re hoping that the white 10 club shirts (for under 18s only) will be in stock soon, as we know that so many of our junior parkrunners are waiting to order them. But we’re honestly not sure when this will happen. Fingers crossed!


A number of people reached unofficial milestones. Joel Goldberg did his 25th parkrun, making him halfway to 50. Sharon Chi, Lucas Aguilera Kelley, Bernard Kelly, Bryan Koen, and Eric Pino all are now 10-timers at College Park. Britain Bruner, Sallie McElrath, and Francisco Reyes are now 5-timers at College Park. The family keeps on growing! This week we expect to see the 2500th person register for a barcode at College Park parkrun.



Lots of PBs this week. They included John Jensenius, who was running his 99th parkrun. Next week he’ll become the first College Park regular to join the 100-parkrun club. (How did he do this while keeping a fairly low profile? By doing the first 80 or so at Oxford parkrun in the UK. But we’re delighted that he and Emily now call College Park parkrun home.)


Tara and Xander Mease took more time from their PBs, and they always look like they’re having fun. Austin Rios-Colon returned for the first time in a while and took a full minute from his PB. That’s not so easy to do when you’re already as fast as Austin, but the HS cross-country training must be helping.


Francis Parks has been on a PB streak lately, and he continued the streak this week. Hannah Collins was paced by her dad Kalonji, who took a break from setting PBs of his own to pace Hannah to a three and a half minute PB (!).



Meghan Gieske continued her tear of PBs with yet another chunk of improvement. Magdalena Duhagon and Angela Perdomo have been 3 times, and have set 3 PBs. Abba Milkii can go one better than that: he has now run 4 times in 4 consecutive weeks and has set a PB every time. Jair Jackson is also on a 4 parkrun PB streak.



parkrun is about much more than setting PBs. It’s great if you just enjoy a run with friends or family. But if you’re looking to get faster, we do enjoy seeing your progress.




It’s getting to the season where we start bringing along hand warmers for the parkrun volunteers, so we’re especially grateful to this week’s crew. UMD students Judy Choi, Lindsay Kaufman, Monica Polanco, and Casey Schweber joined us as tailwalkers and part of the finish-line crew this week, simply because they wanted to help out. They did great, and we were thrilled to have them be a part of our crew. Larry Washington took a break from his running comeback to do timekeeping, joined after his run by Bernard Kelley. Hump and Lisa wrapped up warm to look out for you along the course. And Jim Parsons kept everything running smoothly as run director. Thanks to all of  the volunteers this week!


We’ll be back at the same time, same place next week for parkrun #109. Don’t forget that we have our first ever Thanksgiving morning parkrun on Thursday November 22nd. We know that some of you have schedule conflicts on Saturdays, and some of you will have friends and family in town. So this will be a great opportunity to introduce some new people to our warm, healthy community. And, as usual, the price just cannot be beaten.

See you soon!



Trees! (Run Report #107)

We were treated to a beautiful Fall morning for College Park parkrun #107. Perfect for a week that was dominated by trees. Along the trail the trees were in peak Fall color. The stretch of trail just beyond Hump’s Crossing was like a golden tunnel. And we also planted about 50 trees, working with our friends from Prince George’s County Parks & Recreation.


We are so grateful to everybody who helped with the event - a total of 29 volunteers this week!! - and to PG Parks for being such great partners. The aim of College Park parkrun is to help support a healthy community. And being a healthy community means more than just running back and forth along a (rather pretty) trail. It also means connecting people of all ages and backgrounds. And it means being invested in a healthy natural environment. Our stewardship of our stretch of the Paint Branch Trail is just a tiny step, but hopefully it helps us all to be more aware of how the local watersheds are affected by the changing seasons.


Every week in the run briefing we mention that “we share the trail”. This means that we have no special right to use the trail during parkrun, and we make every effort to ensure that we’re not interfering with other trail users’ enjoyment. If you pass somebody walking or running on the trail during a parkrun, do say hi. This week we had a couple of other good examples of sharing the trail.

Bud Verge has become a regular parkrunner since first joining us 6 months ago. Often he’s pushing for a new PB, and we love to see that. But we also love that recently Terrye Verge started joining us, mixing it up with the walking and run/walk folks. This week Bud figured it was a good day to kick back, enjoy the trail with Terrye, and cheer on some of the other parkrunners.  We encourage anybody to try this some time - just slow down a bit and take a jog or a walk. Join a friend, or meet somebody new. You’ll enjoy it, and the folks towards the back will appreciate it.


John and Emily Jensenius have been trading weeks of running with the stroller. And as often as not, the one without the stroller sets a PB. This week it was Emily’s turn to set the PB.


Meanwhile, Jessica and Rob Gerbig came up with a new approach that we hadn’t seen before, sharing the stroller duties in the *same* parkrun. Jessica showed up at the turnaroud with the stroller, but then appears to have passed the baton to Rob for the return.



We had no official milestones this week, but lots of folks are getting close, and more are reaching unofficial milestones. Cindy Cohen ran College Park parkrun for the 50th time. She has done 96 overall, so a black 100 shirt can’t be too far in her future. She’s not alone, as she was one of 5 at this week’s run who are closing in on 100. We had 4 new members of our 10 club: Külli Puusta, Rube Ahmed, Kriti Bhargava and Harshit Banthia. And Frank Snyder became the latest new member of our 5-parkrun club.


With such great weather, it was little surprise that we saw a bunch of PBs this week. 13 in all. Notably, John Ramsey set a new PB on his 68th parkrun. We remember a time when John was setting PBs almost every week, but when you’ve run this many times, they don’t come so often. We love that John credits this week’s PB to being pulled along by his friends Erin and Dom. In Megan Gieske’s case, it was husband Ben who helped her along to a PB.


There were plenty of other PBs, too. Kalonji Collins and Emily Jensenius just keep getting faster. As does Dave Heintzelmann. Carlos Chaverri must have benefited from his half marathon training, as he scored another PB this week. Tomas Marambio came *so* close to cracking 20 minutes for the first time. We’re sure that it will come soon. Maria Ialacci took a little more time from her PB, as did Jim Cantwell. Other PBs came from Matt Gembecki, Robert Grumbine, Abba Milkii,  and Jair Jackson.


We had So Many Volunteers this week. Thank you again to everybody who helped out. It’s a big list! Yancira AMAYA, Jenn AUGSBURGER, Harshit BANTHIA, Jay BAO, Kriti BHARGAVA, William BOBSEINE, Gus CAMPBELL, Kathy CEA, Rob GERBIG, Jessica GERBIG, Benjamin GIESKE, Meghan GIESKE, David HEINTZELMAN, Nick HUANG, Enrique JOGRAJ JR, Pete MONACELLI, Kiera PARSONS, James PARSONS, Colin PHILLIPS, Hump PLOTTS, Clark RIDGE, Duane ROSENBERG, Catherine SPIRITO, Anna TINNEMORE, Yogarshi VYAS, Pete WERGIN, Susan WHITNEY, Lisa WILSON, Andrea ZUKOWSKI. This included Clark Ridge and Nick Huang, who together helped coordinate the run and planting volunteers, and acted quickly when both barcode scanners went on strike at the same time (the devices, that is, not the helpful volunteers!). And the biggest help of all for the tree planting was from Antonia Bookbinder, Anthony Nolan and their crew from Prince George’s Parks. We were a little worried when we heard that they were bringing along 60 trees, but you guys made light work of it. The presence of a power augur for making holes surely made a big difference.


This week a number of our core team members were off parkrunning elsewhere. Last week’s run directors Steve and Cindy Feld were found at Clermont Waterfront parkrun in Florida, where they likely found better weather than in last week’s drenching parkrun. Co-event director Andrea Zukowski was at the launch of Lillie parkrun in Ann Arbor, an event that she has been helping to get off the ground. Their boardwalk across a lake is so nice that the course crosses it 3 times. While there Andrea ran into CP regular Sharlene Deskins, who was visiting family in the area. Meanwhile, co-event director Colin Phillips was working in Berlin, and got to check out the pretty Hasenheide parkrun, where he ran into CP parkrun pioneer Lara Ehrenhofer, who is now living very nearby.



As people’s lives move them to new places we see turnover in our team of run directors, so we’d love to bring some new people into the crew. Please get in touch if you’re curious about what this involves. Ideally, each RD would lead an event just once or twice per quarter. Also, we’d love to find a couple of people who could help with our online communications (Facebook, Instagram, run reports, etc.). These are all fun roles, as you get to be surrounded (in person or online) by so many people feeling happy.

Also, if you have friends or relatives who would be interested in bringing the same fun that we enjoy every Saturday in College Park to their own community, then drop us a line and we can help. We’re already working with a number of teams that are developing new parkrun events in different states.

A couple of upcoming attractions:

THANKSGIVING PARKRUNNING. This year we’ll have events on BOTH Thanksgiving Day, Thursday Nov 22nd, and in our regular Saturday morning slot. Join us to run, walk, or volunteer for any of those. Bring family! Or take the opportunity to head over to Kensington parkrun, which will also be holding a special Thanksgiving event.

NEW YEARS PARKRUNNING. On January 1st we’ll again hold a special festival of parkrunning. Kensington parkrun and Leakin Park parkrun (Baltimore) will both hold 8:30am events, and College Park will start at 10:30. Do one or do a double, and then be sure to join us for a big brunch afterwards at The Board and Brew.

Until next week!

Your College Park parkrun team



Un-boo-lievable! (Run Report #106)

Since it is less than a week to Halloween, Steve and I decided on a TRICK OR TREAT theme for this week's run.  Yes, that is Steve in his costume pretending to be a Run Director!  And Cindy, well the costume speaks for itself!



Nature's TRICK was a downpour for the entire parkrun event. And YES we did get wet!












But it was a TREAT to see what parkrunners' say about nature's trick!  We had so much fun in the rain!

CP-parkrun-106-52anCP-parkrun-106-59 CP-parkrun-106-60 CP-parkrun-106-30




And who says big kids can't have fun in the rain too!


No matter the weather, we were so happy to celebrate Chris's 50th parkrun and his son Sam's 10th time volunteering. (Thanks Sam!)


We also celebrated eight PB's with Adam K., Daniel W, Dagne T, Joseph B,  Xander and his mom Tara, Magdalena D, and Angela P.  How did they do that in the rain? Some people just like challenges!

We were very happy to welcome new first-timers Tim D and Eryn T.  Thanks to Deborah for bringing them along. Please come back and join the fun next week in the sun (hopefully)!


We also had a new barkrunner, Dominique brought her dog Rue (Is that how you spell it Dom?).

CP-parkrun-106-24                                              Lisa and Hump, thank you so much for that extra canopy this week that allowed all of us to stay dry! CP-parkrun-106-23
Sheilah was the parkrunner of the month for October and received a gift card to The Board & Brew, our favorite coffee house! CP-parkrun-106-21

As always, we are grateful for our volunteers this week Hump (Course Marshall), Lisa (Turn Around Marshal), Külli and Andrea (Tail Walkers), Larry (Timer), Clare (Timer), Janet (Scanner), and Finish Tokens (Sam and Brian) and sorting tokens (Jen and Gus), Run Directors (Steve & Cindy Feld), and all that backroom stuff that Andrea and Colin do.



CP-parkrun-106-104                  Did you know.... Lisa and Gus are closing in on participating in almost 100 parkruns each and Jen has volunteered 24 times -  spoiler alert, more reason for cake coming up!  CP-parkrun-106-3               We can't end this report without showing you some of the wonderful scenery we enjoy each week at College Park. CP-parkrun-106-28


To old and new friends and family, see you next week! And see below for some announcements of coming attractions.

Steve & Cindy Feld

TREE PLANTING: Saturday November 3rd we’re holding our Fall 2018 tree planting event together with Prince George’s Parks. These projects help to improve the park, the trail, and the watershed, and we can look forward in future years to them providing valuable shade near the start/finish area. They’re also a lot of fun. You can just show up to help on the day, but it would  be useful if you could let us know ahead of time, so that we have a rough head count.

THANKSGIVING: Please spread the word about our Thanksgiving parkruns. Thanksgiving is the world’s biggest running day, with around 1 million taking part in running events in the US. We will hold a 9am parkrun on Thursday November 22nd and also our regular weekly event on Saturday November 24th.

AMERICAN CANCER SOCIETY PARTNERSHIP. We are excited to partner with the American Cancer Society to help walkers in their Making Strides Against Breast Cancer program stay active year round. We’re looking to identify some Pink Ambassadors, who can sometimes welcome these walkers and help them to feel at home in our parkrun community. Main qualifications: two legs and a friendly smile. A personal connection to (breast) cancer is a bonus, but certainly not required. Drop us a line:

NEW YEARS: It’s still a couple of months away, but mark your calendars for our special 2019 kickoff event on January 1st. This year ALL THREE Maryland parkruns will hold a New Years resolution event. Kensington and Leakin Park will go at 8:30am, and then College Park at 10:30am, a joint production with our friends at Prince George’s Running Club. Everybody is encouraged to start the year at one of our sister parkruns, then converge on College Park, and then move to The Board and Brew for a fun New Years brunch. It was so much fun last year, even in frigid temps, and we’re hoping that it will be a little warmer and even fuzzier this year.

NEW PARKRUN USA EVENTS. Looking for new parkruns to do on your travels? Soon there  will be more choices, as new events are starting in November in Ann Arbor, MI and Tucson, AZ. With new events in the pipeline in Florida, Texas, California, Ohio, and many more, the possibilities are multiplying. Have friends who might like to help with an event in their hometown? Let us know.

NEW LOCAL PARKRUN? Would you like to see another parkrun event in Prince George’s County? Know of anybody who would like to explore this possibility? Let us know!



Happy Birthday to Us (Run Report #105)

On October 20th we celebrated the 2nd birthday of College Park parkrun. The 105 events have gone by very quickly, but it’s also hard to remember what we used to do on a Saturday morning.

Some things are different now than when we started out. It all starts with the community, of course. With more than 200 people having taken part at least 10 times, lots of people have come to know each other. And we’ve met so many people who we enjoy sharing the trail and a chat over coffee with on a Saturday. There’s now a much larger group of people who are committed to keeping the event going week after week. We have such great support from the community. We now have a wonderful partnership with Prince George’s Parks, who share similar goals to ours. And College Park parkrun has become a point of pride for the city -- adding to an ever-growing list of reasons to feel good about College Park.


Last week we came across the quarterly Regional Runner Rankings, compiled by regular parkrunner James Moreland, based on results from hundreds of running events around the DMV. It was striking to see so many familiar names in the listings, especially for older age groups. We don’t even think of CP parkrun as a race -- we’re simply getting together to have fun on the trail on a Saturday morning -- but simply by bringing together more and more people every week, College Park parkrun has turned into a venue for a lot of ‘competitive’ run performances. We suspect that Mike and Bonnie McClellan, with 160 years between them, might find it amusing that their Saturday morning activities have put them into runner rankings for their age groups.

But what was special THIS week at CP parkrun?

Well, for a start there was cake. What is a birthday without cake? And it was a rather good cake. Credit to Andrea and Zoe for making the model of our finish area on the cake. And credit to all of you for helping to eat it all. Most importantly, thanks to Jenn Augsburger, who saved us when we realized that we hadn’t brought a knife along. Jenn dashed home for reinforcements, and we’re all thankful as a result.


There was also a special cake for a special pair of parkrunners. Xander and Tara Mease ran their 50th parkruns together, and so they ran in the 50 sashes. At 5 years old (about to turn 6) Xander is by far the youngest US parkrunner to join the 50 club, and as you may know, Xander’s running is part of how he manages his cystic fibrosis. At parkrun, though, it’s all about Xander meeting his parkrun buddies, including the barkrunners. Thanks to Misha Bernard for baking a special CF-friendly cake for Xander. He was pretty happy about it. And to everybody who brought along a barkrunner friend. Thanks also to Xander for bringing along his grandma and his great grandma, And to Xander and Tara for being heroes of our parkrun community. Always smiling, always positive, always inspiring us on a Saturday morning.




We had another milestone celebration this week, as Brian Murphy joined the parkrun volunteer club, volunteering for the 25th time. This meant that he got to run in the purple volunteer cape,  which probably creates some wind resistance at the speed that Brian covers the course. Brian and his family (Jen, Gus, and sometimes many more) are such a valuable part of our community, and we so appreciate their many contributions.


We love it when you want to share your Saturday morning parkrun fun with family, whether they’re visiting from out of town, or family members who wonder what you’ve been getting up to on all those Saturday mornings.

This week Deborah Gayle’s sister and family joined her while visiting from Denmark. Deborah got to run with her nephew Trystan, and Deborah’s sister Judith enjoyed a walk with their dad David. Shevaun Lewis brought along her barkrunner Jasper and her parents who were visiting from Colorado. 50-club member Eddie Matus brought along Magdalena Duhagon. And the Vasquez/Benitez/Fernandez family definitely win the prize for the most together and the most color-coordinated family on the trail this week. We like their style!



We’d also like to give a special shout-out to our dear neighbor Emily Jackson, who joined us this week for the first time this week, together with her awesome mother-in-law Pam Diamond and their two pint-sized barkrunners. Emily has been following us since the very beginning, and we were thrilled to see her on the trail this week.


So many milestones this week. In addition to the official milestones by Tara, Xander, and Brian, we had a number of unofficial milestones.

A special distinction for Cotter Rosenberg, who ran his 25th parkrun on his 25th birthday. Happy birthday, Cotter! When Andrea asked during the run briefing whether anybody was turning 25 that day quite a few hands went up, none of them Cotter’s. Well, we know that you’re all young at heart.


This week’s new 10-timers included Lou Shapiro, Heather Sisan, Isaac Scott, and Carly Mills. We are especially pleased to see how our parkrun community has made Isaac and his family feel at home. This week’s new 5-timers were Pam Diamond, Erin Saddler, Meghan Gieske, and Teresa Perdomo.

12 of you set PBs this week. Notably, sisters Erin Munsell and Carly Mills both got to ring the bell. It has been heartening to follow their progress. Aileen Kroll was dragged to a PB by Xander, and a number of parkrunners were paced to PBs by family members. Maia Swisdak ran with mom Misha, Julian Gordon set off with grandma Sharyn, then sped off at the end, and we’re guessing that Violet Ridge bears some credit for mom Lilly’s PB.



Two years ago, when College Park parkrun started, we had the same worry that any new parkrun team has: how would we manage to find the volunteers to keep the event going week after week? This week was a perfect demonstration of why we no longer worry, as you always come through. We even had 3 people show up on Saturday morning offering to fill in additional volunteer roles. Lara Pagano tried out the tailwalker role for the first time, joined by Valerie Silensky. The finish line crew was Ben Brosch, Herman King, Saul Goldberg, Külli Puusta, Will Bobseine, Sam McGranahan and Duane Rosenberg. Ben Gieske and Jan Edwards ensured that our lovely new purple finisher tokens were all accounted for. Various talents went into the birthday celebrations.



Andrea presided over the birthday event, as is her prerogative as Queen of CP parkrun. One person who was missing was Colin, who was bummed to be far away, working on the other side of the world in Taiwan, though still coordinating our communications from afar. Colin also reached an unofficial milestone this week, as it was his 100th parkrun volunteer occasion.

Coming Attractions

AMERICAN CANCER SOCIETY PARTNERSHIP. We are excited to partner with the American Cancer Society to help walkers in their Making Strides Against Breast Cancer program stay active year round. We’re looking to identify some Pink Ambassadors, who can sometimes welcome these walkers and help them to feel at home in our parkrun community. Main qualifications: two legs and a friendly smile. A personal connection to (breast) cancer is a bonus, but certainly not required. Drop us a line:

TREE PLANTING. We’ll be holding another tree planting and trail cleanup event with PG Parks on 11/3. These projects help to improve the park and the stream, and in future summers they will begin to provide us with welcome shade at our start/finish area. They’re also fun. Let us know if you can join us after parkrun to help with this.

THANKSGIVING PARKRUNNING. This year we will have parkrun events on BOTH Thursday 11/22 and Saturday 11/24. These will be a great opportunity to get outside with family, to burn off a few calories, or to avoid shopping or watching TV. 9am start for both.

NEW YEARS PARKRUNNING. We will again host a New Years parkrun on 1/1/19 at the late start time of 10:30am. A number of other local parkruns will be holding 8:30am events that day (likely Kensington, Anacostia, and Leakin Park), making it possible to start the new year with a double parkrun. Big gathering to thaw out and catch up at The Board and  Brew.

NEW PARKRUN USA EVENTS. Looking for new parkruns to do on your travels? Soon there  will be more choices, as new events are starting in November in Ann Arbor, MI and Tucson, AZ. With new events in the pipeline in Florida, Texas, California, Ohio, and many more, the possibilities are multiplying. Have friends who might like to help with an event in their hometown? Let us know.

NEW LOCAL PARKRUN? Would you like to see another parkrun event in Prince George’s County? Know of anybody who would like to explore this possibility? Let us know.

Happy birthday to us! We’re looking forward to all the new friendships that the next year will bring.

Andrea Zukowski
Colin Phillips
co-Event Directors




Comeback kids! (Run Report #104)

“I was running 10-minute miles, and yet so many people were cheering for me along the trail!

One highlight of this week’s parkrun was the return to running of Larry Washington. Larry last ran with us 18 weeks ago, due to injury. But he has been a near constant presence as a volunteer in the interim, becoming a leading dispenser of high fives at the finish line, and even filling in as Hump last week. That’s why so many community members were happy to see him running with us again.


Anne Gaston last ran with us 101 weeks ago, in our 3rd ever event. She was back this week, together with her 4 daughters. Eldest daughter Phoebe Gaston is one of the CP parkrun ‘pioneers’. This weekend Anne was visiting from CT, and sisters Zoe, Sophie, and Keiley from NY, SC, and NC. So, naturally they all wanted to come to parkrun. Anne proceeded to break our longest standing age-category record … the one that she set when she joined us previously.


Alia Abdelkader first joined us one year ago, for our UMD Homecoming 2017 parkrun. Then she graduated and moved to N. Virginia. Some time later she started regularly joining Roosevelt Island parkrun. This weekend was Homecoming  2018, and Alia was back for her second College Park parkrun, setting a big 10-minute PB. She was pretty pleased about that.


Gloria Cottman had surgery this week (success!), and shouldn’t be running right now. So she joined us for a walk this week instead. No problem, as there are more and more walkers at CP parkrun.


Emily Jensenius is another person on the comeback trail. She alternates stroller-pushing weeks with husband John, but she has been taking big chunks from her College Park PB, including another minute this week, heading back towards where she was when she was a regular at Oxford parkrun in the UK.


Clark Ridge staged a bit of a come-back this week, too. Life happened, and he rolled up at the park almost a minute after the start. You may have noticed him flying past in the first mile. He was gaining on everyone, but in the end he ran out of trail.


Yes, it was a week of comebacks at College Park parkrun. And great weather. And milestones. And visitors. And a lot of PBs. Really, the cooler weather brought out a whole lot of PBs.

The most visible milestone was Russell Dickerson’s 50th parkrun. When we had a big Memorial Day weekend event in May 2017, a friend of Russell’s persuaded him to come along. He clearly enjoyed it, as he has been back a lot since then. Russell is an ever positive presence at parkrun, and he’s going to look great in his new parkrun 50 shirt in the near future.


The other milestone was that College Park parkrun completed its 2nd journey around the sun. Event #104 was the final event of our 2nd year. So it’s hard (for me) to resist pulling out a few numbers. Whichever way you look at it, it’s a growing community.

Events: Year 1 - 53, Year 2 - 51
Finishers: Year 1 - 3605, Year 2 - 5421
Average finishers: Year 1 - 68, Year 2 - 106
10-timers: Year 1 - 90, Year 2 - 147
50-club milestones: Year 1 - 2, Year 2 - 19
Participants: Year 1 - 898, Year 2 - 1158
Volunteers: 250 individuals have volunteered over 1200 times across the 2 years.

Oh, and one more milestone that we reached this week was our 9,000th finisher. It was Alex Swisdak.


We welcomed some visitors from far away this week. Seamus Kavanagh has run nearly 250 times at Malahide parkrun in Dublin, where they run around a castle. He got a change of scenery this week at College Park. Meanwhile, Nigel Milius and Wendy Hare do most of their parkrunning in New Zealand, but joined us this week, en route from back home from the Arctic Circle, where they keep busy as guides on cruise ships.


In addition to Russell Dickerson’s 50th parkrun, we saw one person join our unofficial 25-run club: Valerie Silensky was proudly sporting her shirt from last week’s Chicago Marathon, and she’s gearing up for the upcoming New York City Marathon. Nobody became a 10-timer this week. And we had *8* new members of the unofficial 5-club: John Way, John Sener, Yogarshi Yvas, Madeleine Naleski, Janis Jackson, Tomas Marambio, Dottie Jograj, and Julian Gordon.


The cooler weather this week brought SO many PBs. 38 in all!

Cotter Rosenberg had been waiting for good weather to try to go under 20 minutes for the first time, and he made it, with half a minute to spare. Between injuries and mayoring and being in his late 60s, it’s going to be hard for his dad Duane to keep up now.


Evan Hirsche was another who went sub-20 for the first time at College Park, though we suspect that Evan has done this many times elsewhere. In Evan’s case it was a day without a puppy “comfort break” that helped his time.

Maria Breckert and her mom Laura Breckert scored a cool double PB. We were very happy to again welcome the young ladies of Elizabeth Seton HS cross-country team to parkrun. Maria runs with the team, and she shaved a few seconds from her PB. Meanwhile, Laura runs whenever the ESHS team joins us, and she has set a PB every time so far. Great job to both!


Another Seton family group was the Naleskis. Madeleine runs with the ESHS team and she set a PB. Her younger sister Molly didn’t set a PB, but that’s because she was pacing their mom, Carmie Naleski to a PB of her own.


Other PBs this week were by: Delia Reyes, Dottie Jograj, Terrye Verge (3 in a row!), Julian Gordon, Edwin Hernandez, Doug Hamilton, Maria Cantwell, Makiko Inoue, Jackie Rosette, Jay Bao, Frank Snyder, Külli Puusta, Princesse Owona, Elena Bailoni, Kalonji Collins, Doug Kerr, Noe Saevedra, John Sener, Neha Joshi, Yogarshi Yvas, Chetan Parameshwara, Joe Barrow, Jenna Jeletic, Elizabeth Foley, Zora Stovall, Keiley Gaston, Eric Pino, Tomas Marambio, and Francisco Reyes. … Phew.



We are thankful for the volunteers who make parkrun happen every week. They don’t just cover the mechanics of the event, they also create the warm, fun vibe that we all enjoy. This week Lisa Wilson and Hump Plotts were back in their regular roles on the course. Brian Murphy and Nina McGranahan were timekeepers, Jen Murphy took care of finisher tokens, and Deborah Gayle and Ellen Hamilton did the scanning. Misha Bernard did tailwalking honors. We had an entire posse of token sorters at The Board and Brew: Valerie Silensky was joined by visitors Nigel Milius, Wendy Hare, and Elizabeth Sheridan. Chris McGranahan confidently directed the show  as run director, and Sam McGranahan used his steady hand to be photographer. And Andrea and Colin did this and that, as they do.



Now, listen up for the upcoming attractions.

October 20th: BIG DAY AHEAD. It’s our 2nd birthday -- prospects of cake are rather high. We will also be celebrating Xander and Tara’s 50 parkrun milestone (red sashes!), and also Brian Murphy’s 25-time volunteering milestone (purple cape!). You won’t want to miss this one.


October 27th. WALKERS DAY & HALLOWEEN PARKRUN. You could run or walk as usual, but on this day we’re making a special push for walkers: we will be welcoming the nice folks from PG Parks Club 300, and also from the American Cancer Society’s Making Strides for Breast Cancer community. How about taking a break from running to walk with these folks and help to welcome them to our community? And we would love to hear from you if you would be interested in helping in some way with our new partnership with ACS and Making Strides. ALSO, it’s the parkrun before Halloween, so we’d love to see you (and/or your kids) in their costumes.


November 3rd: TREE PLANTING DAY. We’ll be teaming up with our friends at Prince George’s Parks & Recreation to hold another post-parkrun tree planting and stream cleanup. These events help to strengthen the watershed, and in future years we will appreciate the shade that the trees provide.

November 22nd: COLLEGE PARK PARKRUN TURTLE TROT!! We will be holding a special Thanksgiving morning parkrun. Thanksgiving is the world’s largest running day, with around 1 million Americas taking part in a running event to start the day. So our favorite running and walking event does not want to miss out on the fun.

It’s going to be a fun few weeks ahead!

Colin Phillips
Co-Event Director



New Years 2019 parkrunning

On January 1st 2019 we will hold our 3rd annual College Park Resolution parkrun. It is a wonderful way to start out the new year, and we hope that you can join us.

The College Park Resolution parkrun will start at the unusual time of 10:30am on January 1st. This is because New Years is the one day of the year when it is possible for parkrunners to log two parkruns in the same day. Currently at least Leakin Park parkrun and Kensington parkrun have expressed an intent to hold an 8:30am event, and a couple of the DC parkruns  are considering this.

So you can sleep in a little longer, or you can try a double parkrun. Either way, plan on staying behind afterwards for a big start of the year brunch at The Board and Brew, with parkrun friends from our community and across the DMV.


Thanksgiving 2018 parkrunning

Subject to confirmation of permission by Prince George's Parks, we plan to hold our first ever College Park parkrun ("Turtle Trot"?), at 9:00 on Thursday November 22nd.

Thanksgiving is the largest running day in the world, with around 1 million people taking part in running events across the US. And Thanksgiving is all about family and community ... and the odd bite to eat. So a Thanksgiving parkrun seems like an obvious choice.

And of course it's totally free.


To infinity and beyond! (Run Report #100)

When I arrived at Acredale Park (and Hurricane Florence didn’t), I could feel an extra buzz in the air. Then again, I could have easily mixed that up with the smell of the cookies, cakes, and confectionery (vegan and otherwise, contributed by various parkrunners!).


The special buzz was because we were celebrating our 100th parkrun in College Park, just 23 months after the first one. And a LOT of people came out to celebrate this milestone. 210 finishers was easily our largest crowd yet at College Park parkrun, and with volunteers, barkrunners, kids in strollers, and supporters, it was quite the crowd.


In addition, there were also several extra exhibits that you would not normally see on a ‘regular’ parkrunday. Here’s three that you probably couldn’t miss:

100 Reasons Why We Love Parkrun, by what-were-you-smoking-if-you-told-me-5-years-ago-I’d-organize-100-running-events Andrea Zukowski.


100 (I guesstimated) photo collage, by Cindy & Steve Feld.


100 & Fabulous sash, by Lisa Wilson, pinned on the parkrun flag


Did you know, black is also the color of the parkrun milestone shirt that you can proudly wear after completing 100 parkruns? (It’s free, too.) Just like red is the color of the 50 milestone shirt that we’re seeing on more of our regulars. Now you know why the 50 sash that Emily Jensenius wore this week for reaching her 50th parkrun was red. A junior parkrunner, Benno Wien, also reached his 10-parkrun milestone (for juniors only) this week. We don’t seem to have a white 10 sash yet. Or maybe a cape would do the trick.


We also take this opportunity to congratulate those who are on their way to the official milestones:

5 College Park parkruns: James Hudson, Silvia Lesic, Calvin Ridge, Kristine Rogers, Erin Schneider, Josh Schneider, Raffaele Simpson, and Sotiria Stathopoulou. Among these, Justin Bridgman (PB), Külli Puusta (3rd PB in a row!), and Samantha Schneider (4th PB in a row!).


10 parkruns: Adam Brown, Tami Graf, Dexter Guillaume, and Zak Mellen. Dominique Lisiero managed to complete 10 parkruns within 2 months and a day of first joining us. Impressive.


25 parkruns: Susan Keller, Jay Bao,and Abdur Rahman-Quadri. Both Elizabeth Foley and Katie Hirsche got a chance to ring the PB bell on their 25th parkrun!



Talking about PBs, there were a LOT of PBs this week. In fact, the total of 48 PBs was the highest ever for our event, and the highest ever for parkrun USA. Here’s the full list:

Joseph Barrow, Erika Barnhardt, Laura Beckert, Kimberly Bills, Adrianna Bradford, Justin Bridgman, West Coile, Angela Dadak, John Elliott, Elizabeth Foley, Jonathan Foley, Ben Gieske, Alyssa Heintzelmann, Dave Heintzelmann, Katie Hirsche, Janis Jackson, Mary Keane, Pride Kewkam, Aileen Kroll, Jinhan Long, Suerken Matsuyama, Bonnie McClellan, Leyla Merlo, Rachel Muzakir, Talor Nickens, Princesse Owona, Lara Pagano, Francis Parks, Teresa Perdomo, Funita Phan, Matthew Phillips, Denis Primakov, Külli Puusta, Francisco Reyes, Samantha Schneider, RJ Spalding, Sarah Starett, Zora Stovall, Derek Symer, Chris van Vlack, Daniel Walker, Chyna Waugh, John Way, Benno Wien, Franz Wien, Tess Wood, Wendy Young, Yogarshi Yvas.

... Phew! These guys certainly kept the PB bell busy!


Among the many PBs, 3 lowered our event’s age category records. Katie Hirsche set a record in W15-17, Bonnie McClellan in W75-79, and John Elliott in M80-84. John already holds our 75-79 record, so he must have had a recent birthday.


A big Thank You to the parkrunners who brought friends and family to celebrate event #100 with us, such as Jim Cantwell and family, and many others in the week’s photos.



Next, my thanks goes to all the volunteers who joined me to make event #100 happen! I am grateful for Lisa & Hump Plotts’ perennial presence on the course. Did you know, ‘Hump’s T-shirt collection’ made it to the 100-reasons-why board? Bringing up the rear of the huge (record 210) parkrun posse this week were Julie Russell, Enrique (Neil) Jograj Jr., Xinzi He, and Xiao Ji (the latter two were among our parkrun paparazzi for the day). Back at the finish line, Larry Washington & Eduardo Valente kept the stopwatches clicking, while Kayla Hayes and Tomas Marambio teamed up on the finisher tokens. Tomas recently moved to College Park from Santiago, Chile, and he has jumped in right away as a runner and volunteer. Welcome! And we hope that last week’s excellent puddle photo will just be the first of your many parkrun memories! Chris McGranahan and Jenn Augsburger took care of scanning lots and lots of barcodes, and Xiao (Jay Bao’s wife) joined Colin as our finish line photographer, capturing some great moments.


As this week’s run director, I was glad to see all the familiar and new (that’s you Tomas!) faces. I’m especially grateful to Kayla and Xiao, who agreed to my last minute requests to don the hi-viz vests! At the Board & Brew, Neil and Valerie Silensky had the novel experience of sorting three huge safety pins worth of tokens. Andrea and Colin checked if I was comfortable enough to process results on my own. I did (almost) everything entirely by myself this time around. Thanks to Nick Huang for showing me the very last step. ;)


And we have some announcements for upcoming weeks:

#101 - September 22nd. Park cleanup day. Have you seen the state of the parking lot? So much litter! Not from parkrunners, of course, but we’re looking after the park in recognition of the warm welcome we receive from PG Parks. Please arrive early to help out, e.g., 8:15. We have bags and grabbers. Also, it’s a UMD Home Football Game, 12pm. Don’t try to park in UMD Lots.

Oh, and a certain mayor will be doing his 50th parkrun.

#102 - September 29th. parkrun by Broomstick Day! This is the one day per year when Acredale Park is taken over by a Muggle Quidditch tournament. Parking will be in short supply. So dust off your broomstick and fly to parkrun. Or ride your bike. Or park in UMD Lot 11b (5-mins walk) or at the bowling alley across Route 1. In any case, allow a few extra minutes. Or head to Fletcher’s Cove parkrun, where they’ll be having a special event to commemorate the Nelson Mandela centenary, featuring legendary ultra-runner and manager of parkrun South Africa, Bruce Fordyce.

#103 - October 6th. Walking Day and College Park Day. At parkrun we’ll welcome the walkers of Club 300. Hoping that others will walk with them on that day to help welcome them to our community. In the afternoon we’ll have a parkrun booth at the College Park Day event at College Park Aviation Museum. Can you help out? Let us know.

#105 - October 20th. Our 2nd birthday!

So much to look forward to this fall at College Park parkrun.


Remember to check out our album of great photos from this week’s event, and from every other week’s event.  Till the next #parkrunday!


P.S. My personal contribution to the 100 reasons why board.

The community, camaraderie, and sometimes cake is as cool as the salt, sweat, and support I know I will find at College Park parkrun.


P.P.S. how is it possible to go to infinity and beyond? If it is not possible to even reach infinity, because it is, well, infinite, then how can one go beyond it? Apparently, according to Wikipedia, there is a difference between actual infinity and potential infinity. I probably meant the latter. In potential infinity, there is a non-terminating process, such as ‘add 1 to the previous number’, which in turn produces a sequence with no last element. (The parkrunners who are also mathematicians can probably correct me if I’m wrong). In any case, the title of this run report is my wish for our parkrun on its 100th event.




Making a splash (Run Report #99)

On Friday evening I was speaking with some folks in a faraway part of the country who are working on creating a parkrun for their community. I said, “I don’t know what will happen tomorrow morning, but there are sure to be a bunch of cool stories that I have no idea about now.” And sure enough, that’s what happened at our 99th free, weekly parkrun.

If you prefer pictures over words, stop reading now and just head over to our photo album from this week. Lots of really cool pictures, as usual, some of them used here.

After a rather stormy night I set out on my bike to do a course check, and found that it was a day for our puddle lovers to rejoice. After conferring with Run Director Jim, Course Marshal Lisa, and Big Kahuna Andrea, we decided to go ahead with the full course. And to use the official turnaround, so that you wouldn’t have to start on the soaked field. It worked out well, and made for some cool pictures of parkrunners navigating the unavoidable puddles, and some parkrunners embracing the easily avoided puddles.





We had a friendly sweepstakes among the week’s volunteers to predict how many people would join us in the not-so-awesome weather. Even the highest guess (that’s you, Larry Washington) was low, as 133 community members came together to enjoy the trail and each other’s company.


We celebrated two official parkrun milestones. Both Lucy Bills and Diego Aguilera Kelley did their 10th parkrun, and as under 18s that earns them a fancy white parkrun shirt with a 10 on it. Good stuff, Diego and Lucy.


But while Lucy and Diego were getting the accolades, their parents were quietly setting PBs. Nice running Jorge and Kimberly!



These weren’t the only parents setting PBs. We love how John and Erica Barnhardt were able to both run fast this week, with Erica setting a 3-minute PB. Her mom came along for the first time and pushed the stroller. Wonderful!



In recent weeks most of our handful of parkrun tourists have been visitors from down the street at Kensington parkrun. This week broke the mould, as Sabine Ruckriegel and Andrew Halls joined us all the way from Perth, Australia. That’s a long way to come for a parkrun, you know.


We had one of our biggest ever crop of unofficial milestones, too. The 10-timers at CP parkrun now include John Jensenius, Erica Barnhardt, Angela Gentile, Catherine Spirito (PB!), Matt Miller, and John Scott. And the new 5-timers were Jessica Gerbig, Janete Amaya, Cheryle Galloway, Dinah Cohen, Kimberly Bills, and Carly Mills.


This week’s many first-timers included Marylynn Mills, mom of Carly Mills and Erin Munsell, one of our volunteers this week.


Other first-timers included Aydil del Valle Rodriguez and Eric Stoker-Spirit. They get a special shout out thanks to their entertaining sprint finish. It was too close to call, but Eric wisely declared Aydil the first to finish.


Sharyn Gordon is now one of our regular walkers. It’s great to see her smile lighting up the trail. And this week she brought along a friend: her grandson Julian.


Running and walking at parkrun is fun, but volunteering is a lot of fun too. This week’s crew had Lisa Wilson and Hump Plotts guarding the course, with Yancira Amaya tailwalking (ably assisted  by daughter Janete). One-handed Trace Huard did timekeeping, while Win Persina had enough hands to take times and give high fives. Erin Munsell and Judy Mulusa scanned the many barcodes. Judy picked up a minor injury at last week’s parkrun and so she offered her help this week. We hope that she’ll be running again with us very soon. Jim Parsons was the day's Run Director, and kept everything running smoothly.

Neil Jograj and Anna Tinnemore sorted finisher tokens … and in doing so they solved the mystery that had befuddled poor Larry Washington, this week’s token distributor. A few times during the event Larry found that he was out of sync with the time keepers. How was he missing people who were coming through the funnel? It turns out that he was playing with a bad deck of cards. Our esteemed Event Director had made a pile of replacement tokens to replace ones that had been scanning poorly. But she made the tactical error of replacing them before having her morning coffee, and so some of the old ones did not get removed from the stack, and we gave out some doubles this week. Oops! This led to a longer-than-usual results processing session at The Board and Brew, with Jim, Andrea, Colin, and a pile of finish photos reconstructing what had happened.



With 99 parkruns now under our belt, this means that the next one will be our 100th. We’re very much looking forward to making a celebration of this. If you can help with a spot of baking, then we’d love to hear from you. … But also keep an eye on the weather forecast and on our website and social media. Hurricane Florence is looking menacing currently, and so there’s a risk of some seriously adverse weather next weekend, which might disrupt our plans.

Looking a couple of weeks into the future, we’ll be holding a special parkrun on October 6th joint with M-NCPPC’s Club 300 program. This is a free walking program for seniors that started as a summer program with the goal of logging 300 miles, the distance across the state of Maryland. But it was so successful that it grew into a year-round program in which seniors virtually walk across America. If you can join as a walker that week, that would be wonderful. That also goes if you’re normally a runner.

Later that same day we’re also planning a booth at the annual College Park Day festival, which draws thousands of visitors. If you can join us at the booth for an hour or two that afternoon, we’d love to have your help in reaching community members.

Stay dry, everybody!

Colin Phillips

Co-Event Director



A (happy) birthday problem (Run Report #98)

As we approach College Park's parkrun's 2nd birthday (October 20th), it is perhaps appropriate that the past few parkruns have coincided with birthdays for parkrunners. Parkrun #97 was run director Brian Murphy's birthday (and Roosevelt Island parkrun's 2nd), and this parkrun (#98) coincided with the birthday of two parkrunners': Meredith Phillips and Lois Zukowski (event director Andrea's mother, visiting from Michigan).

Meredith and Lois (p = 99.9999999%)Now, you might marvel at the fact that two parkrunners (out of 139 parkrunners) have the same birthday -- "how rare is that?!" (Well, this is a known mathematical problem: it's so well known, it's even got a name -- the "Birthday Problem" -- and its own Wikipedia page. Scroll to the bottom of this post to see a summary.)

Also remarkable is that on Saturday Lois became twice the age of Meredith. You might now wonder, what is the probability of two parkrunners out of 139 sharing the same birthday AND one being twice the age of the other? Well, that's a much harder problem; there is no Wikipedia page for it. We will waive the registration fee for all parkruns for anyone who sees a way to solve this problem.

We also marked other milestones, in addition to birthdays: At 90 parkruns each, Kirk Gordon and John Jensenius (with a PB) are now neck-to-neck in hitting the 100-parkrun milestone (Lisa Wilson is right behind, at 87). Thelma Cordón and frequent visitor Adrian Dover have completed 10 parkruns at College Park, while Laura Frese, Lloyd Rawley, Leah Baker, Doug Kerr, Jen Charles, Maria Ialacci (and a PB!), Elizabeth Bast have done five each.



Turnout: as mentioned, we had 139 parkrunners on Saturday  -- look at that!CP-parkrun-98-9

We hosted a few visitors, including Travis Helms, from Roosevelt Island and Denis Primakov from Kensington parkrun.


Our numbers were further boosted by two groups of visitors. The first was a wedding party -- congratulations to Rhonda Summey and fiancé, and thanks for having us as part of your celebrations! The two of you win the Best Dressed Award.

CongratsThe second was the cross-country team from Elizabeth Seton High School; thanks to coaches Louisa and Mike Puffett for bringing them along. You all lowered the average age of this parkrun turnout. CP-parkrun-98-3


We also saw plenty of PBs, despite the humid weather. A few highlights: Maria Beckert and mom Laura set PBs, as did sisters Colette Foley and Elizabeth. Colette's PB is a new under-11 girls record for this parkrun. Carly Mills set a fourth PB in 4 weeks, breaking the 30-minute barrier, cheered on by her sister Erin Munsell, who was timekeeping.

John and Emily Jensenius collectively have two PBs in two weeks (their secret: switch stroller-pushing duties). Diego Aguilera Kelley and Benno Wien set PBs ontheir 9th parkrun; we will see if they will set another one on their 10th.


Special thanks to our volunteers, without whom parkrun is impossible: Lisa Wilson and Hump Plotts took up their positions on the trail; LisaAndrea Zukowski and Colin Phillips took photos; Meredith Phillips was the tail-walker and kept everyone safe. Thanks to Anna Tinnemore for walking with Julie Russell. At the finish line, Larry Washington, Erin Munsell, and Joel Goldberg handled timing, Ben Brosch handed out tokens, Jim Cantwell and Wei Chen scanned them. At the Board and Brew, two mathematics professors -- Lou Shapiro and Larry -- took on the intellectually demanding task of sorting the finish tokens in ascending order.

Finish line


Sorting tokens

Lastly, a couple of announcements.

First, important dates that are coming up:

  • Sept 15th: our 100th parkrun.
  • October 6th: College Park Day (at the College Park Aviation Museum). We have a booth, and are looking for volunteers to staff it -- the more the better. Please drop Andrea a line if you are interested:
  • October 20th: second birthday of College Park parkrun! (How many parkrunners will be celebrating their birthdays that day?)

Second, reminders:

  • We lost a token on Saturday (our two mathematicians confirmed it). If you accidentally brought it home with you, please bring it back --- we re-use them every week.
  • Please remember to bring your barcode (paper copies, please)! Having your barcode with you simplifies the results processing, so you get your results earlier.

See you Saturday!

Nick Huang
Run Director


[Summarizing the Wikipedia page: it's actually almost certain that two people in a group of 139 have the same birthday. With a group of 23 randomly-selected people, there is already a 50% probability that there are two people in this group with the same birthday. With a group of 100, the probability goes up to 99.99997%. (If this probability seem incredibly high to you, note that we are in effect asking, how likely is it that in a group of 100 people, each person has a different birthday? There are only 366 birthdays to choose from, including February 29.)]

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