ARHU Day! (Run Report #56)

Have you ever heard of ARHU? College Park parkrunners are in the know, because run #56, which took place on November 4th, 2017, was ARHU Day.

ARHU is short for the University of Maryland’s College of Arts and Humanities. ARHU’s Staff Council advocates for and facilitates a healthy and civil work culture at the College. This semester, the Staff Council has been holding biweekly campus walks during lunch hour, and as a culmination of the walking series, they decided to come out to parkrun. What a nice idea! Check out the photo of some of the ARHU folks who joined in: Julie Gowin, Lorenzo Evans (Chair of the Staff Council), Carlin Bokal, Emily Sheil, and Heather Mundwiler. Come back any time, guys!


Andrea Zukowski, Colin Phillips, and Nick Huang were all away this week. They were at a professional conference in Boston, although they did check out a local parkrun that’s in the planning stages. Meanwhile, Jim, Ian, and Thomas Parsons all did their first parkrun away from College Park, attending the inaugural of Anacostia parkrun, just a short drive down the BW Parkway.You know how they say that while the cats are away the mice will play? Well, play we did! 100 attendees, 18 first timers, 32 PBs, four dogs. One milestone: Kidus Hailemichael joined the junior 10 run club. Twelve volunteers. No newborns this week. No parkrun tourists.



Our first timers this week were Lee Babcock, Roman Kastin, Brandon Saravia, Julie Gowin, Emily Sheil, Carlin Bokal, Newton Kendig, Kevin Saravia, Angela Gentile, Katie Murtough, Constantino Patricio, Liz Leahy, Doug Kerr, Katherine Kirklin, Tessie Aikara, Shayla Chelliah, Rhonda Summey, and Denise Mitchell. We hope you all had a great time, and we can’t wait to see you again on the course! If you were a first timer but had not registered in time at, never fear. If you register for your free barcode (it’s fast!) and then drop us a line ( we can do our best to update.


A special shout out is in order for first-timer Denise Mitchell. Denise joined us this week together with 18-timer Dustyn Kujawa. On Tuesday Denise was elected to College Park City Council, and Dustyn was re-elected to the council. Both of them represent the district that our course passes through. Thank you, and congratulations! ... Actually, further congratulations are in order for parkrunners Patrick Wojahn (re-elected as mayor), PJ Brennan (re-elected to city council) and Kate Kennedy (newly elected to city council).

An electoral landslide for the parkrun party!


Let’s talk about PBs. You know how much we love to mention by name everyone who has achieved a PB. But when you draw 100 attendees and a third get a PB, it gets more challenging. So hearty congratulations to all of you! If you aren’t sure if congratulations are in order for you, check out the results table. You also can check to see if congratulations are in order for your friends, colleagues, or relatives. If they are, don’t forget the high-five and fist-bump the next time you see the deserving individual. Rest assured that we parkrun organizers do keep an eye on the achievements of the regular parkrunners, and it’s really cool to see when people set a new PB, sometimes week after week.


We do want to give a shout out to folks reaching official or unofficial milestones this week. Nobody reached 50 parkruns this week, but Lisa Wilson did her 48th, so we are on high cake alert status for a couple of weeks from now. For the first time we had 3 people do their 25th parkruns on the same day: Anouk Dieuleveut, Chris McGranahan, and Sam McGranahan. These three are true stalwarts and have really done more than 25, as they were regular participants in our 33 proto-parkruns that we held before the event became official.


We had a large crop of new 10-timers this week. In addition to Kidus Hailemichael, who as an under 18 gets an official parkrun milestone shirt for his efforts, we had grownups Finiana Joseph, Aileen Kroll, Erin Munsell, Gloria Cottman, Doug Hamilton, Paul Kittredge, and Jay Bao. Cathy Flynn was the one new member of our unofficial 5-run club this week.


We love love love our volunteers! This week, Jim Cantwell was on scanning, Wei Chen handed out finisher tokens, and Maria Castellanos Vaquero, Steve Feld, and Cindy Feld were our timekeepers. Ellen Hamilton was our tailwalker. As usual, Lisa Wilson was at the turnaround and Hump Plotts protected us at the golf course driveway. In addition, Lisa and Hump kindly transported the Big Blue Bag of parkrun Necessities to wherever it needed to be. Anna Tinnemore sorted tokens at Board and Brew. A second shout out is in order for Anna - she helped me process results (with Colin chiming in as well via phone from Boston). Our photos came from Lisa, Ellen, and yours truly, and you can find them here. But if you want to see some really awesome parkrun photos, take another look at last week’s collection from UMD’s Lisa Helfert.


Before I wrap it up, I want to alert you to two totally awesome College Park parkrun events that are happening very soon.

Saturday, November 11: Tree Planting Day with PG Parks!
We love our 5K course, but there's no denying that our start/finish area is exposed to the elements, especially in the summer. Antonia Bookbinder of Prince George’s County Parks & Recreation is doing us a huge favor by arranging for trees for our start/finish line. Just one condition: we provide the tree planters. Planting starts around 10am, immediately after parkrun. Up to 40 people can volunteer. If you’d like to volunteer, send an email to We’re expecting a chilly morning, so bring warm gear. (We’ll also bring handwarmers to help.)

Saturday, November 18: Kids Takeover Day!
It’s true, the kids are going to be in charge. And the grown-ups have to listen to them. You won’t want to miss this one. (p.s. Sorry kids, you cannot borrow the car keys. Grown-ups will still be handling driving-related activities.) We still have some volunteer slots available, if you know a younger parkrunner who would like to join the fun.

See you next time!
Pam Marcus


Feels like Homecoming every week! (Run Report #55)

This week, College Park parkrun partnered with the University of Maryland to host the Homecoming 5K. It was such a win-win that we are already planning to repeat the partnership next year. It seemed fitting to host a Homecoming event, because parkrun is starting to feel like a homecoming every week. Colin and I (co-Event Directors) have been working in College Park (at UMD) and living in the College Park area for 18 years, but College Park has never felt more like home to us than it does now. That’s in large part due to the wonderful, diverse, supportive community that has gradually built up around parkrun during its first year. It’s one of those things where you don’t know that something has been missing in your life until you have it, but once you have it, you cannot imagine life without it. We suspect that some of you feel the same way. That’s partly because you tell us. But also based on the fantastic responses I get when I send out my weekly volunteer appeal. You might think volunteer wrangling is a hard and thankless task, but for me it is a weekly reminder that you all are just as committed to keeping parkrun going as we are. I was blown away by the number of people who offered to help this week for our special event that needed more volunteers than usual. I had to turn some people down!


We had our second largest attendance this week: 158 parkrunners and 15 volunteers. We can’t know for sure how many of this week's 53 first timers were there in honor of Homecoming, but it’s a good bet that many of them were. 50 of them had never done a parkrun anywhere, and we were thrilled to introduce them to our community. If you’re reading this -- we hope to see you again!


Did you get a selfie with Testudo? Testudo was truly the star of the show this week. Thank you, Cynthia Martinez, for arranging for him to visit us. While we’re at it, we also owe a big thank you to Anne Martens. It was Anne’s idea to have Homecoming partner with College Park parkrun for their 5K this year. Thanks to both Cynthia and Anne for their help making this partnership happen. And thank you to Lisa Helfert of UMD for sharing with us her fantastic set of pictures from the day, which you can find on our Flickr group here, or on Facebook here.


Some of our favorite stories this week are about walkers. Two people who are normally speedy runners—Christian Knapp and John Whitridge—came along and walked/jogged with friends Alia Abdelkader and David Straitiff. It was David’s first 5K (but we predict not his last). And one of our partners/advocates from Prince George’s County Parks, Antonia Bookbinder, took multitasking to a new level this week, walking the course while spinning wool into yarn by hand. That was after having camped out in a nearby park overnight so that she would be close to College Park on Saturday morning, since she lives far away. Incidentally, Antonia will be leading a tree planting project at our start/finish area following parkrun on November 11th. The trees we’ll be planting will provide shade for us when it gets warm again next year. Please come out to parkrun on Nov. 11th, and then stick around to help plant trees! That will start around 10am. One hour of your help, times many of you, will make light work of it, and we will all benefit next year as the trees get larger. We are so grateful to PG Parks for arranging this for us!


We had one big parkrun milestone to celebrate this week. Clark Ridge completed his 50th parkrun, earning big kudos and a free red 50-parkrun shirt. Clark is the first ‘native’ College Park parkrunner to reach this milestone, and it’s amazing that he did so after only 55 events. Clark is proof that nice guys can finish first, as he has been our first finisher 26 times. Many weeks he can be found running with his daughter Violet and learning the simple pleasures of puddles. He has volunteered a few times by running around ahead of everybody else and then picking up a volunteer job at the finish. One of our favorite Clark Ridge moments is the day when the turnaround cone was placed only halfway to the correct spot. Clark reacted calmly by snatching it up as he zipped past and then took it to the right spot before anybody else got there. Congratulations Clark! You have a rain check on the celebratory cake.


We also saw a lot of unofficial milestones this week. Nina McGranahan and Evan Hirsche became the 99th and 100th members of our 10-run club. Jian Kuang, Daysi Cruz, Yukun Fung, Annabel Gorman, Sharon Bollers, Dana Bogle, and Julie Bringman all joined our 5-run club. Julie brought her husband Silas Kulkarni along for his first. Great idea!


In the area of PBs and acts of extreme speediness, we also had a lot to report this week. 4 parkrunners set age-category records: Katie Hirsche, Eldad Mulugeta, and Daniel Ritter all upped the ante in the younger age groups. But we were especially interested in Mark Neff’s new record. With his 17:27 in the 55-59 group, it is now the case that the 55-59 record is faster than the 50-54 record, which is faster than the 45-49 record, which in turn is faster than the 40-44 record. Almost the same thing is true on the women’s side. So much for aging gracefully!


Meanwhile, there were an impressive 29 PBs this week. Pretty impressive. Some that stood out to us: the three McGranahans (Sam, Nina, Chris) all got PBs this week. Jonathan Foley and his mom Jordan Foley both set PBs, and in Jordan’s case it was by a huge 2 minutes. Katie Hirsche improved by 4 minutes, and Sharon Bollers by 3 minutes. Emily Flamm took yet another big chunk from her PB, her 7th in a row. Andy Fellows took a big chunk from his PB on his 23rd parkrun. At the other end of the scale, Jian Kuang set a PB by just one second. Other PB setters this week were: Mark Neff, Yukun Fung, Frank Byskov, Cameron Nasseri, Solomon Ambaye, Suerken Matsuyama, Kirk Gordon, Josh Haverstick, Tsegaab Hailemichael, Xinzi He, John Ramsey, Jim Groves, Judy Mulusa, Chris Nichols, Susanna Ebisah, Lisa Jordan, John Giamalva, Judy Barnes, and Bill Bystricky.


I was doubly appreciative of the volunteer support this week, because I sprained my ankle while hiking with teens the day before, and so I was struggling to get around, while many of our parkrun core team were on travels. Colin Phillips, was parkrunning in the rain at Brabrand parkrun in Aarhus, Denmark. Pam Marcus was part of a new parkrun USA record of 256 parkrunners at Crissy Field parkrun in San Francisco. And Nick Huang was in Iceland, a long swim away from the nearest parkrun.

This week’s volunteers were Crystal Bergemann (tailwalker, with family), Steve Feld and JJ Su (timers), Dale Morey and Cha Munar (scanners), Anna Tinnemore (tokens), Lisa Wilson and Hump Plotts (marshals), Diana Gough and Susan Keller (photographers), Chris McGrahahan (results support). Jan Edwards, Bex Williams, and Josh Haverstick helped out with briefing and registering newcomers, and generally helping a busy event to run smoothly. Although Colin Phillips was on the other side of the Atlantic, he still kept our communications running smoothly. On top of all these, we thank the UMD Homecoming team for all of their help, including additional on-the-day helpers. Lisa Helfert took some amazing photos.


Last, but definitely not least among this week’s volunteers, is Testudo, who tried out a number of different roles: registering new parkrunners (fingers too big), run briefing (he doesn’t talk), run starter and selfie hero (perfect!).



Quick reminder of coming attractions at College Park parkrun.

  • November 4th: Walking Day. Inspired by the UMD Arts & Humanities Staff Council, who will be bringing their walking group to College Park parkrun.
  • November 11th: Tree Planting with PG Parks. We need lots of helpers (see above).
  • November 18th: Kid Takeover Day. Looking for some additional young volunteers. This is a parkrun not to be missed.
  • November 25th: post-Thanksgiving burnoff. Bring the family, run off some of that turkey.
  • January 1st: New Years Resolution parkrun PLUS a Baltimore - College Park double. Consider visiting Leakin Park parkrun in Baltimore for their early morning resolution run, then zip down to College Park for our late morning parkrun, co-hosted with Prince George’s Running Club, and followed by a celebration at The Board & Brew for all area parkrunners. Great way to start off 2018.

Whew. That was a lot to tell you about. If you made it this far, thank you!

Andrea Zukowski
Event co-Director




Piece of cake (Run Report #54)

On Saturday College Park parkrun celebrated its first birthday. The weather was perfect, we had one of our largest turnouts yet (116), and the birthday cake was incredible. Really, Andrea’s rendition of our course in edible form, together with Hump and Lisa stationed in their usual spots, was wonderful.


But I must confess that the things that really made the day for me were a few comments that we heard, all from people who are not stereotypical runners.

  • “parkrun is one of my favorite things about College Park”. From somebody who recently moved here.
  • “I started looking up real estate in College Park.” From a long-time Montgomery County resident.
  • “I hadn’t run since I was in the Army, 50 years ago.” From one of our most regular parkrunners, who runs in the 70+ age category.
  • And the person who used to stay home with the kids while her speedy husband went to running events, but now leaves the husband with the kids while she goes to parkrun, where she is improving by leaps and bounds.

It’s things like this that have me reaching for the tissues. I am an unrepentant data nerd and I could put you to sleep with numbers about the first year of College Park parkrun. But at the end of the day it’s encounters like these that we find most rewarding after one year and 54 events.


When College Park parkrun launched one year ago our core team had two main things on our minds. First, relief at finally making it to the start line. It had taken 10 months to jump through the various hoops needed to get the event going (permits, insurance, fundraising, etc.), and we had organized 33 proto-parkruns along the way, utterly low-key affairs where we were joined by anywhere from zero to a dozen people. Second, apprehension about being able to pull off an event every week, year round. Would people keep showing up, even in the cold of winter or the hot, humid summer? (Yes, in ever greater numbers.) Would we somehow find enough volunteers every week? (Yes, because of the wonderful community support.) Would we get burned out? (Not even close. But we didn’t expect to be spending so much time on spreading the good things happening in College Park to other US communities. If you’re a long time local resident, as we are, you’ll understand how good that feels.)


Back to this week’s run …

Aside from the cake, which really was the star of the show this week, there were plenty of other things that deserve a shout out.

Nick Huang reached his 25-time volunteering milestone. So he’ll soon have a snazzy purple volunteer shirt that perfectly matches our purple parkrun laptop. We would normally celebrate a milestone like this at the pre-run briefing, but we were caught napping on this one. Ironically, Nick finished up the results processing at The Board and Brew (with help from understudy Ginger Wilkerson) and two minutes later was surprised to get an email from parkrun telling him that he had reached his volunteer milestone. Thank you, Nick! Nick is one of the people who has been with us from the very start, and who has volunteered more often than he has run. He is our results guru, and he is the person who you want on your team when things go wrong and you’re tempted to panic. He is cooler than a cucumber.


Another thing that stood out was the great number of regulars who came out for our parkrun birthday. If you’ve run 10 or more times, then you’ve pretty much drunk the Kool Aid by now. And of the nearly 100 who have drunk said Kool Aid so far, more than 60 of them were with us this week, either as runners or as volunteers. So there were a LOT of familiar faces. This was awesome.


As usual, we welcomed a few first-timers and visitors to College Park this week. Also, as usual, most people came because they heard about us from a friend. Perfect! Our one parkrun tourist this week was Kylie Corso, who came with her 7-month old daughter Adeline. You might have guessed that Kylie is an Aussie, but she is based in London, where she is volunteer coordinator at Wimbledon Common parkrun. That event is one of the oldest parkruns. So old, in fact, that they started before they were called parkruns. This week they had their 570th event. Wow.


We had over 20 PBs this week. Again. It’s hard to comment on all of them. But here are just a few. 8-year old Violet Ridge took yet another big chunk from her PB, ducking under 30 minutes for the first time. Her proud dad, Clark Ridge, will reach his 50-run milestone next time out. Emily Flamm and Susan Whitney both continued their impressive PB streaks. Jordan Foley this week ran without a stroller, and it was very cool to see her daughter Colette pacing her to a PB. Jay Bao set another PB. He didn’t get a barcode until this week, so his progression slipped under our radar. Harish Guda got yet another PB today, another person who seems to get faster every time.


We also had a few age-category records. Clare Imholtz seems to set a new record every weekend. Second-timer Maggie Gill got the record that she narrowly missed first-time out. (Jessica Molloy: your move next!) Ann Fields took a handy 10 minutes from the 65-69 record. And first finisher Bernard Kelly regained his 40-44 record … but the 45-49 and 50-54 records are substantially faster. So much for aging gracefully.


No official running milestones this week, but plenty of unofficial milestones. Chris Kujawa did his 25th College Park parkrun (he has also run at Livonia parkrun a few times). We had our largest ever crop of new 10-timers: JJ Su, Bob Silverman, Sarah D’Alexander, Emily Flamm, Cameron McPhee, Pam Marcus, Judy Mulusa, and Dale Morey. And there were a bunch of new 5-timers too, taking the total to 209: Maria Cecil, Stephanie Coomes (to go with her 161 parkruns elsewhere), Dan Stafford, Chris Rasmussen, Kara Wharton, Trace Huard, and Anna Tinnemore.



This week’s volunteers were an elite crew. Together they had volunteered at College Park parkrun over 350 times already. That’s amazing. Big thanks to Jim Cantwell, Eduardo Valente, Jenn Augsburger, Dustyn Kujawa, Zoe Phillips, Alex Haile, Diana Gough, Carlos Gough, Lisa Wilson, Hump Plotts, Anna Tinnemore, and Schuyler Price.


With our big birthday event behind us you might think that we’re ready to kick back and coast through the rest of the Fall. Not exactly, as we have a number of cool special days coming up.

  • October 28th: UMD Homecoming 5K at College Park parkrun. We’re excited to be teaming up with UMD for this event. All welcome, as ever, but do encourage any Terp alums, students, or faculty/staff that you know to join us. UMD will be giving free Homecoming shirts to finishers. And we’ll also have a special guest: Testudo will be coming to parkrun!
  • November 4th: Walking groups day, led by the UMD Arts & Humanities Staff Council. Are you part of a walking group, or have friends who are? Encourage them to join us for a lovely Fall walk on the trail.
  • November 11th: Tree planting with Prince George’s Parks at the start/finish area
  • November 18th: Kid Takeover Day! (some volunteer slots still to fill)
  • November 25th: Thanksgiving burnoff. Bring the family.
  • January 1st: one to put in your calendar. We’ll have a special parkrun New Years Double. Early morning, join our friends at Leakin Park parkrun in Baltimore. Then zip back to College Park for a mid-morning parkrun, co-hosted with Prince George’s Running Club, followed by a New Years brunch for all DMV parkruns at The Board and Brew. More details to follow.

See you next week. Testudo will be there. Will you?

Colin Phillips


We’ve only just begun (Run Report #53)

College Park parkrun #53 was a momentous one. It was the final run of the first year! All I can say is WOW!

Before I dive into the run itself, let’s just take a moment to look at some impressive stats from the first year.

  • Number of attendees: 900+
  • Number of volunteers: 128
  • Number of runs: 3,605
  • Average turnout: 68
  • Biggest attendance: 180
  • Average runs per runner: 4
  • Number of 5-timers: 202
  • Personal bests: 818
  • Average time: 32:36
  • Total time run: 81 days, 14 hours, 45 minutes, 27 seconds
  • Distance run: 18,025 kilometers (almost half way around the earth!)
  • Total charge to participants: $0

Here’s a graph that shows the growth in attendance over the year.


Do you remember what happened on the days that attendance spiked? Here’s a little help - the dates were 1/1/17, 5/27/17, and 7/1/17. The first was our New Year’s Resolution Run, co-hosted with Prince George’s Running Club. The second was Founders Day, when we were joined by Paul Sinton-Hewitt, the Godfather of parkrun. The third was the day that we were featured in a story in the Wall St Journal.

Ok, back to run #53…

We had 72 attendees, 10 on-course volunteers, one dog, one baby, and one parkrun tourist. Seven first timers and 20 PBs.

Our 7 first timers this week were David Lough, Joseph Chuzhin, Carleton Conant, Noemi Mercado, Michael Coomes, Andrea Coomes, and Dalila José. David was visiting from Scotland, where he usually runs Victoria parkrun in Glasgow. Andrea and Michael were visiting from Ohio to visit their 4 week old grandson, Henry, and walk the course with Henry (in a stroller) and his parents, Stephanie Coomes and Ian Ross. Joseph, Carleton, Noemi, and Dalila were very special first timers: each participated for the first time in a parkrun. As is usual these days, most people come along because they hear about College Park parkrun from a friend or family member.


Twenty PBs means that about 1 in every 3 parkrunners had a PB! Maybe it had something to do with the weather. It was humid, but overcast and not hot. Ian Cutler set his first PB, and Erin Munsell, Pat Ewing, Abe Cutler, Jian Kuang, Margodane Vanriel, and Thomas Parsons each set their second. The remaining 13 parkrunners ran anywhere between their 3rd and 7th PB. Speed isn’t the only measure of improved fitness, but boy does it feel good when you see those PBs rolling in week after week. And for the volunteers and the rest of our parkrun community, it’s so great to see your satisfaction as you progress by leaps and bounds.


One of our juniors, Alex Limarzi, completed his 10th parkrun and received his certificate. That’s an official parkrun milestone for under 18s, so he can also order a free parkrun milestone shirt. Eddie Matus and Colin Phillips joined our unofficial-yet-ever-expanding-and-very-impressive 25+ College Park parkrun club (that was a mouthful). There are now 17 in that club. Misrak Ayegichew and Harish Guda both joined our unofficial 10-parkrun club, which now has 90 members. And Ian Ross, Joann Tschiffely, Mary Buck, Bonnie McClellan, Brent Bolin, and Dan Sarmiento took the membership in the 5-parkrun club to over 200!


Clare Imholtz and Mike McClellan set new College Park age category records! That’s such an accomplishment that I’ll shout it. CLARE IMHOLTZ AND MICHAEL MCCLELLAN SET NEW COLLEGE PARK PARKRUN AGE CATEGORY RECORDS! Clare runs in the 70-74 group and Mike in the 80-84 group. We should all be so lucky to be in such great shape at those ages.


Our volunteers included two members of the UMD Track and Field team: mid-d runner Maria Castellanos Vaquero and triple-jumper Breanna Coleman. Thank you, both! Breanna was our barcode/token scanner, and Maria, and Xinzi He, were our timekeepers. John Wilkerson ensured that finisher tokens were handed out, and then safely returned. Diana and Carlos Gough were our tailwalkers. As usual, Lisa Wilson was at the turnaround and Hump Plotts took care of Hump’s Crossing. Anna Tinnemore sorted tokens at The Board and Brew (one of my favorite volunteer roles). This week’s photos were courtesy of paparazzi Lisa, Diana, Colin, and yours truly. You can always find them on our Flickr page or on Facebook.


Speaking of the Board and Brew, we had a smaller than usual contingent at our post-run social, but we still had a great time. Debbie Levenson and geeked out about medical writing and communications. Carlos and Diana played a game of Battleship. Two math nerds (me and Colin) bravely attempted to process results on our own for the first time. Once we figured out how to login to the laptop it was plain sailing. Well, mostly. Thanks to Andrea Zukowski for taking our urgent calls, and to Clark Ridge for acting as the go between for us and Andrea.

Where were Andrea and Clark? They were on their way home from a bit of local parkrun tourism at Leakin Park parkrun. They ran into College Park regular Gus Campbell while they were there. Why were they there this week? Because we have so many cool things going on at College Park parkrun in the coming weeks that it will be hard to stay away.

  • October 21st: FIRST BIRTHDAY CELEBRATION (cake alert!)
  • October 28th: UMD Homecoming 5k @ parkrun (Go Terps! Free t-shirts rumored)
  • November 4th: walking groups day, led by UMD Arts & Humanities Staff Council
  • November 11th: tree planting at the start/finish, with Prince George’s Parks
  • November 18th: Kid Takeover Day! (grownups get to run, kids are in charge)
  • November 25th: post-Thanksgiving turkey burnoff


To close out our first year, I’d like to leave you with a quote from the 1970s Carpenters song, “We’ve only just begun”:

“...So many roads to choose
We’ll start out walkin’ and learn to run
And yes, we’ve just begun…”

For those of you who think of the 1970s as the pre-historic past, here’s what I’m referring to.

And College Park parkrun really has just begun. Here’s to a fantastic year two!

Till next time,
Pam Marcus



They run the county (Run Report #52)

“Even before the finish came into view, I could tell that it was PGRC Day, because of all the enthusiastic cheers.”

This week’s parkrun was led by our friends at the Prince George’s Running Club, and they made a warm morning even warmer for the 93 assembled parkrunners. College Park parkrun is all about being active together, and PGRC is pretty much all about the same thing. So we love partnering with them. We have you covered on Saturdays at parkrun, but what are you going to do the other 6 days of the week, or if you’re feeling like something other than a 5k? That’s where PGRC can help out. Did you notice how much fun they were all having on Saturday morning!


Thanks to everybody from PGRC who ran, volunteered, cheered, or lit up the trail with smiles on Saturday. The PGRCers on hand have done over 200 parkruns between them, so they’re already a great part of our community. Thanks in particular to 14-time parkrunner Mark Shroder, who was this week’s Run Director. Mark wisely advised young kids to keep a close eye on their grown-up, as we didn’t want any of them to go missing. And also big thanks to 9-time parkrunner Finiana Joseph, who organized the great free raffle, with give-aways of PGRC shirts, race entries, and training program memberships. Maggie Gill, first-time parkrunner, and first female finisher this week (speedy!) was one of the raffle winners. She got a free entry into PGRC’s Wright Stuff 10k in December. It will be Maggie’s first ever 10k race.


One PGRC highlight that you might want to check out is their Tuesday evening track nights. They meet up at the UMD track in College Park at 6:30 for a fun workout. It’s fun, it’s social, and because you’re running laps around a track, nobody gets left behind. You might not think of yourself as a track athlete, but the Tuesday night runs consistently get rave reviews.


Ok, so back to that parkrun thing. This was the third consecutive week of 93-95 parkrunners. This is double the numbers that we were seeing at the start of the year. Word is continuing to get around. This week’s crowd included 17 first-timers (including 7 first-timers from PGRC). Welcome to all! It’s great to see how many parkrunners are bringing along friends to join us on a Saturday morning.


We know that some of you are really spreading the word. Which brings us to this month’s parkrunner of the month, Paul Wester. Paul first joined us in March, after we found him running on the Paint Branch Trail on a Saturday morning, and this week did his 18th parkrun. Since then we’ve lost count of the number of people who have told us that they found out about College Park parkrun through Paul. His smile lights up the trail, and he clearly is quite persuasive. This week he ran with his daughter Mary Wester, helping her to a new PB. Congratulations Paul, and we hope you enjoy your gift card from our friends at The Board and Brew.


We don’t see too many “parkrun tourists” at College Park parkrun (yet!), because the out-of-towners are understandably curious about running at Roosevelt Island parkrun. But those who do join us get a warm welcome. This week we saw our first tourist from parkrun Russia.  You may have noticed a name in Cyrillic script in this week’s results. That’s Olga Koroleva-Pereleshina, who has done most of her parkruns at Gorky Park parkrun in Moscow. Saturday was “International parkrun Day”, celebrating the 13th anniversary of the first ever parkrun, and Olga decided to join us for that day. She loved our trail (we do too!). If any of you ever find yourselves in Moscow on a Saturday morning, you’ll know where to go.


Meanwhile, a few of our regular parkrunners were doing a spot of parkrun tourism themselves this weekend. We were thrilled to find pictures in our inbox from your travels. Steve Feld checked out Deep Run parkrun in Richmond, VA. Pam Marcus visited Durham NC parkrun, and she persuaded her friend Amy to go along as a volunteer. And Yukun Fung visited the brand new Kanata parkrun in suburban Ottawa, Canada. In the picture it looks like he’s holding a medal, but it’s actually a cake. Much better!

collage_cptourists_20171007The weather on the trail wasn’t PB-perfect, but still 21 of you improved on your best times. Some PBs really stood out this week. Meredith Phillips improved her PB by 7 minutes (!) on her 7th parkrun. Heather Mundwiler improved by 3 minutes. 8-year old Violet Ridge has improved by 4 minutes in her last 3 outings. Kiera Parsons and Ginger Wilkerson both cracked 30 minutes for the first time. Ginger’s mom, Susan Whitney, also set a PB. Mary Wester beat 40 minutes for the first time. Rumi Matsuyama set a new PB on her 14th parkrun. And JJ Su celebrated his return from Singapore with a PB on his 8th run. Jordan Foley set a new PB on her 12th parkrun, while pushing Charlie in a stroller. Impressive. collage_pbs

Speaking of strollers, our youngest participant this week was Henry, 3-week old son of Ian Ross and Stephanie Coomes, two parkrunning stalwarts from Fletcher’s Cove parkrun. Henry listened carefully to Mark’s run briefing, but then slept for much of the 5k. Big kudos to Stephanie for completing her 160th parkrun so soon after giving birth.


We had a number of new unofficial milestones this week. Jenn Augsburger and Joe Limarzi became the newest members of our 10 parkrun club. And 6 new people became 5-timers: Duane Rosenberg, Joan Myles, Geoffrey Mason, Jim Sebastian, Lisa Jordan, and Lou Shapiro. We’re closing in on 200 people who have joined us at least 5 times. Wow.

collage_milestonesThis week’s volunteers came mostly from PGRC. In addition to Mark Shroder as Run Director, we had PGRCers Bex Williams and Sharon Bollers on the stopwatches; Valerie Rankin and Dom Blom on tokens, Richard Williams on scanning, and Jim Cantwell as tail walker. Hump Plotts and Lisa Wilson ensured that you did not get lost out on the course (again!), and Lara Ehrenhofer showed that PhD skills have real-world application, by deftly sorting the finish tokens. Andrea and Colin did whatever it is that they do every week, and they both were proudly wearing their new purple parkrun shirts at brunch this week. These free milestone shirts are for volunteering 25 times. Something to work towards on the days when you don’t feel like running. collage_volunteers

A reminder about some upcoming special attractions …

October 21st: First birthday celebration! If you haven’t joined us in a while, this is the one to come for. Celebrating 54 free weekly events, 3700 runs, countless new friendships … and more cake than we care to mention.

October 28th: UMD Homecoming 5k @ College Park parkrun. We’re thrilled to be partnering with UMD for this big annual event. Join us to welcome lots of students and alumni to our special piece of College Park. Work up an appetite before tailgating. Halloween costumes optional.

November 4th: walking groups!
November 11th: tree planting with Prince George’s Parks
November 18th: kid takeover day (looking for younger volunteers!)
November 25th: post-Thanksgiving turkey burnoff

See you Saturday!

Colin Phillips


Magic in the Air (Run Report #51)

Saturday in the park was all a buzz about what “Quidditch” was, how it’s played sans-broomsticks, or if a certain Harry would be joining parkrun. The 100 runners, walkers, and volunteers coming out for College Park parkrun knew where the real fun was. Parking was an unexpected challenge, but thanks to Andrea Zukowski and Jen Murphy, who leapt in to help direct people, parkrun went off with no dark magic.

quidditchThe Quidditch match wasn't the only magic in the air. We were presented with a truly wonderful weather day by the parkrun weather fairy ( With nice fall temperatures, we saw a whole lot of PBs (27!) falling, as well. 20170930_091516

The many PBs included (deep breath ...): Janice Bernache, Hanna Birnir, Daysi Cruz, Angela Dadak, Cindy Doyle, Liam Edmonds-Moore, Emily Flamm, Charlie Foley, Greg Gorman, Paul Kittredge, Christian Knapp, Alex Limarzi, Kristen Limarzi, Michael McClellan, Theresa Mittendorff, Steven Moore, Erin Munsell, Joanie Myles, Jim Parsons, Maggie Pooley, Karen Prestegaard, Schuyler Price, Austin Rios-Colon (age-category record!), Dan Sarmiento, Camryn Thompson, Anna Tinnemore, and Andrew Widman. Michael McClellan’s run stands out because it was an age category record in the 80-84 division. Nice!

IMG_20170930_093508If you are a College Park parkrun regular, you know we love to celebrate - Saturday was no exception. We had sister and brother combo Colette and Jonathan Foley reach their 10 parkrun milestone! Congrats you two! A fun nugget: as a family, the Foleys hit 50 combined parkruns. If only that came with a t-shirt that everyone could fit into. 4-year old Charlie Foley completed his second not-in-a-stroller parkrun, and the whole family was there to cheer him on. IMG_1148

Another junior parkrunner reaching the 10-run milestone was Liam Edmonds-Moore. This one slipped under the radar, as Liam is a regular at Fletcher’s Cove parkrun in DC. Congratulations, Liam! We hope you managed to get some of the delicious cake that Andrea baked.

20170930_093235In unofficial milestones news, many grownups reached notable points en route to the official parkrun milestones. Jim Parsons and James Moreland both did their 25th College Park parkrun (for James it was his 48th overall). Bridget Pooley and Jake Foley did their 10th run with us. And new 5-timers included Hanna Birnir, Kristin Poinar, Andrew Widman, Erin Munsell, Barbara Gusack, and Theresa Mittendorff. 20170930_093112

We also we lucky enough to celebrate a gathering of the DC contingent of parkrun USA at The Board and Brew. We love the community aspect of parkrun, and you saw it on full display at B&B. Three teams (Roosevelt Island, Fletcher's Cove, and College Park) enjoyed coffee, breakfast, and conversation together as they worked to update and post the day’s results. We also welcomed Tom Williams, parkrun global COO, into our expanded community and celebrated big parkrun milestones by our friends, father/daughter Andres and Stefania Falconer - 100 and 50 parkruns respectively! Of course, we did all this celebrating with cake.


A picture perfect day was made more perfect by the wonderful volunteers. Golf course marshal this week was Hump Plotts. Turn around marshal Lisa Wilson. Tail walker was Barbara Gusack. Time keepers this week were Jenn Augsburger and John Way. Finish tokens given out by Gus Campbell. Barcodes were scanned by Jim Cantwell. And of course the wonderful photos taken by our photographers Jen Murphy, Lisa Wilson, and Colin Phillips.


A reminder of upcoming attractions at College Park parkrun. We’ll run at 9am every week, just as we do all year round, but there are a few special add-ons. Drop us a line if you’re interested in teaming up with

  • October 7th: Prince George’s Running Club Day at parkrun
  • October 21st: first birthday celebration!
  • October 28th: UMD Homecoming 5k at College Park parkrun
  • November 4th: UMD ARHU Day (arts & humanities) at College Park parkrun. A great day for walking groups to check us out.
  • November 11th: tree planting at the start/finish with Prince George’s Parks
  • November 18th: Kid Takeover Day! (know somebody who can help? Let us know.)
  • November 25th: post-Thanksgiving parkrun. Bring the family.

See you all on the next parkrunday!

Brian Murphy



#SetOnSeton (Run Report #50)

This week we celebrated the 50th College Park parkrun!  Thank you to Chris Kujawa, Dale Morey, Hump Plotts, Janice Bernache, Jenn Augsburger, Lisa Wilson, Pam Marcus and Sam McGranahan for stepping up and volunteering, thus thwarting the evil plan of Run Director Chris McGranahan to replace all volunteers with Government contractors. Special thanks to Sam McGranahan for stepping up at the last minute and running a replacement turn around cone to our marshal before all of the runners got there. Our regular cone has been safely stashed in the woods for months, but mysteriously disappeared.


We’re really happy to have put on 50 free, weekly events already, and to see so many community members take part (now approaching 900 different individuals who have done College Park parkrun). But none of this would happen if it wasn’t for the parkrunners (and family and friends of parkrunners) who step up every week to make the event happen. Their enthusiasm is fantastic. If you haven’t tried it out yet, now would be a great time to get in touch with us. We have lots of special parkrun days coming up during the fall, and will have plenty of need for volunteers. Email to Really, you won’t regret that you did.

A warm welcome goes out to the Elizabeth Seton High School Cross Country team which came out in force today. Thanks to coach Louisa Puffett for bringing the team (and for running herself!). And it was great to see that regular parkrunner Elizabeth Foley is now a member of the Seton team. In all, with the ESHS Cross Country team and others there were 30 first timers today in a field of 95 runners and walkers. There were a number of old timers as well as some who haven’t been out in a while such as Frodo the dog. He might not be allowed back if he stops to mark the funnel again as he finishes, like he did this time (“I’ve got your barcode right here, pal!”).


This week’s “old timers” included 22-day old Axl Klamm, who is already on his second parkrun, though he seems to be sleeping through the experience. And the newcomers included Susan and Mark Symmonds, from Tees Barrage parkrun in the north of England. Susan and Mark (or “Maaaaak”, as one of our volunteers helpfully clarified) have done a lot of parkruns between them, and now they have visited 5 different US events, an achievement in itself. Another newcomer was Steve Palks, nephew of regular Jon Palks. Steve is based in Minneapolis, so hopefully he’ll be able to call in on our friends at Eagan parkrun.


It was also a big day for personal bests with 25 parkrunners setting PB’s today. This was particularly significant because, while the morning started damp it ended a bit muggy and warm.

The PBs included Matthew Mullally and Solomon Ambaye, who are almost like parkrun twins. They both started coming to parkrun in the summer, running almost identical times of 24:32 and 24:33. Since then they have been regulars, setting PBs almost every time, and this week they pulled each other along to their first sub-20 clockings. Impressive progress, guys. It seems that consistency really does help. Other PBs in the “consistency counts” department included Mark Shroder (14th parkrun), Greg Gorman (14th), and Frank Filteau (29th), Finiana Joseph (9th), Doug Hamilton (7th), and Karen Prestegaard (6th).


Jim Parsons set a PB on his 24th parkrun, pulled along by second-timer Duane Rosenberg, whose PB was also a 60+ age-category record. Jim’s daughter Kiera Parsons set a very nice PB, improving her previous time by 3 minutes. With mom Lisa Parsons also running, the family now has 91 parkruns between them. Closing in on their collective parkrun century.


Another busy family this week was the Foley family. 8-year old Colette Foley ran her 10th parkrun (official milestone!) one day before finishing first in her first big cross-country race. Mom Jordan Foley also did her 10th parkrun, and was just a couple of seconds shy of her PB (stroller passenger Charlie might need to work on his aero profile). Meanwhile, Jonathan and dad Jake (PB!) did their 9th parkrun. Big sister Elizabeth Foley did her 8th parkrun, this time with her Seton teammates, and she set a new age-category record for good measure. The Foleys may reach their collective 50 parkrun mark this weekend.


In unofficial milestone news, this week saw lots of people reaching new thresholds. New 5-timers included Kiera Parsons, George Sisson, Christian Knapp, Michael McClellan (who also set an 80+ record this week), Xinzi He, and Moe Siddiqi. 10-timers were Colette Foley, Jordan Foley, and Solomon Ambaye. Meanwhile, Cindy Cohen did her 25th College Park parkrun, though her total number of runs is now well over 50.


A few of our core team and regulars were away this week on a different kind of running adventure. Andrea Zukowski, Colin Phillips, Nick Huang, Lara Ehrenhofer, Polly O’Rourke, and Anouk Dieuleveut spent Friday and Saturday running the 200-mile DC Ragnar Relay, which cross the state of Maryland, including overnight. Their Team Psycho Linguists is a band of UMD language nerds that does the relay every year. It’s especially cool that our event director Andrea was able to do 3 runs in a 20-hour span, just 8 weeks after major surgery. Colin reports that the team was in the College Park area at 9am, but that they had just finished a huge pancake breakfast, and thought it unwise to try to hobble along the trail. We look forward to welcoming these crazies back to parkrun this week for a more civilized running experience.


With our 50th event under our (gradually shortening) belts, we can now look forward to lots of special parkruns in the coming weeks. Fall is a great time to get outdoors, so we hope you can join us.

  • September 30th. College Park is the final leg on the “Tour de parkrun” for Tom Williams, parkrun global COO, founder of the “original college town parkrun”, and host of the popular Marathon Talk podcast. Tom will run at Roosevelt Island parkrun at 9am for their 50th event, then stop by Fletcher’s Cove parkrun to meet runners and walkers, en route to joining us at The Board and Brew for coffee and brunch. We’re expecting visitors from all area parkruns at TB&B this week, it should be a fun time.
  • October 7th. PGRC Day #2. Special parkrun led by our friends at the Prince George’s Running Club, with Mark Shroder as Run Director.
  • October 21st. Birthday!! First anniversary of College Park parkrun.
  • October 28th. UMD Homecoming 5k at College Park parkrun.
  • November 4th. Walking group day. Encourage your walking group to join us for a stroll on one of College Park’s best kept secrets.
  • November 11th. Tree planting with Prince George’s Parks. Hang around after the parkrun to help plant larger trees that will provide additional shade next summer.
  • November 18th. Kid takeover day! On this day the event will in the capable hands of our younger parkrunners. If you know a young parkrunner who would like to help out, please let us know.


See you soon!

Chris McGranahan
(with contributions from Pam Marcus and Colin Phillips)



Donuts for Violet (Run Report #49)

20170916-ParkRun_0047Summer was back for a brief visit this weekend, Sep 16: temperatures in the 80s, 70% humidity. And that was probably why we saw participant numbers dip: 69 parkrunners and 10 volunteers. Nevertheless, a good parkrun overall. How so, you ask? Here we go:

First, we recognized Diana Gough and her son Carlos as parkrunners of the month for September. They both took a break from parkrunning today to volunteer: Diana scanned barcodes and tokens, while Carlos handed out tokens, filling a volunteer gap in the last minute. Thank you guys for volunteering!

Carlos, Diana, and Andrea talk about the art of scanning barcodes

Second, we welcomed nine newcomers. Six were local: Yogarshi Vyas, Sarah Sopher and her aunt Lisa Sopher, Seun A, Emily Cruikshank, Stowell Davison. We also had three visitors from Europe: Mike Richardson (from Sheffield, UK), Paul Cleaver (Tamar Lakes parkrun, UK, but also a UMD alum and who used to run at Greenbelt Park), and Robsahm Trude from Norway. Mike has run at 179 different parkrun locations, and was our first finisher for Saturday.

Welcome!Welcome, Mike, Paul, and Robsahm

(What happened to our local speedsters? Well, Clark Ridge was running with his daughter Violet, and co-event director Colin Phillips was in Missouri doing a parkrun test event in Moberly. Moberly, MO, parkrun launches Oct 28.)

Moberly parkrun: note the big M in the URL

We also celebrated a couple of milestones. Co-event director Andrea Zukowski finished her 25th College Park parkrun, Anouk Dieuleveut her 20th, Jeff Lunsford his 10th, and Paul Kittredge his 5th (while finishing 2nd overall). And in the junior category, Anna Colette Foley and her brother Jonathan each completed their 9th parkrun, putting them closer to their free 10-parkrun t-shirt milestone.

A few milestones: Anouk, Andrea, and Paul

Our regulars continue to astound with their performance. Despite the warm weather, we saw 16 PBs today, that is, one in four people beat their parkrun records. A few notable PBs: Pam Marcus, taking a break from planning a parkrun in Kensington, MD with Jeff Lunsford and a few others, set a PB. Matthew Mullally is on a streak: 6 PBs in 6 runs, and getting very close to breaking the 20 minute barrier. Judy Barnes walked her way into her 7th PB -- how she walks this fast is beyond us. Emily Flamm and Martin Mittendorff made sizable improvements in their times. Andrew Widman, perhaps fortified from Nathan Widman's birthday cake, took a minute and 20 seconds off his PB last week, and Violet Ridge took 3 minutes off hers. I was told by a parkrunner (who I will not name) that after the run Violet told her dad Clark "Daddy! I DEFINITELY earned a donut today!" Food does amazing things to your willpower.

(For the record, my source also said that Clark replied to Violet, clarifying that he does not do donut bribes, although it was unclear whether this policy applies to participating in parkruns in general, or setting a PB.)

PBs: Clockwise from top-left: Violet and Clark, Emily, Matthew, and Andrew

And where would we be without our volunteers, who continue to dazzle with their stylish lime-green vests while making all this possible. As mentioned earlier, Diana and Carlos took care of scanning and tokens, Kim Fisher made sure everyone turned around at the right spot; Hump Plotts kept the golf-course crossing safe; Jenn Augsburger left no one behind, Clare Imholtz and Rachel Lukens got everyone their times. If you wonder why some of the photographs are so nice this week, that is because we were joined by Norm Bernache (Janice Bernache's dad), and a pretty capable photographer. Thank you all! If you can help in a future week, drop us an email at And if you update your parkrun profile to receive our weekly volunteer email circular (yes, only one per week), then your parkrun community will thank you.

Coming attractions at College Park parkrun:

  • September 23rd: event #50 already!
  • September 30th: join us at The Board & Brew after parkrun to meet with Tom Williams, COO of parkrun global, and founder of the original college town parkrun.
  • October 21st: First Birthday Celebration!
  • October 28th: UMD Homecoming 5k @ College Park parkrun.

Let's hope that we will get some regular fall weather this coming weekend. Same time, same place. Don't forget your barcode!

Nick Huang


Putting our best foot forward (Run Report #48)

In stark contrast to last week, the weather was near perfect for running on Saturday September 9th. At 9am it was a beautiful 61° F with a light north breeze and a very comfortable dewpoint. The predictable result was a slew of personal best times this week. An amazing 34 out of the 100 finishers recorded new PBs!  Among them was co-event director Colin Phillips, 2nd finisher today, who lowered his already impressive PB by 21 seconds!

IMG_20170909_092006 (1)

In addition, there were 11 first timers in the field this week establishing PBs on the College Park parkrun course. These included Jim Scott from Australia, a regular at Armidale parkrun in New South Wales. Jim’s debut here was his 71st overall parkrun. He and wife Marianne have spent the summer in the US with Jim running at Eagan parkrun in Minnesota six times. John and Julie Czerkowicz were visiting from Boston. John is a first timer while Julia had already run with us way back on New Year’s Eve 2016. Julie’s brother is College Park regular Chris Kujawa. Also, Yared Zeleke joined younger brother Kidus (a parkrun regular) for the first time. Others making their debut in College Park included Aaron Trulock, Jesse Chasteen, Ramiro Rodriguez, Kelsie Mathieson, Caleb Kiesow, Hannah Saltmarsh, Fasika Delessa, and Daysi Cruz. Welcome!


We were pleased to see that half of this week’s first timers were in the 20-24 age group. The start of Fall brings a big influx of young people to our community in College Park, and we hope to see many of them at parkrun on Saturday mornings.


First finisher this week for the 23rd time was Clark Ridge, though Colin was hot on his heels. Among the ladies, Lisa Parsons recorded her 5th first finish. Also, Michael Mattson and Nico Fedkin established new age category records this week. Great job, guys! Nathan Widman ran his final parkrun as a 10-year old this week and narrowly missed lowering his own age category record. We wish Nathan a happy birthday and look forward to him going after the 11-14 age category record. Fortunately, this will mean that Nathan will no longer need chaperones at parkrun. Surely a relief for his dad, Andrew Widman, who was one of this week’s PBs, though far behind Nathan.


A few notable milestones this week. Sam and Chris Mcgranahan both reached 20 runs at College Park parkrun on the same day. Dave Waguespack, Steve Hendrix, Brie Gibson (PB!), and Ryan Sibley (PB!) all recorded their 10th finishes. Hans Meurer (PB!), Cliff Bedore (PB!), Maggie Pooley (PB!) and Kayla Hayes all ran their 5th College Park parkrun.


Among the many other PBs this week were some family doubles: Steve and Cindy Feld, John Wilkerson and Susan Whitney. Some parkrunners made notable time breakthroughs: Brie Gibson, Andy Fellows, Judy Mulusa, and Andrew Widman all ran under 30 minutes for the first time. Paul Kittredge and Ben Flamm ran under 20 minutes for the first time. Tsegaab Hailemichael ran under 25 minutes for the first time, and Maggie Pooley ran under 35 minutes for the first time (huge PB!). Walkers Bhavani Khandrika and Chris Rasmussen both scored PBs. It’s not just the runners who are getting faster.


Our dedicated volunteer crew made life easy for the run director as usual. Thanks to timekeepers Janice Bernache and Cindy Conant, the finish token and scanner team of Will Bobseine and Kacey Nyongesa, course marshals Hump Plotts and Lisa Wilson, tail walker Xinzi He, and photographer Nina McGranahan. Afterwards at The Board and Brew, Sam McGranahan pitched in to help with results processing.


Lastly, we’d also like to give a special volunteer shout-out to Kim Fisher (another PB today!), who was last week’s tail walker and photographer in the rain storm. And then went and spent the afternoon designing and sewing for us a wonderful new carrier for our parkrun flag and poles. Thank you so much, Kim!


As you know, we’ll be back at the same time, same place every week. But take note of a few upcoming special attractions at College Park parkrun.

  • September 30th: parkrun global COO, founder of the very first college town parkrun, will likely be joining us at The Board and Brew after parkrunning downtown.
  • October 7th: our second Prince George’s Running Club day
  • October 21st: 1st birthday celebration!
  • October 28th: UMD Homecoming 5k @ College Park parkrun
  • November 11th: teaming up with Prince George’s Parks to plant some larger trees at our start/finish area, providing shade for future summers

See you again soon.

Jim Parsons


No place I’d rather be (Run Report #47)

Do you remember our Memorial Day weekend parkrun? Parkrun founder Paul Sinton-Hewitt was one of 180 attendees. Paul was a College Park parkrun first timer, as were 70 other attendees, including me. I quietly snuck in, did my run, and quiety snuck out. I spoke to no one except a volunteer at the First Timers desk, did not attend The Board and Brew, and, as per parkrun philosophy, left no trace, unless you count my name in the results section. Fast forward three months to our Labor Day weekend parkrun, and I’m debuting as a Run Director. How on earth did that happen?

I realized quickly, perhaps at my second parkrun, that there was something special about parkrun. So I kept coming. I introduced myself to Colin. I started going to B&B. On the day of what would have been my 7th parkrun, I was feeling achy, and there was a need for a golf course marshal. I volunteered and had the time of my life. The Wall Street Journal photographer even caught it on film.


More summer aches meant more volunteer opportunities. More volunteer opportunities meant that I learned the ropes. I started scoping out spots for a Montgomery County parkrun. Then came the email I had been waiting for. Andrea asked, “Pam, would you like to try your hand at being a Run Director?” I happily agreed.


My debut was, in a nutshell, very wet. By the end I was soaking and shivering. I realized, though, that if I had to be soaking and shivering, there’s no place I’d rather be than at a College Park parkrun. I’m sure many of you feel the same. The appearance of Harvey defined this week’s run and will make it one of our more memorable ones. But let’s not forget the other important bits. We had 58 participants and 12 volunteers! Andrea Zukowski did her first run in 6 weeks, just 5 weeks after having a kidney removed. Not a mole, not a polyp, but a non-vestigial organ! That must be a parkrun record! Ten-year old Nathan Widman set an age-category record and a PB. Brian Murphy kindly stepped in to chaperone Nathan, as Nathan is far too quick for his dad Andrew Widman. Thanks Brian!



We had 7 first timers this week: Michael Mattson, Duane Rosenberg, Beth Hisle-Gorman, Mchorris Matt, Paula Tuttle, Will Gorman, and Karen Feagin.  Michael finished 2nd overall, even though he hadn’t run in a year! Very impressive Michael, and we hope that you’ll come back to give some of our speediest attendees a proverbial run for their money. Duane is “Mayor pro tem” of New Carrollton, MD; if he ever becomes mayor, College Park mayor Patrick Wojahn may find his unofficial reign as speediest mayor in the DMV in jeopardy.  Paula bravely pushed a double stroller in the rain. Let’s not forget that there were two brave children in that stroller as well!. Will and Beth joined relatives Greg Gorman and Annabel Gorman.


Speaking of Greg Gorman, his time this week was almost 40 minutes faster than his time at last week’s Mansfield, OH parkrun. It wasn’t because he sprouted wings. Greg (like many of us) was unaware that some parkruns start earlier in the summer months. Greg went out anyway, caught the Mansfield tail runner, and finished. Gloria Cottman did her 7th parkrun today, and her dog joined her for the first time. Welcome to our new canine friend! Ryan Sibley’s dog was a welcome second timer this week. Dominique Blom and Frank Filteau (PB!) became the 10th and 11th members of our unofficial 25-run club. It was the 10th College Park parkrun for Francis Parks, the 5th College Park parkrun for Kevin Yatchet and Matthew Mullally (PB!), and the 40th parkrun for Lisa Wilson, our frequent turnaround marshal. Lisa is now officially in the home stretch towards her official 50-parkrun milestone, as are James Moreland, Clark Ridge, and Colin Phillips.


Twelve, or a fifth, of today’s runners set PBs, despite (or perhaps because of) the rain. Harish Guda has set a PB on all but one of his 8 runs, and today he took another minute from his time. Janice Bernache has set a PB on all but one of her 7 runs. Solomon Ambaye also set another PB today. John Ramsey has now set PBs on 10 of his 17 runs. Yukun Fung, soon to be a dad, was today’s first finisher, and his wife and in-utero baby watched from the safety of the canopy. Eight-year old Violet Ridge demonstrated her love of rain and puddles, as evidenced in the photo below.


We had 12 volunteers this week. Andrea Zukowski and Colin Phillips, as usual, took care of the back office business. This week a big part of that job involved drying everything out. And we mean *everything*. Even a hundred finisher tokens that we didn’t use. Hump Plotts marshalled the golf course and Lisa Wilson marshalled the turnaround. Chris McGranahan and Anouk Dieuleveut were our timekeepers. Jim Cantwell gave out finisher tokens and Yancira Amaya scanned. Nick Huang took finishline photos once he was done with his run. Kim Fisher was our tail walker, and Sigthor Waguespack sorted tokens with a little help from Jan Edwards. Most of our course volunteers did not have running to keep them warm, so we send out an extra-loud shout of thanks and round of cheers in recognition of their dedication.


I wasn’t able to spend much time talking with attendees this week because of the storms. I’m hoping that the weather will be a bit more cooperative the next time I’m Run Director (TBD) so I can meet more of you and get to know you. Until then, stay healthy, be happy, and keep on parkrunning!



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