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

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


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


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


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


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


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



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

First-time Run Director




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

“You work with what you’ve got.”

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

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


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


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

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


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

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

Here is full volunteer crew from June 30th. Please follow their good example the next time you get a chance!

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

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

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

Larry Washington, a regular steady hand at timekeeping

Amy Scholes, who came along with dad to do timekeeping

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

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

Nick Huang, our on-call results processing wizard

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

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

Mark Shroder, regular tail walker

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


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



We hope to see you next week!

-Andrea Zukowski, your friendly neighborhood parkrun enthusiast





Summer Kickoff (Run Report #88)

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

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

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


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


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


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


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

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


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


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


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




Some other newsy items ...

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

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

Cindy Feld
Co-Run Director


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

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


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




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


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


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


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

Congrats Hannah!Congrats Chris!


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


Susan H


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




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


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


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


Wonderful volunteers

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


See you soon,

Nick Huang
Run Director


After the flood (Run Report #86)

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



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



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


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


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



Thanks to all.

Clark Ridge
Run Director



Now we are six (Run Report #85)

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

AA Milne, Now we are six.


Some numbers to mark the sixth birthday of parkrun USA.

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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

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


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

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



Happy trails!

Colin Phillips

Co-Event Director



Send clean clothes! (Run Report #84)

The parkrun day started earlier than usual this week for a large posse of people who gathered at 7:30 AM to clean up a section of the Paint Branch (stream) near our turn-around that had become an ugly garbage heap. It looked like it would be an easy job, but when we got a closer look, we realized the garbage was floating on several feet of smelly, murky water. But parkrunners are not easily daunted, and finally after a little head scratching, primitive tools were made, and cleanup proceeded. Special thanks go to Kim Fisher, who thought to bring her waders and her truck (to haul the garbage out), and to Clark Ridge, who realized there was only one way to finish the job: he made a quick call home to Lilly Ridge to request clean clothes and shoes for after, and jumped right in to the muck. Thank you Kim, Clark, and the rest of the clean-up posse: Brian Murphy, Jen Murphy, Gus Campbell, Aileen Kroll, Bernard Kelly, Larry Washington, JJ Su, Nick Huang, Clare Imholtz, Duane Rosenberg, Nevan Torres, and Alissa Torres! And thanks to Thelma Cordon and Astrid Salguero, who arrived a little late; sorry we missed you!


And then we had the main event at 9AM. Turnout was wonderful this week, with 128 finishers, which contributed to a country-wide first: it was the first Saturday that the combined attendance across parkrun USA events topped 1000. In fact, the record-breaking number was 1103! This is about double the record of 599 that we set on Memorial Day weekend last year. It’s really exciting to watch the growth of parkrun in the US, and to be a part of making it happen.


It was a steamy day, and you know it won’t be the last. One gentleman got overheated and had to stop just short of the finish, and we called out EMS to check him out. Please remember to stay hydrated, bring a water bottle to fill up, and most importantly, listen to your body! Somehow, in spite of the heat, we had 14 PBs this week! Colette Foley improved on her PB by a whopping 2 minutes, and set an age-category record in the process. Kudos, Colette! Brothers Franz and Benno Wien both managed new PBs as well, as did 7-time tourist Adrian Dover and Calvin and Lilly Ridge. Great running, everyone! Our PB bell is sure getting a lot of use!


This week we were delighted to welcome 16 people who were doing their first parkrun ever (we hope to see you again!), as well as a few parkrun tourists. Samia Ullah and Adrian Dover came from the most distant parkruns (Richmond parkrun and Newent parkrun, both in the UK) and Martha Wagley came from nearby Leakin Park parkrun in Baltimore. First time visitor Julie Messina is the Event Director of Durham, NC parkrun, which was the 3rd parkrun on US soil (they will celebrate their 5 year anniversary on June 30). Julie grew up in Laurel, MD, which explains why it’s not so crazy that she ran into an old friend at College Park: parkrun enthusiast Misha Bernard!


We’re very proud of the fact that parkrun is addictive. This week Paul Wester and Brie Gibson ran their 25th parkruns, Joan Miles ran her 10th, and Eric Skidmore, Phoebe McDougal, Matt Miller, Mary Wester, John Gorman, and Travis Boltjes ran their 5th. College Park parkrun how has 57 25-timers, 164 10-timers, and 310 5-timers. That’s a lot of mileage! So many of you are approaching your 50 parkruns milestone, and the great news is that the milestone shirts are now shipping (watch out for quite a few red 50 shirts this Saturday).


This coming Saturday, we will celebrate Steve Feld’s 50th parkrun. This Saturday is also the 6th anniversary of parkrun USA, and of Livonia parkrun, which was the first in the US. We hope you can join us!


Thank you to everyone who made parkrun possible this week! These guys are the best:

Abdur-Rahman Quadri

Bernard Kelly

Brian Murphy

Colin Phillips

Hump Plotts

Larry Washington

Lisa Wilson

Jennifer Murphy


Russell Dickerson

Valerie Silensky

See you soon,



Double, No Trouble (Run Report #81)

It was such a good morning for a 5k in College Park that some of us decided to do TWO. Our friends at the College Park Community Foundation held their 5th annual 5k race at City Hall at 8am. And at 9am we had our 81st weekly College Park parkrun. And with perfect weather, there were few excuses for not getting out and enjoying the outdoors with the community.


Congratulations to the parkrunners who ran both the 8am and 9am events: Patrick Wojahn, Marc Swisdak, Tsegaab Hailemichael, Cindy Cohen. Thanks to the folks who attended the CP5K and then volunteered at parkrun: Frank Filteau, Janice Bernache, Andrea Zukowski. And it was great to see the names of parkrunners in the CP5K: Alan Mulindwa, Sharon Chi, Elliott Hamilton, Diana Gough, Carlos Gough, Sheilah Kast, Jane Hopkins. The event is a key fundraiser for the foundation that supports so many good causes in our community.


And a special shout out to Clark Ridge, who did both 5Ks pushing his son Felix in a stroller. In the CP5K they gave the strollers a slight head start, and Clark was so fast that none of the stroller-less runners were able to catch him. Then at parkrun he was joined by his daughter Violet, and they proceeded to inadvertently pace Xander and Tara Mease to a big new PB. As Tara recounts: “what happened is that Xander started chatting with Violet, and he had to keep up in order to stay in the conversation with her, and he didn't even realize he was going faster than he thought he could.” Perfect!


We again welcomed a new event to the parkrun USA family. Charleston parkrun in West Virginia’s capital city launched as the 21st event (CP was #7). We’ve been welcoming so many new events lately that the kids jumped right in to hold the sign.


Nobody reached an official milestone this week, but there are more and more people making strides towards the parkrun milestone. Jordan Foley did her 25th parkrun, halfway to 50, and what better way to enjoy it than running with young Charlie, discussing science. We had 4 new members of our unofficial 10-parkrun club: Cindy Conant, Yukun Fung, Claire Hinrichs, and Dan Sarmiento. And another 5 members of our unofficial 5-parkrun club: John Barnhardt, Emily Sheil, Lee Babcock, Lori Dominick, and  Wenyan Li. Excellent stuff, folks.



It was a day of much speediness, with a lot of PBs, some new age-category records, and even a parkrun USA record.

Martin and Lin Lascelles visited us from the UK, and took a hatchet to a couple of our age-category records in the process. Martin and Lin have been doing quite a lot of parkrun USA tourism lately, visiting events in California, Colorado, and Massachusetts already. We don’t see many international parkrun tourists in College Park, as visitors to the DC area tend to gravitate to Roosevelt Island parkrun, but Martin and Lin clearly had done their research and knew that CP is where it’s at. Martin took 2 minutes from Duane Rosenberg’s 60-64 record. Impressive.

Martin and Lin got to meet Cindy Conant, who was doing her 10th College Park parkrun. Little did they know that they were chit-chatting with the person who is, in age-graded terms, the speediest adult parkrunner on the continent. Cindy then went and improved upon her own record. Cindy’s now part of the core team at Kensington parkrun, where she’s helping to make her own community even healthier, but she  likes to sneak over to College Park for a time trial now and again. Another benefit of coming to College Park is that Cindy gets to meet with her niece Erin Munsell, who set yet another PB this week, now running under 8-minute miles for the first time. Fantastic, Erin! To add to the fun, Cindy’s husband Carleton Conant also set a PB.


We have a few people who are on PB streaks. This included Steven Moore, who did his 6th run and his 6th PB. Almost 6 minutes faster than his first time out. Eric Skidmore did his 3rd run and his 3rd PB. James Hudson took 2 minutes from his PB, and Alina Zhang dipped under 30 minutes for the first time. Yvette Tamukong also set a nice PB. We knew that this was due. It was just a matter of her getting out of bed in time to start with everybody else. Other PBs this week were by Lee Babcock, Franz Wien, Jefferson Ruiz, and Dave Heintzelmann.


We would be nowhere without our wonderful volunteers. With Lisa Wilson still in Scotland, Yancira Amaya again was your turnaround greeter. Hump Plotts guarded his eponymous crossing, as always. Janice Bernache, Frank Filteau, Jake Foley, Larry Washington, Xinzi He, and Win Persina took care of business at the finish line. And JJ Su was tailwalker, making sure that nobody got lost. Chris McGranahan was run director.


And although I’m writing this run report, I was thousands of miles away when the run happened, visiting with family in the UK and dropping in at Chipping Sodbury parkrun near Bristol. There I was one of 423 parkrunners on a narrow 3-lap course around some soccer and rugby fields. I think the locals were a little taken aback by my enthusiastic “American style” cheers of encouragement. … But even though I was very far away from College Park, after spending an enjoyable flight home editing photos sent by our College Park volunteers, I feel like I was almost there.


See you all soon!

Colin Phillips



Late to the party (Run Report #78)

This run report is so late that you probably assumed it would never happen. But far away in Bristol, England, my mum is a dedicated reader of our run reports, and she noticed that the tree planting day report never appeared. So this is my (late) (American) Mother’s Day gift to her. And to the American mom who was going to write this report but who has been sidelined by being an awesome mom to somebody who really needed it. And any other moms out there who enjoy reading these reports. And don’t mind too much when things are sometimes late.

This week three pictures tell the story of why we’re happy that College Park parkrun is bringing together different parts of our community.

When we arrived at the park our jaws dropped when we saw the amount of debris left by a big student party that had taken place at the park the night before. This disdain for the environment and the community gives all students a bad name in the community.

CP-parkrun-78-1It’s unfortunate that irresponsible behavior by some students hides the good things that many other students do. Such as the 50+ members of Sigma Chi fraternity who joined in the tree planting event organized by Prince George’s Parks and UMD’s Office of Community Engagement. Together with the many parkrunners who stayed behind after the run, we planted 140 trees in the park near our start/finish area. In a few years those trees will provide valuable shade in the warmer months. Thanks to all of the parkrunners who worked on improving the course, we had the largest ever volunteer count for a parkrun USA event. collage_planting

Third, we celebrated Xinzi He as parkrunner of the Month for April. Xinzi is a UMD graduate student who has been running with us since shortly after she arrived in College Park from China last August. She started volunteering after only a couple of weeks. She has brought friends along. And she joined Prince George’s Running Club, where she has met many other community members and seen many new parts of the area. Wonderful!

CP-parkrun-78-146This week we also celebrated Maia Swisdak reaching the official 10-parkrun milestone. Maia is  a regular volunteer as well as a regular runner. Thank you, Maia! We also had many people reach unofficial milestones this week: Suerken Matsuyama is now a 25-timer. We had 5 new members of our 10 parkrun club: Cathy Madsen, Janisse Flores (PB!), Jim Sebastian, Helena Santos-Collins, and Maia Swisdak. And we also had 5 new members of our 5 parkrun club: Alina Zhang, Herman King, Benno Wien, Mark Blue, and Christy Calder (PB!).

An even more impressive milestone. Mike McClellan celebrated his 81st birthday at today's parkrun. We sang Happy Birthday to him before the run. And then he went and scored finish token #81. Perfect!


As usual, we wouldn't be able to do any of this without everybody who steps up as a volunteer. We were very happy to welcome new volunteers this week, in addition to some regular volunteers.


Whether you’ve run with us 50 times before or whether you’re coming for the first time, we’re always so happy to see you at the trail on a Saturday morning.

Colin Phillips



In which we are entirely surrounded by water (Run Report #83)

“It rained and it rained and it rained. Piglet told himself that never in all his life, and he was goodness knows how old--three, was it, or four?--never had he seen so much rain. Days and days and days.

"If only," he thought, as he looked out of the window, "I had been in Pooh's house, or Christopher Robin's house, or Rabbit's house when it began to rain, then I should have had company all this time, instead of being here all alone, with nothing to do except wonder when it will stop." And he imagined himself with Pooh, saying, "Did you ever see such rain, Pooh?" and Pooh saying, "Isn't it awful, Piglet?" and Piglet saying, "I wonder how it is over Christopher Robin's way," and Pooh saying, "I should think poor old Rabbit is about flooded out by this time." It would have been jolly to talk like this, and really, it wasn't much good having anything exciting like floods, if you couldn't share them with somebody.”

-- A. A. Milne, In which Piglet is entirely surrounded by water


Sometimes the days with the most unsavory weather and the smallest turnouts are the best. They’re certainly the ones that we won’t forget easily. It felt this week like the rain would never stop. Some parkruns in the  region were forced to cancel due to washed out courses. We did NOT want to cancel.

A Friday morning run check of the course was encouraging. Then Friday night Zoe and I went down to Acredale Park at dusk to dig out a drain for a pond that had formed near the start. But it kept raining all day and night Friday. Saturday at 6am when I did a bike check of the course I found a small river flowing across the trail by the golf course, and some other flooded spots further down the trail. So we couldn’t even use our alternative “flood backup” two-lap course that we debuted last July. Not to worry. I measured the flooded section with my bike, and then headed over to the golf course to measure out an equivalent stretch of path. This new course would have two “laps”, including a spur on each lap, so that everybody would visit Hump *six* times in the course of 5k. Popular guy.


This week’s second innovation was our “indoor” start/finish area. We didn’t plan it that way, but once we had the canopies set up on the trail, we figured there wasn’t much point in moving them. We normally finish on the field, to leave the trail clear for other users. We tell you at every run briefing that we share the trail. But the field was more like a rice paddy, and it didn’t look like we’d have much competition for the trail this week. This week’s parkrunners were able to stay stay under cover for the run briefing and for the finish. And the finish line volunteers were nicely  sheltered, thank you very much. As were the delicious oatmeal bites that Cindy Feld brought along (thank you Cindy!).


The weather may have looked miserable when you peered out the window in the morning, but we were having too much fun to feel miserable. We celebrated Dominique Blom’s 50th parkrun and she proudly wore the 50 sash.


We also celebrated Mike McClellan as our parkrunner of the month for May. Mike is ever upbeat and he’s done 23 parkruns already. We should all be so lucky as to be so fit and positive at age 81. The PoTM award comes with a gift card generously provided by our friends at The Board and Brew … which we will remember to give to Mike the next time that we see him.


We also celebrated the newest mayor among our parkrun community. Congratulations to Duane Rosenberg, who this week was sworn in as mayor of New Carrollton. This week Duane celebrated by running his 30th parkrun, finishing second at age 65, just one second outside his own age-category record, and finishing ahead of his son Cotter Rosenberg (3rd) and College Park mayor Patrick Wojahn (4th). We look forward to the day not too far from now when it will be possible to ride the Purple Line from New Carrollton to College Park, perfect for parkrunners.


We frankly didn’t expect *any* first-timers this week, so we were thrilled to meet a half dozen newcomers. Mary Scheuermann undoubtedly traveled the furthest to be with us. She normally runs at Haga parkrun in Stockholm, Sweden, and arrived only late the night before. Elizabeth Bast and her son Silas joined us when Silas’ soccer game was canceled. Congratulations to Silas on his first ever 5k. Good luck with the rest of soccer season, and we hope you’ll join us again after the season. Derek Skaggs, Rodney Yates, and John Warthier were our other first timers this week, and we were very happy to see them all. Next time out, we hope to show you the part of our beautiful trail that you didn’t get to see this time around.


We were equally amazed that anybody set a PB this week. But some did. On her 15th parkrun Kim Fisher took a minute and a half from her PB that she had set only last week. Nice! Tina Heineman and Mike Ashford were first timers last week who returned and set a PB this week. Marc Swisdak continued chipping away at his PB. And Erin Munsell marked one year (plus a few days) since her first visit by setting a PB on her 28th parkrun. Erin has come a long way in that year.


In addition to Dom Blom’s official 50-parkrun milestone, we had a few people reach unofficial milestones. Jenn Augsburger and Mark Shroder both did their 25th and Cotter Rosenberg his 10th.


We are always grateful to our volunteers, without whom none of this could happen. Lisa and Hump were above and beyond this week. They were the first ones at the park in the morning, setting up the canopies. Then they set off to mark the course and wait for you all to run or walk past. Mark Shroder was tailwalker, meaning that he spent longer on the course than anybody. He and Susan must be looking forward to some finer weather when they visit Edinburgh parkrun next Saturday. Larry Washington is getting to be a veteran timekeeper now - he knows his way around the equipment better than I do. We were very thankful to Abdur Rahman-Quadri and Joel Goldberg who joined us as first-time volunteers this week. It was fun hanging out with you in the rain! Cindy Feld and JJ Su provided extra photos. And thanks to Zoe Phillips, who had fun with me digging drainage in the rain on Friday night.

Colin Phillips, Run Director


⇐ Newer Posts in Category