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!).

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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.

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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.

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

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

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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.

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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!).

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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.

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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!

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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. ;)

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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.

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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!

JJ Su

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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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!

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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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

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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: collegeparkoffice@parkrun.com
  • 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.)]

 

Extended family (Run Report #97)

What a day! I don’t have to tell most of you that we have been dealing with a particularly hot and humid summer in the DC area this year. It seems like each Saturday as we’re lining up at the starting line, most of us are already sweating even before the run briefing has concluded. Well, summer let off the intensity a bit this week and we were greeted by a beautiful, low humidity day for our parkrun.

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The weather wasn’t the only thing we celebrated on Saturday. We had a couple birthdays happening on or about Saturday’s event. First was from our sister parkrun from down the road - Roosevelt Island parkrun celebrated their 2nd anniversary. Fittingly, they share it with the National Park Service (102 years old now). We also celebrated College Park’s mayor, Patrick Wojahn, who had his birthday earlier in the week. Patrick brought his mom, Karen, out to join us this week, too! Karen is based in Wisconsin, and she has joined us 2 other times, but this time she got to really see how much our community has grown. She even commented at the end, “When I came once before, I felt like I was the only walker. But now you have lots of walkers. It was great!"

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I also celebrated my birthday on Saturday. What better way than as parkrun Run Director, inviting my friends and family to join in the party. I put a call out through my connections, some that have joined a parkrun before and to others that have been saying for a while they wanted to try it out. From my sister, Beth, brother-in-law, Rob, sister-in-law, Jessica, father-in-law, Gus (of course Gus was there), and three of my nieces, Lauren, Anna, and Cora, they all got to join my extended parkrun family and share in the awesome community we have. There are few places I would have rather been.

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We talk a lot about community here, and if you been to a couple of our events you know why. It’s so great to see this community continue to grow. This week alone, we had 165 finishers! Wow! Here’s the fun part. Of those finishers, 73 of them have joined us for 10 or more events! We cheer each other on, we celebrate each other’s PBs, and we genuinely enjoy each other’s company. Joining the 10+ club this week were Carlos Chaverri, Julie Russell, Lori Dominick, and Carolyn Kelley.

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Since I put out a call for people to join me on my birthday, we had a number of first timers. These included, Francisco Reyes, Heather Fisher-Clarke, Melanie Barzik, and Katy Baker. Katy told me she almost didn’t make it, but came to celebrate my birthday. Then after parkrun she admitted that she is hooked! I love it and looking forward to seeing you again soon, Katy! Joe Fox also came out to celebrate (his second parkrun), Joe grabbed the bus from Silver Spring then ran home when he finished - great idea Joe! Rich Goemann also came for the birthday fun and set a new PB while he was at it!

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Speaking of PBs, lots of people celebrating those, too! Dave Heintzelman took a full minute off his PB! Emily Jensenius set her 5th PB in a row! Amazing streak, Emily! Külli Puusta and Laura Ramirez helped each other set new PBs Saturday. Meredith Phillips also had a big jump in her PB by taking 2 minutes off! Mike McClellan also came up big by setting a new PB and a new age group record for 80-84 year old men. Amazing!

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It was so great to see our parkrun shared with the next generation. Saturday brought a lot of daughters out to Acredale Park including, Caroline and Caroline Clare Molieri, Mimi and Reena Veshi, the Furlongs, and of course, my newest niece Cora with mom, Jessica.

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As with each week, none of this would be possible without the help of our wonderful volunteer crew. The crew of finish line timers: Tracy Huard and Larry Washington. Tracy only needed one hand to work the timer. Good thing, because, unfortunately, he had a broken finger on the other hand. Larry took care of the finish line highfives. Larry’s return to running continues - this week he told us that he jogged from the furthest parking lot. Diana Gough heard we were down one for volunteers, so she  was happy to help hand out finish tokens. Kacey Nyongesa worked the scanner and was quickly joined by Jake Foley who ran with daughter Colette, then hopped in to help. Course Marshal at the Golf Course was, of course, Hump Plotts, and Lisa Wilson as Turn Around Marshal. Tail walkers Jennifer Murphy and Jessica Gerbig (and baby daughter Cora)! First timers briefing was Andrea Zukowski. Yvette Tamukong teamed up with Andrea as our on course photographers. Colin Phillips helped take finish line photos after being the first to cross the finish line. Thank you, everyone! As always, if you can spare some time, please consider joining this amazing crew. It’s a lot of fun.

Our photographers (and editors) put together a fantastic set of pictures from this week's parkrun. Check them out.

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A couple of coming attractions to bear in mind …

Free post-parkrun Yoga in the Parks continues from September 8th, by popular demand.

September 15th is our 100th event. You won’t want to miss that one!

As more walkers join us on a Saturday morning, we’re looking to find people who can occasionally be a part of a walking group at parkrun. Let us know!

On October 5th we’ll have a booth at the big College Park Day festival. 12-6pm at College Park airport. If you can help out for part of that time, do let us know.

 

Looking forward to seeing everyone again soon!

Brian

 

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Neil in charge (Run Report #96)

Last week we surprised Neil (Enrique) Jograj by giving him the August parkrunner of the month award. This week he surprised us by stepping up as debut Run Director. The RD is an experienced volunteer who is, roughly, the conductor for the parkrun orchestra on Saturday morning. And Neil surprised us further by bringing along his mom, Dottie Jograj, who enjoyed her longest walk in a long time. Neil is a wounded warrior who is a slower runner than he used to be, but who feels welcomed at parkrun. It was great to have him leading the show this week.

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It was great to see Sabrina Alam and Sue H running with us again. Normally based in France, they joined us at the start of their summer internships at NASA Goddard, and quickly became part of our community. They joined us on the same day that they were leaving town. Do come back and visit some time!

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We also welcomed back an old friend. Tom Bean was our course record holder for most of our first year. Now based in North Carolina, he was back for a brief visit. He claims to be slower now that he’s a new father, but it didn’t notice as he zoomed into the distance. Tom’s visit also meant that it was the first time that 21-time parkrunner Travis Boltjes had an experience that the rest of us know well -- following somebody at parkrun.

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We welcomed back College Park mayor Patrick Wojahn, who was closely followed by New Carrollton mayor Duane Rosenberg. Patrick’s training for his first half marathon, so he’s pretty speedy right now. But Duane is gaining on Patrick in the not-a-race to become the first elected official on the continent to join the 50-parkrun club.

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Two of our regulars were on tour this week. Gus Campbell set out at silly o’clock to drive to New Jersey for the inaugural Delaware and Raritan Canal parkrun. This is the 24th US parkrun, created by former CP regular Rory Murphy. The rest of us made a welcome for D&RC parkrun before the start. It wasn’t as artistic as some of our previous welcome signs because Andrea Zukowski was also on tour. She ran and photographed at Livonia parkrun in suburban Detroit. And she was also meeting with the team that is working to bring a parkrun to Ann Arbor, MI. She reports that they have a beautiful venue and a wonderful, growing team. We can’t wait to visit!

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It was one of those humid DC summer days that we learn to put up with, so it was a surprise that 15 of the 115 finishers set a PB. Josh Schneider set what might be the biggest ever PB at parkrun, going 47 minutes faster than his first time out. This is because he and Erin Schneider take turns doing parkrun with their kids, including young Samantha, who also set a PB this week, and is one of our youngest finishers. Congratulations Josh and Samantha. And thanks to Erin, without whom this wouldn’t have been possible.

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Kiera Parsons and Ben Martin are younger parkrunners who returned after a little while away and set PBs. Erica Barnhardt and Emily Jensenius are moms who are going from strength to strength, setting parkrun PBs while dad pushed the stroller. John Giamalva set another PB on his 13th parkrun. And it was great to see a PB by Maria Ialacci, who is walking faster each time.

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No official parkrun milestones this week. But lots of people reached unofficial milestones. Steve Hendrix ran for the 25th time, and Julie Russell finished her 10th parkrun while husband Neil was keeping order at the finish. And there were SEVEN more people who are now 5-timers at College Park parkrun: Susan Martin, Ben Martin, David Donohue, Brent Schrader, Harshit Banthia, Jorge Aguilera, and Mary Miner. That makes 371 people who have now joined us at least 5 times. Wow.

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Volunteering at parkrun is just as much fun as running or walking, and Neil had a fine team to back him up this week. Daniel Walker and Michelle Brandy wore the yellow vests for the first time and really enjoyed the experience. Lisa, Hump, Colin, and Andrea did what they do almost every week for our parkrun. We were happy to have volunteer stalwarts Anna Tinnemore, JJ Su, Larry Washington, and Joel Goldberg helping out. Larry has been timekeeping (and high-fiving) regularly while recovering from an injury. We hope to see him back among the runners soon. He’s now able to jog all the way to the parking lot, so that’s encouraging progress. Thanks also to Sam and Kalonji Collins who stepped in as tail walkers and photographers for the day, ensuring that everybody is safe and nobody comes last at parkrun.

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A full set of photos for this week’s parkrun can be found on our Flickr pages.

Some announcements:

Post-parkrun Yoga in the Parks has been so popular that our friends at PG Parks are planning to continue it into the Fall. Perfect!

On August 25th Brian Murphy will be Run Director on his own 35th birthday. Come celebrate with him!

September 15th will be our 100th event at College Park parkrun, and October 20th will be our 2nd birthday. More reasons to celebrate!

We’re planning on having a parkrun booth at the College Park Day festival on October 6th. It’s a great way to reach more people in the community? Drop us a line if you might be able to help staff the booth for part of the day. Main qualification: enjoy parkrun!

We’re also looking for folks who would be interested in helping with walking groups at parkun. You don’t need to be a speedy runner to enjoy the beautiful trail and the great community vibe on a Saturday morning. We’re looking for people who can commit to walking on a specific day, so that we can offer company to other walkers. Also, on October 6th we’re looking to welcome a band of walkers from the 300 Club, so we hope to have a strong contingent of walkers on that day.

Finally, one cool experience from this week. I was fortunate to get to speak to 2,000 new UMD graduate students at their orientation day on Monday. I might just have slipped in a mention of parkrun into my remarks. I was pleasantly surprised to bump into regular parkrunner Schuyler Price, who now joins our growing ranks of Terp Grad parkrunners. And Schuyler was just as surprised to see me on the stage. Yep, I do have a day job. :)

See you Saturday!

Colin

 

 

Visiting family can be fun (Run Report #95)

Ok, sometimes we get a little behind on our run reports. But I know that my mum is watching back home in England, and we know that some of you like to binge read our run reports, so here’s what happened at parkrun #95 on August 11th.

We had some parkrun USA visitors from around the country, as College Park was hosting the first ever meeting of “parkrun ambassadors”, these are the folks who help local teams start new parkruns, manage the parkrun USA blog/newsletter and social media, etc. etc. They’re all volunteers, motivated by helping other communities enjoy what they already enjoy at their home parkrun. Kortney Thoma, co-event director at Renton parkrun in Seattle, joined our tailwalkers. Tim Keer, parkrun USA data whiz, got to meet Violet Ridge, whose affinity for parkrun puddles was already well known to him. Nate Damro, event director at Eagan parkrun in Minnesota, got to learn about our swampy summer weather, while Daniel Whitehouse, co-event director at Clermont Waterfront parkrun in Florida, found the conditions surprisingly mild. Daniel has a pretty inspiring story himself. He weighed 280 lbs when he first found his local parkrun. Now he’s lean and mean, and takes around 30 fewer minutes to cover the 5k.

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With the ambassadors’ conference in town, we had a larger than usual gathering at The Board and Brew, joined by parkrunners from Kensington and elsewhere. Former CP regular Rory Murphy joined us after checking out Kensington parkrun. Rory’s about to launch the new Delaware and Raritan Canal parkrun in New Jersey. Do go visit!

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Speaking of The Board and Brew, two parkrunners received B&B gift cards as our parkrunners of the month for July and August. Anna Tinnemore is a regular runner, walker, and volunteer, who gets to meet new people at parkrun each week while walking. Neil Jograj is another person who regularly runs and volunteers, and who always smiles.

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We had a lot of other newcomers this week. A crew of younger parkrunners filled the first few finisher spots this week. If you’re a cross-country team, parkrun can be a great way to add in a free time trial to your training. We welcomed a few new parkrunners from the Fit for Christ fitness group. We love how the members of this group support each other, heading back down the trail to escort the others to the finishers. By the time first-timer Devra Torres made it to the finish this week she had quite an entourage. Joseph Spears and his son Jonathan visited from Charles County and had a great time running together. We hope you can join us again.

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We had a few unofficial milestones reached. George Sisson did his 10th parkrun, and Dave Bennett, Ian Cutler, Jennifer Halsey, and Dominique Lisiero are now 5-timers. Meanwhile, Cindy Cohen completed her 90th parkrun. This week’s crowd included 6 locals who are on 83-90 parkruns, so by later this year we should start to see our first 100-club milestones at College Park. … We have already looked into getting a 100 sash, but they don’t seem to exist. If anybody has ideas on how we could make one, we’d love to hear from you.

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We were impressed to see 12 PBs on such a sticky day. Sharyn Gordon speed-walked her way to her 3rd PB in 3 visits. Nice! Jim Cantwell and Bonnie McClellan showed impressive resilience in the heat. And Kalonji Collins set another PB, edging *so* close to 30 minutes.

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None of this would have happened without our wonderful volunteers, of course. We got great photos from the day, thanks to JJ Su who was our roving smile catcher, Lisa Wilson who was in her usual turnaround spot, and Jake Foley, who came up with the smart idea of perching on a box at the finish. Abdur Rahman-Quadri and Larry Washington dispensed lots of high fives while timekeeping. Hump Plotts took care of his eponymous crossing, and offered water to passing barkrunners. We also recently found Hump proselytizing about parkrun to unsuspecting passers by on the trail. Wonderful!

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An update: junior 10 milestone shirts will be back in stock very shortly. A number of our younger parkrunners earned these a while ago, but they have been out of stock for some time while parkrun HQ shifts to a new system. The wait is almost over!

A full set of photos from this week's parkrun  can be found on our Flickr pages.

See you soon!

Colin Phillips
Co-Event Director

 

 

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

 

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