Three words that define the summers in the D.C. area, and we certainly got a reminder of these words this week. However, College Park parkrun caught a bit of a break and - even though it was still a bit hot - had a cold front help take a bit of the nastiness out of the air for parkrun Saturday. The heat did not stop a fantastic crowd of 91 finishers at our 40th event. This helps tip us over 2500 runs completed at College Park - by more than 700 different people!
Hi - I'm Brian Murphy. I discovered parkrun at Fletcher's Cove in early 2016, together with my wife Jen. We visited College Park for one of the unofficial parkruns shortly before the launch, and we've been regular runners and volunteers since then. This was our first time in the Run Director role. I confess that getting up on Saturday wasn't the easiest, but from the moment that we got to the park and started meeting so many familiar and new faces, it was a blast.
We’re always impressed to see the number of new PBs on such warm days. Emily Flamm took 5 minutes from her PB on her 5th parkrun. Great stuff, Emily! Kate Murray, Gloria Cottman, and Letricia Avalhais are all on PB streaks right now. Kate’s daughter Orla Collins snuck under 30 minutes for the first time, and Judy Mulusa posted a PB on her 4th run. And although Jacqueline Hayes was a first-timer at College Park, she ran a full 10 minutes faster than her previous 6 visits to Fletcher’s Cove parkrun.
The warmer weather didn’t prevent some people from posting speedy times. Our regular speedster, Clark Ridge, showed up just as we said “Go!” and still managed a fast 18:49 at his 35th (!) parkrun, though this left him well behind 17-year old Matthew Laskowski, this week’s first finisher. Another notable is Jesse Melchiori, who has been edging closer and closer to the sub-20 minute mark, ran a new PB of 19:38 at his 9th parkrun. Great job, Jesse! Right behind him was first timer, Art Drisko, who came out to see if he was still able to break that same 20 minute mark. Pulled along by Jesse, Art was well under that mark at 19:41 - we think you’ve got years of sub-20s in front of you, Art. One more speedy note comes from the amazing Cindy Conant, who now has run 5 of the 6 total 90%+ age-graded times ever run in parkrun USA. Ellen Hamilton joined in the fun by setting a new age category record for VW65-69. Nice job, Ellen!
We say it all the time at parkrun: “it’s not a race!” People come out and set their own pace. Whether that’s pushing themselves to a new PB or enjoying a comfortable run or walk with friends. On a personal note, I love seeing this. I’ve been able to see my father-in-law Gus Campbell come out in all weather types to run a total of 33 parkruns (including a few playing parkrun tourist at Leakin Park and Fletcher’s Cove). It’s great to see him stay healthy and it’s great that Jen and I get to see him each week and catch up over parkrun and usually breakfast at The Board and Brew. If you are unsure if you’re “fast enough”, know that if you can walk or run 5K between 15 minutes and an hour and 15 minutes, you’ll fit right in.
First timers were also not dissuaded by the warm weather. We had a total of 16 first timers join us. First timers this week included Ben and Michael Lee, who were Googling local 5Ks and came across the free parkrun options so close to them - yes, we will always be free! We also had Patricia Shaffer and Leslie Keiser who saw us while walking on the trail last week and decided to join in the fun this week. Other first-timers this week included Yolanda and Michael Roberts, and Gloria and Ben Melson. We are happy to have all our first timers join our parkrun community! Come back and see us (we’re here every week), and don’t forget your barcode!
We welcomed a couple of parkrun travelers from New Zealand - did we mention that parkrun is a global community? - who have been hopping around the growing USA parkrun options. Savannah Hyssong and Dave Wooldridge (of Pegasus parkrun) have been to Livonia, Heritage Harbor, and now College Park parkruns in the US. As more people look to do similar parkrun tourism, they may have more options soon. We were happy to have on site Pam Marcus, who is looking to start a parkrun in Montgomery County, MD and Nick Young who is looking to start one at Fort Hunt, VA, close to Mt Vernon. We hope it works out, Pam and Nick, and we look forward to visiting!
Just as we were getting started our new parkrunner of the month joined us. With just one shoe on. We were so thrilled to present parkrunner of the month for July to Frank Filteau. Frank first joined us at our 20th parkrun, and has been a regular ever since. He now has a total of 19 parkruns, plus some volunteering. This despite the fact that he generally has to be at work by 10am on a Saturday. We had planned to present the award last week, but then it turned out Frank was away at Deep Run parkrun in Richmond, VA. Congrats Frank and thanks for bringing a positive attitude each week. And thanks also to The Board and Brew for sponsoring this award with a $25 gift card.
The community of parkrun USA is continuing to grow. This week we had another attendance record with 712 runners and walkers and 90 volunteers across the country. College Park regular Cindy Cohen has played a big role in these numbers. This week was her 49th parkrun, and she is slated to hit the big 50 parkrun milestone at her next parkrun event. Do join us to celebrate this achievement. Cindy is is also president of our partners the Prince George’s Running Club, so wear your club shirt if you’re a PGRC member.
In addition to the official parkrun milestones (10 for under 18s, 50 for grown-ups, 25 for volunteers), we always give a shout out to our parkrunners when they reach unofficial milestones at 5, 10, or 25 times at College Park. This week Larry Washington and Cindy Feld ran with us for the 10th time. And the new 5-timers were Bob Slevc, JJ Su, Cindy Conant, Emily Flamm, Catherine Jellison, and Suerken Matsuyama. It’s great that so many people are joining us regularly.
Some of our regulars were visiting other parkruns this week. Last week we found Nick Huang in Oxford, England. This week he was at East Coast parkrun in Singapore, where he ran into Scott Anderson, a regular at our neighbors Fletcher’s Cove parkrun in Washington DC. Small world. Chris Kujawa is summering at Livonia parkrun in Michigan, where he got another PB this week. Closer to home, we had a delegation at the new Leakin Park parkrun in Baltimore. Lisa Wilson and Hump Plotts, our stalwart course marshals, didn’t just visit -- they went and volunteered, too. Colin Phillips also went along to add to his collection of US parkruns. My family visited for their inaugural run, and we encourage you to check it out sometime.
Of course all of this would not be possible without all of our wonderful volunteers. The volunteers have just as much fun as the parkrunners (and they get less sweaty in the summer months), so if you are looking to help out, don’t be shy, and let us know. It takes just one minute to update your parkrun.com profile to opt-in to our once-weekly volunteer email. Thanks to the many of you who have already done this.
Golf course marshal this week was Jim Parsons, in the absence of Hump Plotts. Hump - your crossing was well managed this week. With Lisa Wilson also in Leakin Park, our turnaround marshals were Rachel Lukens and 3-year old Marty Lukens. Tail walker was Junjie (JJ) Su. Timing was in the capable hands of Kim Fisher and Jenn Augsburger. Finish tokens given out by Cindy Ricker. Cindy is Rachel’s mom, so we had three generations of the Lukens-Ricker family helping this week! Barcodes were scanned by Pam Marcus.
Last but not least we had absolutely wonderful photographs this week by Jen Murphy and Jonathan Bird, with more from Rachel and JJ. Jonathan’s collection of pictures of you running through the tunnel of trees is stunning. You should check them out, on our Flickr group or our Facebook page. We have super high resolution versions of Jonathan’s pictures from the tunnel of trees -- if you’d like a copy, please drop us a line at email@example.com.