The support you give (Run Report #126)

Each week as we head home after post-parkrun brunch at The Board and Brew Andrea and I like to share our favorite things that caught our attention at the morning’s parkrun. This week we enthused about how so many different members of the community are taking steps to make everybody feel welcome and valued.

Valerie Silensky and Lori Dominick made a point of heading back down the trail after finishing to join their new parkrun friend Rebecca White and support her on the last part of the route. Clark Ridge stopped along the trail when he noticed Mike McClellan limping. Other people headed back out after finishing to meet partners, kids, or parents. We were slightly short-handed at the finish line this week, but we didn’t need to worry, as we had so many offers of help from finishing parkrunners. Katie and Evan Hirsche sped around the course (with Sophie, of course) and then quickly morphed into the scanning team. Nick Huang and JJ Su then took over at some point. Once we reached The Board and Brew I found there was no need for me to do the results processing, as Neil Jograj picked up the purple laptop and took the lead. It’s wonderful to see so many people just stepping up to help out in different ways.

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Speaking of supporting each other, we’re really happy to see more and more people walking or walk-running at CP parkrunning, and we’d like to share the fun, supportive community with more walkers. Maybe you can help? You know that you’re just as valuable a part of the community if you cover 5k in 15 minutes or 1 hour or longer. We just love that you’re out there. But there’s that pesky “run” word in our name, and we totally understand apprehension about coming along. Together with some other US parkrun events, and inspired by a successful initiative at parkrun Ireland, we’re developing a “Park Walk” program at CP parkrun.

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Here are a couple of ways that you could help if you’re interested.

First, simply by joining us and walking or walk-running on the trail you help to inspire others to do the same.

Second, we’re looking to find 1-2 volunteers per week who can be available as walk group leaders. The aim is to ensure that walkers who join us won’t feel that they have to go it alone, though everyone is free to walk alone or with friends if they prefer. This volunteer role is super easy. It’s just like being tailwalker, except that your job is not to finish last. Drop us a line if you’d like to give this a try some time. collegepark@parkrun.com

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What else was happening at this week’s parkrun?

We celebrated a few awards! Aileen Kroll wore the red 50-sash with style and smiles -- we would expect no less from her -- and she did so one day after becoming a grandma. Congratulations, Aileen! We also celebrated Marvin Perdomo on reaching the junior 10 parkrun milestone, and earning a free parkrun shirt to prove it. Marvin actually did his 10th parkrun last week, but it slipped under our radar. Oops!

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We rolled out a new award. Our friends at Vigilante Coffee have generously donated some gift cards. We awarded a Certificate of Awesome and a Vigilante card to Rebecca White for her Great Leap Forward in joining us, completing her first 5k, and then coming back for more (PB this week!).

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We welcomed many first-timers this week. We love meeting you and welcoming you to our warm community.

Kate and Mariella McElhenny ran together, adding to the many families who are getting their weekend off to a great start by getting active outdoors together. Carlos Chaverri-Morales did his 32nd parkrun this week, but for the first time he came along with wife Viviana and twin daughters Sara and Elena, who had a great time on the trail. The Kaczmarski family came as a group and parents had a grand time while some younger family members got a little R&R. First timer Janine joined us for a run and coffee. And Keith Gallihue drove all the way from Delaware to join us. (We’re hoping that Delaware will have its own parkrun before too long -- if  you know of anybody in the First State who might be interested, drop us a line.)

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It’s only occasionally that international “parkrun tourists” make it out to College Park. If they’re in DC then the siren calls from Roosevelt Island are generally too hard to resist. But Irishman Aland Moen chose College Park as the venue for his first ever parkrun tourism. He has completed River Valley parkrun in Swords, near Dublin, Ireland on 54 occasions, and came to College Park for his 55th. Welcome, Aland! I took a look at the website for Aland’s home parkrun, and it almost looks like our long-lost twin. Launched within a couple of months of each other. Northern edge of a capital city. Almost identical average attendance. Almost identical average number of finishes per person. Female course records just one second apart. Now I’m tempted to visit, if I’m ever near Dublin Airport on a Saturday morning.

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This week saw a lot of PBs, too. It’s fun to see so many of you getting faster, and great to hear the PB bell ringing at the finish line.

Pride of place this week goes to the Puddle Queen herself. Violet Ridge took nearly *2 minutes* from her PB on her 53rd parkrun. She was clearly inspiring for the grown-ups around her this week, as they arrived saying, “Wow, Violet was on FIRE today!” When she first joined us in Spring 2017 Violet was covering the course in a little under 40 minutes. This week she took 26 minutes. We suspect that she’s not done yet!

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THREE parkrunners did their 45th parkrun this week, and ALL of them ran a PB, or what might as well be a PB. Katie Hirsche led home dad Evan and barkrunner Sophie in 20:44, improving her own age-category record. Gloria Cottman arrived earlier than expected, taking most of a minute from her PB. And although it wasn’t an official PB for Diana Gough, it was her fastest finish in almost 2 years, and it so good to see Diana able to run comfortably again, after a long time of struggling with injuries. We are looking forward to seeing all of these folks in the red 50 sash in the not too distant future.

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Teresa Perdomo set her 4th PB in as many weeks for her 25th parkrun. Impressive! And Stewart Mayhew took a sizable chunk from his PB on his 10th run at College Park. This week Stewart joined the Tuesday evening track night with Prince George’s Running Club, and feels that it helped him set the PB. “Track night” may sound a bit scary, but the PGRC version is anything but intimidating, and if you go along you’ll be sure to find many friendly faces, including a few parkrunners. Ben Gieske set a PB on his 15th parkrun. Meanwhile, Matt Kaplan seems to be running up an impressive streak of PBs: 6 times at CP parkrun, 6 PBs. Nice! Matthew Bowman is on a similar streak, this week setting his 4th PB in 4 visits.

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Luther and Michelle Lemon came back for a second time, and both set PBs. In part this was because they *almost* made it to the start on time this week. So most parkrunners were treated to the sight of Luther zooming past them along the trail … while pushing a stroller.

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Amy Duan was another second-timer setting a PB this week. Amy had joined us once before, for the Homecoming 5k in late 2017. Great to see her back. If it has been a little while since your last time at CP parkrun, we’d still love to see you.

Also, it almost slipped under our radar, but Laurie Fisher’s PB as a second-timer also turns out to be an age-category record for the 65-69 group.

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More people joined our unofficial CP parkrun clubs this week. We like to call these out as people are on the path towards the official parkrun milestones. Teresa Perdomo and Neil Jograj both joined the 25-timer group. John Maneval, Travis Boltjes, and Stewart Mayhew are now 10-timers at College Park. And Ada Lee and Michael Reed both did their 5th CP parkrun.

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We would be nowhere without the crew of smiling volunteers each week, and we love the mix of experienced and new volunteers. On the super-experienced event of the scale, we celebrated Hump Plotts 67th birthday on his 111th time volunteering. Carolyn Kelley delivered a cupcake to him at Hump’s Crossing. And many of you signed a card for him at the finish. Thank you, Hump, for being there for us in ALL weathers. Lisa Wilson was in her normal spot in the woods, just beyond the nicely repaired stream bank. Külli Puusta was tailwalker and cheerleader, together with her friend Gina Morales. Ryan Chelton, Michael Cohen, and Dave Roeder handled the timekeeping and token distribution with skill. This was harder than usual, as we finished on the trail to avoid the slippery field, and so it became tricky to figure out who was and was not finishing. Evan and Katie Hirsche jumped in after running to do barcode scanning. Dottie Jograj, Rebecca White and Valerie Silensky sorted tokens (and we seemed to end up with more than we started - impressive!). Neil Jograj processed results, under the watchful eye of volunteer coordinator and paparazza Andrea Zukowski. And I kind of just stood around in an orange vest and did a lot of cheering, which was rather fun.

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See you again soon!

Colin Phillips
Co-Event Director

 

 

parkrunning Together, Part 2 (Run Report #125)

Yes, I agree with Nick. In run report #124, he said that you can do your own thing, and you can also do things together, at parkrun. Not too long ago, I used to be more comfortable running by myself, until I asked Nick if I could join him at parkrun. He said yes. Since then, we have run, volunteered, and toured other parkruns together.

In addition to Nick, there are so many of you who I have met along the way. You are the ones that have made parkrun into a get-together, one where we also get to go out and back along the Paint Branch trail. Quick shout out to those who mentioned to me that they read the article where I shared how I started my parkrun journey. =)

If someone has asked you (like I how I asked Nick), whether they could join you at parkrun, please let them know that there will be a “park walk” program at College Park parkrun. Please email collegepark@parkrun.com if you are interested to park walk with us. There will be a volunteer if you would like someone to park walk with you. In fact, if you want to encourage a friend for showing up, come early and chalk a message or two for them at the start / finish line (chalk provided!).

Here’s a quick recap of the get-together this week.

People park ran together.

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People park walked together.

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People smiled together.

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People PBed together.

 

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People brunched together.

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People volunteered together.

 

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Milestones this week.

Sheilah Kast joined the 50 club!

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John Scott (25 timer) is now halfway to joining Sheilah. While Ryan Chelton and Marvin Perdomo both joined the 10 timer club, only Marvin will get the 10-club shirt for juniors (sorry Ryan). Our totally unofficial 5-timer club members now include Aveika Akum, Briggs Rolfsrud, Kristen Maneval, Matt Kaplan, Ralph Dubaya, Naomi Petralia, and her dad Jason Petralia. Naomi and Jason were 2 of the 22 PBs that were recorded this week. This is the fifth week in a row that daughter and dad have been setting PBs! We also welcome the twelve first-timers who joined us this week. One of them was also the first finisher!

Last but not least, my thanks goes out to the mix of new and familiar faces in the volunteer crew for this week. Lisa Wilson & Hump Plotts (marshaling), Valerie Silensky (first timer briefing), Erin Schneider (tailwalking) Michelle Brandy & Yancira Amaya (timekeeping), Brian Murphy (handing out tokens), Jack Herbst & Katie Hirsche (scanning the tokens), Saul Goldberg (number checking), Nick Huang (photographing), Enrique Jograj Jr. & Julie Russell (token sorting), Colin Phillips (communicating), Andrea Zukowski (volunteer coordinating). Hope the volunteers enjoyed the Vigilante Coffee gift card!

See you at the next #parkrun get-together.

JJ Su
Run Director

 

 

parkrunning together (Run Report #124)

There are often people who say that running is a solitary affair. If you are a parkrunner you probably want to dispute that. One of the things that people often say about this parkrun is how there is a strong sense of community and support, as people come to the parkrun with all their friends and families, as the Saavedra-Argueta-Reyes families did this weekend. CP-parkrun-124-249

And if you are a regular to this parkrun, you know that there are plenty of counterexamples on the trail. Plenty of parkrunners run and walk together, with a friend or Mom or Dad or even the dog. Sometimes pairing or teaming up provides the extra boost to push us to hit PBs. A closer inspection of the photos this weekend by co-event director and photo guru Colin Phillips revealed a pretty clever strategy by some of the younger PB-ers: they ran with faster adults, instead of with their parents, which is usually the case. Congrats to David King / Clark Ridge, Violet Ridge / Xander and Tara Mease, Lucy Bills / Ben King.

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Another excellent example was newcomer Rebecca White, who had previously struggled to cover the length of a block, completed the 5k with the support of Lori Dominick and Misha Bernard, who have 50 parkruns between the two of them. (Valerie Silensky was another supporter.)

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We also celebrated a few other parkrunners. Our parkrunner for February is Katie Hirsche, who has been our first female finisher for 20 times. Katie is also a trooper, often volunteering to scan barcodes right after she has her own barcode and token scanned. Another stalwart volunteer we recognized was Larry Washington, who volunteered for the 25th time, thus earning himself a purple t-shirt; Larry set a streak of volunteering after he had to stop running last year due to an injury. In terms of 5k milestones, Jake Foley ran his 50th, while Frank Filteau ran his 100th, earning red and black t-shirts respectively. Fun fact: Frank is the fastest person to hit the 100-parkrun milestone in the US (721 days after starting). Congratulations!

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We will be celebrating more milestones over the next few weeks -- Marvin Perdomo is at nine 5ks, Aileen Kroll and Sheilah Kast are both at 49, and Colin Phillips at 97. And several others are making good progress toward earning their t-shirts. Jolene Bowman, Marina Goldgisser, Alondra Saavedra joined the unofficial 5-club, Cathy Madsen and Doug Hamilton the unofficial 25th.

Finally, my thanks to the volunteer crew and Andrea Zukowski for organizing everyone. It was a windy morning, not the most pleasant to stand around in, but at the finish funnel were timekeepers Larry Washington and JJ Su (we had no second timekeeper, but JJ wasn't running and (got) volunteered), token hander-outer and first time volunteer Dave Roeder, barcode scanners Mark Swisdak and Katie Hirsche, and our finish line photographer, Colin Phillips. Misha Bernard, Lisa Wilson and Hump Plotts made sure that everyone stayed safe on the trail. In warmer environments and over breakfast at the Board and Brew, Neil Jograj, Julie Russell, and Dottie Jograj sorted finisher tokens (and found an extra token #63 -- presumably someone kept the token by mistake some previous parkrun and brought it back?). CP-parkrun-124-26

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That's it for this week's report, and see you on Saturday. Don't forget your barcode!

Nick Huang
Run Director

 

However far you go (Run Report #123)

Sometimes the most notable achievements at parkrun are from people who only cover part of the 5k.

The official records show that Judy Barnes’ first parkrun was our 27th event, in Spring 2017. But she had joined us many times before that. Her husband Marvin would run regularly, and Judy would walk part of the trail while he was running. In sorting the weekly photos I noticed that Judy was appearing further and further along the trail. Then at some point she figured she might as well continue all the way to the turnaround. This week she wore the red 50 sash for completing College Park parkrun for the 50th time. We have no photographic evidence that Judy has *ever* broken into a run, but we have ample photographic evidence of people running to keep up with her long stride. We were thrilled to celebrate her this week.

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Meanwhile, Rebecca Vandenbroeck White was starting her own parkrun journey this week. We share her story because she was inspired by reading the stories of other members of our community. Rebecca walked with tail walker Misha Bernard about one mile down the trail, then turned back. Misha took a picture as a marker for the next time out. Rebecca shared that 6 months ago she could barely walk a block, so this is enormous progress. We are impressed that Rebecca took the plunge by joining us, and we are looking forward to welcoming her back.

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Did you know that almost 40% of the 2700 who have registered for College Park parkrun have not completed the course? Some people have moved away, some had schedule conflicts. Or injuries. But we suspect that there are lot of people who, like Rebecca, were unsure whether they would fit in, unsure whether they should take part in an event with ‘run’ in the name. We understand that, and we hope that everybody will feel that they fit in.

You may have noticed that we don’t call parkrun a “race”, and you won’t hear us talking about “winners”. It’s not because we’re allergic to friendly competition. It’s because getting there first isn’t our main focus. You’re just as important if you’re completing the course in 15 minutes or 60 minutes.

Staying on the theme of inspiring walkers, we enjoyed meeting first-timers Lucy and Laurie. They have been running buddies and PG Running Club members for decades, but Lucy recently developed balance issues, and so walking is the right pace nowadays. Laurie ran the 5k while Lucy walked with Andrea. Then Laurie ran back to meet them. It was wonderful to meet them, and we’re looking forward to seeing them with us again.

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Among other first-timers this week we welcomed *7* members of the Bowman family. Matthew (PB!) and Jolene have joined us before, but this week the whole family came along. 4 kids completed the 5k, and one wisely hid under a warm blanket in his stroller.

Did we mention that it was cold this week? Again. And with an icy wind blowing from the north. So it was all the more impressive that 110 parkrunners joined us on the trail.

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Among those 110 were JJ Su and Nick Huang. What a difference a week makes! Last Saturday they were running together at Bishan parkrun in Singapore. They were both home around the Chinese New Year. This week at College Park it was in the 20s Fahrenheit. Last week it was in the 30s Celsius.

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And we were fortunate to be able to enjoy the nicely repaired trail already. A couple of weeks ago we could see the trail falling into the stream. We were worried that there might be months of trail blockages ahead, but our friends at Prince George’s Dept of Parks & Recreation were quickly on the case. We figured that they might just repair the stream bank, which had been eroded after some big trees came down. But they did much more than that: they actually moved the stream! They straightened a couple of bends that were causing the trail erosion, so now the stream is about 30 yards to the west of its former position shortly before the turn-around. Wow. Thank you, PG Parks!

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Aside from Judy’s official milestone, a number of people reached unofficial milestones this week. Dan Sarmiento and Bud Verge joined our unofficial 25-club, which is now more than 100 strong. Matt Gembecki is a new member of our unofficial 10-timer club. And Christian James, Matt Perkins, and Darrell Stanaford joined our nearly 500-strong group of 5-timers. In Matt’s case it was also his 25th parkrun overall, so he is halfway to 50. As for Darrell, it was his 93rd parkrun. He is parkrun USA Country Manager, and so he visits many different parkruns. Good to see Darrell and his wife Svetlana join us at College Park this week.

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After last week’s snowy parkrun, this week was more PB friendly. There was certainly little danger of overheating. John Ramsey has done 84 parkruns, almost all at College Park, so PBs have become harder to come by. But fellow PGRCer Erin Munsell paced him to a 30-second PB this week. Impressive. Maria Cecil took a chunk from a PB that she set in late 2017. Teresa Perdomo continued to edge closer to the 30-minute line. And Ben Gieske dipped under 25 minutes for the first time. He looked a little strained at the finish, but this may be the only time we’ve seen a grown-up outsprint a junior parkrunner. Impressive! Meanwhile, Naomi and Jason Petralia continued their streak of PBs - 3 times in 3 weeks.

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This week’s volunteer crew was especially resilient, and we were glad to have a box of hand warmers ready to share with them. Lisa and Hump were away this week, so Yancira Amaya and Kim Fisher did a great job of filling their roles on the course. In the absence of Hump’s traffic cone, Kim improvised with a step stool and a box of wet wipes. It seemed to do the trick. First-time volunteer Josh Weiss is grounded from running for a month or two, while recovering from shoulder surgery. He and Carlos Gough did a great job of keeping their fingers moving as timekeepers this week. Josh’s well-wrapped arm may have been the toastiest limb at parkrun this week, and we didn’t even try to thread a yellow volunteer vest over it. Alex Swisdak gave out tokens (and Valerie Silensky and Neil Jograj sorted them). Our barcode scanners worked in shifts, with Wei Gao and Jay Bao trading off duties while they could stay warm, and Katie Hirsche jumping in shortly after finishing as first female for the 10th time in the past 12 events. Misha Bernard showed that tailwalking is about much more than taking a walk. All this happened under the watchful eye of Run Director for the day Jim Parsons.

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Beyond these roles, Andrea and I did the things we normally do over the course of the week: coordinating volunteers, managing event communications (run reports, photos, social media), and telling the story of the community. If there’s one area where we could really use some extra help it’s in these not-on-Saturday-morning roles. It would also be great if anybody could help with outreach to specific groups, e.g., walkers, students, or with communications in languages other than English (especially Spanish). All of the roles are fun and rewarding, and they can fit around your schedule. Talk to Andrea or me if you’d like to know more.

Looking forward to seeing you all next week for our #124th event.

Colin Phillips
Co-Event Director

 

 

 

Ridge-a-palooza (Run Report #122)

When College Park parkrun started in late 2016 we always knew where to find Clark Ridge: at the front of the pack. He was there every week, and he was generally leaving everybody else in his wake. Clark has first-finished at parkrun 45 times, more than (almost) anybody in North America. At this stage, parkrun was a place to enjoy running fast.

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But at some point, parkrun became something different. Clark’s daughter Violet started to come along some weeks. It was a time to enjoy running together, and sometimes stopping while Violet leapt into puddles. Occasionally Clark’s son Calvin would join, and his wife Lilly. And his dad Doug has joined us a few times when visiting from Delaware. And then at some point baby Felix came along, and with him a running stroller. And Clark joined the core volunteer crew and would take turns as run director, scanner, and more. parkrun was turning into a family and community affair.

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This week was a veritable Ridge-a-palooza. Violet and Clark somehow managed to align things so that they reached FOUR official parkrun milestones on the same day.

Calvin did his 10th parkrun

Violet did her 50th parkrun

Clark did his 100th parkrun

AND Clark volunteered for the 25th time (he gave the first-timers’ briefing before running)

Not to be left out of the fun, Lilly Ridge created an amazing cake that we all enjoyed. And 1-year old Felix got pushed through the snow in his stroller, and then enjoyed running around in the soft snow afterwards (and eating cake).

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For good measure, Violet reached this milestone on the same day as her 10th birthday party (the birthday is Sunday). We think this makes her the second youngest American 50-clubber. And for good measure she was joined on this week’s run by the youngest, 6-year old Xander. And a bunch of other friends came along for the fun. It was quite the party.

Congratulations to all of the Ridges on the quadruple milestone, which must have taken some planning. And more importantly for being such an important part of this community.

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The other big story this week was the trail. Two things put this week’s parkrun at risk, but both worked out wonderfully.

The first problem is that the Paint Branch Trail is falling into the Paint Branch Creek, a short distance before the turnaround. The problem started when summer storms brought down some big trees, destabilizing the creek bank. Then further storms started undercutting the trail. And then in the past few days the trail literally started falling into the creek. We were concerned that the trail might be inaccessible for a long time, but our friends at Prince George’s County Department of Parks & Recreation are acting quickly, and repair and stream diversion efforts are already underway. A crew was even hard at work by 7:30am on parkrun morning.

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The second challenge was the snow and cold temps. Most DC-area snow forecasts turn out to be busts, but this time we got more than the anticipated dusting.

But things worked out wonderfully. I did an early morning run on the trail to check things out. The blanket of soft snow was perfect for running on, the trail was accessible for most of its length, and with the sun on the snow it was just beautiful. Yeah, the temps were in the teens, but if you wrapped up warm you soon stopped noticing. We went ahead with the regular course, except that we substituted a spur at Hump’s Crossing for the section of trail that we had to cut off at the north end.

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Unsurprisingly, it was a smaller than usual crowd this week, but the 72 who came out to walk or run had a great time, and the sun made it possible to hang out and enjoy cake with friends afterwards.

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One more official parkrun milestone this week was by Steve Feld, who volunteered for the 25th time and wore the purple superhero cape while tailwalking. Cindy Feld also tailwalked and photographed. Steve and Cindy are wonderful members of our CP parkrun community. We’re sorry that they are in the process of relocating to N Carolina, to enjoy retirement closer to family (and further from DC traffic). But we’re happy that they already are regulars at the Durham NC parkrun, and we’re looking forward to more parkruns in NC in the not too distant future. They have promised to visit us in College Park.

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Clara Cornelius holds the distinction of being this week’s sole first timer at CP parkrun. Welcome, Clara!

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The shortage of first-timers created a little challenge. Clark Ridge’s V25 milestone depended on him giving the first-timers’ briefing before running.  But when we called for first-timers we didn’t get the normal crowd of newcomers. So some seasoned parkrunners generously stepped forward for a refresher course from Clark on how everything works. Problem solved!

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We didn’t expect anybody to set a PB on the snowy course this week, but some second-timers managed it: Matthew Bowman, and Jason and Naomi Petralia.

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On days this low we are especially grateful to the volunteers. Hump and Lisa took care of the course. With their experience it’s so much easier to respond to last-minute course challenges. Steve and Cindy Feld were tailwalkers. Dan Walker and Sam McGranahan kept their hands warm enough to keep clicking the stopwatches. Kim Fisher, Elliott Hamilton, and Katie Hirsche took care of tokens and scanning. Kim is a seasoned volunteer, Elliott was trying his hand for the first time, one week after joining the 50 club, and Katie zipped around the course as second overall finisher, seconds from her PB despite the snow, and then jumped right in as scanner. Valerie Silensky sorted tokens. Andrea Zukowski saved me from my results processing limitations, and I did propaganda.

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Thanks to everybody who joined us this week, and we’re looking forward to seeing everybody back on the trail next Saturday. Exact course configurations may vary, as we’re closely following the progress of the work on the upper reaches of the trail, but we’re confident of being able to go ahead.

In other news, did you know that our sister event, Kensington parkrun, this week inaugurated a new course. It’s still on the Rock Creek Trail, but starts a mile or two closer to College Park, at the intersection of Beach Drive with Cedar Lane. Now flatter, faster, with a bigger playground, and importantly no more Very Large Puddle. College Park regulars Erin Munsell and Carly Mills went over to check it out, and feedback on the new course was great. We’re looking forward to visiting!

See  you soon!

Colin Phillips
Run Director

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A new perspective (Run Report #121)

It was a clear, beautiful morning, when 95 stalwart souls braved the cold and came together for the magic we call College Park parkrun. The trusty crew of volunteers found that once they used a hammer to get past the frosted top layer, the stakes for the starting flag and finishing funnel went into the ground smoothly.

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This was my first time as Run Director and so I got to see things in a different light than usual. I was very grateful for the volunteer crew that made it a great experience. As someone who usually walks the parkrun, I was impressed and encouraged by the community and support shown by all finishers whether they were first or last. Rarely did someone finish and then rush off. They almost always spent time cheering on other finishers and talking around the finish line. Breakfast and hot drinks at the Board and Brew afterward continued the camaraderie and support seen on the course. After a few hiccups, the results were processed, tokens sorted, and emails sent out. This truly is one of those experiences where “a good time was had by all” is an appropriate description.

For our photo album from this week's event, look here.

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Volunteer Kim Fisher ran the course before parkrun and reported back a few questionable areas containing possible ice. So we dispatched Lisa Wilson with additional cones to mark them off for you.

As the crowd swelled near starting time, friends caught up on their week apart and new faces were welcomed. Two parkrunners completed their 50th parkruns this week. We noticed Elliott Hamilton before the start, so we were able to applaud him and give him the red 50 sash. Somehow Alan Mulindwa snuck in and wasn’t noticed until the turnaround. Congratulations to both!

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Aside from the official milestones, Kim Fisher joined our unofficial 25-timer club. She’s halfway to 50. We had no new members of the unofficial 10-club this week, for the first time in a few months. And one new member of the unofficial 5-club, that’s first finisher Sam Phipps.

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Even though the temperature was just below freezing, there was no wind (except that generated by runners!) and a few even wore shorts to run! Those who finished early were quite warm when they finished and they hung around to cheer on other finishers and chat for a while. We marveled at Sam Phipps’ speed as he whizzed around the course, dragging Matt Perkins to a PB in his wake. But we got a bit more worried as he stood around in shorts for the next 45 minutes. We learned that Sam runs to and from parkrun from Silver Spring. So hopefully he warms up on the run home.

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This week’s hardy volunteers were Lori Dominick, Gus Campbell, Clare Imholtz, Andrea Zukowski (who was on hand to give me cover), Barbara Gusack (tailwalker), Hump Plotts and Lisa Wilson (marshals), Neil Jograj (token sortin), Colin Phillips (propaganda), and me. Extra shout-outs to Kim Fisher for her early course check, and to Katie Hirsche who was jumped in as a second barcode scanner just moments after finishing the run, AND brought delicious shortbread that she had baked for us!

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Thank you, College Park parkrunners (and barkrunners) for another amazing event!

Anna Tinnemore

 

MORE NEWS

 

1. Our sister event, Kensington parkrun, is moving to a new venue, slightly closer to College Park, and avoiding the course flooding issues that have challenged them in recent months. The new course is still on the Rock Creek Trail, but now it uses a flat section starting by the playground at the intersection of Beach Drive and Cedar Lane.

 

2. Due to pieces of trail that are starting to fall into the Paint Branch Creek, shortly before Lisa’s turnaround spot, we will likely need to make some course adjustments over the next month or two. Still 5k, still free, friendly, and starting and finishing at the usual place. We’ll keep you all posted.

 

3. The American Cancer Society’s Making Strides Against Breast Cancer program is partnering with DC-area parkruns, including College Park, throughout 2019, with the aim of encouraging more people to get active in their community. MSABC participants will be challenged to complete a dozen parkruns by the Fall. We would love to hear from any CP parkrunners who could help out as occasional “pink ambassadors”, helping to welcome MSABC participants, and maybe accompanying some of them on the trail. Many are likely walkers, with a few runners too. Drop us a line at collegeparkoffice@parkrun.com if you might be able to help.

 

4. Later on Saturday many of the CP parkrun run directors and most frequent volunteers came together at The Hotel at UMD to receive the 2018 Chair’s Award from the College Park Community Foundation, in recognition of the impact the event has had in the community. We barely recognize them when not in running gear! Congratulations to the entire community that has made this possible. parkrun USA has a new blog story about this award.

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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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