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

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

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


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


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



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


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


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


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


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




Never the same run twice (Run Report #46)

A couple of weeks ago, when I was walking parkrun as the Tail Walker (because I was grounded from running, post-surgery), I passed Andy Fellows, who shouted out ‘Thanks for being here.’ ‘Where else would I be?’ I shouted back, surprised. Indeed, where else? At times, I have wondered whether one day I’ll get tired of running the same 5k event week after week.  But it hasn’t happened yet, and after almost a year’s worth of ‘official’ parkruns on the Paint Branch Trail, I’m starting to think that day will never arrive. That’s because it’s never the same event twice. Each week there are new first timers to greet (typically 10 or more), a different subset of parkrun veterans to welcome back (out of the 1100 people now registered), and each week you give us new accomplishments to celebrate. Far from getting tired of parkrun, every Saturday it leaves me feeling energized, proud, and happy. I hope it does the same for all of you too!


Last Saturday for our 46th event, the 3000th finisher crossed the finish line. It was 20 weeks before we saw our 1000th finisher, 15 weeks before the 2000th, and then just 11 weeks before the 3000th. Here’s a prediction: we will see our 4000th finisher by Halloween (9 weeks). We are growing! In fact this week we had 103 finishers, even though it was just a ‘regular’ weekend. The gorgeous weather probably played a role in that.


It was wonderful to welcome back Chris Kujawa (who spent his summer in Michigan, doing 8 parkruns there at Livonia parkrun) and Xander and Tara (Xander’s CF forces them to seek out cooler running conditions in the summer). Xander’s enthusiasm is contagious, and he has been missed! This week he brought along his grandma, Janet Tate, for her first time. Janet turns out to be among the speedier grandmas!


Among the new faces this week were Yoopadee Wongsuptawee, who was our female first finisher, and Vivienne Miller and her daughter Autumn. Vivienne is a US transplant from Scotland, a long-time resident of Ellicott City, and although this is her first North American parkrun, she is no stranger to parkrun. Her brother, Euan Bowman, is the mastermind behind parkrun Canada, which celebrated its 1-year anniversary last week, and has launched 10 new parkruns in the past year. Look up Vivienne and Autumn’s coolest-ever running club: Hogwarts Running Club (we absolutely need to get that one onto our list of officially-recognized clubs so that it will show up in the results!).


We had lots to celebrate this week (with cake, as usual). Kayla Hayes completed her 10th parkrun (and judging by the t-shirt her mom Jackie made for her, she was as proud as we were). Suerken Matsuyama actually completed his 11th parkrun today, but he caught us unawares last time, so we celebrated this week. Besides these official t-shirting earning milestones, lots of us older folks achieved some unofficial but equally admirable milestones: Tami Graf, Jackie Hayes, Kidus Haile, and Orla Collins all ran their 5th College Park parkrun, Rumi Matsuyama, Clare Imholtz and Susan Whitney all ran their 10th, and Elliott Hamilton and Crystal Bergemann each ran their 25th (!). Frank Filteau has run 24 parkruns at College Park, and one at Deep Run parkrun in Richmond, VA, so he’ll join the CP-25 club next time he comes.



The beautiful weather probably played a role in the unprecedented 33 PBs we witnessed this week–congratulations to all!  Two age-category records were broken this week too, both in the 65-69 age group: Judy Barnes, who walks the course at lightning speed (this week she broke into a jog at the finish, and came in under 42 minutes), and James Moreland, who has just 5 parkruns to go before earning his red 50 shirt.


This week we saw two parkrun ‘PB streakers.’ Matthew Mullally has had 4 PBs in his 4 visits, and Gloria Cottman has had PBs in 5 out of her 6 visits. Both have improved by leaps and bounds. Also this week we had whole families whose members all saw new PBs. That included John Wilkerson and Susan Whitney, Orla Collins and Kate Murray, Laura and Richard Goemann, Mark Shroder and Susan Keller, Roman and Kathy Zentek, and Tyler and Rob Stephens. Some of our PB setters this week improved on their previous bests by an impressive 2 minutes! Congratulations Moe Siddiqi, Cameron McPhee, and Chris Rasmussen.


The final group to celebrate is our volunteers, who made it all happen. If you’ve never volunteered with us before, we need you! Please opt-in to our weekly volunteer appeals, and sign up for a Saturday soon. Here’s the great company you will be joining:

Lisa ‘turn-around-Zen master’ Wilson
Hump ‘zebra-stripes’ Plotts
Jenn ‘almost-ready-to-run-again’ Augsburger
‘grounded-so-might-as-well-volunteer’ McGranahan
‘can’t-decide-whether-I-like-running-or-volunteering-better’ Su
‘love-parkrun-so-much-I’m-starting-one-in-my-backyard’ Marcus
‘scan-master’ Morey
‘finish-funnel-master’ Phillips
‘any excuse to bake’ Gough
‘where-else-would-I-be?’ Zukowski
Looking forward to seeing you on Saturday.





Barcodes will melt (Run Report #45)

Although it was a bright sunny day on Saturday morning, the dew point and the temperature were almost the same. Never a good thing, unless you are an amphibian. The ground was saturated too. So special thanks goes out to the 90 brave parkrunners and the 8 gracious volunteers who came out on this less than perfect day for a run. Several runners learned that printed barcodes do “melt” when subjected to being saturated in a pocket in humidity like this. 10-year old Ginger Wilkerson did her best to scan the remains, but several were beyond the scanning point by the time the run was finished. Thanks Ginger! And for parkrunners with soggy barcodes, we would like to mention the virtues of ziploc baggies, or laminating if you’re feeling fancy.


Our sincerest apologies to Suerken Matsuyama, who reached his official 10-parkrun milestone this week, and we failed to notice his achievement until afterwards. We’d like to blame it on the fact that Suerken reached the milestone so darn quickly (10 consecutive weeks), but it might have been because our brains were fried in the heat. For good measure, Suerken also took over 2 minutes off his personal best, finishing within seconds of Sam McGranahan with a strong time of 22 minutes and change. Congratulations Suerken! We will be celebrating your milestone next weekend, when your mom, Rumi Matsuyama, will also be doing her 10th parkrun (... but grownups need 50 runs to reach an official parkrun milestone, sorry Rumi!)


A number of this week’s parkrunners must have been less troubled by the heat and humidity than the rest of us, because they had already run MCRRC’s Eastern County 8K at 7:30am on Saturday morning, and then still showed up for parkrun at 9am. We offer a mix of applause and what-are-you-guys-thinking to Cindy Cohen, Mike Klamm, Kirk Gordon, Ted Poulos, Alan Mulindwa, and Lokesh Meena. More power to all of you.


We suspect that this may have been the last hot-and-sticky parkrun of the summer, and we’re looking forward to sweet relief in the coming weeks. We are just thrilled that so many people kept active in our parkrun community during the summer months. A few months ago, today’s turnout would have been a cause for celebration. Now it’s just a normal week, as we have averaged 90 parkrunners per week since Memorial Day weekend. Thank you all again for coming out throughout the summer!

This week we welcomed back to Berwyn Heights’ councilman Chris Rasmussen. He earned a PB, taking a full 5 minutes off his time on only his second visit, and he was happy to see that more walkers are joining us. We hope to see more and more walkers at parkrun.


Welcome to this week’s first timers.This included five members of the Stephens family of Berwyn Heights: Denise, Rob, Wyatt, Tyler, and Levi (aged 4). Rob Stephens is already familiar to some of our parkrunners, as he is a popular cross-country coach at Eleanor Roosevelt HS in Greenbelt. In addition, Samantha Crews, John Howard, Joseph Zanta, Daniel Ju, Trace Huard, Moe Siddiqui, David Donaldson, and Richard and Laura Goemann all joined us for the first time.  Welcome! We hope to see you all again.


This week’s unofficial milestones included:

  • 1 new 25-timer: Ian Parsons
  • 3 new 20-timers:  Amanda Mercer, Nick Huang, and Jon Palks.
  • 2 new 15 timers: Lisa Parsons and Dustyn Kujawa
  • 1 new 10-timer: Suerken Matsuyama (PB!). Plus 3 more did College Park parkrun for the 10th time: Lokesh Meena, Alan Mulindwa, and Greg Gorman.
  • 6 new 5-timers: Evan Hirsche, Niko Fedkin, James Madden, Gloria Cottman (PB!), Doug Hamilton, and Mike Klamm.

Meanwhile, Clark Ridge has now done College Park parkrun 40 times, so we’re starting to count down towards his 50. And Ted Poulos ran his 49th parkrun, so next time out he’ll earn a coveted red 50-run shirt.


It always surprises us when anybody sets a PB or other acts of speediness on days like this, but you didn’t disappoint.

  • Tamryn Thornton-Fillyaw set a PB on her 6th parkrun, also an age-category record
  • Sisters PBs by Teresa Mittendorff and Verena Ettner
  • 4 runs, 4 PBs by Aaron Visnic - more than a 4-minute jump this week! Also 4-in-4 for Jim Sebastian, and 3-in-3 for Matthew Mulally.
  • 10 minute improvement by 2nd timer John Barnhardt, who this week ran without a stroller. (And welcome back to Erica Barnhardt, who this week was in charge of the stroller.)
  • Harish Guda just keeps on getting faster. Another 1 minute jump on his 7th parkrun. 2-minute jump by Maggie Pooley on her 4th parkrun.
  • Yet another PB by Solomon Ambaye, on his 7th parkrun, and for Janice Bernache on her 6th.
  • And new PBs for Gloria Cottman, Paul Kittredge, and Tim Waterhouse

You guys are going to be flying when the weather improves!


There were no parkrun tourists at College Park parkrun this week (smart people!), but we also had some College Park parkrunners on tour this week. At Livonia parkrun in Michigan, Chris Kujawa did his 8th run as “tourist in residence”. We’re looking forward to welcoming him home to College Park next Saturday. Also, Chris’s mother-in-law Lynn Burkart joined us for the second time and got a nice PB. Meanwhile, at Deep Run parkrun in Richmond, VA they were happy to welcome College Park regulars Steve and Cindy Feld.


You know that we would be nowhere without our wonderful parkrun volunteers. And nobody knows it better than a broiled run director like me. The heat was really taking its toll on me on Saturday, and it was such a relief to know that you were in great hands when I had to head off for relief. 10-year old Ginger Wilkerson was amazing as our barcode scanner, and results helper. She managed to herd hordes of sweaty grownups and did her best with the soggy barcodes. Thanks also to her mom Susan Whitney, who was a timer today, together with JJ Su. Jim Cantwell took care of tokens, Hump was master of his eponymous crossing, Debbie Levenson took care of my turnaround grove in the forest in my absence, and Diana Gough tail walked and took photos.

Remember that our parkrun goes ahead each week because of people like you who step up to help. You can see what slots are needed in coming weeks on our future roster page, and we encourage you to join the many in our parkrun community who have opted in (via their profile) to receive Andrea’s once weekly volunteer email circular. Go on, you know you’ll look great in hi-vis yellow.


Coming Attractions

As the fall approaches, we’re going to be parkrunning every week, of course. But here are some special coming attractions to keep in mind.

  • October 21st: College Park parkrun 1st birthday celebration.
  • October 28th: UMD’s Homecoming 5k will be held in conjunction with College Park parkrun.
  • November 11th (tentative): tree planting with Prince George’s Parks by our start/finish area, to provide more shade for next summer. (We planted only smaller trees in the spring, because the larger trees survive better if planted in the fall.)

And finally …

A few more communities in the DMV will soon have a parkrun event for their neighborhood. But to get underway the events need a team of people who are willing to sometimes help out as volunteers. We’re excited about the prospects for a parkrun in SE DC. Do you know of anybody based in the Anacostia, Navy Yard, or Capitol Hill who might be interested in being involved? If you do, please let us know.

Lisa Wilson


5 reasons we’re excited for 5/27 (plus parking and volunteering)

On May 27th we’re looking forward to a very special edition of College Park parkrun, with a visit by parkrun founder Paul Sinton-Hewitt, who will be joining from the UK. If you haven’t been to College Park parkrun before, or if you haven’t come in a while, THIS is the week to join us. Scroll down for notes on parking, brunch, and volunteer needs. We have lots of free parking, easily walkable to the parkrun, but allow a few extra minutes if you'll be driving this week.

Or if you want a map of all the locations, you can go directly here.


Five Reasons Why We’re Excited

College Park parkrun takes place every Saturday, year round. Here are reasons why this week is special.

  1. Paul Sinton-Hewitt. Paul’s little meetup with friends in a London park in 2004 grew into the world’s largest running event. He is an inspiring social innovator. With 1200 events worldwide every week to choose from, we’re thrilled that Paul will be joining us in College Park. Read Paul's parkrun story.
  2. College Park. We have beautiful trails, wonderful people, and a super supportive city that is currently on a roll. We’re proud that our free, weekly event helps to show off the cool things happening here. College Park mayor Patrick Wojahn and former mayor Andy Fellows are among the changemakers in town who are also regular parkrunners.
  3. #parkrunfamily. Paul’s visit will bring parkrunners from other parkruns across the region to College Park. We’re excited to welcome them here.
  4. New friends. We love meeting people who are new to parkrun, and we anticipate plenty of opportunities for this on Saturday.
  5. Record turnout? With good luck and good weather, we might be able to set an American Record for parkrun attendance. (193 is the total to beat for a single event, and 570 is the total to beat for the 9 events countrywide.)



Parking & Transportation

We have ample free parking, but the little parking lots right by the start/finish at Acredale Park likely will fill up early. We will have a parking marshal at the intersection of Route 1 & Metzerott Road, by Rita's Italian Ice. If you pull in there, you can get directions. Your other options, shown in this interactive map.

  • Ride your bike or walk/run. The Paint Branch Trail is beautiful and safe. (And it's about 2 miles from College Park metro station.)
  • University of Maryland Lot 11b (free). This is a very convenient place to park for the run and the post-run coffee. It is on Paint Branch Drive a half mile south of Route 193, in view of the Xfinity Center (UMD basketball stadium) and directly next to the Paint Branch Trail. It’s an easy walk along the trail to the start. It’s also perfectly placed for the post-run meetup at The Board and Brew. But the drive to there from the start/finish is a bit circuitous. Consider driving directly there.
  • AMF Lanes Bowling, 9021 Baltimore Avenue / Route 1 (free), College Park. Big parking lot a couple of hundred yards from the start. The bowling alley is opposite the Holiday Inn Express that overlooks the start/finish. Please park in spots away from the alley, then cross Baltimore Avenue and walk down the lane next to Rita’s Italian Ice. Don't park in the Pizza Hut lot next door, or the Holiday Inn Express across the street.
  • The Varsity, 8150 Baltimore Avenue / Route 1 (*paid*). From here it’s a few minutes’ walk along the trail to the start, but you’re perfectly located for the post-run meetup at The Board and Brew.


Post-run Coffee/Brunch

College Park parkrun is social. Every week after the run we meet up for coffee or brunch at The Board and Brew, an awesome café that’s just a few minutes’ walk along the trail from the start/finish. They have great coffee and treats, and it’s also a popular hangout for board game aficionados. It’s a great time to chat with old and new friends. Don’t know anybody at the run? Not a problem -- it’s always a super-friendly group. The Board and Brew is reserving extra space for us this week.

Where: The Board and Brew. 8150 Baltimore Avenue, College Park, MD.
When: after the run, for as long as you want.
Who: old and new friends.IMG_6136



Volunteers Needed

College Park parkrun is 100% led by volunteer parkrunners, and we have some extra volunteer needs this week.

  • A photographer and/or videographer (no fancy equipment needed)
  • An extra time-keeper
  • Pre-run help, directing cars and runners
  • Lead bike to alert trail users

Drop us a line at if you or a friend can help.


Snow and Ice: Status for March 18th

FRIDAY EVENING UPDATE. Thanks to Mother Nature and a couple of hours shoveling snow and ice, College Park parkrun is all systems go for March 18th! We couldn't bear to go a week without seeing everybody! So we'll see you all on the trail in the morning. And this week we'll be welcoming guests from our partners at the American Cancer Society.

Good question! We have been out checking on the trail, and it's a mixed bag. Some sections of trail are quite clear already, including our start/finish area at Acredale Park. But the bridges and the shaded section near the golf course (over a third of the parkrun course) are rather icy. Not safe for parkrun. Temperatures should rise on Friday, and we will be back to check on the trail early evening.  With snow shovels.

Check back here for updates Friday evening or Saturday morning before you leave. If we have to cancel then how about joining us downtown for a spot of parkrun tourism at Fletcher's Cove parkrun? Their route on the C&O Canal Towpath gets more sun than ours, and is already clear. Same barcode, same friendly vibe, same unbeatable price.



Dog Days of Winter (Run Report #14)

The main story for this week was the warned ice storm that failed to materialize. Instead it was mildly cold, with intermittent rain. Enough to dampen our fur, but not our spirits. Turnout (27) was down relative to weeks with finer weather, but everybody had a good time.

An unexpected benefit of the weather alert was that Paint Branch Golf Course was closed for the day. This put our dedicated golf course marshal Hump Plotts out of a job, and so he got to join us for the start for once. Two other family members were on the trail: Lisa Wilson was your turnaround marshal, and their son Kenneth Plotts was a first-timer this week.

Even more unexpected was our second running Australian Cattle Dog. Ken Leonard and Scout are familiar faces at College Park parkrun (and they again set an age-category record this week). But this week they were joined by Tom Hornik and Martina. Tom previously ran Bury St Edmunds parkrun in the UK 50 times, earning him a red 50-club shirt. But after moving to Ellicott City in 2015, he had to wait 18 months to get to wear his shirt at a parkrun. For her part, Martina was sporting a dashing collar in the colors of the Maryland state flag. Needless to say, Martina and Scout were interested to meet each other, and are looking forward to meeting up again at parkrun.


Lisa Chilcote of Montgomery County Road Runners was a first-timer this week, and she proceeded to run the second fastest female time ever on our course. Nice work Lisa! Better yet, Lisa’s husband Damon stepped in at the last minute as finisher token volunteer. And cowbell ringer, a new volunteer role for us. Hope you can visit again, Lisa and Damon. With or without the bell.


We had no new members of our College Park 5 or 10 clubs this week, but expect many more in the coming weeks, with better weather in the forecast. But we did see an impressive number of PBs, with a third of finishers setting their best time to date: Ken Leonard, Evan Hirsche, Jenn Augsburger, Adria Schwarber, Ann Hendrix-Jenkins, Jeanette Novak, and both Dave and Denise Vause.


This week’s tailrunner was Sarah D’Alexander from UMD’s Office of Community Engagement. In addition to securing our guarantee that you-will-not-finish-last-at-parkrun, Sarah was also checking out the trail and the stream. Watch this space for news of what she and Andrea have been plotting together, and plan to be at parkrun on April 1st. Thanks Sarah!


It’s now one year since parkrun hit the DC area, and a lot has happened in that year. We went from zero to 3 weekly parkruns, with more in the pipeline. 2117 people have registered with DMV parkruns as their ‘home’ events, and 3825 runs have been completed, with around 700 of them in College Park since our official launch in October. Not bad.

Other volunteers this week included Thomas Parsons on barcode scanning, Debbie Levenson with the stopwatch, Nina McGranahan and Anouk Dieuleveut on photography, and Nick Huang as results-wrangler. We’re always happy to have new volunteers helping to make College Park parkrun free to everybody every week. You can contact to offer your help. Better yet, you can login to your profile and choose to receive our once-per-week volunteer emails. It’s a great way to contribute.

Next week, we will leave you in the capable hands of run director Rory Murphy, who this week was down at Fletcher’s Cove parkrun, celebrating their first birthday. Next week (Jan 21st) Mansfield, OH parkrun will launch. This means that College Park will no longer be the youngest US parkrun event. Organizers Karen and Steve Crane visited for our inaugural run in October; Andrea and Colin will be driving to central Ohio to check out their new event.

You can follow College Park parkrun on FacebookTwitter, or Instagram, find loads of photos on Flickr, or join our Strava club. Or you can just show up 9am on Saturdays.

Colin Phillips


January 14th – All Systems Are Go!

We have been closely monitoring the weather forecasts over the past few days, as there was a risk of an ice event like the once that forced all DC-area parkruns to cancel on December 17th. But we are now confident that the ice risk is extremely low. So we are going ahead with today's parkrun. We'll keep the pre-run briefing, well, brief. And you'll warm up in no time.

We make every effort to bring you a free parkrun every Saturday, whatever the weather. Cold (Jan 7th), rain (Dec 24th), or snow fall are no problem. We just wrap up warm, and we always have a good time on the trail. The situations where we would cancel are ones where the trail is closed, as in a major snow event, or where your safety is a concern, as when roads and trails are icy (Dec 17th).


Shiver me timbers! (Run Report #13)

Shiver me timbers, that was cold! 20 degrees & blustery! Andrea here, with a confession: I am a wimp about the cold. But here’s the thing: running is just about the only way I know to overcome it. Every cold morning that I head out to run, I think ‘this is going to be the day that the cold beats me’, and every time, I’m wrong. Of course it’s cold at the start, but there always comes that moment—maybe a mile in, maybe longer—when you realize you’re not cold anymore, and in fact, you’re toasty warm. And every time it’s a reminder that you are beating the cold. It’s a little taste of a superpower. 

So congratulations to 33 mini superhero parkrunners who came out to thumb their noses at the cold with us last Saturday!


This week Sam McGranahan reached the parkrun 10 milestone (and we hope he has now ordered his free t-shirt so he can show it off). But more generally, our group of ‘regulars’ is growing all the time, even while we get first timers every week. This is great news for us, and great news for all of you repeat offenders!  

This week Jim Parsons joined the unofficial College Park 10 Club. And Chris Kujawa and Christine Becraft joined the College Park 5 Club. That brings our totals to 32 people who have run CP parkrun 5x or more, and 6 people who have run it 10x or more. Why do you people keep coming back?  Oh, right, the pancakes after. 


We also had 6 first timers this week. Congratulations to all of you! We had a huge number of people register for our parkrun during New Year’s week (resolutions?), so we anticipate that there are a lot of ‘closeted’ soon-to-be First Timers out there. Why not come out this weekend?

Despite the cold (or maybe because of it?), quite a few people set new PBs this week: Ken Leonard (and Scout), Chris Kujawa, Rachel Lukens, and Monique Bourque. Great running, all of you!

I want to give a special thanks to this week’s volunteers: Gus Campbell, Chris and Nina McGranahan, Jen Murphy, Hump Plotts, Cee Cee Swalling (and her pup), and Lisa Wilson. They didn’t get to warm up by running, and it took a long time for them to thaw out afterwards--maybe it’s no coincidence that every one of them did come to the post-run breakfast at Board and Brew,  Thank you so much, each of you, for helping out!

Have you been enjoying parkrun, and want it to continue every Saturday? Please help make that happen by taking a turn at volunteering with us. Remember, we are people-powered entirely!  Drop us a line at:


Winter weather plans (UPDATED)

UPDATE: 8pm, Friday December 16th.

We're sorry to have to cancel this week's parkrun! The greatest risk of ice is exactly when you would be traveling to parkrun. We happily run in snow, cold, or rain, but ice is more dangerous. We're looking forward to seeing you next week (12/24) for a free, friendly start to the holiday weekend. The weather for next week is looking excellent.



We just love running on a carpet of snow, especially on our beautiful trails. We're looking forward to doing this with you some time. But we also care about your safety, and the safety of our volunteers. So here's our plan for wintry weather.

The default is: College Park parkrun is going ahead, unless you hear otherwise. We will announce no later than 6am on Saturday morning, via this website, Facebook, and Twitter. So check online before heading out. We'll announce the cancellation earlier if it's clear that we can't go ahead.

For Saturday December 17th the decision will turn on whether we have snow (lovely!) or ice (stay inside!). This will depend on early morning temperature changes. Our volunteer team will be ready with smiles (and warm coats), so we're keeping our fingers crossed.


New Year’s Resolution parkrun, and more

UPDATE: We're anticipating a big crowd Sunday for the New Year's Resolution parkrun at 11am. ... and to add to the festivities UMD has announced that the sold-out Maryland-Nebraska basketball game will start at 12:00. So traffic and parking will be more challenging than a typical Sunday morning in College Park. You'll perhaps be a little ahead of the basketball traffic, but check traffic. Our recommendations:

1. Bike or carpool if possible. Allow a little extra time.
2. University Boulevard (Rte 193) can get very crowded before big games.
3. UMD Lot 11b (behind The View) will be for permit holders only. Don't try to park there.
4. There are 3 small parking lots by the start at Acredale Park, but they may fill up.
5. Rita's Italian Ice (Rte 1 & Metzerott, 50 yards from start) has kindly agreed to let us use their (small) parking lot; just don't block the recycling bins.
6. AMF Lanes bowling alley on Rte 1, opposite Holiday Inn Express and 3 mins walk from start, has kindly agreed to let us use their parking lot. They have lots of space, but please park on the edge, away from the building.

We're looking forward to seeing you! (Don't forget your personal barcode:

Two updates on how parkrun is helping to bring health and happiness to the DC area this holiday season: a special New Year’s Resolution parkrun on Jan 1st, and other area parkrun events to mark the end of the year.


Holiday parkruns in College Park

You can get your regular Saturday 9am College Park parkrun fix throughout the holidays, including on December 24th and December 31st. No change there. And as usual we’re delighted to hear from you if you can help out as a volunteer on one of those days (


We’re excited to announce that on January 1st we’ll be holding a special New Year’s Resolution parkrun. Some things will be the same as you have come to expect: the beautiful Paint Branch Trail; the absence of entry fees, swag, or prizes (just bring your barcode); results online and emailed to you barely an hour after the run; and the smiles and friendly volunteers.


Some other things will be a little different. We’ll start at 11am, so that you can sleep in (or do another run … more on that below). We’re expecting to welcome lots of guests to our parkrun, including College Park mayor Patrick Wojahn, University Park mayor Len Carey, District 3 County Council Member Dannielle Glaros, parkrunners from DC and as far away as England, and community members who will be running/walking/jogging with us for the first time. We’re very happy to be partnering on this event with our friends at Prince George’s Running Club, who have a tradition of New Year’s Resolution runs. And we’re also delighted that the nice people at The Board and Brew will be open for us to hold a special post-run meetup.

Bring your friends and family. It's going to be a great start to 2017.

Registration? No special sign-up required, beyond your regular parkrun registration/barcode (get your barcode here). But if you're on Facebook you can click or share this Facebook event. It will help to give us an estimate of the numbers.


Special parkrunning opportunities in our area

In 2016 the Washington DC area became a hub for parkrun USA, with 3 events launched, and more are in the works. During the holidays, why not try out one of our sister events at Fletcher’s Cove parkrun on the C&O Canal towpath near Georgetown, or at Roosevelt Island parkrun, which includes a memorable mile of running on a boardwalk through peaceful wetlands. Both parkruns will be held Saturday at 9am on December 24th and 31st. You can just show up with your parkrun barcode. (Do check the Roosevelt Island website or Facebook page if it’s cold; they might have to cancel if the boardwalk is icy.)

So for New Year’s weekend, you have two opportunities to do College Park parkrun, or you can sample two area parkruns in the same weekend.

But if you need even more, then you should also join the parkrunners who will be taking part in DC mayor Muriel Bowser’s FitDC Fresh Start 5k event at 9am on January 1st, on a pretty route by the Tidal Basin. Mayor Bowser is a parkrun supporter and she will talk about plans to soon launch a 4th DMV parkrun in Anacostia, and her hopes for more free parkruns to enrich our communities. Seasoned parkrunners will have a tent at the event and will be signing up new participants. We hope that some of you will be able to join us there.


We look forward to seeing you in the coming weeks.

Your College Park parkrun team


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