Quadruple Holiday parkrun Report (Run Reports #115-#118)

It has been such a busy couple of weeks of parkrunning that we’re wrapping up our holiday parkrunning in one big report. It’s our New Years gift to you.

In the 15 days from Dec 22 to Jan 5 we held 4 parkruns in College Park, including our New Years Day special event. In that time we saw 627 finishers, supported by 63 volunteers. 20 of you ran or volunteered at all 4 events. And some of you did a 5th event by taking part in a New Years Double parkrun. And there was no shortage of milestones and inspiring achievements to celebrate. So buckle up …

On December 22nd we held a festive pre-holiday parkrun. Santa joined us, an elf with jingly bells on his hat haunted fast-finishing Francisco. And we had elven tailwalkers, too, dancing to celebrate the sun.

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On December 29th we had more sun to wrap up a great year of parkrunning in College Park, where we saw over 5700 5ks completed in 2018 (an increase of 40% over 2017). Three of our regulars completed their 51st parkrun of the year: John Ramsey, Frank Filteau, and Gus Campbell.

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On January 1st we were amazed at the crowd of 243 finishers. Not only was this an attendance record for College Park, it was the first time that we ran out of finisher tokens. Well, full disclosure, we had higher numbers somewhere in our gear box, but we were more focused on protecting the cakes than on tokens, so we didn’t realize that until later.

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43 parkrunners did a New Years Double by starting the day at Kensington parkrun or Leakin Park parkrun, and so many people joined us afterwards for a big community brunch at The Board and Brew. It was great to come together with folks from other local parkrun communities. What a fantastic start to 2019 for our community.

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Just a few days later we were back for our first Saturday parkrun of 2019, where we celebrated FOUR 50-milestones, and introduced our new “parkrun Patronus” sign, with a terrapin, of course.

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Our photo albums from all events can be found HERE.

As usual, beyond the numbers there were some great stories that inspired us over the holiday season.

Many of our regulars are familiar with young parkrunner Xander Mease and his always-upbeat attitude at parkrun. But on New Years Day he and his family were even more inspiring. Xander and his mom Tara did the Kensington-College Park double, proudly wearing their new red 50 shirts (a bit of a loose fit for a 6-year old). We gave the December parkrunner of the month award to Tara, for being an awesome parkrun mom. Xander’s grandma Janet was there too. This time she took a break from her recent speedy PBs, as she was looking out for her own mom, Ellie, who is 85. Turns out that Ellie was quite the runner in her time. That was at a time when women’s running was less common. Janet credits Ellie with inspiring her and subsequent generations to become runners. At parkrun Ellie set off pushing her own wheelchair, and made it most of the way to the turnaround. Quite the achievement, and we’re so happy that Ellie was able to join us. We’re fairly sure that this is the first time that we had 4 generations from the same family doing CP parkrun on the same day.

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Our 4 January 5th 50 milestones all come with stories of their own.

Erin Munsell was inspired to get active when living for a time with her aunt in Kensington. That just happened to be Cindy Conant, one of the speediest masters runners in the country. Cindy encouraged Erin to try out her first ever 5k in spring 2017 at a low-key community event in College Park called parkrun. Now Erin has done 50 parkruns, and she recently ran her first half marathon. Aunt Cindy came along to celebrate Erin’s milestone, and paced her to a new PB, at a pace that would have been unimaginable 18 months ago. And she brought along the whole family to join the fun. Erin now runs with Prince George’s Running Club, where her friends include JJ Su, who also celebrated his 50-parkrun milestone on the same day, and was part of Erin’s pace squad.

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This week is the 3rd birthday of Fletcher’s Cove parkrun, which introduced parkrun to the DC area. Andrea and I took part in that first event, and started holding weekly meetups on the Paint Branch Trail the very next week. Looking through the results from the Fletcher’s inaugural we also find Evan Hirsche doing his first parkrun. Quite a speedy runner, he went around in 31 minutes, because he was accompanying his 12-year old daughter Katie. 3 years on, Evan did his 50th parkrun with us on Jan 5th. He’s still running close to Katie, and enthusiastic barkrunner Sophie. But nowadays Katie holds our age-group record for 15-17 year olds, and they can be found speeding around towards the front of the pack.

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Anna Tinnemore was our 4th new 50-club member. Anna is a UMD grad student and one of the people who helps to make CP parkrun welcoming to everybody. She can run if she’s so inclined. But she’s just as likely to walk the trail, accompanying different people in different weeks. We were thrilled that this week she was joined by Neil and Jules, two friends that she met via parkrun.

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There was also some traveling going on over the holidays, and that created opportunities to catch up with other parkrun friends. On Dec 29 Andrea and I were with family in Michigan, so we dropped in on Lillie parkrun in Ann Arbor. There we ran into CP local Sharlene Deskins, and Roosevelt Island regular Cory Kind. It was great to see both of them with us in College Park on New Years Day. Then on January 5th I was in New York City for work, and had a chance to call in on Rory Murphy, one of our earliest regulars at CP, and now Event Director at Delaware & Raritan Canal parkrun, new New Brunswick. Better yet, I got a ride from the station from Adrian Dover, a regular tourist at CP who is often in NJ these days. Wonderful!

Many other parkrunners reached official and unofficial milestones over the holiday period.

Jeff Lunsford got to wear the purple superhero cape on January 1st, as it was his 25th time volunteering at parkrun. Jeff first joined us in early 2017, then went on to become a key part of the Kensington parkrun team, where he regularly leads the show. He did a New Years Double of his own, volunteering at both Kensington and College Park.

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7 new people joined our unofficial 25-timer club: Maia Swisdak, Misha Bernard, Bonnie McClellan, Clare Imholtz, Helena Santos-Collins, Keri Pierce, and Maria Cecil.

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16 new people joined our unofficial 10-timer club. Actually, one of them was Dinah Cohen, and as a junior parkrunner this counts as an official milestone. Magdalena Duhagon, Jen Charles, Heather Shrader, Kristine Rogers, Jesse Melchiori, Jeff Bowser, Maya Aleschnik, Dottie Jograj, Kimberly Bills, Lilly Ridge, Raffaelle Simpson, Abba Milkii, and Mike Roberts. A special extra shout out to Joyce Adams, who joined the group of 10-time tourists at College Park parkrun. Joyce is event director at Roosevelt Island parkrun in DC, and we’re always delighted when she’s able to join us. On January 1st she was *so* helpful as Andrea and I figured out the results.

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And a remarkable 28 new people joined our unofficial 5-timer club over the holidays. Kathy Zentek, Polly O’Rourke, Greg Ervin, Chris Van Vlack, Christina Ferguson, Louis Roberts, Paul Christoph Schemionek, Marvin Perdomo, Jair Jackson, Delia Reyes, Stewart Mayhew, Erica Olmsted-Hawala, Autumn Miller, Vivienne Miller, Angela Taylor, Mara McMillen, Cristian Arteaga, Jen Kubit, Nozomi Sakakibara, Martha Askarov, Josh Weiss, Lara Pagano, John Maneval, Dottie Li, Jessica Rojas, Firehun Necha, Jon Sutton, and Jonathan Butacci.

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With such big participation in parkrun over the holidays we were so happy to see how many different people stepped forward as volunteers. The hundreds of people who have volunteered at CP parkrun are what makes the event so special for our community. So thank you to all of the following for their holiday parkrun volunteering: Joyce Adams, Yancira Amaya, Jenn Augsburger, Janice Bernache, Jim Cantwell, Cindy Cohen (2), Carleton Conant, Cindy Feld, Steve Feld, Kim Fisher, Jake Foley (3), Saul Goldberg, Carlos Gough (2), Diana Gough, Ellen Hamilton, Evan Hirsche, Katie Hirsche, Neil Jograj, Aileen Kroll (2), Jeff Lunsford, Nina McGranahan, Judy Mulusa, Brian Murphy (2), Jen Murphy, Teresa Perdomo, Colin Phillips (4), Meredith Phillips, Abigail Phillips (2), Hump Plotts (4), Abdur-Rahman Quadri, Calvin Ridge, Clark Ridge (2), Julie Russell, Elizabeth Sheridan, Valerie Silensky (2), JJ Su, Janet Tate, Daniel Walker, Larry Washington, Lisa Wilson (4), and Andrea Zukowski (4).

… wow.

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COMING ATTRACTIONS

Saturday January 12th is the 3rd anniversary of parkrun in the DC area, and Fletcher’s Cove parkrun is inviting everybody to a post-parkrun pizza party at 7th Hill Pizza on MacArthur Boulevard at 11am. You could go try out FC parkrun on the C&O Canal towpath. Or you could do CP parkrun then zip into DC for lunch.

Saturday January 26th is the 6th annual Awards Gala for the College Park Community Foundation, at The Hotel at UMD. CPCF is a pillar of the local community and one of our launch supporters. We’re excited to share that this year CPCF is giving their Chair’s Award for an outstanding community organization to … College Park parkrun. There will be many familiar faces from parkrun at the gala, and we invite you to join us there. Ticket sales (HERE) raise funds that CPCF then uses for its community grant-making programs.

Well, now that we’re all caught up with this quadruple run report, it must be almost Saturday again, right? See you soon!

Colin Phillips

 

 

A hundred hundreds (Run Reports #113 and #114)

Lisa Wilson has been putting up an impressive streak of 100s lately at College Park parkrun.

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Nov 24: brings her dad to parkrun, aged 100. First centenarian to complete a parkrun in this continent.
Dec 1st: joins the parkrun 100 club
Dec 8th: becomes the first person to complete College Park parkrun 100 times. Oh, and she finished in 100th position, too.
Dec 15th: volunteers for 100th time, as does her husband Hump Plotts

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Not to be outdone, College Park parkrun this week recorded its 10,000th finisher since starting in October 2016. That’s 100 x 100 5Ks, completed by around 2,000 people. That’s quite a lot.

(Want to see more of our pictures: check out our Flickr albums.)

So who was the 10,000th finisher? Why, it was Lucy Bills!

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That’s nice enough, but there were plenty of other things for Lucy to get excited about this week at parkrun. First, it was raining. A LOT. In fact, it was the biggest winter rain storm ever in DC, and it didn’t stop raining for 45 hours. So Lucy teamed up with fellow puddle-lover Violet and had a totally amazing time running through every puddle they could find on the trail. And there were a lot of puddles.

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And then they had cake. And then they met up with more friends and went to play board games at The Board and Brew. Now if that’s not a perfect College Park morning, we don’t know what is.

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The rain kept some folks away, but we still had our largest ever turnout for a rain day, with 68 finishers. Not many first-timers, though, for some reason. We made the most of our “indoor” start-finish setup, which involves 2 canopies erected on the trail. That was very welcome indeed, especially for the volunteers who were standing in the rain for an hour and a half.

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The rain didn’t stop us celebrating, though. We marked Nick Huang’s 50th parkrun. Nick is one of the pioneers of College Park parkrun, and also one of our most prolific volunteers, having recently recorded his 50th volunteer stint. His skills were very welcome this week, as BOTH stopwatches had problems, and so we had to reconstruct all results by hand.

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We also celebrated Kalonji Collins as the parkrunner of the Month for November (yes, we’re catching up!). Kalonji started parkrunning with us in early 2018, and he is already ⅔ of the way to the 50 milestone. He has set countless PBs along the way, and is also a regular volunteer. Thank you, Kalonji! The award comes with a (probably soggy) certificate and a gift card generously provided by our friends at The Board and Brew.

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If this week’s parkrun was the wettest of the year, last week’s parkrun was the coldest of the season (so far!), with temps in the 20s and some wind for good measure.

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We wanted to celebrate Lisa becoming the first to complete CP parkrun 100 times. But since she’s the first to start and the last to finish, most people just had a brief encounter with her at the turnaround. So we made a surprise for her on the trail, leaving lots of chalk messages for her to find when she returned. Turns out that we have some talented chalkers in our midst.

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Despite the cold, we still had over 100 finishers. The lesson from this: you prefer cold over rain.

With the less than ideal weather these past 2 weeks, we saw rather more regulars than first-timers. In fact, there were only 5 across the two weeks. Welcome to Kelly Dunston, Shulamit Shroder, Grace Pooley, Sammie Buzzard (visiting from London, but soon to move to Atlanta), and Joseph Riordon. Do join us again some time. We can’t guarantee better weather, but it’s very likely.

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In addition to Nick Huang’s official parkrun milestone, we had a few people reach unofficial milestones.

Lisa Wilson is the first person to complete CP parkrun 100 times.

We saw two new members of our CP 50-timer club: Chris McGranahan and Colin Phillips. Also, there are two new 25-timers: Francis Parks and Jim Cantwell.

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(Fun fact: there are 39 people who have completed CP parkrun at least 39-times.)

We saw 5 new 10-timers: Tomas Marambio, Frank Snyder, John Tirador, Maggie Pooley, and Jessica Gerbig. We also saw 5 new 5-timers: Eli Scott, Terry Shin, Janet Tate, Chris Nichols, and Melanie Barzik. Whether you’re there every week or can join us only occasionally, we’re always happy to see you at Acredale Park on a Saturday morning.

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In inclement weather we’re especially grateful to the volunteers who helped to keep everything working smoothly.

Neil Jograj took his second turn as Run Director on December 8th. Colin Phillips was RD for the 20th time. We’re always looking for folks who have a little experience of participating and volunteering who would like to join our rotating roster of RDs. Could this be you? The RD is the person who oversees the day’s event, helping the volunteer crew to operate as a well-oiled machine, and typically giving the pre-run briefing and processing the results. Some of our team are moving on in the coming months, and so we’ll need some new talent. And we’re always keen to have a diverse RD team (age, gender, speed, background, …) Training is provided, and ideally each RD would take a turn just once every couple of months. Get in touch if you’re curious about this. Anna Tinnemore and Yancira Amaya recently stepped up to join the crew, and we’d love to have you too.

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The RDs were supported in the past 2 weeks by Yancira Amaya, Meghan Gieske, Ben Gieske, Saul Goldberg, Carlos Gough, Diana Gough, Nick Huang, Carolyn Kelley, Aileen Kroll, Tomas Marambio, Brian Murphy, Jen Murphy, Hump Plotts, Matt Pyle, Abdur-Rahman Quadri, Clark Ridge, Marc Swisdak, Maia Swisdak, Anna Tinnemore, Larry Washington, Lisa Wilson, and Andrea Zukowski. One of the many things that we LOVE about College Park parkrun is how many people come forward and help out as volunteers. 170 different individuals have volunteered with us in 2018 alone. If you haven’t tried out volunteering yet, we encourage you to give it a go -- it’s not a chore, and you get to share in everybody else’s parkrun fun for the morning. Highly recommended!

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COMING ATTRACTIONS

We have regular Saturday parkruns throughout the holiday period, as long as there are no safety issues on the trail. Got a Santa hat or reindeer antlers, then bring them out this Saturday for our start-of-the-holidays event.

On New Years Day we will hold our 3rd College Park Resolution parkrun, co-hosted with our friends at Prince George’s Running Club. This parkrun is special in a number of ways. First, it starts late, at *10:30am*. Second, you can do another parkrun beforehand if you’re feeling energetic. Both Leakin Park parkrun (Baltimore) and Kensington parkrun are holding events at 8:30am, coordinated so that you can do two. January 1st is the one day of the year when you can record two parkruns in one day. Fletcher’s Cove parkrun in DC is also holding a 10:30am event, so the options for mixing and matching are abundant. Third, we’ll be meeting up after parkrun for a big, fun New Years brunch at The Board and Brew, for the entire Maryland parkrun community. You are SO invited!

If you’ll be traveling over the holidays, then you might find yourself near one of the 48 parkruns in North America, or the 1300+ worldwide. If you do visit another event, we’d love to hear from you!

Happy holidays!

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More milestones and PBs (Run Report #112)

It's December! Where did all the time go?

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Judging from the photo, I think it's safe to say that for many of you, at least some of it went to parkrun. We had 104 parkrunners on Saturday, of which 19 had earned the 50 red t-shirt, all of whom are regulars at this course. Two of them marked milestones: Duane Rosenberg ran his 50th, and veteran turn-around marshal Lisa Wilson completed her 100th parkrun, which was her 99th parkrun at College Park. (More below on celebrations coming up this week.)

I might point out for the record that with Saturday's parkrun, we now have two local mayors who are in the 50-club. Duane is mayor of New Carrollton, and the other is Patrick Wojahn, mayor of College Park. I am not aware of any other parkruns in the US having two regulars who are mayors, much less two mayors who are in the 50-club. This is a record we are likely to keep for a while, I think. That's a mark of a healthy community.

All eyes are now on you, Andy Fellows (former mayor of College Park).

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And I might point out that this is my 50th volunteer stint. Please consider volunteering! No volunteers = no parkrun. Plus, we know that everyone looks good in a yellow or orange vest! (OK, that last sentence is probably false. But you need to put one on to decide whether that holds true for you.)

Another remarkable fact about Saturday's parkrun was the fact that we saw 25 PBs. That's one in four parkrunners! Here's the official list, from least to most experienced: John Maneval, Laura Tiffany, Jessica Rojas, Cindy Flores, Moira Abenethy, Lillian Hawala and Erica Olmsted-Hawala, Wendy Young, Matt Gembecki, Magdalena Duhagon, Julian Gordon, Abba Milkii, Tomas Marambio, Mary Miner, Meghan Gieske, Lucas Aguilera Kelley, Eric Pino, Frank Snyder, Carly Mills (cheered on by her sister Erin), Daniel Walker, Dan Sarmiento, Valerie Silensky, Marc and Alexander Swisdak, and John Ramsey. The bell seemed to be ringing non-stop!

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While we congratulated Duane, Lisa, and our PB-setters, we also welcomed seven first timers: Stepanie Baynham, Sandra Roper, Cathelyn Wang, Jacob Hyman, Jayna Resman, Firehun Necha, and Elizabeth Fellows (who came along with Andy), and a visitor from across town: Cory Kind (also a PB), who usually runs at either Roosevelt Island or Livonia, MI. We hope to see you back soon!

There were also some of you who were reaching unofficial milestones, en route to the ones that get you a spiffy free parkrun shirt. Keri Pierce is the newest member of our 25-timer club. Keri was wearing her Howarts hat this week, so 5 points for Gryffindor! We saw 4 new 10-timers: Mary Miner (PB!), Jorge Aguilera, and Ben and Meghan Gieske (PB!).

Finally, our volunteers. In particular, there are three people I would like to acknowledge: Misha Bernard, who stepped up the last minute to serve as timekeeper. Nan Shellabarger had never been to parkrun before, but decided that she would try volunteering and did a great job scanning barcodes with Joel Goldberg, who has stepped in to help with barcode scanning for more than a few times. And of course, thanks to the rest of the crew at the finish line -- Steve Feld (timekeeper), Kim Fisher (tokens), Colin Phillips (photos, cheering) -- and on the course -- Jake Foley and daughter Elizabeth (tailwalking and photos), Andrea Zukowski (photos, communications, etc), Hump Plotts and Lisa Wilson (marshals).

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On that note, I also want to point out that this coming Saturday (Dec 8) is Lisa's 100th parkrun at College Park (and her 101st parkrun). So please come and congratulate her. There will be cake!

Further ahead, take note of our New Years Resolution parkrun & Double parkrun. On January 1st we'll be celebrating  the start of 2019 with a 10:30am special parkrun, in conjunction with our friends at Prince George's Running Club. We invite you to also do a special double parkrun by joining the 8:30am events at Kensington parkrun, or Leakin Park parkrun (Baltimore), or possibly  more. Then afterwards there will  be a big New Years parkrun brunch  at The Board and Brew, where we'll be welcoming parkrun friends from across the region.

Nick Huang
 

Double Helping (Run Reports #110 & #111)

Thanksgiving is about friends, and family, and about getting an extra serving of things we like. This Thanksgiving we certainly enjoyed, friends, family, and an extra slice of parkrun. We held our first ever Thanksgiving Day parkrun, plus our regular Saturday gathering. And so we’re doing a double-header run report this week.

With 99 finishers on Thursday and 90 on Saturday we had 189 finishers this week. 27 finished both days, and a further 7 volunteered one day and ran one day. That’s a lot of people taking part, despite it being the coldest Thanksgiving in the DC area for a long time.

We had a LOT of things to celebrate this Thanksgiving.

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On Saturday Gus Campbell and Cindy Cohen became the first “home-grown” CP parkrunners to join the 100 club. Cindy started parkrunning downtown at Fletcher’s Cove in February 2016, but has done most of her parkruns at CP. Cindy is a great supporter of the local running community, especially through Prince George’s Running Club. Gus started parkrunning at our very first event in October 2016, at which point he said that he had barely run in 50 years, since he was in the military. Since then he has run 100 times, plus 5 days as a non-running volunteer. That’s an impressive turn-around. We already had a black 100 sash on hand, but luckily a second one arrived in the mail Friday afternoon. CP-parkrun-111-9

Meanwhile, on Thursday Gus’s daughter Jen Murphy reached her 50 parkrun milestone and ran with the red sash … just a few days after she ran in the purple superhero cape for volunteering for the 25th time. And on Saturday Gus’s other daughter Jessica Gerbig did her 10th parkrun, pushing Gus’s granddaughter Cora in the stroller. Quite the week!

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Another milestone: on Saturday Hump Plotts did his 100th volunteer role (spread across 97 events). But on Thursday he got to see the pre-run gathering for the very first time. He’s normally waiting for us at the golf course, so he doesn’t see the crowd. The driveway was closed for Thanksgiving, so he came over to join us, took the bullhorn, and wished everybody a happy Thanksgiving. Fantastic!

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Meanwhile, on Saturday Hump and Lisa brought along Lisa’s dad Jim, who accompanied Lisa on her regular parkrun jaunt. No biggie, except that Jim is 100 years old. The stats-inclined might be interested to know that this makes him the oldest US parkrunner (by far), and likely the slowest ever at CP. But really it’s just inspiring that Jim is able to walk 3 miles with his daughter at age 100. Hands up if you’d love to be able to do that! CP-parkrun-111-86

We wanted to ensure that Jim would stay warm. So Hump brought along a mug of hot chocolate, and handed it off to Colin as he ran past. Luckily the lid was solid, so the hot chocolate did make it to the turnaround. And Cotter and Tomas got to enjoy the experience of running down the trail paced by an old bald dude who was carrying a mug of hot chocolate.

CP-parkrun-111-15  We welcomed many first timers, from near and far. On Thursday David Piper joined us from London, UK. David is what is known as a parkrun “uber tourist”, as he visits as many different events as possible. David has now done 310 *different* parkruns among his 386 parkruns, making him the most traveled parkrunner to visit CP parkrun. Though we’ll note that parkrun founder and overall star Paul Sinton-Hewitt remains the most traveled parkrunner to visit CP parkrun and actually stay for coffee and to chat with the natives. CP-parkrun-110-113

We were very happy on Thursday to welcome visitors from local parkruns that were not offering a Thanksgiving event. Jennifer Flather is one of the organizers of the Anacostia parkrun. She got to meet Neil and share some Navy stories. Kat joined us from Roosevelt Island parkrun. And Dave Scarnato joined us from Fletcher’s Cove. Turns out, Dave works for a local TV station, so he quietly captured some video at the run, and it featured on WUSA9 TV later that day.

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And we were really happy to welcome a lot of family and friends over the holidays. Alina Zhang’s mom Wei was visiting from China. Ashley Ward’s dad was visiting. And Clark Ridge’s dad Doug was visiting from Delaware, so Clark got to tear around the course on Thursday while Granddad got some quality time on the trail with Violet. CP-parkrun-110-171

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We saw 24 PBs over the two days.   Adrianne Bradford and Magdalena Duhagon deserve a special shout out. Both did their 5th PB in 5 parkruns. Impressive. In Adrianne’s case she’s now 15 minutes faster than first time out. For 2 years Magdalena had been staying home while husband Eddie Matus became one of our most regular parkrunners. We’re thrilled that she’s now part of the community and we’re loving watching her progress. CP-parkrun-110-133

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Francis Parks seems to be on a real streak right now, and set another big PB on Thursday. And on Saturday Eric London took a chunk from his parkrun PB. Not easy to do when you’re on the wiser side of 50 and running your 64th parkrun. Similar big improvement by Aaliyah Al Amin and Kimberly Cruce on Thursday. CP-parkrun-110-46

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Other PBs were Stewart Mayhew, Michael Laing, Derek Symer, Külli Puusta, Justin Bridgman, Teresa Perdomo, Janice Bernache, Jim Cantwell, Marvin Perdomo, Marta Laskowski, Hannah Collins, Delia Reyes, Maria Ialacci, Dottie Li, Marcia Abrams, Sherell Fuller, Angela Perdomo, and Teresa Bippus.

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Lots of people reached unofficial milestones this week. Joel Goldberg, Trace Huard, and Janice Bernache all did their 25th run with us. Halfway to 50! CP-parkrun-111-54

We saw 6 new members of our unofficial 10-parkrun club: Teresa Perdomo, Justin Bridgman, Andrew Widman, Alina Zhang, Ken Witcher, and Ben Brosch.

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And we saw *13* new members of our unofficial 5-parkrun club: Rob Gerbig, Matt Laskowski, Doug Ridge, Kimberly Cruce, Adrianne Bradford, Kristen Wares, Marcia Abrams, Matt Gembecki, Derek Symer, Juan Saavedra, Noe Saavedra, Magdalena Duhagon, and Angela Perdomo.

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One more category of notables: in November we had 5 parkrun days. 28 people finished 4 or 5 times in November. Nice! They are Magdalena Duhagon, Noe Saavedra, Angela Perdomo, Teresa Perdomo, Meghan Gieske, Maria Ialacci, Frank Snyder, Kalonji Collins, Helena Santos-Collins, Külli Puusta, Duane Rosenberg, Carlos Chaverri, Jim Cantwell, Aileen Kroll, Eddie Matus, Yancira Amaya, JJ Su, Gus Campbell, Nick Huang, Cindy Cohen, Cotter Rosenberg, Anna Tinnemore, Dagne Ture, Russ Dickerson, John Ramsey, Frank Filteau, Lisa Wilson, and Dom Blom. CP-parkrun-110-53

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There will be 5 parkrun days in December, too. Can you complete at least 4 of them?   Of course, there would be no parkrun without our wonderful volunteers. Thanks to Elmer Hernandez for volunteering for the first time. Elmer got to see what many others have seen before: it’s really kind of fun to be in the middle of the action, coordinating with the other volunteers, giving high fives, and generally feeling part of something good for the community. Over 250 of you have tried volunteering at College Park parkrun already. It’s totally, well, voluntary, but we highly recommend it. CP-parkrun-111-105

Our other volunteers this week included a cast of heroic stalwarts: Dan Walker, Brian Murphy, and JJ Su did timing. Zoe Phillips, Jake Foley, Lori Dominick, Marc Swisdak, and Jim Parsons ensured that everybody got their finish token and barcode scanned, and Saul Goldberg and Nick Huang were troubleshooters. Ben Brosch and Diana Gough (and Ruby) were tailwalkers and tailwaggers. Lisa Wilson and Hump Plotts filled the role of, well, Lisa and Hump. They’re rather good at it at this point. And Andrea and Colin shared the run directing, volunteer wrangling, and propagandist roles.

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On Thursday The Board and Brew was closed for Thanksgiving. We’re so grateful to the B&B crew for welcoming us every week. After 109 weeks of working through results at B&B it felt odd to be doing it at the kitchen table at home. Join us any week that you’re available for a post-parkrun chat and brunch. CP-parkrun-110-189

And if you’re still with us at the end of this bumper report, here are a couple more news items.

1. Know of friends in other places who would like to enjoy what we have in College Park every Saturday? parkrun USA is expanding, and looking to connect people in different cities who would like to start a parkrun in their community. This week they shared a story and a map of possible locations. Ask Andrea or Colin if you have any useful leads.

2. Congratulations to regular parkrunner Bonnie McClellan who has been named by the University of Maryland’s Office of Community Engagement as their “Community Champion” ofr 2018. Bonnie lights up the city, just as she lights up the trail with us on a Saturday.

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3. Mark your diaries for the special New Years Double parkrun on January 1st. Kensington parkrun and Leakin Park parkrun in Baltimore will both be holding 8:30am events. Then we’ll be welcoming folks from across the region to College Park for a 10:30am parkrun, followed by a big brunch at The Board and Brew. It’s the biggest parkrun party of the year, so do join us: run, walk, or volunteer once or twice, or just join us for brunch. We’ll be happy to see you either way.

4. Interested in helping out as part of our rotating crew of run directors? Or do you have social media skills that you could put to good use spreading the word about CP parkrun? We’d love to hear from you.

See you next Saturday! We’ll be celebrating better weather, the start of December, and a milestone for Duane Rosenberg (50). Run Director Nick Huang will be volunteering for the 50th time, too. See you there!

Colin Phillips

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New normal (Run Report #109)

This week in the DMV we really saw the shift in seasons. Snow is not something we talk about in this area until at least December, and even that seems early. Well, Mother Nature has her own plans and we got that hit of winter weather the Thursday before parkrun. We rebounded well, though, and by Saturday we had a beautiful Fall morning for 120 finishers.

Everything about Saturday seemed like your normal Saturday parkrun. Friends gathering a few minutes before the start, barkrunners played among the kids, first-timers came to ask what this was all about and what the barcodes were for, parkrun tourists introduced themselves, volunteers donned their hi-vis vests, and a community of walkers and runners formed as it has for the last 2+ years on this trail. This all felt normal. You hear a lot lately about the “new normal”, and it often has a negative connotation behind it. Well, this is my new normal - an amazing, diverse community of family, friends, and neighbors enjoying each other and parkrun. On a day like today less than two years ago, we would have been thrilled to break 50 parkrunners, but 120 now feels normal.

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Besides celebrating this new normal, we had a few other reasons to celebrate this parkrun. College Park parkrun had their first person to hit the 100 parkrun mark. John Jensenius joined our community a few months back after running most of his parkruns at Oxford parkrun. He was able to take the black 100 sash on its inaugural spin. We are thrilled to have you with us, John. Congratulations on #100! Now that College Park parkrun is over the century mark, we’re expecting to see a few of these 100s coming up. Stay tuned!

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We also celebrated a special 25 volunteer. Jen Murphy tailwalked this week, which was a perfect change of pace from her marathon the week before, and earned her 25th volunteer gig in the process. The purple cape looks great on you, Jen! This 25 volunteer milestone is another spot where I’m expecting a number of people hitting pretty soon. Could we be seeing lots of purple shirts in our community in the spring? I think so.

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We also like to give shout-outs for our unofficial milestones. Maria Cecil and Helena Santos-Collins both did their 25th parkruns. Halfway to the 50 club already! Sharyn Gordon, Maria Ialacci, Caroline Molieri, and Jefferson Ruiz all joined us for the 10th time. Dagne Ture was the one new member this week of our unofficial 5-parkrun club.

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We welcomed 19 first-timers this week. That’s also fairly normal these days. We saw some more families. Steven Moore and his son Liam this week brought along the rest of the family - welcome to Amanda Edmonds and James Edmonds-Moore. John Maneval and his daughter Vivian joined us, as did Sam Hawala together with Lilian and Jeremy. Our most seasoned parkrunner of the day was Paul Parker, who has run most of his 210 parkruns at Killerton parkrun in Exeter, UK. We were also happy to welcome Laura Patsko, whose home parkrun is Cambridge, UK.

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Maybe a whole bunch of PBs are the new normal, too. We saw our fair share on Saturday. First across the line and first to get a new PB was Niko Fedkin at 18:12. Just barely a minute back was Cotter Rosenberg who has been knocking off PBs seemingly every week. Maybe he just loves to ring that PB bell. The fact that he still had so much spring in his step at the 4k mark suggests that there’s more to come from Cotter. The PB bell got a workout this Saturday. Isaac Scott got to ring it again, as did Daniel Walker, Emily Jensenius, Frank Snyder, Caroline Molieri, Meghan Gieske, Charlie Foley, Larissa Olson, Sarah Treado, Justin Bridgman, Marcia Abrams, Finn Ward, Carrie Murphy, Magdalena Duhagon (4 in 4!), Helena Santos-Collins, and Dominique Blom.

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A special shout out for Janet Tate, her daughter Tara Mease, and her grandson Xander Mease. This may be the first time that we’ve seen 3 generations set a PB on the same day.

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Also, kudos to Lilly Ridge, who ducked under 40 minutes for the first time, and had the distinction of being the first finisher named Ridge. No mean feat in that family.

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Congratulations everyone! I love hearing that bell ring loud (and often!).

I also love all our volunteers each and every week. This week’s superheros were Casey Allen, Saul Goldberg, Kayla Hayes, Nick Huang, Eric London, Tomas Marambio, Erin Munsell, Jennifer Murphy, Colin Phillips, Hump Plotts, Clark Ridge, Abigail Santoni, Lisa Wilson, and, of course, Andrea Zukowski. As we head into Thanksgiving week, our ever-changing volunteer crew gives me a lot to be thankful for. Our growing community always comes through when we need a volunteer to fill one of these roles - for that I’m very thankful!

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Speaking of Thanksgiving, I hope I’ll see many of you for our special Thanksgiving parkrun. Lots to be thankful for! We’ll be meeting at the usual time, usual place, usual price, and with the usual swag (friends!) on Thursday November 22nd. Then we’ll be back at it at our regular Saturday time on November 24th. It’s a perfect time to bring along family or friends. The only difference is that on Thursday we’ll be skipping the regular post-parkrun coffee, so that the Board & Brew folks can get to Grandma’s house on time.

Alternatively, you could do one of this week’s parkruns with our friends at Kensington parkrun instead - they’ll be holding two events. Or at any of the DMV parkruns that are all taking place on Saturday. Or if you’ll be traveling elsewhere in the US, you now have more and more parkruns to visit. If you do, do send pictures!

-Brian Murphy

[Ed - we would also like to congratulate Brian for putting in an amazing run in last week's Richmond Marathon, with a 2:55 clocking. It's impressive that he was able to climb onto the stool for the run briefing this week.]
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Blown away! (Run Report #108)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

See you soon!

 

 

Trees! (Run Report #107)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A couple of upcoming attractions:

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

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

Until next week!

Your College Park parkrun team

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Sheilah was the parkrunner of the month for October and received a gift card to The Board & Brew, our favorite coffee house! CP-parkrun-106-21

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

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

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

Steve & Cindy Feld

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

Happy Birthday to Us (Run Report #105)

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

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

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

But what was special THIS week at CP parkrun?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Coming Attractions

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Andrea Zukowski
Colin Phillips
co-Event Directors

 

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Comeback kids! (Run Report #104)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Now, listen up for the upcoming attractions.

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

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

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

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

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

Colin Phillips
Co-Event Director

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