Who’s Pacing Whom?

Fletcher’s Cove parkrun #90 (really, 90!) took place on a brutally cold autumn morning, after weeks of higher than average temperatures. Who would show up in that weather? YOU did, and in bigger numbers than you’ve had in the past few weeks. Go figure. 60 runners and walkers in total, including someone who possibly is still in possession of finish token #36 (can we have it back next week, pretty please?), 16 first timers at Fletcher’s, of which 10 were overall parkrun first timers. A few of the “tourists” were locals from nearby Roosevelt Island, College Park and even Anacostia, but David Joyner came all the way from Crissy Fields parkrun in San Francisco, and from Manchester, we had Andrew Waldron-Kelly, whose local is Hanley parkrun, and has also completed Roosevelt Island and Deep Run parkruns in what must have been a very productive trip.

There were 10 new personal best times, certainly aided by the weather, including first overall finisher Andrew Evans (18:36) and first female finisher, Claire Wigglesworth (19:32). The highest age-graded performance of the day belongs to Dad, Henry Wigglesworth, with 81.19%.

Let’s stop here for a moment and look at Claire and Henry’s story. Henry is our esteemed Event Director at Fletcher’s Cove, and owner of what is still the overall age-graded course record, a whopping 88.83%. Henry is a serious amateur runner, a national champion, and doesn’t fool around. He doesn’t “go for a jog”. He trains. In fact, this was only Henry’s 11th parkrun at Fletcher’s, and only the fourth he’s actually run; on all other occasions, he was either tail walking or marshalling. This is partly due to an injury, and the long recovery after surgery, but also, as we said, because Henry just doesn’t fool around: he either runs (boy does he run) or he doesn’t. So, what finally motivated Henry to get out of the parkrun closet after nearly a year? The answer is Claire Wigglesworth. If you’ve been coming to Fletcher’s you will have certainly noticed Claire’s rapid ascent to parkrun elitedom, topping the list with 20 first finishes to her name among her 44 runs at Fletcher’s. With her Personal Best (PB) time approaching 20 minutes, Dad decided he could pace her to her first under 20 minute finish.

And off they went. But wait: who’s pacing whom here? “Stay behind me, Claire”; “Dad, you’re going too slow!”. And she took off, ignoring, as teens do, Dad’s wise advice. How did it go? Claire shaved a full 40 seconds off her PB and finished in 19:32, leaving Dad in the dust. Henry was distraught (did we say he’s competitive?) and confused. Henry was humbled. But Henry was glowing with pride. His coaching skills called into question, as was his parental authority, but at least Claire has Dad’s genes to thank him for.

If we ask nicely, Henry might be willing to pace runners at varying tempos, to help folks achieve new PBs. We need to give him a valid reason to just go out and enjoy a run in the park!


On a sad note, last Saturday I also heard about the recent passing of Peter Blank, at age 63, after a battle with cancer. Peter was, among many things, an avid runner and race walker, and a master at connecting people and putting together winning teams for his Potomac Valley Track Club. It was this skill as a connector that led him to hook up one Darrell Stanaford, now parkrun US manager, with the aforementioned Henry Wigglesworth, both of whom had approached him independently about an idea called parkrun. The rest, as they say, 90 runs  and 11 new parkruns later, is history. I never met Peter in person but I have a lot to thank him, for his contribution to what has become a great part of my life, centered around a Saturday morning run.

Andres Falconer, A110656


Ode to Autumn parkun #89, a variation on Keats…

Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,

Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;

Conspiring with him how to load and bless

With bananas left behind by the Government Employees 5k,

The vines that round the thatch-eves run;

The parkrunners that round the vine-leaves run;

To bend with apples the moss’d cottage-trees,

And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;

To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells

With a sweet kernel; to parkrun more,

And still more, later flowers for the bees,

Until they think warm days will never cease,

For summer has o’er-brimm’d their clammy cells,

But ne’er clammed up the parkrunners zest for joyful strides.

Who hath not seen the resplendent parkrun volunteers amid thy store? – Dan Owen, Michael Bender, Stephanie Coomes, Nancy Edson, Julia Figueredo, Alex Foxley, Dave Haaga, Jason Legum, Rodger Potocki, Ian Ross and Henry Wigglesworth – profuse applause and laurels for faithful service;

Sometimes whoever seeks a noble volunteer jacketed in fluorescent yellow abroad may find

Thee sitting careless on a granary floor,

Thy hair soft-lifted by the winnowing wind;

Or marshalling midway, running the tail, keeping time, bestowing tokens, scanning codes or

Running in blind terror afraid neither soul nor cone had been aplaced at midway point.

And oftentime like a gleaner thou parkrunner dost keep

Steady thy laden head across a brook (the invisible creek at midpoint);

Or after a debauched night, with patient look,

Thou watchest the last oozings, hours by hours, before treading to Fletcher’s once again.

And gathering swallows twitter in the skies and hail the youngest first timer gallantly coming home, little Henry at 7 weeks ! and Daniel Ritter (17:44) and Sharon Skorbiansky (21:20), leading the male and female lines of 54 poetic runners, walkers and those in-between….

And final felicitations to stellar stuff from two of our own -  Melissa Bodeau ran the 12- hr inaugural Allison Woods Halloween Hobble ultra and came in first female – hooray – and Dave Hagga the Hartford marathon sub 3 hrs – more hoorays!


Dan Owen, Run Director



Run Report #88 — Washington Latin: “Veni, vidi, vici”

The lads and lasses from Washington Latin Charter School's cross country team decided to use the Fletcher's Cove park run as a tune-up for their big meet next weekend, and as the title of this report indicates, they came, they saw, and they conquered. Eight of the top ten finishers were boys from the team, led by a sophomore named Luke Tewalt who finished in an impressive time of 16:35, more than a minute ahead of his nearest competitor. I was helping to scan barcodes and I can attest that Luke was barely breathing hard after such a stellar effort. Remember his name as I am sure that one day we will be able to boast that one of America's premier distance runners ran our course in high school.

So good to see the other youngsters out there too. Our first female finisher was Zoe Edelman with a time of 21:54. 50 seconds behind Josh Edelman (21:04). I suspect a family connection there and although Josh had the upper hand this weekend, I predict soon the order will be reversed. In any case, good job, Zoe!

Among the 60 total participants, there were quite a few PBs, helped by the gorgeous fall weather: Stefanie Evans (22:21), Jolanta Blazaite (24:38), Roger Webb (24:39), Tomasita Villarroel (26:18), Plauto Floriano (27:23), Jeffrey Winston (27:34), Andrea Nix (28:48), Charity Suave (33:59), Marybeth Turner (34:22), Nora Turner (34:31). Congrats to you all and we hope you are encouraged by the drop in times and continue to come back!

Lastly, I must add that one of the highlights was seeing young Stefania Falconer take even younger Bekalu Wigglesworth under her wing and help him finish the course with a new PB as well (48:18). It was a selfless act and if we had a volunteer role of "Bekalu wrangler," Stefania would certainly have earned the credit.

Speaking of volunteers, this event depends on them and this week's heroes were Roberta Alvarez, Susan Crammond, Andres Falconer, Julia Figueredo, Alex Foxley, Eddy Keenan, Linda Rahal, Mariana Rahal, and Tim Ramsey. We truly appreciate you all giving your time to make this event happen.

Until next week,

Henry Wigglesworth


Run Report #87

Forty runners and eight volunteers gathered at Fletcher’s Cove for our 87th parkrun. There were five new parkrunners among us—welcome!—and four parkrun Tourists, hailing from Australia, Scotland, Oxford, and Bristol.


The bright light and cool air of this October morning lifted nine runners to their Personal Bests. Congratulations to Nancy Boudreau, Andrew Evans, Stefanie Evans, Kellea Evans-Weygand, Amanda Hicks, Maddalena Honorati, Shauna McNally, Julie Murray, and Mohammed Shamma.


The run was possible because of the generous support of our team of volunteers: Stefania Falconer, Julia Figueredo, Alex Foxley, Silver L, Jason Legum, Ellen Maxwell, Jeff Neradka, Gabe Edelstein and Tomasita Villarroel. Please consider volunteering: if we each volunteer three times a year, the support for the run should be covered. See this link for details: http://www.parkrun.us/fletcherscove/volunteer/


With all best wishes,


Tita Chico

Run Director, Fletcher’s Cove parkun no. 87


Run Report #86 – A Tail of Two Runs

Summer decided to wave goodbye last Saturday. parkrun #86 took place in mild conditions in what turned out to be the last sunny and warm weekend before (and at last) fall weather truly descended upon us.

I’m delighted that our event even took place because, as is typical this time of the year, our usual course was once again double booked, with another event happening. Same place, same time, same distance, same route. While last year this probably would have led us to cancel the parkrun, by now we have the logistics laid out, as well as a good working relationship with the Parks administrators and with the running community, allowing us to keep our run, well, running... Just as we did a few weeks ago, we simply inverted the course, and ran toward Georgetown rather than to Maryland, while the Kosciuzsko Freedom Run, organized by the Polish Embassy and by DC Road Runners, took place on “our” route. We like to share. Some of our usual parkrunners swapped and ran the race, rather than the run (we sometimes like racing, too!), and were even tempted to double dip.

In our run. Enrico Kuhn finished first at 17:23 minutes with a new Personal Best (PB) to boot. There were other speedy runners, but this Saturday it was truly the Almagro show: Emily, running in the girl’s 11-14 age category, was the first female finisher, at 22:42. She ran well under her PB of 21:18, apparently to pace her younger brother, Leonardo, in the under 10 category, to a new PB. But wait, there’s more: behind them, at a respectable 28:11 came the even younger brother, Benjamin, also to a PB. Mom and dad were beaming. Or maybe they’re already getting used to these performances…

We registered four first timers among our 44 runners, and eight very promising second timers, all of whom we hope to see again at Fletcher’s. There were 11 new PBs, i.e, 25% of our field. Wait, did we measure the course properly? (We did). Congratulations to all. A special mention goes to Hugh Lonergan, who reached his coveted 10th under-18 milestone and will hopefully be seen sporting a special t-shirt soon.

We thank our volunteer team of the week, Alex Foxley, Alice Bender, Henry Wigglesworth, Kirsty Lonergan, Nancy Edson, Sylvia Lesic and Tita Chico. And, if you’re reading this, you should consider adding yourself to the list. Come join the party

Extra kudos for anyone not of Polish or Lithuanian origin or a US history buff who can a) pronounce Kosciuszko properly and b) say what is this man famous for.

See you next #parkrunday!

Andres Falconer, A110656

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