Big Summer Crowd (Run Report #94)

One hundred and fifty one parkrunners came out in our summer heat and humidity just to enjoy the scene. No special event brought the crowd, but that makes it pretty special on its own. We had another 24 first timers for our parkrun (including 17 first timers for any parkrun) in a sign that our community is growing fast. Keep bringing friends and family. Get them here and more than likely they will be hooked! We have now had exactly 5000 finishers this year at College Park.

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We are catching up with our parkrunner of the month awards (a gift card generously donated by The Board and  Brew) and Abdur Rahman-Quadri takes the prize for June. When he is not running he can be found timing and giving high fives at the finish as one of our regular volunteers. Thanks Abdur!

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Many families and friend come out to swell our numbers, including first timers Molly, Greg and Carmie Naleski and the return of the Foley clan. Colette Foley was so excited to return that she got a PB and lowered the JW10 record below 24 minutes. Violet brought her mother Lilly (new PB) and two brothers, Calvin (new PB) and Felix (stroller, aka cheating). Martha Azkarov and her mother Nozomi Sakakibara come out and both got PBs. We were happy to have Michael and Alice Bender visiting from Fletcher’s Cove. Jackie Hayes brought Mimi and Sofia Veshi to their first College Park parkrun. The summer heat appears to agree with PBers Sharyn Gordon, Bonnie McClellan, Maria Ialacci, Kriti Bhargava, Anna Damm, David Bolin, Caroline Molieri, and Emily Jensenius.

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Young Mr. Ian Parsons earned his red shirt by completing his 50th parkrun, and at age 13 he is by far the youngest person to do it at College Park. Roughly a third the age of the the second youngest. I would know. Trini Molina is halfway there at 25. Reaching 10 this week: Brent Bolin, Jackie Hayes, Daniel Bartolo, Anna Damm, Daysi Cruz, and Pete Monacell. And a big group hit 5: John Jensenius, Nathan Widman, Lilly Ridge, Diego Aguilera Kelley, Lucas Aguilera Kelley, Maria Serrano, Berania Lopez, David Gang, and  Caroline Molieri. Keep it up! Those red shirts are waiting for us all.

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We said goodbye (until they come back to visit!) to some great people who have enriched our community. Lara Ehrenhofer is moving on after completing a PhD and Sabrina Alam is returning to France after spending the summer working at NASA and bringing so many people with her to our parkrun. Sabrina bravely volunteered this week after a harrowing week recovering from a concussion. We wish her well and hope for a full recovery.

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It takes an ever larger cast of people to pull off this event as the crowds grow larger. This is a good problem to have and we solve it every time with wonderful volunteers. Martha Askarov, Lucy Bills, and Calvin and Violet Ridge sorted the finish tokens (and enjoyed some games) at The  Board and Brew. Ryan Chelton and Larry Washington managed timing. Jacob Foley pulled double duty. After escorting daughter Colette through the finish he donned the yellow vest and helped scan our near record number of finishers with Sabrina. Thanks to Jim Cantwell, Kayla Hayes, Colin Phillips, Hump Plotts, Tim Ramsey, Lisa Wilson, and Andrea Zukowski as well for pitching in this week.

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This was my fourth time as run director and I might be getting the hang of it. We’ll see if they let me do it again.

Thanks and happy running!

Clark Ridge

 

 

Like a box of chocolates (Run Report #93)

 

“Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.”
Forrest Gump, 1994

Between the 93 official parkruns and 33 proto-parkruns, we’ve now been meeting up on the Paint Branch Trail every Saturday morning for 126 weeks. Andrea and I are there every time that we’re in town. You might think it would get boring and repetitive, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. When we pack up the car and leave for Acredale Park on a Saturday morning we have little idea of who we’re going to meet.

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Well, we do know some things. We know who the volunteers for the day will be. We know that Lisa and Hump will almost always be the first people we meet, helping to set up and then heading off down the course before most people arrive. We can be pretty confident that we’ll see Frank Filteau. Occasionally somebody has told us that they’ll be coming along, or we’ve made plans with them because they’re celebrating a parkrun milestone. But aside from that we really don’t know. Around half will be regulars who are now like old friends, but we don’t know which regulars. Some will be more recent parkrunners - sorry if we recognize you but don’t know your name yet. 10-20 will be first timers, often easy to spot if they clutching a barcode printout and wondering what to do with it. We love meeting newcomers and learning about your story. Often first-timers come along with friends or family who make introductions. We love seeing people return after their first visit, bringing their kid or their mom. Sometimes we’ll see somebody who we haven’t seen in a long while. Hey, welcome back! And sometimes we meet visitors from far away who are in College Park only because of the parkrun. The parkrun tourists generally arrive a little early, so we have a bit more chance to chat with them.

All of these things happened this week. Lots of old and new friends, and lots of surprises. It was just wonderful!

On a warm but good-for-July morning we saw the biggest crowd yet for a ‘normal’ Saturday, with 143 finishers and 15 volunteers.

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One person who we knew we’d see was Cindy Feld, celebrating her 50th parkrun. Cindy is a smiling, helpful, positive presence anytime that she joins us, and she looked resplendent in the red 50 sash. To mark the occasion, Steve Feld baked lemon bars (yum!), and he ran with Cindy rather than ahead of her (security detail!), and Cindy brought along a couple of friends to celebrate with her. Also, Andrea baked two of her delicious parkrun cakes, one of which survived until Cindy had caught her breath.

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Another special guest was Pam Marcus from our sister parkrun in Kensington. Our second biggest crowd of 2018 was back in January when we gave a send off to the Kensington crew as they headed off to create a parkrun community on the Rock Creek Trail. They have been meeting every week since then, and hundreds of people have taken part. It was great to see Pam back on the Paint Branch Trail, meeting old and new friends. And also great to see her able to run again after injuries.

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We also had guests from far away. Fred Babumbo Lukwago is a South African doctor who called in on us one year ago. He normally parkruns at Uvongo parkrun, which runs along the Indian Ocean. This week Fred was back, this time bringing his wife Sarah and their two sons. Sarah did her first ever parkrun. In College Park, of all places, and she had every reason to feel good about it.

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Tim Waggett joined us from Buckingham parkrun in the UK, where he has run 138 times. Tim learned why we appreciate our summer shade so much, and why we love The Board and Brew.

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We also had THREE parkrun transplants from Oxford, UK this week. John Jensenius is a recent regular whose 85 parkruns put him in the hunt to be the first CP regular to earn a black 100 shirt. This week John came with a stroller, allowing Emily Jensenius to run with us for the first time (welcome Emily!). Both John and Emily used to run at Oxford parkrun. Meanwhile, a few seconds ahead of Emily was Jorge Santin, who also recently moved here from Oxford. But Jorge was a regular at Oxford’s “other” parkrun, Harcourt Hill parkrun, which Nick Huang visited last year. Small world!

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In other cool stroller-related stories, Erica Barnhardt set a PB. Without a stroller. Last week she was pushing the stroller while husband John was setting a PB. This week John had the stroller. That’s teamwork.

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You’re free to run or walk at whatever pace suits you. But it’s great when consistency pays off and you set a PB. 21 people did that this week. One of our favorites was Kim Fisher, who also had a big birthday a couple of days ago, and showed that 60 is no barrier to parkrun PBs. Kim was already a regular in the days before we were an official parkrun, when there were often just 6-8 people, no volunteers, no timing, and we kind of fudged the distance. She used to say, “Don’t wait for me at the finish, I’ll be too slow.” (We waited, of course.) How cool to see her a couple of years later running most of the way, with plenty of company, and over 50 people following her. Fantastic, Kim!

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Others with PBs included Cotter Rosenberg, who’s edging close to 20 minutes and leaving his old man well behind. And Kalonji Collins, who this week brought his mother-in-law and father-in-law along. Welcome back Alice (PB!) and welcome Bill. For a long time Jim Cantwell was mostly volunteering rather than running, but recently he has been on a running streak, and it’s great to see him progressing. Meanwhile, Lauren Strothers, Dominique Lisiero, Brian Koen, and Kim Bills are on PB streaks.

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We welcomed 24 first-timers with barcodes this week, and a few more without barcodes. The first-timers’ briefing was quite busy. This week’s first timers included John Rigg, recently elected as a College Park city councilman. This makes 6 of 9 city elected officials that are now parkrunners. Yet more evidence of a healthy community. Another notable first-timer was Sharyn Gordon. Husband Kirk Gordon is a regular, to put it mildly, having completed 85 parkruns already. But this week Sharyn did her first, at a speedy walk, and with a beaming smile. Welcome Sharyn!

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As you perhaps know, our advertising budget is the same as our entry fee, i.e., $0. So the marketing department is you, the satisfied parkrunners. Thanks for spreading the word and introducing us to your friends and family.

In addition to the official parkrun milestones, we like to give a shout out to folks who reach notable steps along the way. This week Gloria Cottman did her 25th parkrun. Bud Verge, John Giamalva, and Daniel Walker all did their 10th. And new 5-club members were Rebecca Purvis, Tim Purvis, Robin Walukonis, Dexter Guillaume, Niko Eidson, Isaac Scott, Susan H., and Brian Koen.

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College Park parkrun wouldn’t be what it is without the wonderful volunteers that give the event its warmth and fuzziness every week. Give it a try some time. It doesn’t feel like a sacrifice, more a fun way to create something good. So many people helped out, making my role as Run Director really very easy. Lisa and Hump took care of you out on the course. Shortly before the start Lisa called to warn about a slippery section of trail -- she’s our final course check every week. And we got a message from Hump that he had a bowl of water for the barkrunners. Wonderful idea, and the pups are now part of Hump’s fan club. Win Persina, Joel Goldberg, Clare Imholtz, Tracey Huard, and Kayla Hayes were the finish line crew. Win helped me to lead the cheering section, too. When we saw the big crowd we knew that we’d need more barcode scanners, so as soon as Nick Huang and JJ Su finished, we handed them yellow vests, and they knew what to do. Sheila Wilson-Doby was your smiling tailwalker, and Andrea Zukowski was your roving paparazza. Jen Murphy and Steve Feld sorted a bigger-than-usual batch of tokens. And much to my relief, Nick Huang relieved me of the purple parkrun laptop and took care of the results processing in no time flat.

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As usual, we showed up at around 8:30, with nobody in the park. And by 10:15 everything was gone, with no trace of what had been happening a short while earlier. Well, except for the parkrunners doing Yoga in the Parks. If you haven’t tried this yet, there are a few more weeks to go.

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Note …

Do you receive Andrea’s email newsletter and volunteer update every week? There’s no obligation, it’s only once weekly, and it’s as charming as you’d expect from Andrea. You’re less likely to receive it if you started parkrunning in our first year. To sign up, login to your parkrun profile and update your preferences.

Do you like our photos? Each week we (... “royal we”) sort and edit our favorites from the 1000+ that we generally start with. We share them on our Facebook page, but you can also find them on our Flickr feed. Here’s the link to this week’s set.

Do you receive the parkrun USA newsletter on Friday mornings? It’s a once-weekly email with inspiring stories and news about parkrun to get you in the mood for the weekend. If you don’t receive it, then login to your parkrun profile and update your email preferences.

See you next week.

Colin Phillips
co-Event Director

 

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New friends (Run Report #92)

As you read in last week’s run report, and as I mentioned in my briefing pre-run, it had been a little while since I’ve joined the fun at College Park parkrun. While Jennifer and I had a blast traveling and visiting parkrun across the pond, there really is no place like home. From the looks of it, College Park parkrun has been in very good hands. The community continues to grow, and we got to meet so many new people this week.

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We had 15 parkrunners join us for the first time this week. I love that! There were some great stories from some of those first timers. Two of these came from the team of Chimere and Peter Ighodaro Omoigui. The threat of rain was not stopping this duo from running their very first 5K. Greeting them at the finish were a couple dozen of their new friends and, of course, the PB bell, which they rang triumphantly. We learned that they first visited us a year ago when Peter’s sister Ruth, a London-based parkrunner, ran with us. Then they were spectators. So great to see them back this week as participants.

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Another first timer, at least to College Park, was Chris Heagy. I was able to meet Chris after he completed his run. He and his wife, Rebecca, had previously attended Leakin Park parkrun. They are working on running a 5K each month. Thanks for sharing your morning with us, Chris and Rebecca. parkrun is so accessible that it’s a great place to accomplish a goal like this.

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More of this week’s first-timers came with family and friends. Duane and Cotter Rosenberg are regulars, and this week they were joined by Nicholas, freshly arrived from California. They ran into each other on the trail just as Andrea was there to take their picture. Ryan Chelton brought along his dad, Shawn. Summer resident Sabrina Alam brought along a few friends, including Muyiwa Adeyeye and Stephany Paredes Mesa. And Kim and Lucy Bill brought along their friends Martha, Max, and Nozomi.

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I’m looking forward to seeing all the first timers again and continuing to get to know you.

There was some fun by those more seasoned parkrunners, too. Our first finisher was Ryan Chelton in a time of 18:43. When he finished, Ryan thought he just missed his PB by 2 seconds. Well, Ryan, it was even closer than that! Just one second. I have a feeling he’ll be ringing the PB bell soon. A few people that did cross the line with a new PB were: Dominique Lisiero, Cathy Madsen, Elizabeth Bast, and Matt Miller. Great stuff everyone.

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No official milestones this week, but lots of people reached interim milestones. Judy Mulusa and Susan Whitney both joined our unofficial 25-timer club. Jonathan Garcia became a 10-timer. And *seven* parkrunners joined the 5-timer group: Sabrina Alam, Isaac Scott, Ryan Chelton, Ryan Kneapler, Sheila Wilson-Doby, Torey Bryant, and Jaime Garay.

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A few parkrunners also made it a double day by running the Montgomery County Road Runners Matthew Henson Trail 5k, then making the trek to College Park in time for parkrun. Cindy Cohen and Adam Kiely represented the parkrun community well at both events. Word has it, there were a few that did the same at the Kensington parkrun. Fantastic!

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As with each week, none of this would be possible without the help of our hi-vis volunteer crew. The fantastic crew of finish line timers: Win Persina and Larry Washington. Amanda Mercer was in charge of finish tokens, one week after earning her own 50 shirt. Will Bobseine and Dale Morey made sure everyone’s barcodes were scanned. Course Marshal at the Golf Course was, of course, Hump Plotts, and Lisa Wilson as Turn Around Marshal. Tail walkers were Helena Santos-Collins and Sam Collins - they brought Grandma Alice to join the fun this week. First timers briefing - a much needed task this week with so many first timers - was Andrea Zukowski. Helena, Lisa, and Andrea took photos on the course, while Jennifer Murphy helped take finish line photos with Colin Phillips. We also got some help at Board and Brew from Gus Campbell as token sorter and Eric London as results processor. Thank you, everyone! If you can spare some time, please consider joining this amazing crew.

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For a full set of pictures from this week, check out our Flickr album here.

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And thanks for continuing to spread the word. We spend 100% of our entry fees on advertising, i.e., $0. Most people who join us do so because of friends, family and colleagues who encourage them to come along.

And we are especially happy to welcome walkers to our community. There’s a new piece this week in the parkrun USA blog (“Come walk with us!”) that features some familiar faces from College Park.

Looking forward to seeing everyone again soon!

Brian Murphy

 

 

Big family! (Run Report #91)

Andrea and I were visiting with my family in the UK this past week. It has been a couple of years since we were all together, so it was long overdue. In some ways we felt far away from the College Park parkrun family, but in other ways it was like we were right there.

On Friday as we were sitting down to dinner, the volunteer roster was still looking a little sparse. I was a little worried. “Don’t worry”, said Andrea, “The community will come through.” Sure enough, by the time we woke up Saturday morning (still the dead of night in Maryland), there were ample offers of volunteers.

As is now usual, a few community members were taking pictures on Saturday morning (thanks Anna, Lisa, Ben, and Cindy!). No special skills needed. Just take lots and we’ll pull out the ones that came out well. After sorting and editing the photos, it feels like the next best thing to actually being there.

With family on my mind this week, I was struck by how many families are enjoying College Park parkrun together. And how many groups we see that feel like family.

Amanda Mercer celebrated her 50th parkrun this week, and got to wear the red 50-sash. She was joined by many friends from her Prince George’s Running Club family.

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Alyssa Heintzelmann also reached an official parkrun milestone. For under 18s the first official (= free t-shirt!) milestone is after only 10 runs. College Park parkrun is a family affair for Alyssa, as she generally comes along with her dad Dave.

Two people joined our unofficial 25-run club. Both first joined us late last fall and have been impressively consistent since then. For the past couple of weeks Sheilah Kast has been helping out with the post-parkrun yoga. And Elmer Hernandez has been bringing along a growing group of friends and family to join on the trail every Saturday.

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Four parkrunners joined our unofficial 10-run club, which now has 180 members. In all cases there was a family connection. Brent Bolin ran with his son David for the first time. Alyssa Heintzelmann came with her dad. Pete Monacelli ran with his wife Catherine. And John Barnhardt blazed a PB thanks to his wife Erica, who this week was the one pushing the stroller.

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This week’s 24 first timers included a lot of family connections, too. Welcome to the Schneiders. Erin ran ahead while Joshua followed the course with their daughter Samantha. Stacy Tobing brought her daughter Asiya. David Bolin came with his dad Brent. And Michael and Alison Contreras enjoyed the trail together.

Rune Horvik was a first-timer at College Park, though he has run often at Anacostia parkrun in DC. Rune learned about parkrun from a friend who organizes a parkrun event in Missouri.

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It’s great to see the many new faces who have been joining us, including lots of people who are walking the trail. As you know, you’re just as much a parkrunner whether you walk, run, or volunteer. I recently wrote an article for the parkrun USA blog about walking at parkrun. If you have friends who are worried that they might be too slow to fit in, maybe share this piece with them.

Many of this week’s 21 PBs also had a family angle. Cotter Rosenberg comes regularly with his dad Duane. Bonnie McClellan often joins her husband Mike, our May parkrunner of the Month. Elizabeth Bast was speedier than usual this week because she was not pacing her 6-year old son Silas. John Barnhardt set a speedy new PB because his wife Erica was pushing their son in his stroller. Caroline Molieri and Catherine Calvi came with the Fit for Christ group, which provides a family like level of support to other group members.

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Abdur Rahman-Quadri seems to get faster every time he volunteers. Last week he was timekeeper again, and so this week he ran faster. Ryan Chelton was perhaps pulled to a PB by speedsters Travis Boltjes and Clark Ridge. Ryan does interesting work for the City of College Park on economic development. Joel Goldberg returned from doing a triathlon last weekend. David Gang is on a roll, with a 3rd PB in 3 outings. Same for Daniel Ju, Ana Diaz, Nolvia Vasquez, and Adriana Hernandez. Great progress, everybody!

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The volunteer crew also had a family flavor. Run Director Jim Parsons was helped in volunteering by his sons Ian and Thomas, both of whom also ran. A couple of weeks ago we were celebrating Jim’s 50th run, and Ian is about to reach the same mark. Lisa Wilson and Hump Plotts ensured your safety on the course. Steve Feld was a timekeeper, and Cindy Feld went and joined the photography crew shortly after completing her 49th parkrun. All of the volunteers are valued members of our growing parkrun family: Ben Brosch (tailwalker), Frank Filteau (timing), Alexander Keller and Cathy Madsen (tokens and scanning), Anna Tinnemore (photos), Clark Ridge (equipment and setup), and Nick Huang (results guru).

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It is wonderful to see how smoothly everything went in College Park, since many of our team was on tour elsewhere with other parts of our extended parkrun family.

Brian and Jen Murphy called in on Ally Pally parkrun in north London. (The name is a local term of endearment for Alexandra Palace, former home of the BBC.) There they met up with Karen Harris and Paul Martelletti, London-based New Zealanders who had visited us at College Park parkrun a year ago. (You might recall Paul setting the parkrun USA record when they visited; he also set the Ally Pally record this week.) Brian and Jen also got to meet Karen’s friend Jenny, who is part of the team at the new Rome parkrun in Italy, where our family had met her when we visited last month.

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Meanwhile closer to home, at our sister parkrun in Kensington, MD they were having a “Bring a Friend (or two or three) Day”. Nick Huang went along as Event Director Pam Marcus’s friend. And he took with him fellow Singaporean (and last week’s run director) JJ Su. Of course, the two of them could not resist a little parkrun voluntourism, and could be found sorting finisher tokens in Java Nation afterwards.

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And for Andrea and me we were enjoying a lovely weekend with family in England, which also inevitably included some parkrunning. It was my little brother Robin who first introduced Andrea to parkrun (... and the rest is history, as they say). And my sister-in-law Linda was part of the team that first brought parkrun to the city of Bristol 7 years ago. On our two weekends in the West of England they introduced us to two of their favorite events, and we were not disappointed.

One weekend we called in at Burnham and Highbridge parkrun. We loved the out-and-back course along the shore. We also enjoyed meeting run director Sue Nicholls, who only started running at age 63 and then found she has quite the talent, becoming one of the fastest in the country in the 70+ age group.

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This past weekend we called in at Southwick Country parkrun in Trowbridge, where they were holding their 360th event. This parkrun left us feeling quite warm and fuzzy. This week many of  the 200 participants were running wearing helmets, part of an initiative to support a brain tumor charity. One of their regulars had run wearing a helmet for a long time while recovering from brain surgery. As a first-timer I got to ring their PB gong. Well, I actually delegated that to my niece. We loved their post-parkrun cafe, which is right next to the finish, and is run by and for adults with learning disabilities. And to cap it all off, right next to the cafe is a petting zoo with lots of cute animals to please parkrunners of all ages. What’s not to like!

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It’s looking like another really nice weekend ahead. We’re looking forward to seeing everybody on the Paint Branch Trail on Saturday morning. Followed by your choice of Yoga in the Parks or The Board and Brew. Perfect.

Colin Phillips
Co-Event Director, propagandist

 

 

Hello, I’m a first-timer! (Run Report #90)

“Hello, I’m a first timer”, I probably said that to another parkrunner a year or so ago at event #34. Fast forward to event #90. The day was graced with lovely weather, and it brought a big crowd, one of our largest yet for a ‘normal’ Saturday. As a first timer Run Director this week, I was ready to see our weekly event from a new perspective.

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I have been a regular runner, and I have volunteered in many different roles, but I had never been tasked with overseeing all of the different pieces that need to work for everything to go off smoothly. There were really a lot of things happening, and it was over before I knew it. From setting up the gear (thanks to Clark for storing and delivering it), to starting the event on time (apologies to those of you who weren’t expecting this), to countless conversations with volunteers and participants, to my first time in the driver’s seat processing the results (thanks to Chris for helping, and to Andrea for some key guidance from an ocean away). I was grateful for the wonderful opportunity to be a steward of the goodwill that the team has built so far. With this experience I now have a deeper appreciation of what the people who have come before me have done to make the event such a dear one.

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Among the many first timers this week, there were two Alex(es). Allister Alexander, and Alexandra Minicozzi, who finished as a first timer together with her daughter. Catherine Calvi and her big family, who came in with the tail walkers, also joined the first timer club this week. We also welcomed back the parkrunners who we haven’t seen in a while: Lisa Chilcote returned, bearing cake! It disappeared rather quickly. Thanks Lisa!

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No official milestones this week, but Amanda Mercer will join the parkun 50 club if she turns up next Saturday. Kirk Gordon and Jim Parsons both already joined the 50 club, but this week they ran at CP for the 50th time. Eduardo Valente ran at CP for the 25th time, and Trini Molina did her 25th parkrun. Two reached their first double-digit (10) run: Astrid Salguero, Jim Cantwell (PB!). A number of runners also reached the unofficial 5 club: Tara McLoughlin, Erika Barnhardt, Raphael Benitez, John Scott, George Myers, Carlos Chaverri, Sean Turner, Tina Heineman (PB!), and Jing Geng. We just love seeing new people come along and become regular members of our growing community.

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In terms of PBs and other speediness. Jim Cantwell cut 4 minutes from his PB! Great to see him finish his 10th run. He has volunteered 11 times already. Timothy Purvis: 4 PBs in 4 visits! Same for Tina Heineman, and for Pai-Kai Yeh. 3rd PB in 3 visits for Pratima Hebbar. Rebecca Purvis lowered her PB by 23 minutes. We suspect that she may have been holding back on previous visits. Lots of second timers are showing faster times. David Gang, a second timer dropped almost two minutes from his first visit, and achieved a PB in 10th position overall. All of you get a chance to ring the PB bell next time out if you have not done so already!

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Finally, I want to say a big thank you to all the people who joined me as a volunteer, and also to those who helped out in your own way at event #90. So many people helped out. Lisa and Hump kept us on course, as they so often do. Jackie and Kayla Hayes took care of tokens. Clare Imholtz and Abdur Rahman-Quadri handled timing. Great to have old hands on that one. Erin Munsell and Yancira Amaya handled scanning. Tara McLaughlin and Lori Dominic teamed up on tailwalking and photography duties, and Xinzi He also took pictures at the finish. Check out our Facebook or Flickr pages to see the cool things that they captured. Clark and Violet Ridge helped with gear, tokens, and more, and Chris McGranahan held my hand for results processing. Andrea Zukowski and Colin Phillips were away on holiday in England, doing a little parkrun tourism themselves, but they were still keeping busy from afar. I was really glad to join you and the rest of the parkrunners on a cool summer day.

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See you again soon on #parkrunday (every Saturday)!

JJ Su
First-time Run Director

 

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You work with what you’ve got (Run Report #89)

“You work with what you’ve got.”

I love this bit of wisdom from author John Green. I find it a really useful motto for myself these days. I’ve put on 15 pounds in the past year, after being hit with one after another typical runner afflictions. For months I have not been able to run as fast as I want, or as far as I want, and running just feels… hard. So lately I have consciously slowed way down, and now I can keep running for longer and truly enjoy it again.

Working with what you’ve got would be an appropriate motto for parkrun too. If you wait to be in ideal shape, or wait for perfect running weather, you’d spend most of your time waiting rather than running. Since parkrun offers a 5K event every single week, through all kinds of weather, it’s a great reminder to just do it, and keep doing it! Consistency always pays off in the long run.

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At our 89th parkrun on June 30th, the non-ideal running conditions were all about the HEAT. So we brought the canopy and some nice cold water, and we encouraged everyone to slow way down. And you did! I am happy to report that there were only 3 PBs last week, and 0 hot weather casualties! Credit where credit is due though: hats off to Lilly Ridge, who earned a PB while pushing Felix in a stroller, and to Von Skaggs, who earned a PB after biking to parkrun from Greenbelt with his dad Derek (a nice little father-son duathlon to start their weekend). Second timer Helen Samerson earned the third PB (we love second timers, beause it means you enjoyed your first visit!). Congratulations to all of you!

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No one earned an official milestone shirt last week, but several people made it into our unofficial College Park consistency clubs. Aileen Kroll ran her 25th College Park parkrun this week, Samuel Collins, Michelle Branch, and Yvette Takukong all completed their 10th, and Constantino Patricio finished his 5th. You all realize you are hooked now, right? There are worse things you could be addicted to.

We also had some visitors last week. Pete Scolls and daughter Amy Scholes were visiting from Edinburgh. Pete has done an impressive 323 parkruns, and he confidently declared College Park his hottest! Both Pete and Amy also lent a hand with setup and timekeeping today. Max and Tom Gort visited from Rochester, MN. They are friends of regular parkrunner Paul Wester, who didn't know they would be showing up. Paul had a double take when he saw his friends in our social media post later that day.

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There would be no College Park parkrun without the help of about 10 parkrunners every week who agree to skip the run themselves, and put on a snazzy yellow vest. If you enjoy parkrun, and haven’t volunteered much, what are you waiting for? It’s just as much fun as running parkrun, with less sweating. How can you volunteer? You can email me any time at collegeparkhelpers@parkrun.com. Do you get my weekly volunteer appeal, that tells you what roles still need filling for the next parkrun? If not, look at any parkrun results email, and follow the instructions on how to ‘opt in’ to volunteer appeals.

We love all of our volunteers. But of special note on June 30th was Lisa Wilson. I’ll bet you didn’t know that Lisa was at the turn-around spot at 7:15 AM that morning, waiting to meet some Parks people to arrange some clean-up of the gunk on the trail from recent storms. The Parks people got called away to an emergency involving a nearby bridge, so they never made it. Thank you, Lisa, for everything you do to keep our parkrun running smoothly!
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Here is full volunteer crew from June 30th. Please follow their good example the next time you get a chance!

Lisa Wilson, who went above and beyond today, for the umpteenth time

Hump Plotts, who has the most awesome retirement t-shirts

Win Persina, who wields a mean bullhorn during the first timer’s briefing

Larry Washington, a regular steady hand at timekeeping

Amy Scholes, who came along with dad to do timekeeping

Pete Scolls, who took over from Amy after he finished running, so she could get some relief from the shade (and do yoga)

Xinzi He, who has alternated running and volunteering from her earliest visits

Nick Huang, our on-call results processing wizard

JJ Su, who has done it all, many times, and has now been inducted into our RD pool

Kim Fisher, who is always ready to do whatever we need (this week it was tokens)

Mark Shroder, regular tail walker

Colin Phillips, who does a hundred things for parkrun every week; thank him for almost all of the photo postings and captioning that you see on Facebook

 

Because I am writing this run report about a week late, Event #90 has already happened. JJ Su was kind enough and brave enough to step up as Run Director on July 7th, despite most of the rest of the core volunteer team being away. He did an amazing job, and I am super proud of both him and the wonderful volunteer crew that all stepped in to help things run smoothly for his debut. Huge thanks also go to Clark Ridge, who had to deliver all of the gear with 2 kids in tow!

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We hope to see you next week!

-Andrea Zukowski, your friendly neighborhood parkrun enthusiast

 

 

 

 

Summer Kickoff (Run Report #88)

102 walkers and runners celebrated the first parkrun of the summer. Three of our parkrunners wore the 50 milestone sash. We congratulated a junior runner for his 10th milestone. And we said happy birthday to five of our College Park parkrun regulars. We welcomed nine first-timers, one local area tourist, extended parkrun family members, and are grateful to the thirteen volunteers.

It was one of those DC summer days when you're not quite sure whether it's raining or just very humid. But that failed to dampen our spirits. The wet overnight had made the upper section of the trail rather slick, and just as folks were lining up for the start, we got a call from ace marshal Lisa warning us of the slippery trail. So we quickly switched to a less hazardous double out-and-back course. Lisa Wilson raced to our backup turnaround, and Clark Ridge set off carrying a cone to use as a marker in case he got there before Lisa did. (She narrowly beat him. Thanks to the lengthy announcements.) We hope to be back on the full course next week, but the double out-and-back was a fun variation, allowing for a whole lot more chances to greet other parkrunners.

Eddie Matus, Jim Parsons, and John Ramsey all achieved their 50 run milestones and soon will be sporting their new red shirts. Jim has been with College Park parkrun from the beginning, he's part of the core team of run directors, and he's a dedicated youth running coach. So it was fitting that Jim marked his 50th run by accompanying a speedy local under 11 around the course. Eddie and John are stalwart members of Prince George's Running Club. Eddie first joined us in Thanksgiving 2016, and John didn't start until last April, but he wasted no time in getting his first 50 runs in. John also holds the distinction of having set more PBs (12) than any other male parkrunner at College Park.

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Samuel Collins completed his 10th parkrun, walking with his dad Kalonji, who also met all requirements for the 10-parkrun club, aside from being under 18. Samuel reached this milestone just one week after his sister Hannah did the same. Their mom, Helena, told us that the family was recently traveling in Paris where they did a lot of walking, helped by the fitness gained at parkrun.

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We celebrated birthdays of veteran parkrunners. Amanda Mercer did her 47th parkruns on her 47th birthday. Also, Mark Shroder (29 parkruns, today's tailwalker), Larry Washington (25 parkruns, today's timekeeper), and Steve Feld (51 parkruns, today's co-Run Director). are within a couple of days of their birthday. Happy Birthday to all.

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We welcomed nine College Park first timers. Welcome to Abbie, Robert, Chibuike, Ben, Corry, George, Angelie, Carnmen, and Jessica.

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As usual, the parkrun tourists at College Park parkrun are an elite and discerning bunch. John Duffy, who usually runs Fletcher's Cove, came over to College Park to give a our parkrun a trial run. Adrian Dover visited us from Newent parkrun in the UK. Adrian is such a regular visitor -- this was his 9th time -- that we're more like his holiday home parkrun. Oh, and it was also his 150th parkrun. Just 100 more to earn your green shirt, Adrian!

We like to give a shout out to folks who are reaching unofficial milestones. Evan Hirsche did his 25th College Park parkrun (he has done a few elsewhere too). 6 more people joined our unofficial 10-timer club: Win Persina (PB!), Enrique Jograj, Farrah Darbouze, Will Bobseine, Kalonji Collins, and Joel Goldberg. And 5 more joined our unofficial 5-club: Kate Kennedy, Bill Bystricky, Mike Ashford, Carolyn Kelley, and John Giamalva. Better yet, almost all of these folks either brought a friend or family member to parkrun. Perfect!

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We saw an unusually high number of PBs - 19 this week. And this wouldn't be due to perfect running conditions. Not even close. Mayor Duane Rosenberg further lowered his age 65+ age-category record, though it's still a few seconds shy of his PB set before his birthday. Win Persina pushed her PB even faster than it already was. Kim Fisher is improving by leaps and bounds. A few weeks ago we noted her beating 40 minutes for the first time. This week she was under 37 minutes. Great job, Kim! Sabrina Alam, John Scott, Pai-Kai Yeh, Nico Eidson, Jing Geng, Mark Allen, and Ryan Chelton all set their 3rd PB in 3 visits. Reggie Doby did the same, and he and Sheila Wilson-Doby set his 'n hers PBs. Abdur Rahman-Quadri has been volunteering as timekeeper every week during Ramadan and this week returned to knock almost a minute from his PB. Volunteering does make  you faster! We thank the parkrun volunteers for this week Yancira, Beverly, Jim, Steve, Cindy, JJ, Larry, Lisa, Andrea, Colin, Mark, Nick, and Hump.

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We are very happy to have our College parkrun founders Andrea and Colin back with us.  They spent a few weeks in Italy and of course ran a parkrun in Rome!  Andrea and Colin, we so missed your smiles and enthusiasm!  Welcome back!

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And most of all we love all the smiles every week at College Park parkrun!

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Some other newsy items ...

  1. Free post-parkrun yoga was canceled this week due to weather, but it should be back on next week.
  2. Congratulations to our northern neighbor Leakin Park parkrun (West Baltimore) for reaching its 1-year anniversary this week. If you haven't been up to Baltimore yet to check them out, we highly encourage it. Leakin Park is one of Maryland's hidden gems, and the community at LP parkrun is wonderful.
  3. Know of anybody in Ann Arundel County who might be interested in having a parkrun up there? Let us know. Mark Allen, who pushed his son's stroller to a new PB this week, is working on creating an event there.
  4. Got friends in Ann Arbor, MI or central NJ (New Brunswick area). In both of these areas there are now regular weekly run/walk meetups, aiming to create a parkrun. Drop us a line if you know of anybody who might be interested in getting involved or taking part.

Can't wait to see all of you next week!

Cindy Feld
Co-Run Director

 

Father’s Day + bring back finish tokens! (Run report #87)

[Announcement: We want our finish tokens back! We have noticed that some of our finish tokens haven't come back. If you have accidentally brought home one of them, please bring them back the next time. The tokens are not souvenirs for completing the course -- we reuse them every week!]

 

We are only a couple of weeks into June, but summer turnout numbers so far have been really encouraging: more than 100 parkrunners for the past three events. This past weekend, we had 99 -- shall we just round that up and call it another three-digit turnout?

 

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On this Father's Day weekend, 15 "official" first-timers (i.e. signed up on the website) braved the heat to join us: Tyler Boltjes (who came in first together with his twin, College Park regular, Travis), Long Doan and V Senthep, pushing a stroller, Jay Davis, Juanita Henry, Samuel and Kameron CoferJohn Jensenius (previously a regular at Oxford parkrun in the UK), Nolvia Vasquez, Mariah Sim, Wesley Bryant, Teresa Casarrubias, Alice Santos, Art Ibers, and Roberto Saenz.

 

Travis and TylerTravis and Tyler Samuel and Cameron
V Senthep and Long Doan
Welcome Mariah (and baby)

 

We also celebrated official parkrun milestones for Hannah Collins and Chris McGranahan. Hannah joins the under-18 10-parkrun club, qualifying for a free white parkrun milestone T-shirt. She marked this occasion with a PB, lowering her time by just over a minute! (We should note that Joel Goldberg also completed his 10th parkrun, but we had to disqualify him from the official 10-club for age reasons ... but you are in good company, Joel!). Chris has been with this parkrun even before its official launch, and has volunteered in various capacities: run director, time keeper, barcode scanner, etc. And this past weekend, he was our first-timer briefer and stepped in to help Judy Mulusa with barcode scanning.

 

(We should also note that Hannah and Chris haven't done this all by themselves: Hannah is always here with her parents, Kalonji and Helena, while the McGranahans -- DebbieChris, Nina, and Sam -- have been active since the start of this parkrun.)

Congrats Hannah!Congrats Chris!

 

In other PB news, we had 14 PBs, pretty good, considering the heat. Ellen Hamilton broke the 40-minute barrier. Susan H set a second PB in two weeks, improving her time by almost 6 minutes. Carolyn Kelley and Jorge Aguilera pulled off similar feats, improving their times by almost 4 and 7 minutes respectively. I think our PB setters this week were pretty modest -- I don't think I heard the PB bell ring at all. You all know what to do next week...

 

Susan H

 

We are also sprinting toward several milestones. John Ramsey and Eddie Matus are both now at 49 parkruns (all at College Park!). Fellow PGRC member Amanda Mercer is right behind at 46 parkruns, as is Ian Parsons, who I believe is on track to become the first junior parkrunner to get to 50. Mike McClellan, our octogenarian parkrunner of the month for May, is halfway to 50. Ben Brosch, Xiao JiLisbeth Patricio, and Bud Verge joined the unofficial 5-club.

 

Eddie

 

Lastly, volunteers make parkrun possible. It's not too much time, and a lot of fun. You can even get a free purple parkrun T-shirt when you volunteer 25 times! Email us (collegeparkoffice@parkrun.com) if you are interested in volunteering.

 

Lisa and Hump in their new volunteer shirts -- happy 25th anniversary, by the way!

 

Chris McGranahan briefed our first-timers, as mentioned. Lisa Wilson and Hump Plotts got their purple volunteer T-shirts, which just arrived in the mail, and kept us all safe on the trail. Ben and Carolyn Brosch made sure no one was left behind. Abdur-Rahman Quadri and Janice Bernache were our time-keepers, Nina McGranahan handed out tokens, Judy Mulusa and Chris McGranahan scanned tokens, Valerie Silensky sorted tokens after, and JJ Su helped with troubleshooting results processing. Kim Fisher, Lisa, Ben / Carolyn, and myself took photos. Special thanks to Lisa and Hump and Jim and Thomas Parsons for taking care of the equipment and setting up, and to Andrea Zukowski and Colin Phillips for taking care of volunteer coordination and communications all the way from Italy, where they somehow managed to survive a Saturday morning without a parkrun!

 

Wonderful volunteers

The photo on the left is a composite image, which is why the trees look funny

 

See you soon,

Nick Huang
Run Director

 

After the flood (Run Report #86)

There have been floods of our beloved parkrun trail in the past but none had compared to the deluge that engulfed nearly the entire trail and surrounding area on the Sunday previous. Several trepidatious scouting expeditions were performed throughout the week and on the morning of the event to check the condition of the path. Save a bit of sand and dirt, the trail seemed none the worse for wear though we are still starting 40 yards into the soccer field to make up for our cordoned off turn-around.

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We had two impressive milestones to acknowledge this week as Yancira Amaya crossed the line for the 50th time and wore the (not compulsory, but always fashionable) sash to mark the occasion. We also celebrated JJ Su’s 25th time volunteering with a new purple cape and mask to indicate the super-hero like dedication displayed in earning the traditional purple t-shirt. The cape and mask will be used again in short order as we have a few more approaching their 25th service to parkrun. Franz Wien is halfway to a 10 timer shirt this week. Keep it up!

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The typical humid DC summer weather did not deter the 119 brave finishers this week. We had 21 first timers and 12 personal bests to keep the cowbell ringing. Matthew Mullally returned to College Park after several months of frequenting the new Kensington parkrun to speed through the course with a PB by smashing through the 19 minute barrier. Ryan Chelton, Alex Brassel, Carlos Chaverri, John Scott, Susan H, Sabrina Alam, Natalie Miller all got PBs on their second efforts here. John Scott also came with his son Isaac Scott for his first time. A flustered run director forgot to welcome visitors but we did have a few. Toby White visited us all the way from Leeds, England with its many local parkrun events. Jennifer Bullock had her first foray into parkrun tourism with us as she visited from Durham, NC and brought greetings from the event director there, Julie Messina. I’m sure there were others and next time I promise a proper welcome. Visitors are always welcome!

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Some of our regulars were doing a spot of parkrun tourism themselves. Cindy Conant and her husband Carleton called in at Lees Road parkrun in the west of Ireland. It won’t surprise anybody that she set a bunch of records in the process. Meanwhile, Andrea Zukowski, Colin Phillips, and Zoe Phillips could be found at Roma Pineto parkrun in Rome, Italy. They reported that the Rome parkrun is hot, lumpy, and friendly. And having a start that involves running towards the dome of St Peters counts as fairly unique. With more and more places to parkrun on your travels, do let us know about your parkrun travels.

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The volunteers make this event happen every week. Deborah Levenson was on scanning with an assist from Jacob Foley who helped with the mid-run rush after finishing himself. Chris McGranahan notched his 24th time serving by briefing the first timers. Erin Munsell, Jennifer Murphy, Win Persina, and Abdur-Rahman Quadri, worked the finish and timing. Mark Shroder brought up the tail. JJ Su ran checked the trail on Friday and took photos. Stalwarts Lisa Wilson, Andrea Zukowski, Colin Phillips, Hump Plotts went above and beyond their usual roles this week helping an inexperienced RD and getting Yoga-in-the-Park going. Kim Fisher took start and finish photos. Nick Huang helped remotely to get results processed. Jim Parsons came in person to the Board and Brew to lend a hand to yours truly. All the help was immensely appreciated.

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Thanks to all.

Clark Ridge
Run Director

 

 

Now we are six (Run Report #85)

When I was One,
I had just begun.
When I was Two,
I was nearly new.
When I was Three
I was hardly me.
When I was Four,
I was not much more.
When I was Five,
I was just alive.
But now I am Six,
I'm as clever as clever,
So I think I'll be six now for ever and ever.

AA Milne, Now we are six.

 

Some numbers to mark the sixth birthday of parkrun USA.

This week 5-year old Charlie Foley did his 10th parkrun, reaching an official parkrun milestone for under 18s. (He also set a PB for good measure.) Congratulations, Charlie! Charlie is now the 6th member of the Foley family to be a 10 timer.

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Meanwhile, Charlie’s brother Jonathan did his 25th parkrun, halfway to earning a fancy red 50-club shirt. Jonathan is the 4th Foley to reach that mini-milestone. Others joining our unofficial 25-parkrun club yesterday were Violet Ridge, Xinzi He, and Anna Tinnemore.

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And Steve Feld became our latest member of the parkrun 50 club, for which he got to run in our lovely 50 sash. Steve first joined us on a rainy Christmas Eve 2016, for our smallest ever event. Another first-timer from that day was Adrian Dover, of Newent, UK, who was with us again for his 8th visit from afar (and his 149th parkrun, and another College Park PB!).

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Steve’s wife Cindy Feld baked delicious cookies for the celebration. She’s also one of FIVE of yesterday’s crowd who did their 47th-49th runs. Good thing we just ordered a second 50 sash.

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We also had 7 new members of our unofficial 5-parkrun club yesterday: Ellen Hamilton (PB!), Doug Meade, Justin Gorinson, Adam Brown, Daniel Bartolo, Lucy Bills, and Michael Cohen. Lucy brought her mom, and Michael brought his daughter. Perfect!

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We also reached a volunteering milestone. With this week’s 85th event, over 200 different people have volunteered to help make College Park parkrun free and friendly every week. Together they have volunteered over 1000 times. What a fantastic community! In this picture we have Abdur, who is volunteering every week during Ramadan. Chris and Debbie, who are two of the founders of College Park parkrun. Maia and her brother Alexander, who are sampling all the volunteer roles. And JJ, who next time out will join the official 25-volunteer club (purple shirt!).

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You can also volunteer and complete parkrun. This week Aileen Kroll led a busy first-timers briefing. Lisa Wilson welcomed everybody to the turnaround. Mark Shroder was tailwalker. Andrea Zukowski was roving paparazza and volunteer coordinator (and she wore her shiny new red 50 shirt with pride). Drop us a line if you can volunteer some time, with or without the running or walking. It’s easy, and it feels great. collegeparkhelpers@parkrun.com. If you’re not receiving our once-weekly email with news and updates, then login to your parkrun profile and signup for our volunteer newsletter.

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We had 14 named first timers this week, and a record number of “unknown runners”. If you’d like to be included in the results then please sign up online at parkrun.us -- it’s free -- and you can drop us a line to update your record for this week: collegeparkoffice@parkrun.com. But we also know that for various reasons some might want to enjoy a free 5k without having their name on a public website, and so feel free to participate anonymously. Do come and introduce yourself to us sometime, anyway.

We were thrilled to see so many people bringing along friends and family this weekend. Do keep spreading the word. One of my favorite first-timer stories was of Sabrina and Susan, NASA summer interns who are living in College Park for the summer. They found out about us via Sabrina’s aunt, a London-based parkrunner who visited us as a parkrun tourist last week. Sabrina is from London, Susan is from Vancouver, and they’re both astrophysicists based in Strasbourg, France. We never know who we’re going to meet when we show up on a Saturday morning.

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YOGA IN THE PARK. We’re excited to announce that from next Saturday (June 9th), we’ll be partnering with Prince George’s Parks to bring you FREE Yoga in the Parks every Saturday after parkrun. Run (or walk), rehydrate, then yoga. And then coffee at The Board and Brew if you’re up to it. No need to register, just show up. Please bring a mat if you have one, but we have a few spares.

For me, it was great to be back running at College Park parkrun this weekend. I only got to run once at College Park during February - May, due to a mix of work travels, injuries, and volunteering. In that time I was able to attend a parkrun every Saturday bar one, on a day when I was 800 miles from the nearest event. I got to run in lots of different places and meet interesting people. But there’s nothing like being at home, at a place where I recognize most people as we pass on the trail. It even makes the DC summer weather bearable.

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Happy trails!

Colin Phillips

Co-Event Director

 

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