When I’m Sixty Four (Report 242)

The title of this week’s report is inspired by Jim Trone, who this week completed his 50th parkrun, one day after his 64th birthday. Jim did his first ever parkrun last June, shortly after our restart. (We think he’s our first post-restart parkrunner to reach the 50 milestone.) Also, Jim has volunteered a dozen times in that period, including volunteering as photographer last week. Jim divides his parkrun time between College Park and Kensington, where he can combine the visit with seeing his mom. Congratulations, Jim!


Now he's sixty-four

Many of you will know The Beatles song When I’m Sixty-Four. Many won’t know it. It’s one of our favorites, a charming reflection on aging. But it’s also good to see how being sixty-four has changed since the song was written. The song appeared on The Beatles Sgt Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band album in 1967. But it was one of the first songs that Paul McCartney ever wrote, likely as a 14-year old in 1956. Today’s 64-year olds were born in 1958.

In 1956 the longest women’s event in the Olympics was 200m. The 800m was not contested until 1960. (The first Olympic women’s 5000m was not contested until 1996, remarkably. The marathon had appeared in 1984.)

In 1956 seniors didn’t routinely participate in running events.

Nowadays it’s not so unusual for a 64-year old to have done 50+ 5Ks in the past year or so. In fact, we have 60+ speedsters and we have 70+ 100-clubbers who join us regularly. The world leaves much to be desired right now, but it is a wonderful thing that being sixty-four isn’t what it used to be!



Seventy-something is the new thirty-something. Or something like that. Nice new PB for Joe White. Now knocking on the door of 50 minutes.

Also wonderful: drainage!

Locals will have noticed that we got more summer storms Thursday and Friday nights. As of the Friday evening course check, the trail was flooded in 3 places. (And there was additional erosion at the point where the stream is slowly eroding the trail.) We figured that we were going to need to use an adjusted course on Saturday.

Surprise! The main obstructions drained well overnight. So we were good to go with the full, regular course. Phew!


We are assured that a fix is on the way. We will believe it when we see it.

Also wonderful: ways of keeping cool in the DMV summer swamp.

Step 1: slow down.


Can you fill in the first line of this song?CP-parkrun-242-33-web

The PBs will come. For now, enjoy the company, and take your time.CP-parkrun-242-158-web

Kudos to Carly Maas for shutting it down when the knee started misbehaving. Walking is perfectly cool at CP parkrun.

Step 2: shade is your friend. Both along the trail, and under our canopies at the finish. There will be times when we’re happy to not need the canopies, because it’s just lovely to chat with friends in the sun. This is not that time.


Ah, sweet shade! Great for hanging out after parkrun.CP-parkrun-242-65-web

Sweet shade! Stewart Mayhew was back with us after a recent tour of other DMV area parkrun events.


Sweet shade! Alan Mulindwa has joined us nearly 100 times, yet he came close to setting a PB on this hot and muggy day.

Step 3: icy towels! This was a cool idea from regular parkrunner Devon Struck. They’re common at some paid running events and triathlons. Thanks to Devon for experimenting with a parkrun version, brought to you by Home Depot, a wheeled cooler, and an Ikea laundry bag. So much appreciated!


Feels so good. Thanks, Devon!

Step 4: popsicles! Extreme weather calls for extreme measures.

We’re probably not done with the most intense summer weather. But relief is not too far away.


Just what we needed. Welcome back to Bob and Kathy Baer. Second time with us this week, and PBs for both.

Individual Notables

100th parkrun this week for John Scott! John first joined us in summer 2018. That’s some time ago. But given that we missed 15 months in there due to the pandemic pause, that’s some dedicated participation. John is usually joined by his son Isaac. As regulars know, CP parkrun is a place where Isaac feels welcomed and at home, and that is a wonderful thing.


We also saw a few recently earned 100 shirts on the trail this week. Frank Snyder was proudly wearing his new shirt.


Team Hirsche-Cecil was looking splendid in their three 100 shirts.

CP-parkrun-242-215-web CP-parkrun-242-214-web

Nice work, Evan, Katie, and Maria!

Two new 10-timers this week: Veronica Jones, and Kori Kamradt.


Veronica Jones is now a 10-timer!CP-parkrun-242-107-web

Kori Kamradt is a 10-timer, too!

Also, two new 5-timers: Sarah Eisen (assisted by barkrunner Pepper) and Andrew Bishop.

High fives to all – we’re happy to see you joining us regularly.


#5 for Sarah Eisen ... and a PB!

6 first timers this week, despite the less than ideal weather.


Welcome to first timer Jaqueline PremierCP-parkrun-242-89-web

Welcome to first timer Jason SanclementeCP-parkrun-242-80-web

Welcome to first timer Richard Berry (and his son Nicholas)CP-parkrun-242-68-web

Welcome to first timer Marcus Wyche

And somehow TWENTY of you set PBs. In some instances it’s because you’re getting older. In other cases it’s despite getting older!


PB for Charlie Foley on his 40th parkrun. Nice! When Charlie first came along to CP parkrun he was riding in a stroller. Nowadays he speeds down the trail.CP-parkrun-242-69-web

Yet another PB for Louis Riggs! And next time out we'll have a white sash ready for him for his 10th time with us.CP-parkrun-242-100-web

PB for Zyada Asfaha!

But perhaps the best part was that most of this week’s PBs were by second timers. 13 people joined us as second timers this week, and most of those set a PB


Welcome back to Stephanie Shonekan, second timer, and PB!CP-parkrun-242-191-web

PB for second timer Felicia Jones!CP-parkrun-242-195-web

That looks like a fun PB for second timer Manani PremierCP-parkrun-242-135-web

Second timer Joshua Robinson still had a spring in his step at the end of his PB runCP-parkrun-242-86-web

Whoa - 21 minute PB for second timer Donveto Premier. 


This week’s event was brought to you by EIGHTEEN volunteers. All of this week’s crew were seasoned volunteers.

One new parkrunner commented, approvingly, that they appreciate the simplicity of the event. We agree! There’s also a lot of action going on under the surface that ensures the smooth running of the event.

This week it took the combined quick action of Allie Kwizera, Kevin Camp, Meridith Phillips, Lisa Wilson and Jake Foley to ensure that everyone was safe and the course was properly checked and marked. Thanks especially to Jake for going the extra mile – literally – after we sent him to the golf course to deliver a volunteer vest. And to Meridith for ensuring that everything and everybody were in good hands.


Thanks to Allie Kwizera for helping out ... and a nice PB, too!CP-parkrun-242-47-web CP-parkrun-242-146-web

Thanks to Meridith and Jake for quick thinking when we needed it. Having an experienced crew certainly helps.

We were happy to see Diana Gough accompanying Gloria Cottman as a tail walker this week. Diana was so close to her 100th parkrun before she was sidelined by foot surgery. Now she’s able to walk 5K again. Her quest resumes!


We were also happy to see an almost entirely male finish line crew this week (under the watchful eye of skipper Sharon Raszap-Skorbiansky). The volunteer crews have been a bit female dominated recently. So this is a positive step. (But there’s some catching up to do, guys! Just saying.)


Finally, we had mentioned that we were looking for somebody who can “be Lisa for a day” at next week’s event. We are happy to report that we found a candidate who is exceptionally well qualified. Lisa Shiota pointed out that she has extensive experience of “being Lisa”, and so she would be happy to play that well practiced role. Perfect!.


Thanks to this week’s full crew: Meridith Phillips, Jake Foley, Lisa Wilson, Louise Godley, Evan Hirsche, Danny Walker, Luke Schoppert, Brian Murphy, Bud Verge, Kevin Camp, Zoe Phillips, Diana Gough, Gloria Cottman, Larry Washington, John Ramsey, Sharon Raszap-Skorbiansky, Andrea Zukowski, and Colin Phillips.


Thanks to Sharon for keeping everything under control this week.


This is a popular week to be traveling. Some parkrun events see a surge in “parkrun tourists” this week. Not in College Park, of course. We’re a closely guarded secret. But it was great to see some locals visiting events further afield.

Joanne Smith got to visit the new Ambleside parkrun in West Vancouver, Canada. It looks like a spectacular location, based on the course map. Way to represent CP, Joanne!


Catherine Francoeur was up in New Jersey, where she visited Delaware & Raritan Canal parkrun, close to New Brunswick.


Closer to home, Lindsay Elkins visited our friends at Baltimore & Annapolis Trail parkrun. Great idea, Lindsay! We recommend to everybody to check out B&A Trail and Kensington parkruns (and the others in the region).

If you visit another parkrun event on your travels, we’d love to hear from you!


We suspect that the guy behind Lindsay Elkins is NOT from Kansas. Just a hunch.

Stat(s) of the Week

Jim Trone’s 50-timer milestone is notable because he’s the first person who joined us after the pandemic pause to reach this milestone. 50 parkruns in 14 months is pretty fast, especially considering that Jim also volunteered as a photographer 6 times in that period.

This got us curious about how long it takes people in our community to reach parkrun milestones.

We looked into this using the 159 milestone earners in the CP parkrun community since our restart in May 2021 (running/walking milestones only, not volunteer milestones - we’ll save that for a later week).

10-timers (21): median = 273 days, ~9 months (< 18s only)
25-timers (64): median = 563 days, ~18 months
50-timers (50): median = 1008 days, ~33 months
100-timers (24): median = 1281 days, ~42 months

Note that these durations excluded the 15 months of our pandemic pause in 2020-21.


Remind me why we do this in all weathers?

This shows that although it is possible to earn a red 50-timer shirt in around a year, it typically takes almost 3 years. That’s a long-time. That’s maybe too long to be a realistic motivator for somebody who is getting started.

The recently introduced 25-timer milestones are earned in about half the time (surprise!). Something that can be earned in 1 - 1.5 years is a more plausible motivator for somebody who is getting started. That’s one reason why we are happy that the 25-timer milestones are now something that we more ‘formally’ celebrate.


Rachel Romeo is rapidly closing in on #25.

You may notice one thing that’s a little odd in the data above. The median time for reaching 100 parkruns is only 9 months longer than the median for reaching 50. How can that be, given that it’s not possible to complete 50 parkruns in 9 months?

The reason for this is that these are skewed distributions. The recent 25-timers and 50-timers have finished roughly once every 3 weeks. That’s quite regular! But somebody who joins us with that frequency wouldn’t have reached 100 finishes yet, since we have “only” held 242 live events so far. So, our 100-clubbers are folks who come more often or who snuck in a few parkrun finishes before we started in College Park.


100-timers Erin Munsell, Jen Murphy, and Dan Sarmiento helped Jason Riggs to a PB this week.

Looking Ahead

The penultimate event in the PGRC Summer Series was canceled last week. More storms. So there’s just one more event to go in the series: Thursday August 11th. 6:30pm, Greenbelt Lake. Choice of 1.75 mile or 3 mile options. Free. Your last chance until 2023.

August 20th: Our first homegrown 250-timer! We’ll have a green sash ready for Andrea on her 250th time volunteering. Join us! She’ll be super happy to see you.

August 27th & September 3rd: We are approaching the time of year when the population of College Park doubles (at least!). Allow a little extra time for getting around College Park. Sept 3rd will be the first UMD home football game of the season. UMD Lot 11b is not available for parking on those days.

With a rapidly growing population, we also have a rapidly expanding pool of potential parkrunners. All outreach appreciated!

See you next week!


Great to enjoy the company of a lively crowd at The Board and Brew after CP parkrun this week. It's starting to feel more like old times.CP-parkrun-242-14-web

We share the trail


Keep an eye out for cyclists on the trail. CP-parkrun-242-172-web CP-parkrun-242-125-web

Paint Branch Banksy was at it again this weekCP-parkrun-242-114-web

Welcome back to second timer Charlotte FrittsCP-parkrun-242-54-web

Lyle Wilson now has a barcode, so he appears as a first timer this weekCP-parkrun-242-45-web

Zoe Phillips is planning to make the most of her last two Saturdays with the CP parkrun community before she heads off for a year of study abroad in Japan. She's planning to take her barcode with her.CP-parkrun-242-35-web

Barkrunner Lucy isn't quite ready for the full 5K. But getting outside with friendly barkrunners and parkrunners is still great fun.CP-parkrun-242-26-web

Congrats to Olive Jimenez on her PB!CP-parkrun-242-19-web

See you next week!


Another Day (Report 241)

We’re naming this week’s report after a Paul McCartney song, in anticipation of another song from this new octogenarian for next week’s report. Any guesses which Macca tune we have in mind for next week? (Also, be sure to check out Bud Verge’s CP parkrun playlists – here’s this week’s playlist – if you’re looking for some interesting music selections to get you through the week.)

This week’s CP parkrun was really rather normal. No weather challenges – it was unusually mild for the DMV in July. No trail mishaps or course confusions. And although we did have a police intervention (see below) it was minor. It was just a nice morning with close to 200 souls (between walkers, runners, volunteers, stroller riders, barkrunners, spectators) coming together to enjoy the start to the weekend.

So, rather normal. In a very good way.



Great morning to enjoy the trail with friends


We're cheering for you all the way


"Cool" is relative. But in July in the DMV, we'll take it!


Paint Branch Banksy has been back at work along the trail!


The barkrunners were enjoying the milder weather, too. (And the rubs.)

If you’re curious to see our photo albums from every CP parkrun, you can find them here, organized by week, all 45,000 of them.

Individual Stuff

There were lots of people doing a lot of cool things, as in any other week. We’ll include just a few of them here. There are many more at the end of this report.


We didn't know how useful our new milestone sash holder would be

It was the 50th parkrun this week for Ada Lee. Ada first joined us for our 2019 New Years Day event, and now she is the SIXTH member of her family to wear one of our milestone sashes, together with Aaron, Alyssa, Aria, Alec, and Andrew. (Their barkrunner’s name starts with an A, too.) This week Ada’s daughters Alyssa and Aria joined the volunteer crew, so they presented Ada with her sash, and they were the first to welcome her after finishing.


Congratulations to Ada Lee!


Ada's daughter Alyssa helped with barcode scanning. 


Ada's daughter Aria took care of finish tokens.

We had a purple sash for Joel Goldberg on his 25th time volunteering with us. (And a purple sash for photographer Louise Godley, who we missed last week.)


Thanks for all that volunteering, Joel!


We finally got that purple sash on Louise!

It was Deb Bernard’s 25th parkrun this week, so we had a purple sash for her, too. We missed Deb in the crowd at the start, but we were able to trot after her with the sash before she got too far down the trail.


25-timer sash for Deb Bernard

We were also happy to welcome Naomi Petralia for her 10th parkrun. (That’s an official thing for under 18s.) Congratulations, Naomi! (Also, Naomi’s nipped in ahead of her dad Jason in reaching a parkrun milestone. Jason completed his 24th parkrun this week. Nice move, Naomi!)


#10 for Naomi Petralia!

After some weeks when the weather was less than conducive to first timers or PBs, there were plenty of newcomers (11) and new PBs (20!) this week. If you missed out on ringing the PB gong this week, you can take a rain check for next time. Or, you can have a bash on the gong any time that it feels right, come to think of it.

Welcome to this week’s first timers: Lisa Larrabee, Bob Baer, Kathy Baer, Matthew Jones, Danika Jones, Felicia Jones, Imara Crooms, Tyler Wilson, Stephanie Shonekan, Tomiwa Shonekan, and Clare Sant.


Welcome to Stephanie Shonekan, who recently moved to College Park from Missouri. Welcome to this community!


... and welcome to Tomiwa Shonekan, too!


Welcome to first timers Bob and Kathy Baer. They heard about the event from their friend Renee, who is also a regular walker with us.


Welcome to first timer Clare Sant


And welcome to first timer Felicia Jones

High fives to this week’s 20 PBs: Eric Johnston, Alan Dixon, Catherine Francoeur, Allie Kwizera, Kent York, Sriram Vasudevan, Sai Deepika Regani, Justin Joseph, Louis Riggs, Nikhil Ramani, Gautam Ramani, Alice Franks, Angelina Oputa, Lidia Gutu, Dimitri Nilov, John Keniston, Terry Steed, Georgina Dodge, Lukas Halim, and Emmanuel Halim.


Before the start of last week's event, Angelina Oputa's PB was 28:xx. Now it's 22:xx. Whoa!


Catherine Francoeur started running only 3 years ago. Now in her 50s, she's discovering that she's pretty speedy. More importantly, it's fun!


Yet another PB for Justin Joseph, who is also now among our 10-timers


Welcome back to second timer Georgina Dodge. Also, PB!


Welcome back to second-timer Alice Franks. She set another PB, so that's another record in the 70+ age category.


This week’s event was brought to you by 17 volunteers. All of them are seasoned crew members, from middle schoolers to seniors, from speedsters to people who rarely or never take part as runners or walkers.

They were under the steady leadership of Clark Ridge, who is one of the true stalwarts of this community. Clark was the first ever official finisher at CP parkrun, as he was the first to return in our very first event in October 2016. Since then he has finished 189 parkruns, and he has also volunteered 31 times. As often as not, Clark is the person leading the way. But after a few months of only speedy parkruns he started coming along with his daughter Violet (now a 95-time parkrunner), with whom he got to enjoy the trail at a steadier pace. More recently, he has been finishing in well over an hour some weeks, getting in a nice walk and occasional jog with his son Felix, who recently turned 5. Thanks for all your contributions to CP parkrun, Clark!


We were happy to see Diana Gough back with us. Diana is still recovering from surgery, so she’s not yet up to walking a 5K. But she was happy to be back with the volunteer crew.

Also, a shout out to Jim Trone, one of this week’s photographers. Jim’s next parkrun will be his 50th, also falling the day after his birthday. So this week he offered to take pictures for us instead. That’s how we got to benefit from Jim’s creative eye in this week’s album.

Give the volunteer crew a try some time. You won’t regret it. 128 different community members have volunteered at CP parkrun in 2022 alone. It’s a great way to get to know this community, and to take a share in co-ownership of the event. Drop us a line at collegepark@parkrun.com.


A rare opportunity: We are looking for somebody who can be “Lisa for a day” on August 13th. If this could be you, please drop us a line!


This week’s crew: Alyssa Lee, Aria Lee, Lisa Wilson, Luke Schoppert, Lucy Younes, Laurie Fisher, Jim Trone, Louise Godley, Meridith Phillips, Joel Goldberg, Kristie Maddox, Zoe Phillips, Rama Devi Chirumamilla, Diana Gough, Andrea Zukowski, Colin Phillips, and Clark Ridge.


Thanks to Luke Schoppert for taking care of business as golf course marshal.


Not among this week's official finishers or official volunteers. But it looks like Anna, Mike, and Bonnie were out clearing debris from the trail. Thanks!


The identity of Paint Branch Banksy is shrouded in mystery. But we are grateful to him or her for spreading the warm vibes along the trail.

Parking Alert

Unfortunately, a few of this week’s participants got parking tickets. We pleaded with the ranger, but to no avail. Also, the tickets were legitimate.

Please take care to only park in allowable spaces. This includes not parking in the grass along Metzerott Road. You might get a costly ticket. And we might wear thin our welcome from the parks department.

We are fortunate to offer CP parkrun every week at no cost because we have a free permit from Prince George’s Parks and Recreation, under the condition that we share the park and trail with other users, that we leave the area in good order, and that we follow all relevant regulations.


As CP parkrun continues to grow, there won’t be sufficient parking in the 3 small lots at Acredale Park. So, we need to accommodate. Fortunately, we have some great options.

Car-pool or come by foot or bike. Any steps that reduce the number of cars at the park are welcome! We’re fortunate that College Park, Hyattsville, and Riverdale Park are increasingly bike friendly.

Arrive early. We know that many of you have perfected your timing to arrive at 8:58am. If you want to be sure of parking at Acredale Park, try arriving a little earlier. The park is mostly empty when we arrive to set up around 8:15am, and the start/finish area is still fairly quiet at 8:45am.


Another reason to arrive early: it’s a great time to chat with others from the community.

Use another lot nearby. We have some great additional parking options. UMD Lot 11b is right next to the Paint Branch Trail, about a third of a mile south of Acredale Park. It’s huge, and it’s free for anybody to park there almost every Saturday of the year (the only exceptions are days with home football games, or early-starting home basketball games). Also, the Bowlero parking lot, right across Baltimore Ave from Acredale Park, is available for use before they open.


Thanks for helping to make the parking situation work out. The event isn’t likely to become less popular. So we just need to accommodate one another. Building an extra 5-10 minutes into your plans can make a world of difference. Thank you!


Also, we need to continue to be mindful of bikes on the trail. We need to stay right, and call out warnings to other parkrunners, in order to share the trail as safely as possible.

Stat(s) of the Week

A few miscellaneous numbers that caught our eye this week.

This week’s 2,364 finishers at US parkrun events in the US was a record attendance for the US, finally surpassing a record set almost exactly 3 years ago. Of course, that’s nothing compared to the 122,000 finishers at parkrun events in the UK this weekend. But still.


It has been hot here in the mid-Atlantic. But it has also been wet. This is the view this week at Bushy parkrun in London, the original parkrun event, which sees 1000+ finishers every week. It looks very dry there.

The 52 different events this week were put on by 511 volunteers. (The total number of individual volunteers is probably slightly lower than this. For example, our own Andrea Zukowski was on the volunteer crew at both College Park parkrun and Lillie parkrun in Ann Arbor, MI this week. She’s in Michigan for a week to visit with family.)


There's Andrea, tailwalking and photographing with Tim Keer at Lillie parkrun in Ann Arbor, MI. She'll be back with us on 8/13.


Gratuitous additional picture from Lillie parkrun in Ann Arbor, MI this week. Archie helped Emma Keer in the run director role. 


Meanwhile, with Andrea away for the week, Colin and Zoe got to hold the fort in CP.

It is reported that there are around 50 million people who self-identify as runners or joggers in the US, of which more than half get out for a run at least once per week. That’s a lot of people!


True fact!


We're delighted that there were 60 walkers and walk-runners at CP parkrun this week (again!)

This week we were happy to see 11 new 5-timers at CP parkrun. That’s an unusually high number. Although we make a big fuss about the “official” milestones for finishing 25, 50, 100, etc. times, the real action is in those first few visits, as that’s when folks are figuring out whether they feel that they belong in this community. By the time you have joined us for a 5th time, there’s a 90+% chance that you’ll be back for a 6th time, and then a 7th, and so on …

As of now there are 935 individuals who have finished CP parkrun at least 5 times. That’s about 20% of the number who have registered for a barcode with us, and about 50% of the number who have joined us twice.


5th time -- and 5th PB -- for Nikhil Ramani


Not to be outdone, Nikhil's dad Gautam also set a PB this week.

Relevance of this: we’re super grateful to everybody who talks with newcomers, or who introduces themselves to folks who don’t look familiar. It makes all the difference.

Looking Ahead

PGRC Summer Series. There are just two more weeks to go in the Prince George’s Running Club summer series, Thursday evenings at Greenbelt Lake. August 4th and 11th are your last opportunities. It’s free, and you have an option of 1.75 miles or 3 miles. Regular parkrunners will recognize many familiar faces at these popular summer events.

250th on 8/20. If all goes to plan, our event’s founder will be volunteering for the 250th time. This will be our first conferral of a home-grown 250-timer milestone sash. That surely calls for a celebration of some kind. She will be super happy if you can join us then. It’s also the last week before the College Park population again booms at the start of a new semester. So it’ll be a nice sendoff for our summer season, too.


Misha Bernard was one of three people who completed their 99th parkrun this week. Milestone alert!

250th on 10/1. October 1st will be our 250th (live, official) event. That’s a cool milestone for our community. We might even have cooler weather by then!

10/15, our 6th birthday. Now we are Six! (It’s also the Baltimore Running Festival, the Hyattsville Zombie Run, and College Park Day on that same day. We can’t think why everybody wants to schedule events in the middle of October! Actually, we can. The weather is generally glorious.)


10/22, UMD Homecoming 5K. We’ll be co-hosting this event with UMD. Rumor has it that Testudo may join us. Also, it’s the 22nd of the month, so bring your tutu!

11/12, Good Neighbor Day. Trail and park clean-up. Though we may need to do some of that much earlier. The trail has seen a lot of damage from the recent storms.

We have other collaborations that we’re working on, to help College Park be a more active, more connected, and more supportive community. Watch this space! And let us know if you have ideas. Really, your own personal connections can make all the difference.

See you next week!








Welcome to first timer Imara Crooms


Speedy Kiwi Alan Dixon was back with us for the second time, and also set a PB. He has visited most of the DMV parkruns regularly, but may be back more often after moving a little closer to us.


Welcome to speedy first timer Tyler Wilson, who came along with his friend Alyssa Heintzelman.


PB for Eric Johnston. Looks like there was some pacing help from Carly.


(Yet) another PB for Allie Kwizera!


PB for Sai Deepika Regani


PB and second time for Terry Steed (left) and John Keniston (right)


Welcome to first timers Danika and Matthew Jones



Paint Branch Banksy does not do subtlety


Hot Stuff (Report 240)

This week’s title is in honor of this 1970s disco classic by Donna Summer. You’re welcome.

We were excited to wake up on Saturday morning to an email from Singapore. Nick Huang, one of the founding team of CP parkrun, now starts his Saturdays at Bishan parkrun in Singapore, where he was surprised to run into CP regular Adrian Dover, who was visiting his daughter. Wonderful!


While you were sleeping ...

It was going to be a hot day in College Park. But we figured that surely it was hotter and more humid in Singapore. We should just quit complaining. So we looked up the weather in Singapore. Actually, it looked rather milder than College Park. So we can complain! Bring on October, we say! (Though maybe don’t bring on the start of school/semester.)


Weather -- could do better. Company -- outstanding!

Fortunately we had shade, as always. And great company – more than 150 runners, walkers, and volunteers with us this week. And a LOT of popsicles. We were worried that we might have brought along too many popsicles. Nope! We should not have worried. Also, thanks to everybody who remembered to bring along water. It certainly helps on days like this.



We got through a LOT of popsicles!

We had a lot of milestones to celebrate, and a couple of birthdays, too. And we were not the only ones to notice. A mystery chalker had visited the trail before we arrived and left encouraging messages all along the first half mile. Thank you, mysterious one! We now have our own Banksy of the Paint Branch Trail.


That 50 sash is a little long on Samantha!CP-parkrun-240-27-web

Paint Branch Banksy had been busyCP-parkrun-240-3-web CP-parkrun-240-4-web

Samantha Schneider completed her 50th parkrun. It was also her 9th birthday! Samantha had already completed 50 5Ks in our virtual series in 2020-21 (including one 5K through an underground cavern). She has also volunteered a handful of times. So Samantha has joined us over 100 times. That’s impressive! This week Samantha brought along a number of friends who would also be joining for her birthday party. That’s our idea of a party! Thanks also to Samantha’s mom, Erin, for bringing along extra treats to share.


Happy birthday, Samantha!

Keaton Ellis also did his 50th parkrun. Keaton has done 40 of his parkruns with us in College Park, and a number of runs and many volunteer shifts with our friends at Baltimore & Annapolis Trail parkrun. That’s in addition to doing all 58 of our virtual events. So, Keaton is another de facto 100+ timer. (Fun fact: Keaton is also a former cubing world record holder, with a solve of a ‘traditional’ 3x3x3 cube in a little over 5 seconds. A 5K run requires a little more aerobic training.)


First timers welcome

Andrea Solan completed her 50th parkrun with us this week, too. Andrea is yet another person who was a regular virtual parkrunner. It’s a little bit of a trek for Andrea to join us on Saturdays, but we’re glad that she comes along to College Park so often.


We had a 100-timer sash ready for Aileen Kroll. It was her 100th time at College Park parkrun, though she actually did a few runs at Surfers Paradise parkrun in Australia over the past couple of months, where she was visiting her new grandbaby. Surfers Paradise sounds rather nice, but Aileen was really happy to be back with her CP family.


Joshua Humphreys completed his 10th parkrun this week. That’s an official milestone for under 18s. Great work, Joshua!


We also celebrated two volunteer milestones this week. Larry Washington’s 50th time volunteering (actually completed last week after the event). And Louise Godley’s 25th time. Over the past few months, Louise has become one of our regular paparazzi, roving the trail collecting pictures of happy parkrunners. It’s a fun role, and it’s clear from the photos that folks are happy to see Louise when they meet her along the trail.

CP-parkrun-240-78-web CP-parkrun-240-35-web

We were happy to have few PBs this week. A small number of newer parkrunners set PBs, and just a couple of regulars set a PB. This is good! It was hot, and we would prefer that you save the speediness for other weeks.


PB for Craig Busack on his 4th CP parkrunCP-parkrun-240-88-web

First time under 30 minutes -- by a hair - for Sriram VasudevanCP-parkrun-240-62-web

Not sure how Allie Kwizera pulled off a PB on such a hot day. CP-parkrun-240-60-web

4-minute PB by Angelina Oputa!

On the other hand, we were delighted to welcome SEVENTEEN first-timers to CP parkrun. We’re always happy to see new people with us, and we hope that they will choose to come back.


Welcome to Manani May PremierCP-parkrun-240-80-web

Welcome to Hawkwind KaineCP-parkrun-240-106-web

... and to his brother Deacon and their dad AlexanderCP-parkrun-240-100-web

William Fioramonti's son David is a regular CP parkrunner. Great that you could join us this week! Hope you can come again.CP-parkrun-240-139-web

Good day to enjoy the trail with a friend. Emily got to run-walk with first-timer Hannah.CP-parkrun-240-137-web

Welcome to Maryaloevera and her dad DonvetoCP-parkrun-240-89-web

First timer Alice Franks also set a course record in the 70+ age category. Nice!CP-parkrun-240-83-web

Welcome to John KenistonCP-parkrun-240-72-web

And welcome to Terry SteedCP-parkrun-240-46-web

Welcome to first timer Richard Weber


This week’s event was brought to you by EIGHTEEN volunteers. This included four first-time volunteers, bringing the total number of different community members who have helped to put on CP parkrun to 448. (That’s one of our favorite numbers. We’d love to get it to 500+ by the end of the year.)

Isiejah Allen and Phoebe Gor joined the crew for the first time. Iit was Isiejah’s birthday, and they wanted to give back to the community as part of the day. Great idea!


Happy birthday Isiejah!

Chuck and Sally Wolfe joined the finish line crew for the first time, because it seemed like a good idea. We agree!


Thanks for joining the volunteer crew this week, Sally!

Among the other 14 volunteers this week, almost all have joined the crew at least 10 times. It’s a seasoned group.

We would love to see more people give the volunteer crew a try. It’s not because we are struggling to fill the roster (well, generally not), but because it really is a fun and positive way to be a part of this community.


Everything went off smoothly under the eye of skipper for the day, Bud Verge.

Thanks to all of this week’s crew: Isiejah Allen, Phoebe Gor, Chuck Wolfe, Sally Wolfe, Rama Devi Chirumamilla, Catherine Spirito, Pete Monacelli, Laurie Fisher, Lucy Younes, Michelle Brandy, Keaton Ellis, Louise Godley, Bud Verge, Zoe Phillips, Larry Washington, Lisa Wilson, Colin Phillips, and Andrea Zukowski.


Just some of this week's 18 volunteers

Stats and Legacies

This week we have been getting by in the mid-July heat, and admiring the world’s best athletes at the World Athletics Championships in Eugene, Oregon. So we have some stats about going slowly, about some of the world’s fastest parkrunners, and about claimed connections between elite sport and public health. Buckle up!

Going slow. This week 44% of finishers at CP finished after 40:00. That’s great! We encouraged folks to take it more slowly in the heat, and they did.

This the highest proportion of 40:00+ finishers at CP parkrun in over a year. The last time that we saw more 40:00+ finishers was in mid-July last year. Probably not a coincidence.


We were thrilled to see so many people walking or run-walking in this week's heat

Going really, really fast. One of our favorite stories from this week’s World Athletics Championships in Eugene, OR is the men’s 1500m, where Britain’s Jake Wightman pulled off an upset victory over heavily favored competitors, winning in a personal best time of 3:29. The look of shock on Wightman’s face as he crosses the line is priceless.


Better yet, the stadium announcer for the race was Wightman’s dad, Geoff Wightman, who struggled to maintain his composure in the excitement.

What’s more, Jake Wightman is a parkrunner. In fact, now that he has a world championship to his name, he can turn his attention to doing one more parkrun, so that he can earn a purple 25-timer shirt.

This puts him in good company. CP parkrunners Bill Sweet, Deb Bernard, and Nina McGranahan all did their 24th parkrun this week. We suspect they will earn their purple shirt before Wightman does.

CP-parkrun-240-96-web CP-parkrun-240-117-web CP-parkrun-240-146-web

We suspect that Bill, Deb, and Nina will earn that purple 25-timer shirt before Jake Wightman earns his.

Jake Wightman’s most recent parkrun was at Littlehampton Prom parkrun on the south coast of England last October, where he set a course record of 15:02.


Far from the noise of a full stadium. Jake Wightman at Littlehampton Prom parkrun last fall.

We were curious to see if any other athletes at the World Championships have parkrun barcodes.

We found a few UK-based elites with barcodes.

Keely Hodginson, the silver medalist in a super exciting 800m, has done 1 parkrun. She ran 20:39 as a 12-year old at Pennington Flash parkrun near Manchester in 2014. That’s quick!

Max Burgin, the fastest men’s 800m runner in the world this year (he had to pull out of this week’s competition due to injury), did the first of his 10 parkruns as a 13-year old in 2015.

Jessica Judd, a finalist in the women’s 5000m and 10,000m events this week, also did the first of her 3 parkruns as a 13-year old. In her case this was way back in 2008, at Woodhouse Moor parkrun in Leeds. This early start is why Judd has a rare 5-digit barcode number (A17515), i.e., she was among the first 20,000 people to sign up for a barcode. Nowadays there are around 7.7 million barcodes, and around 13,000 new barcodes are issued every week, with 400-500 of them in the US.

The first non-UK competitor who we found with a parkrun barcode was Adelle Tracey, who took part in the 800m and 1500m for Jamaica. But that’s a little misleading, as Tracey is UK-based and only recently switched to representing Jamaica.

We found only one parkrunner at the championships who is not based in the UK. Australian 1500m record holder Jessica Hull ran about a dozen times at Shellharbour parkrun, south of Sydney, as a teenager, prior to studying at the U of Oregon.

To our knowledge, no American elites at this week’s championships have done a parkrun. The closest we know of is US American women’s marathon record holder Kiera D’Amato, of Richmond, VA, who finished 8th in the marathon last Monday in 2h23. D’Amato set the US record for 10 miles (51:23) in late 2020, in a specially arranged pandemic event, basically running laps of the Anacostia parkrun course in SE DC. Her rags to riches story is amazing, and it makes us suspect that she might be up for a parkrun or two in the future, once her pro career is behind her.

She’s 37. A mom of two. And America’s fastest female marathoner. [Washington Post, 7/17/22.]

UPDATE: wait, we forgot one. There is a N American parkrunner who is doing well at the World Championships this week. Our bad! Evan Dunfee of Canada on Sunday finished 6th in the 35km race walk event. Evan is a regular at Richmond Olympic parkrun in Vancouver. He last joined them just 3 weeks ago for their special Canada Day event on July 1st. He finished in a time of 20:47. We suspect that this was his WALKING pace. This weekend he finished the 35km in 2h25. That is a pace of 20:41 per 5K for seven consecutive parkruns. Yikes!


Connecting the dots. Ok, so it’s kind of fun to see that a few of the world’s top athletes have taken part in this simple little thing that we do every week. (Well, not in College Park, but you get the idea.) But is there more of a connection? A couple of things got us thinking about that this week.

10 years after the Olympic Games were held in London, some are looking back and asking, “Ok, so what came of that £9B investment?” The games were a genuine feelgood moment for the UK. But they were sold to the IOC and to the country as something that would deliver an enormous legacy, in terms of urban renewal and in term of public health and fitness. How is that working out? Not much to show for it. There’s little evidence that Britain is healthier or more active than before.

London 2012, 10 years on: wrestling with a sporting legacy built on false assumptions. [The Guardian, 7/22/22.]


Also, slightly closer to home, this week’s World Athletics Championships in Eugene, OR reminded us of a new partnership announced in 2020 between parkrun Global and World Athletics, also based on the notion of elite sporting events leaving a ‘legacy’ in host cities.

World Athletics announces new partnership with parkrun. [World Athletics, 6/28/20.]

The suggestion was that in cities that host World Athletics Championships, including Eugene, OR in 2022, the two organizations would work together to create a new parkrun event, as a kind of “leave behind” from the championship. (Oddly, the featured picture in the press release shows College Park parkrun. No idea how that happened!)


Great to see Dexter Guillaume back with us for the first time since before the pandemic

We applaud the specificity of the plan. Leaving behind a parkrun event in a city is a more concrete outcome than the notion of inspiring a generation to get in shape. When an event of this kind really works, it can generate a huge yield from a small financial investment.

We gather that some relevant officials were in Eugene, OR this week, hoping to speak to people about getting involved in putting on a new weekly parkrun event in Eugene. There was even an ad in LinkedIn, including for an event director. And a suggestion in a VolunteerMatch ad that a nice park in the middle of Eugene had been chosen.

We would love to see this effort succeed! But we’re not holding our breath. This is not how you create grassroots public health initiatives that are led by passionate local volunteers.

Eugene, OR is a popular city for athletes and runners. The new stadium being used for this week’s World Athletic Championship was the result of a $270M investment, mostly from Nike money. US parkrun events typically draw 30-40 participants/week. An event on that scale simply wouldn’t hit the radar in Eugene.

If we want to get Americans more active – and we do! – it requires a different approach. Huge financial investments only get you so far. Cool ideas parachuted in from the other side of the world don’t get you too far, either. It takes deep and sustained local engagement, combined with the experience of others who have succeeded in similar situations. If that happens, then it’s possible to have a big impact from quite limited financial outlay. But it doesn’t just happen by magic.

We welcome the idea that people putting on lucrative sporting events are thinking about sustainable impacts that can benefit more than the wealthy and elite athletes. We welcome the idea that this requires partnerships with organizations that are focused on sustainable public health outcomes. The parkrun organization is well equipped in that sense. But this isn’t likely to work unless you know how to tap into the priceless resource of grassroots local energy. We have yet to see somebody connect the dots on how elite sporting events can make a difference to that. (We do have ideas, but nobody is asking us!)

UPDATE: A couple of days after we wrote this a new piece in the parkrun USA blog reports on plans to open multiple events in the Eugene-Springfield area of Oregon, with the first event starting in the fall. We would be delighted if our skepticism is unfounded and this turns into a roaring success for those communities. For now, we'll look forward to hearing more specifics.


Arthur has been a regular at CP parkrun since before he was born.CP-parkrun-240-191-web

Now that he's getting to be a somewhat steady walker, he managed a solid 10 yards with mom this week.

Safety Note

This week one parkrunner experienced a collision with a cyclist on the trail. The parkrunner and the cyclist were both bruised, though fortunately they were not more seriously hurt.

To our knowledge, this is the first instance of an incident at CP parkrun involving a collision with a cyclist, after 240 events and 27,000 finishes. It is good that this is extremely rare. Of course, we would rather that it never happened at all.

In this case the parkrunner and the cyclist both had a clear view of each other. Our understanding is that the cyclist called out a warning that would be more normal when approaching somebody from behind. This led to some confusion.

There has been more bike activity on our stretch of the Paint Branch Trail since the trail was extended and became more connected. We still see relatively few bikes on a Saturday morning. The Paint Branch Trail is not remotely like some of the busier bike trails in the DMV. Also, visibility along most of the trail is generally good. It is possible that there were more bikes around this week because more people wanted to get out early due to the heat.


Maybe it was the heat that brought out more cyclists this weekend

We suggest a couple of steps to help avoid collisions with bikes. As always, we do not have exclusive use of the trail, and we must share with other trail users.

Stay to the right. The more predictable our location, the easier it is for other trail users to avoid us.

Warn parkrunners. A call of “bike!” serves as a useful warning to other parkrunners ahead or behind you to be vigilant. (We heard many such calls this week.)

Warn cyclists. If they are riding quickly, we can politely ask them to be vigilant and to slow down. We can add signs to our collection, to display next to the trail at Acredale Park.

Be mindful of kids, especially on the zig-zag part of the trail, which is the one stretch where visibility is more limited.


The tailwalkers help to keep everybody safe. Join the caboose some time. It's a fun way to enjoy CP parkrun. 

Looking Ahead

A few things to note and to put in your diaries.

Parking on 7/30. If you use UMD Lot 11b for parking (the big lot behind The View), note that it will be closed for maintenance work on 7/30. Please make alternate arrangements.

The lots at Acredale Park tend to fill up. And nobody should be parking on the grass at the park. It’s possible to park across Baltimore Ave at the Bowlero bowling alley, since they do not open until later and have been generous about allowing parkrunners to park there early.

PGRC Summer Series 7/28, 8/4, and 8/11. There are three more free Thursday evening events in PG Running Club’s Greenbelt Summer Series. 1.75 miles or 3 miles at Greenbelt Lake. Show up around 6:30pm at Greenbelt Youth Center for a 7:00 start. You’ll recognize many familiar faces from CP parkrun.

Celebration on 8/20. If all goes to plan, our event founder will be volunteering for the 250th time. This calls for a celebration of some kind. She’ll be super happy if you can join us then.

10/1, our 250th event. That’s a cool milestone, too. We might even have cooler weather by then!

10/15, our 6th birthday. Now we are Six!

10/22, A spe-shell visitor. We’ll be co-hosting the UMD Homecoming 5K run/walk. Rumor has it that Testudo may join us.

11/12, Good Neighbor Day. Trail and park clean-up. Though we may need to some of that much earlier. The trail has seen a lot of damage from the recent storms.

We have other collaborations that we’re working on, to help College Park be a more active, more connected, and more supportive community. Watch this space! And let us know if you have ideas. Really, your own personal connections can make all the difference.

See you next week!


Why are the mayor and lots of others digging through the long grass?hunt2-web

First-timer Dimitri Nilov had dropped a key and some AirPods. That's how we had a group of parkrunners with their ears to the grass, trying to localize a faint beeping sound. It worked! Hope you can join us again, Dimitri!CP-parkrun-240-185-web

The stream bank is eroding faster.CP-parkrun-240-175-web

Welcome back to Emmanuel Famakinwa. His first time back with us since before the pandemic.


Our mayor is also a leading local food critic. His verdict on the popsicles: just what we needed!CP-parkrun-240-142-web

Barkrunner Bean was also a first timer this week. Welcome!CP-parkrun-240-126-web CP-parkrun-240-45-web

This weeks first female finisher was Lauren Strothers, who is headed back to S Carolina soon after a few weeks in DC. Great that you could join us, Lauren!CP-parkrun-240-36-webThere used to be a big tree here, on the corner entering the Tunnel of Trees. Thanks to the parks dept for clearing it. We look forward to seeing what will grow here next. 

See you next week!


That was a blast (Report 239)

It was a blast, or a microburst, or it might as well have been a tornado that passed through College Park last Tuesday evening. According to the WaPo’s Capital Weather Gang it was a long-track bow echo. It was the most severe weather event to hit College Park in 20+ years, and it left a path of destruction in our area. Thousands of downed or damaged trees. Power outages and blocked streets everywhere. Many homes were damaged.



... thousands of damaged and downed trees throughout College Park and surrounding neighborhoods

In light of this, it was remarkable that CP parkrun #239 was able to go ahead this weekend. We figured that our nicely shaded trail would surely have been blocked off. So, we were amazed when on the morning after the storm we started to hear reports from parkrunners who had scoped out the trail and found that it was entirely clear. At least, “our” part of it was clear.


Clearly it took some human intervention to clear trees to the side of the trail

The tornado of 2001 ripped a path through the area, including carving out one part of our 5K course. But it fortunately avoided most built up areas. (Here’s a personal narrative of the tornado when it hit the UMD campus. To our surprise, it focuses on a couple of people who are familiar with CP parkrun, and who have other unexpected connections. Small world!) This week’s event was shorter lived, but it did not avoid residential areas. The worst winds were estimated at 80-90 miles per hour, and they cut a path across part of the UMD campus and the Lakeland and Berwyn neighborhoods of College Park, immediately to the south of the CP parkrun route.


This was a big tree that used to provide shade on the corner as you enter the tunnel of trees

The worst effects were quite localized. A few hundred yards south of our startline, directly behind The Board and Brew, few trees were left standing. Along the southern end of our course, there was plenty of evidence of severe tree damage. One mile further north, things looked far better.


One mile further north on the trail there is little sign of storm damage. (And nice new black 100 shirt, Gloria!)

All in all, we had many reasons to feel grateful to be able to come together this weekend.


Not least among which, we had some notable milestones to celebrate.

Frank Snyder completed his 100th parkrun. Frank is in his late 70s, and you might assume that he has been a life-long runner. In fact, Frank didn’t even start running until his 70s, inspired by his daughter Becky, who was on hand this week to help celebrate his achievement. In addition to running with us regularly, Frank is a regular volunteer. His favorite volunteer role is finish token distribution, a role that allows him to cheer everybody as they finish.

Another 100-timer this week was Katie Hirsche. Katie did her first parkrun at the very first event in the DC area, at Fletcher’s Cove in January 2016. She first joined us in College Park later that year. In those days many of us could keep up with her. These days, not so much. Katie would have reached #100 a couple of years ago, had it not been for the pandemic shutdown, followed by heading to Haverford College for her freshman year. Katie was one of our most dedicated ‘virtual volunteers’ during our pandemic virtual events, and has been a regular volunteer at our live events, and occasionally even a walker, when injuries prevented her from running.



Congrats to Frank and Katie!CP-parkrun-239-58-web

Great that Frank's daughter Becky could join us to help fete his achievement

Also, this week we marked Larry Washington’s 50th time volunteering with us. Larry contributes so much to the event, not only in terms of specific volunteer roles, but also in terms of his unfailingly positive and curious attitude. Thank you, Larry!


Thanks for all the volunteering, Larry!

Individual Things

After last week’s miserable weather brought our first ever week with zero first-timers, we were happy to be back to welcoming new faces to CP parkrun. And there were plenty of other notables, besides.


Welcome to first-timer Georgina Dodge. She enjoyed meeting folks at her first CP parkrun.CP-parkrun-239-69-web

Welcome to first timer Charlotte Fritts. Hope you can join us again, Charlotte!CP-parkrun-239-60-web

Welcome to first timer Bernie Samedi. Bernie discovered parkruns while spending time in Leeds, UK, but this was his first in the US.CP-parkrun-239-61-web

Welcome to first timer Laila ShishinehCP-parkrun-239-55-web

2-minute PB for Kadija Kamus!CP-parkrun-239-35-web

PB for Lauren Strothers ... and getting so close to sub-20!CP-parkrun-239-22-web

PB for Timothy Beggs!


10th time for Phaedra McNair. That's a good habit, Phaedra!CP-parkrun-239-78-web

5th time for Blanca Sola! We're happy to see more seniors joining us for a walk or a walk-run on a Saturday morning.


This week’s event was brought to you by NINETEEN volunteers. We are grateful to all!

We welcomed two first-time volunteers. Berlynn Hansford teamed up with Lucy Younes as tailwalker. David Phipps (Sam’s dad!) was part of the pre-event set-up crew who came along early to get the gear ready.


We had a couple of novel twists on existing volunteer roles this week. We always do a check of the trail ahead of the start on Saturday morning, to look for debris, flooding, or other surprises – past discoveries include baby ducklings, a collapsed section of trail, and simultaneous 5K event. This week we needed much more advance warning about trail conditions. So we’re grateful to Danny Walker for scouting the trail and sending back reports on Wednesday.

Also, Sam Phipps’ pre-event setup role went a little further than expected. For various reasons, the turnaround cone was at risk of not reaching the correct spot ahead of the first runners. So the cone was handed to Sam as he flew past. Fortunately, he knew exactly where to leave it.


Familiar view of Sam Phipps

Thanks to Anna Tinnemore for leading this week’s event, and for taking everything in her stride when there was a software glitch. This happens only rarely, but when it does, Anna really is the person who you want to be in charge that day. Supremely capable, and cool as a cucumber.


Thanks to all of this week’s crew: Allie Kwizera, Lisa Shiota, Joel Goldberg, Rama Devi Chirumamilla, John Ramsey, Lori Dominick, Larry Washington, Lisa Wilson, Danny Walker, Sam Phipps, David Phipps, Jim Trone, Louise Godley, Lucy Younes, Berlynn Hansford, Joanne Smith, Andrea Zukowski, and Colin Phillips.

Want to give the volunteer crew a try some week? Drop us a line. You won’t regret it. Running and walking are good for you. But volunteering is good for you in a bunch of other ways.


Stat(s) of the Week

This seems like a good week to look at a couple of numbers relating to parkrun milestones.

Three’s a crowd. With Katie Hirsche’s 100-timer milestone this week, Team Hirsche-Cecil is the first family at CP parkrun to earn THREE black 100 shirts.

Meanwhile, Team Parsons is the one family at CP parkrun to have earned FOUR 50 shirts.

And Team Ridge is just a couple of finishes away from having FIVE different family members earn milestone shirts.


Proud mom. Maria Cecil recently earned a black 100 shirt. This week her daughter Katie did the same thing. A rare instance of Maria getting there before Katie in something running related.

I would walk (or run) 500 milestones (h/t The Proclaimers … legends). Frank Snyder’s 100-timer milestone this week was the FIVE HUNDREDTH running/walking milestone achieved by CP parkrunners**. That’s a lot! Here are our estimates.

  • 10-timers: 67 (< 18s only)
  • 25-timers: 250
  • 50-timers: 140
  • 100-timers: 43
  • 250-timers: 1
  • 10-time volunteers: 6 (< 18s only)
  • 25-time volunteers: 32
  • 50-time volunteers: 10
  • 100-time volunteers: 4

** Who counts as a “CP parkrunner”? Yeah, it’s sometimes complicated. Basically, you know them when you see them.


Nice new red 50-shirt, Alyssa!

100 x 100s: This week it was great to welcome back Cindy Cohen, a long-time regular at CP parkrun who relocated to northern Idaho a couple of years ago. Cindy was (we think) the first CP parkrunner to earn a black 100 shirt, on Thanksgiving weekend 2018. (She had gotten a head start at Fletcher’s Cove parkrun, before College Park started.) As of this week, 43 CP parkrunners have earned 100 shirts. So when should we expect that total to reach 100?


Great that Cindy could visit us this week! There are now 2 parkrun events in Idaho, where Cindy is based ... but the closest is a 10 hour drive away. Big country!

Our estimate is that we’ll have 100 100-timers by around late 2024.

How so? Well, we noticed a couple of weeks ago that we had reached a point where 70 CP-parkrunners had finished at least 70 times. This came roughly 40 weeks after we reached a point where 60 CP-parkrunners had finished at least 60 times. Which came roughly 40 weeks after 50 CP-parkrunners had finished at least 50 times. Which came roughly 40 weeks after 40 CP-parkrunners had finished at least 40 times. Notice a pattern?

So, based on this, we can guess that it will take around 120 more events to reach the point where 100 people have finished at least 100 times. That will come in late 2024.

We’re going to need those black sashes often!



We discovered that we had a third new 100-timer this week, though it happened a few weeks ago. Aileen Kroll had completed 99 parkruns, all in College Park, before she jetted off to Australia for the birth of a new grandbaby – congratulations, Aileen! We learned this week that she completed her 100th parkrun at the impressively named Surfers Paradise parkrun in Gold Coast, Queensland. We recently found her repping Maryland colors in the sun. Fear not, Aileen, we’ll still have a black sash waiting for you when you’re next in College Park.


The locals described this as a "chilly winter day".

And we’re totally not jealous about Surfers Paradise parkrun. Ok, just a little bit. Though some of you may have feelings about the fact that this event starts year-round at 7am, presumably due to the heat locally.


Not jealous. No, not one bit.

A little closer to home, this week co-event directors Andrea Zukowski and Colin Phillips got to visit Danehy Park parkrun in Cambridge, MA. They had planned to visit the inaugural DP parkrun on March 30th 2020 … but the launch and the visit never happened. The event finally got to start in July 2021. And Andrea and Colin finally were able to visit just 2.5 years late.


Danehy Park in Cambridge, MA is a nicely done repurposed landfill site.

Unsurprisingly, Andrea wasted no time in signing up to volunteer at the event, as tailwalker and photographer. True to character.


Andrea was in her element

Equally true to character, Colin was soon introducing himself to people who were surprised that he knew their name. He was happy to meet Debbie Barnes, a Cambridge local who learned about the event from her sister Judy, who is a very familiar face at CP parkrun. And he met Boriana Ditcheva and Drew Strickwerda, who were occasional CP parkrunners before they relocated to Cambridge last year.


There's Debbie Barnes!


And there's Debbie's sister Judy, at College Park this weekboriana-ditcheva-web

Good to see that Boriana and Drew have found their way to Danehy Park parkrun

Pack your barcode when you head off on travels. You never know where you might be able to use it. More US communities are looking to create what we have been enjoying in College Park for years. This past weekend new events started in Charlotte, NC, Sandusky, OH, and Bentonville, AR (famous for this). … And don’t forget to send us a picture if you call in on another parkrun event.





Looking Ahead

A few things for your calendars! Some closer in time, some further ahead.

Thursdays, from now through early August, our friends at Prince George’s Running Club are offering their free weekly summer evening events around Greenbelt Lake. Choice of 1.75 and 3 mile options (1 or 2 laps of the lake trail.) Last week’s second event was canceled because of storm damage around the lake, but the events will resume this week. Sign up at the Greenbelt Youth Center around 6:30pm.

Later in the year …

October 1st will be our 250th CP parkrun! (Assuming that we have no further cancellations.) That sounds like a good excuse for a celebration..

October 15th will be our “Now we are six” birthday celebration.

October 22nd we will likely be teaming up with UMD for their Homecoming 5K. There may be a special guest or two. One of them may have a big shell. Also, it’s the 22nd of the month (two-two). Just saying.

November 12th. Good Neighbor Day. Our annual team-up with UMD and Prince George’s Parks, working on park and trail maintenance.

See you next week!


Thanks to Louise for most of this week's pictures. Next week -- purple sash time for Louise, who has been volunteering just about every week with us.CP-parkrun-239-79-web

Always great to see Renee Domogauer lighting up the trail on a SaturdayCP-parkrun-239-45-web

Welcome back to Melissa Knapp!CP-parkrun-239-28-web

Sometimes small is strongCP-parkrun-239-24-web CP-parkrun-239-09-web


See you next week! (Also, if Elizabeth joins us, it'll be her 50th parkrun. Red sash time!)


Choose your own Adventure (Report 238)

Most weeks we offer the most accurately and repeatedly measured 5K in the DMV. This week – not so much.


What's going on?

With forecasts for a few inches of rain overnight, we were starting to worry that we might have to cancel. Fortunately, things weren’t quite so dire. But we learned at 8:55am that the “zig zag” section of trail was under a few inches of water, and that the stream was causing damage to the trail just short of the regular turnaround (this turned out to be not so bad as we feared). So we quickly decided to switch to our back-up double out-and-back route.

Andrea informed everybody of the plan, and set them off on their way. Unfortunately, there had been a bit of a miscommunication about where the turnaround should be (more below on why that happened). As a result, many of the faster runners ended up covering extra distance, most people covered less than a full 5K, and different people turned around in at least 4 different places along the trail.


Andrea explains the plan. That plan survived for about 4 minutes.

Fortunately, people took the chaos in good humor, and made it into one of those things that will make CP parkrun #238 stand out from the 237 events that went before it (... plus 90 virtual or proto-parkrun events). We apologize for the confusion, and appreciate your understanding.



Also, it seems that we got relatively lucky, relative to some of our sibling events. At Kensington parkrun they encountered a big tree that had come down in the storm, blocking Rock Creek Trail AND Beach Drive. So they switched to a sextuple out-and-back course! And at Fletcher’s Cove parkrun the C&O Canal was bursting its banks and ‘sharing’ the trail with the parkrunners.


Kensington had to switch to a 6-lapper, due to this downed tree!

Individual Stuff

Here we normally would give a shout out to things like PBs, first-timers, milestones, etc.

Well, there were no first timers this week! We think this may be the first time that we have had no first timers at CP parkrun, ever. (On average we see around 15 first timers each week.)

And although there were many PBs listed in this week’s results, many of them were due to the course confusion.


Trevor Herbert really did set a PB this week - improving from 45:xx to 25:xx. Whoa! Elizabeth Cooper was just a few seconds shy of her PB. Probably a good thing, as she was one of the many who probably covered about 4.6K this week.

We did have some unambiguous milestones to celebrate, though!

Ian Parsons did his 100th parkrun this week. Way back on New Years Day 2017 Ian was the very first person to earn a parkrun milestone shirt at CP parkrun, when he did his 10th run in our 12th event. By now Ian is about a foot taller, and around 500 milestone shirts have been earned for running and walking at CP parkrun. Congratulations, Ian!

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Ian Parsons - at the start of 2017, and now

Also, we were thrilled to put a red 50 sash on Bernadette Gormally. Bernadette first joined us in early 2017 and was one of the pioneer walkers at CP parkrun. She joins us when Saturday work commitments allow, and we’re always happy to see her smile on a Saturday morning. We’re looking forward to seeing her proudly sporting a red 50 shirt soon.


Congratulations, Bernadette!CP-parkrun-238-47-web

Purple sash rain check (literally!) for Dave Bennett

Assisted Times

Some people covered around 200 meters extra. Many covered around 400 meters less than 5K. So, what to do about the times? Nobody’s using these times to gain a college scholarship (we hope!), but some might have set unattainable PBs. As a remedy for this we marked most finishing times as “assisted”, unless they were the earlier finishers who had covered additional distance.


Catherine and Carly finished at almost exactly the same time ... but they did not cover the same course. Sorry, folks!

“Assisted” times are a useful but rarely used feature in the parkrun results system that allows a time to be recorded, but to not count for records or (we think) for personal bests. It can be used for wheeled participants. In the past it was used for dog-assisted times (no longer encouraged at parkrun events). And it is sometimes used in the case of course distance anomalies.


Probably not a 'real' PB for Mary Ann Vaughan, but her 5th CP parkrun. That's a thing!

We have never used this option before in College Park. There was one time, in a very early event, where there was a misunderstanding about the turnaround location, so everybody covered a shorter distance. But in that case everybody did the same shorter distance, so we remedied that by multiplying all times by a constant factor. Not an option this week.

If you would prefer that your time this week not be marked as “assisted”, please just drop us a line and we can easily fix it. Note that this has no impact on your count of parkrun finishes.


Frank Snyder just kept on going through the finish line. He didn't want to be short on his 99th parkrun 5K. Join us next week to celebrate Frank's 100th.


We are grateful to everybody who helped out on this wet and hectic morning.

A special shout out this week to Lisa Wilson for being our eyes on the trail. She came equipped for her pre-event course check role, ready to wade through flooding. That’s how we know how deep the water was around the zig zag … and why you didn’t need to run or walk through it yourself!


This was just the flooding at the park. It was deeper along the trail.

Although most people didn’t cover exactly 5K this week, it’s thanks to Lisa, to Dave Heintzelman, and to Colin Phillips that most everybody at least came close!


Thanks to Dave Heintzelman for some quick thinking and quick marshaling along the routeCP-parkrun-238-72-web

Colin tried to explain what just happened. It's complicated.

Thanks to all of this week’s crew: Ellen Oberholzer, Joan Oberholtzer, Lisa Wilson, Joel Goldberg, Luke Schoppert, Gaurav Sharma, Rebecca White, Louise Godley, Jim Trone, Debbie Levenson, Zoe Phillips, Judy Barnes, Rama Devi Chirumamilla, Dave Heintzelman, Colin Phillips, and Andrea Zukowski.


Thanks to the on-course crew -- at least we didn't lose anybody!

Give the volunteer crew a try some time. We promise you won’t regret it. It’s proven to be good for mental health. Drop us a line at collegepark@parkrun.com.


The finish line crew managed to make sense of the mayhem

Stat(s) of the Week: Alternate Courses

With this week’s multiple alternate courses, we were inspired to look back at past data on alternate course usage. That helped us to understand why there was a misunderstanding this week. In short: memories that are very salient to some people may be distant for others.

To be clear, our trail generally serves us fantastically well. It’s flat, smooth, shaded, and pretty. It’s next to interesting water features, too, such as the Paint Branch Stream and the marsh area. We love it!


Our route is also accurately measured and officially certified by USA Track & Field. It’s so well measured, in fact, that it is used as a training route for people who are learning to be certified course measurers. (Yes, that’s a thing!)

But the combination of water features and shade mean that the trail is also vulnerable to occasional flooding, and to stubborn ice or snow in the winter months. The main vulnerabilities are in the middle part of the trail, near the marsh and the zig zag sections.

First re-routing. The first time we used a double out-and-back route was highly memorable for co-Event Directors Colin and Andrea. In late July 2017, they were in Georgetown Hospital, where Andrea was recovering from cancer surgery, when they heard from the day’s run director, Jim Parsons, that there was significant flooding along the trail. They pored over mapping apps in the hospital to figure out a plan for a makeshift double out-and-back route, messaging with Jim back in College Park, who passed along the instructions to course marshal Lisa Wilson.

Jim Parsons also spearheaded the effort to get the course officially measured and certified. When he did this he made a point of arranging for the mid-point on the trail to be measured, for use in case of future “double days”. The midpoint is on the first sharp right turn after the marsh, at the start of the zig zag.

But although that mid-point turnaround is simple, well-documented, and memorable (for some!), it appears that we have almost never used it since that first time 5 years ago. That’s because the marsh section has itself become the most vulnerable section of our trail in recent years.


Multiple turn-arounds. Since 2017 we have used a double out-and-back course about a dozen times. About half of those occasions have been due to ice and/or snow in January-February.. About half have been due to summer rain events.

Since the marsh section of trail is often the problem that forces us to double up, we can’t use the carefully measured mid-point of the trail. So we make up the extra distance in another way. In winter days when the golf course is closed we can add an extra stretch on the empty driveway. We have done that 6 times. Since the College Park Woods Connector Trail opened during the pandemic, that has created a pleasant new option for a two-lapper. That new trail is built to higher specifications and so it is very well drained. We have used that option 3 times.

The patching of the marsh section of trail a couple of weeks ago has made the original simple two-lap option more viable again.

So, when we learned of this week’s flooding on the zig zag, Colin and Andrea immediately thought of the original two-lap route. But though it’s a very salient option in their minds, they forgot that we hadn’t actually used it in the past 5 years. So it’s understandable that this is not  what others thought of.

Sorry for the confusion, folks! We will continue our efforts to get small adjustments to the trail, so that it’s suitable for use almost every week of the year. We are very grateful to Prince George’s Parks & Recreation for their continued support and efforts to keep the trail in great shape.


Rachel Romeo ran a few additional mini-laps before the finish, to make up the full 5K

Looking Ahead

A few things for your calendars! Some closer in time, some further ahead.

Thursdays, from now through early August, our friends at Prince George’s Running Club are offering their free weekly summer evening events around Greenbelt Lake. Choice of 1.75 and 3 mile options (1 or 2 laps of the lake trail.) Last week’s first event saw a strong turnout, with a lot of familiar faces from CP parkrun. Sign up at the Greenbelt Youth Center around 6:30pm.

Next Saturday, July 16th, our friends at Montgomery County Road Runners are holding their Matthew Henson Trail 5K at 7:30am in Aspen Hill. Our sibling parkrun at Kensington is encouraging regulars to try the double – MH5K at 7:30am followed by Kensington parkrun at 9am. Sounds like fun! Go enjoy the double with the Kensington folks … or do a double of MH5K and College Park parkrun. Either should be doable for folks who finish in 50 minutes or less.


Later in the year …

October 1st will be our 250th CP parkrun! That’s a lot.

October 15th will be our “Now we are six” birthday celebration.

October 22nd we will likely be teaming up with UMD for their Homecoming 5K. There may be a special guest or two. Also, it’s the 22nd of the month (two-two). Just saying.

November 12th. Good Neighbor Day. Our annual team-up with UMD and Prince George’s Parks, working on park and trail maintenance.

See you next week!

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This week was Jason Petralia's 23rd time with us. He's now among the 25 CP parkrunners who are just 1 or 2 finishes away from a milestone sash. We're going to need lots of sashes!CP-parkrun-238-45-web CP-parkrun-238-40-web CP-parkrun-238-28-web CP-parkrun-238-7-web CP-parkrun-238-5-web CP-parkrun-238-39-web

See you next week


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