College Park parkrun is cancelled on 11 July 2020: COVID-19 (Coronavirus)

Independence Day (Virtual Report 10)

At the start of the year we noticed that July 4th this year would fall on a Saturday, so we could look forward to a holiday parkrun. Well, we got one, but not quite how we expected.

This week was our 10th CP Virtual parkrun already. That’s a cause for celebration. And we already have a LOT of 10-timers to celebrate. More on that below.

One thing that was quite predictable was that the weather would be hot. No time for PBs.

We always love seeing the creative ways that you get your virtual parkrun done. This week’s creativity was holiday and heat themed.

So what happened at CPVp #10?


Sharlene came equipped -- for sun, and for the holiday

Facts and Figures

  • 161 virtual parkrunners
  • 660 miles covered
  • 9 first-timers
  • 41 new TEN TIMER TURTLE club members
  • 13 new HIGH FIVES earned
  • 7 barkrunners
  • 6 virtual volunteers


You’ll notice two tweaks in this week’s results table.

First, we have added new turtle badges for 10-timers. Why turtles? Well, College Park already has a strong affinity with the turtle. Back in late 2017 UMD mascot Testudo actually visited CP parkrun. Also, we get quite a few turtle sightings along our favorite trail, especially at this time of year. Turtles are not about speed, they’re all about getting there. And aside from all that, the turtle emoji is just darn cute. So there!

Second, we have added virtual volunteer icons to highlight folks who have helped out behind the scenes to make the virtual parkruns work so well. It may appear that these events work like magic. Well, these are the magicians.


This guy was seen a few yards beyond our regular start line. We welcome ALL paces.

Red, White, and Blue

Many of you got into the spirit of the July 4th holiday.

Valerie Silensky wore a pair of stars and stripes sneakers that she has owned for two years but had never gotten a chance to wear before. Valerie’s a diplomat, and this time last year she was working in Argentina. Nowadays, even diplomats are grounded. As always, Valerie shared interesting scenes from her virtual parkrun around the neighborhoods near the DC-Maryland line.



Adrian and Stella Dover completed their parkruns in Newent, UK but still celebrated July 4th with a stars & stripes headcovering.


Erin Munsell tried to be patriotic by wearing red, white, and blue clothing on her 10 mile run; but the red dye was no match for the heat and humidity induced sweating!


Erin's impromptu tie-dye

Anna Tinnemore and Mike and Bonnie McClellan coordinated their red, white, and blue outfits. They walked to the regular parkrun trail from the College Park Woods neighborhood, checking out construction on the new connector trail and passing some parkrun friends along the way.


Color coordinated!

Dale Morey’s four mile course ended at an italian ice shop that had a gelato special for July 4th.

Meridith Phillips wore a red-white-blue tutu for her virtual run, and she did some recruiting along the way. “Ran my 5k decked out in my tutu for the 4th and then walked another 3.5k. Also met two women who wanted more info on the paths and I invited them to join us now and in the future! Happy 4th to all.”


Meridith's holiday tutu!

And the Russell-Barnes family made their own ice cream for a post parkrun treat! Coincidentally, the coconut milk ice cream topped with blueberry and sour cherry compotes fit the July 4th theme.


Now THAT is the way to show some red-white-blue

Beating … or beaten by the heat

No way of sugar-coating this one. It was hot in the DC area this July 4th. Many of us could sympathize with how Keaton Ellis was feeling after his run. Or with barkunner Shackleton, for that matter.




But some of you found creative solutions.

Some chose to run indoors where they could control the weather. Jen Matis not only completed her longest ever run, 5 miles on her treadmill. She also had good company: Lin-Manuel Miranda. She combined her virtual parkrun with watching Hamilton.



Rosemary Schwartzbard found an even better solution to running in one place. She hopped into a friend’s pool and did 45 minutes of aqua-jogging. Brilliant! Rosemary is also one of the Roosevelt Island parkrun regulars who this week earned a High Five badge for completing 5 CPVps.

Cindy Cohen escaped the heat by being far away and at high altitude. She found amazing mountain views on her virtual parkrun in Sandpoint, ID. And she also found preparations for a mountaintop wedding.


Ok, so those seats aren't very distanced ... but the views!

Lisa Jordan, Keirston Woods, and Gail Sockwell-Thompson took refuge in the cool of the underpass below Route 193, close to Hump’s Crossing. Wise move!


Smart place to stop for a moment

Heather Sisan’s daughters Fiona and Hannah went for an even better approach. They hopped into Rock Creek and wished Heather well for her run.


Enjoy that run, Mom!


After 10 CP Virtual parkruns we already have *41* virtual parkrunners who have taken part 10 times! When we started in person parkruns, there was *1* person who took part in all of the first 10. Maybe the flexibility of the virtual parkrun format has some benefits.

So, drumroll, our inaugural members of the Ten-Timer Turtle Club are:

Colin Phillips, Keaton Ellis, Duane Rosenberg, Larry Washington, David Lai, Trace Huard, Brian Murphy, Stewart Mayhew, John Ramsey, Adrian Dover, Katie Hirsche, Kazuko Yatsushiro, Steve Feld, Kalonji Collins, Tara Mease, Xander Mease, Meridith Phillips, Dagny S, Joan Heffernan, Andrea Zukowski, Frank Snyder, Lisa Wilson, Rory Murphy, Diana Gough, Mary Anderson, Külli Crespin, Teresa Perdomo, Gus Campbell, Kristine Rogers, Paul Wester, Cindy Cohen, Gloria Cottman, Lori Dominick, Erin Schneider, Joshua Schneider, Mary Clare Schneider, Samantha Schneider, Anna Tinnemore, Chris McGranahan, Janet Tate, Valerie Silensky.

Mary Anderson deserves a special mention for her dedication: “Three day weekend! I was so excited to get my tenth virtual CP NotAParkrun that I did it right away. Couldn’t figure out why there was no Facebook posting until I realized it was Friday! So … did it again this morning, 5k in Bowie in 40:30. Happy Independence Day all weekend!”

A special shout out to Mary Clare Schneider, one of the four Schneiders in this list. You may recall Mary Clare celebrating getting her new parkrun barcode when she turned 4 in early May. Mary Clare has done every CPVp so far. Under normal circumstances she would be earning a *very* fast parkrun 10 shirt. But no dice, alas. This week big sister Samantha wore her 10 shirt on the family’s parkwalk, and both sisters raised the sartorial bar with their holiday tutus.


10th CPVp for Team Schneider

Kudos to the 10-timers who have joined us every time, despite being nowhere near College Park. Steve Feld (N Carolina), Cindy Cohen (Idaho), Rory Murphy (New Jersey), and Adrian Dover (UK) all have been regulars in person in the past. But Kazuko Yatsushiro (Germany) and Joan Heffernan (Connecticut) have one prior CP parkrun between them, so it has been great to ‘adopt’ them into our community from afar.

Also, virtual high fives are in order for this week’s new 5-timers.

Sam Phipps, Carly Mills, Mika Sauerland, Neha Joshi, Janet Grudzien John, Matt Kaplan, Roo (barkrunner), Adam Gann, Chris Van Vlack, Frithjov Iversen, Kat M, Laurie Goodfriend, Rosemary Schwartzbard

Frithjov Iversen, Kat M, Adam Gann, and Rosemary Schwartzbard are among our regulars from Roosevelt Island parkrun in DC/NOVA. We have enjoyed welcoming them to the CPVp community. Kat sent us a cool photo of the Roosevelt Island boardwalk that they use for their parkruns. RI parkrun started just a few weeks before CP in late 2016. Well worth a visit sometime. … In fact, Stewart Mayhew chose RI as the venue for his 10th CPVp this weekend.


The Roosevelt Island parkrun boardwalk. Give it a try sometime! (Don't worry, the boardwalk is totally safe. If there's winter ice, they have alternate routes.)


Creative Courses

Simon Wraight, joining from Concord, NH, continues his pursuit of a sub-19 minute 5K, using all available tools. Especially hills. Downhills. He came very close this week, with a 19:04 on his route that dropped 400’ in 5K. This still left Simon a little way back from Brian Rosenberg (Duane’s nephew), joining from Mechanicsburg, PA, who simply put in a fast 5K spurt into a longer run.

Barkrunner Eli (and his human Ellen Oberholtzer) continued their tour of local cultural sites. This week they found this cool sculpture in Riverdale Park. Apparently it is called “Icarus”. Flying too close to the sun seems extra relevant this weekend.


Eli and Icarus

Patrick Wojahn is a very busy mayor on Saturdays, whether he’s working local food banks, chairing community meetings, or serving as the city’s leading pandemic food critic. (Every weekend he and husband Dave post pictures from their deck of the latest local eateries that they are supporting, eliciting responses of “Ooh, we must visit that place!” and “Is Patrick’s plate really that full?”) This week he found a creative way to combine mayoral duties with his CPVp. He started at the ribbon cutting for the new Hollywood Nutrition in North College Park (yessss, smoothies!). Then he did a tour of performances as part of College Park’s July 4th Porchfest, joined (by bike) by Eric Olson of the CP City-University Partnership.


Want. Smoothie. Now.


Virtual Volunteers

This week our weekly volunteer crew (Andrea, Colin, Tara, Joyce (for Roosevelt Island)) were joined by Trace Huard on results and Hannah Russell helping with this report.

Trace did some errands after an early run on the Paint Branch Trail, then got down to business early afternoon: “Great! I’m only 68 Facebook comments behind at this point!”

Hannah helped to dig through the many, many cool things that you told us about, helping to turn it into a manageable story that is (just barely) shorter than a Tolstoy novel.

Thank you to both! If YOU are curious about joining our virtual volunteer crew some week, just let us know. It’s fun, it’s easy, and it doesn’t require standing outside in 90-degree weather.


Our volunteers are a key part of our healthy community. They're at least as essential in the virtual format. Just a little less visible.

Looking Ahead

This weekend, on July 4th, parkrun started again in New Zealand, where COVID-19 has been eradicated. Congratulations to our Kiwi friends! (To our knowledge, we have had a grand total of 4 Kiwi parkrun tourists at CP parkrun.)

Nothing similar is in the cards for the US, alas. New infections are surging throughout the South. Maryland’s decline in new cases has stalled, and we are bracing ourselves for a new surge here. The very best that we can hope for in the coming weeks and months is a world where the spread of infection is somewhat kept in check thanks to extreme care in all that we do.

If we don’t do things right, as a region, we will be hit by a new tide of cases. If we don’t find a way to succeed as a community, the return of tens of thousands of people next month for the new UMD semester will increase infection and mistrust.

So, our plans assume that we’ll be continuing virtually through the end of the year. That’s 25 more Saturdays. At least.


Andrea gave her new CPVp shirt a test. It works!

We also feel the need, more than ever, to help create a healthy, connected community. Staying physically active is important, for sure. Staying connected with people outside your COVID bubble is just as important. The more that we can bridge divides, the better off we all will be. We’re just a little running/walking event, but in the age of social distancing there aren’t many ways that bring people together outside their bubble.

(Related to this: look out for a feature on CPVp in the upcoming edition of College Park Here and Now, the new city newspaper. Thanks to those who contributed material for this.)

To make a difference we need your help.

We need volunteers to help with the virtual parkruns. We are so grateful to the folks who have already helped out (and they now have an extra icon in our results tables to recognize this).

We also need help in reaching different parts of our community and helping to support connections. Two good examples of how this can work are the Roosevelt Island parkrun group that has been joining us virtually, and the many different family groups that have been getting active together, even when far apart geographically. Drop us a line if you have ideas.

And, to end on a surprising-but-related note, this week the global organization World Athletics, which is basically in charge of elite level track & field worldwide, announced a new partnership with parkrun Global, focused on broadening participation and getting more people active. We’re not sure what all this involves. At CP parkrun we've thought a lot about strategies for broadening participation, and we know that SO much depends on efforts at the local level. And on being honest about successes and failures. In any case, we were heartened to see the picture that World Athletics chose to illustrate their goal: College Park parkrun! Clearly, the world just wants to be like College Park. We had no role in this, but we’ll take it as a compliment to our community.

Until next time!

Your CPVp Team


World Athletics was looking for a picture that captures their goal for broadening participation. With 2,000 parkrun events to choose from, look at which one they chose! This was the start on this weekend in 2018. We started on the grass for a few months, to add some distance when the turnaround was blocked by construction.


Caitlin and Pete did an ACTUAL RACE in Ohio, with other humans. Amazing!


Mary chose the treadmill this week. For some reason her barkrunner took a pass.


The Mansfield, OH crew left little doubt what day it is


Malik's first sub-22 clocking in a while. On SUCH a hot day.


"Short" day for David. Just 10 miles.


And we leave you with a puppy picture. Because why not! (Plus Eden, and Sam, and Great Falls. They are all lovely, too.)


Glass half virtual (Virtual Report 9)

We miss seeing you all in person, and so many things about our regular meetups. But rather than focus on the things that we miss, we can list many things that we’re enjoying about our CPVps after two months of Saturdays.

We love that we have the flexibility for people to participate how they want. This week 60 people took part but didn’t want to report a time. Great! You are more than a number.

We love that we’re connecting regularly with friends from far away. Duane Rosenberg now regularly does CPVp “with” family members across the country. That couldn’t happen normally.

Adrian Dover used to visit us whenever he could, including this weekend last year. But now he's stuck in the UK. But now he can do CPVp every week ... AND his wife Stella is no longer a parkrun widow!


We love the few in person encounters that we do get. They are all so much more valuable these days, whether they are along a local trail, or stopping by Andrea and Colin’s front yard for a slice of “parkrun cake” (see below).

We love, love, love the things you’re sharing about what you get up to.

And we love that so many are joining in the fun. For the past 3 weeks, during our virtual civil rights history tour, we have seen an average of 180 participants per week. That’s many more than the same 3 weeks last year.

So what happened this week?


If it wasn't for the virtual events, we wouldn't be celebrating Steve Feld's CPVp on his 69th birthday, in Durham, NC

Facts and Figures

  • 177 virtual parkrunners
  • 760 miles covered
  • 16 first-timers
  • 18 new HIGH FIVES earned
  • 8 barkrunners
  • 7 virtual volunteers


Civil Rights History Tour Progress

This week we completed our virtual civil rights history tour, which has extended across the past 3 Saturdays. When we started out we had little idea of how far we would travel -- 2,350 miles -- and how much we would learn along the way. Including learning more about things right around us.

We had planned to finish the tour at the Lincoln Memorial on the National Mall in DC, at the site of the famous MLK speech. But parkrunner Paul Wester came up with a better idea, right here in College Park.


Paul wrapped up his run at the Frederick Douglass memorial in the middle of the University of Maryland campus (on Hornbake Plaza, just across from the student center bus stops). The statue, which was added in 2015, depicts Douglass as a young man speaking in Ireland about abolition and human rights.

As UMD’s Bonnie Thornton Dill explains in this short video about the memorial, Douglass’ life was about the relationship between freedom and education. He was born into slavery in eastern Maryland, at a time of deliberate efforts to prevent black literacy. We can’t begin to do justice here to his remarkable life, which advanced freedom on multiple dimensions, including gender as well as race.

Douglass is a perfect symbol of what we aspire to in College Park and the surrounding area, as we strive to be an inclusive community, with education at our heart. And the link between freedom and education is central to the crises we face as a society right now. In fact, the reason why we can’t meet up on Saturday mornings, now or any time soon, is directly related to efforts to misinform and to undermine trust in science, and to undermine social cohesion. (Our meetups are, of course, trivial in the grand scheme of things.)

Ellen Oberholtzer (and barkrunner Eli) visited the Adam Francis Plummer marker in Edmonston on their virtual parkrun. Born into slavery to the Calvert family (the same Calverts who founded the state, the University of Maryland, and whose heraldic colors feature on the state flag), Plummer was the foreman of the Riversdale plantation and kept a diary of his family life. Now in the care of the Smithsonian, the diary is the only known surviving one of a slave in US history. While enslaved, Plummer attempted several unsuccessful escapes and many members of his family were sold to the deep south. After emancipation, Plummer established a settlement in what is now Edmonston in 1870, after purchasing the land to reunite his family.


Eli is a very educated barkrunner. Last week it was art, this week history

Other stops along this week’s route.

Charleston, SC. Charleston is not known for being at the forefront of civil rights progress. But we were inspired and uplifted this week by a new podcast about Robert Smalls, a Charleston slave who hatched an audacious scheme to gain freedom, and who achieved so much more after that.

Greensboro, NC. Four black students from NC A&T University staged a peaceful lunch counter sit-in at a Woolworth’s store in Greensboro in February 1961. More joined them the next day, and the day after that. By the fourth day the protest had grown to 300, and soon it extended across the Carolinas and beyond. We were surprised to learn of the story of what happened when the Woolworth’s owner relented to the protests.

Appomattox, VA. Where the Civil War ended. Thanks to parkrunner Michael Phipps for suggesting this addition to the tour.

Farmville, VA. 16-year old students at Moton High School in this small town started a push for integration, which eventually became one of the cases bundled into the Brown vs. Board of Education Supreme Court case in 1954. The high school is now a museum dedicated to the history of integration in education. And we learned that it is reopening this week (June 30th) after a coronavirus shutdown. It’s within striking distance of DC. We want to visit.

Harper’s Ferry, WV. This beautiful spot at the intersection of the Potomac and Shenandoah rivers is the site of John Brown’s unsuccessful anti-slavery rebellion. It’s also very much within reach of DC. In fact, parkrunner Stewart Mayhew has been exploring new segments of the C&O Canal towpath for the past few weeks, last week making it to Harper’s Ferry.


Let them eat cake! (after running a lot of hills)

This week a number of parkrunners combined their CPVp with “The Dreaded UP Hills”, which made for what we can best describe as a “semi-virtual” event. With not-remotely-virtual cake.

The Dreaded Druid Hills 10K is an annual race in Baltimore, this year in a virtual format, like so much else. Andrea saw the cool t-shirt design and said, “I want one!” But this virtual event asks that you not run just anywhere, but seek out a route with 8 stiff hills. So Andrea talked a few friends into joining on a devilish route around University Park that included 8 times around a short loop including the climb of Chansory Lane, the “highlight” of the annual UP Azalea Classic 5K. She and Colin set up the parkrun flag and canopy in their front yard, and lured people in with the cake that Andrea had baked. This way, they were able to enjoy socially distanced running and chatting with real people!

Extra kudos to Janice Bernache, who lost count of the laps and ended up putting in a 9th time up the hill.


7:00am - Wave 1: Janice, Colin, Andrea, Dwayne, Aaliyah


8:30am - Wave 2: Chris, Nina, Trace


9:30am - time for shade ... and cake. Stewart stopped by too!


12:00 - Wave 3: Hannah, Judy, Marvin; ok, this wave was all about the cake

High Fives and PB Bells

This week we welcomed 18 new members of our virtual High Five club, for completing 5 CPVps.

Jeff Brown, Dave Rosenberg,, Pratyush Tiwary, Pete Poremba, Maleta Ann Robinson, Janice Bernache, Samantha Ager, Michael Phipps, Michelle Lemon, Rachel Unger, Jenn Augsburger, Eddie Matus, Dan Owen, Dotlyn Jograj, Gifford (barkrunner), Keri Pierce, Thomas Hool, Clare Imholtz

A special shout out to Pete Poremba, Maleta Ann Robinson, and Michael Phipps, all of whom are Ohio-based parkrunners who have been regularly joining us. Ann and Michael this week achieved the feat of taking part in an actual live 5K race. We didn’t know that was still a thing. Looks like the folks in Ashland, OH pulled this off by restricting numbers and starting people off separately.


High fives for Rachel Unger and Jeff Brown who combined their 5 CPVps with becoming new parents. We were impressed that Rachel was back to walking a full 5K this week, just a couple of weeks after giving birth.

Dottie Jograj got in her 5th CPVp taking a hike with Neil and Julie in a park near the bay.


We rang the virtual PB bell for 15 first-timers this week

Ultra Runner j.c., Hannah Russell, Nico Matus, Aaliyah El-Amin, Barbara Gusack, Dwayne Hudson, Lindsay Ward-Gokhale, Robbie Yeager, Roger Hipp, Vikrant Gokhale, Gus (barkrunner), Izzy (barkrunner), Rachel Wintheiser, Rodney Green, Stephanie Goldstein.

We’re not sure of the real name of “Ultra Runner j.c.”, but as far as we can tell this runner based in Doha, Qatar did intend to be a part of our CPVp, based on his tagged Strava activity. So, welcome!

Lindsay and Vikrant were just two of the growing group of Roosevelt Island parkrunners who are joining us each week. There were 21 islanders this week! Looks like they found a lovely venue for their virtual parkrun at Burke Lake in Fairfax, VA.


Running for a cause

Some of you found creative ways to support good causes this week.

Jen Matis completed her furthest run yet at 4.3 miles, as she works up to 10K. Jen dedicated her run and a donation per mile to City Companions, a Baltimore based charity that supports pets and pet owners.  (

Team Schneider was busy this Saturday and combined their virtual parkrun with the Virtual Strides Coronavirus Relief 5K. Pushing for PBs, Samantha and mom Erin finished at 43:30, while little sister Mary Clare and dad Joshua finished at 45:46. Samantha improved her parkrun PB by around 9 minutes! All received medals!


And your good cause doesn’t need to be a registered 501c3 organization. It can be just good things for your community. Meridith Phillips arrived at the park to find the remains of the previous night’s fireworks strewn around the parking lot. So she cleaned it up before doing her 5K. Thank you, Meridith!


More Kudos

Nico Matus joined dad Eddie for a full 5K on the Paint Branch Trail this week in a little over an hour. Way to go, Nico!


Luke Rueter, aged 9, completed the full 5K for the first time. He and dad Jeremy have been adding a little distance every week. They stopped by Andrea and Colin’s front yard afterwards and were rewarded with cake.


Brian Rosenberg, running in Mechanicsburg, PA, completed his 3rd CPVp in the fastest time that we’ve seen yet, 17:29. He was one of FOUR members of Team Rosenberg in action this week - Duane and Cotter in Maryland, Brian in PA, and Dave in IA.

Isaac and John Scott were back to running on the Paint Branch Trail this week. But we heard from John that Isaac really misses the extra push that he gets from Duane in our regular parkruns.


Creative course design

Stewart Mayhew did a little park-calligraphy at Acredale Park. He reports having rather wet feet by the end of that effort.


Nice work, Stewart! We're not sure we can even write that neatly on paper.

Cindy Cohen, running in Sandpoint, ID, must have set a new record for the most ascent in a CPVp, climbing 2,500’ over the course of her 15 miles.



Nutrition corner

You found good things to eat along your virtual parkruns this week.

Heather Sisan found delicious wild berries along her route in Kensington, MD. (Disclaimer: we have no clue about safe and unsafe berries. Try this at your own risk. And watch out for bears.)


Rebecca White found that her local Dunkin was about 2.5K from home. How convenient! We confirmed that she showed impressive restraint upon reaching her turnaround point.


Imagine if Lisa started a donut stand at the turnaround. We'd see records every week!

Virtual Volunteers

This week 3 virtual volunteers joined our regular CPVp crew of Colin Phillps, Andrea Zukowski, Tara Mease (results czar), and Joyce Adams (Roosevelt Island parkrun coordinator).

Jen Matis took on the virtual version of a timekeeper with a stopwatch in one hand and high fives with the other. In the online format this amounts to having one browser tab with a spreadsheet, and another giving lots of virtual kudos to parkrunners as they report their activities.

Ellen Oberholtzer scoured the many activity reports in search of good pictures and stories that go into this report. Really, we have so many to choose from.

And Hannah Russell helped turn Ellen’s raw material into the report that you’re reading right now, working together with Colin.

Big thanks to all! We’re delighted that 20 people have helped so far in pulling off these virtual events, and we’re always happy to find more help. It’s a fun way to be in touch with your community while safely social distancing.


Deer seen on Hannah Russell's virtual parkrun

Looking Ahead

You don’t need us to tell you that the US as a whole is failing in its response to the coronavirus pandemic. Maryland and Prince George’s County are faring much better than a couple of months ago, but we cannot afford to drop our guard if we want to avoid what is happening in the south and west right now.

The zip codes surrounding College Park already have 3-5% of the population with confirmed COVID-19 in the past 3 months. That's far above the national average of less than 1%. We do not need a new surge in our communities.

Prince George’s County will enter full Phase 2 reopening this week, starting on Monday 6/29. This will allow more facilities to open, and larger gatherings. But requirements around mask wearing and social distancing remain in place. We have not seen announcements about the reauthorization of events like ours.

The official position of parkrun Global is that they won’t reopen a country until all events in that country can proceed in unmodified form, i.e., without social distancing. This position might yet change, but that decision is not in our hands. So, there’s little prospect of CP parkrun going ahead in the regular format anytime soon.

That said, if you choose to go to the Paint Branch Trail on a Saturday morning, it’s a great place to do some socially distanced running, with a high chance of encountering fellow parkrunners. Feel free to do this. Just come and go at your own time, and don’t plan on congregating at 9am.

We would have LOVED to celebrate our first ever July 4th parkrun with you all next week. So we’re going to be doing it virtually instead. Next week will be our 10th CPVp already, and we’re looking forward to awarding our first virtual 10-timer badges.

Until next week!

Your CPVp Team


Barkrunner Gifford tries to look unimpressed on earning his sought after High Five badge


David's half marathon crew


Stefano Gazzano dubbed this shrub "The Ghost". Nice! 


Shackleton's back! With TJ for company


Interesting choice of venue for Phil Wadsworth's virtual parkrun, in Colorado Springs, CO. 


Malik did a half marathon distance. In this heat. Serious business.


Colin sporting his new CPVp shirt - you can order one at ProDirect Running, and you can customize with your own favorite message, or just with "college park". These shirts aren't cheap, but one benefit of the pitiful UK economy is that the exchange rate is more favorable now than usual. And shipping to the US is free.



A more perfect union (Virtual Report 8)

The title of this week’s report, “A more perfect union” is taken from the US Constitution. It’s also the title of an important 2008 speech by a young senator from Illinois, addressing issues that are very much with us today. The question of whether we want to be a more inclusive society, or one that is more divided, was all around us this June 19th (a.k.a., Juneteenth) and 20th.

We are just a little running and walking event in a suburban college town. For us, being an inclusive community mostly involves simple stuff like volunteering, and supporting one another in getting active, whatever our age, speed, gender or gender identity or ethnicity. But this week we kept seeing connections from our little community to the broader history happening around us.

Louise Godley and Anne L’Ecuyer squeezed in their virtual parkruns between thunderstorms and … getting married! We are thrilled for these two. And we are also mindful of the fact that this would not have been possible until very recently. Congratulations, Louise and Anne!


A rather excellent union! Congratulations, Louise and Anne!

We were reading about history from the 1960s as part of our virtual civil rights history tour. But when we mentioned the Selma-Montgomery voting rights marches of 1965, regular parkrunner Clare Imholtz said, “I was there!” She was a college freshman and took a bus to Alabama on her own because it seemed like the right thing to do. Things that are distant historical events for many of us are very real personal experience for others.

Many of you sent us pictures of you going about your activities while masked up. Thank you! While masking isn’t required outdoors in Maryland (it *is* required indoors in stores etc.), widespread mask wearing sends a strong message that we care for each other and that we will work together to protect the vulnerable among us.

So what all happened in CP Virtual parkrun #8?


Yes, this! Heather Sisan found this on her run in Kensington, MD

Facts and Figures

  • 185 virtual parkrunners
  • 770 miles covered
  • 20 first-timers
  • 19 new HIGH FIVES earned
  • 10 barkrunners
  • 6 virtual volunteers


After 8 weeks, 394 individuals have participated 1,325 times, covering 5,280 miles in College Park Virtual parkrun. 122 individuals have taken part at least 5 times.


Colin ran into John, wearing his black 100 shirt that he earned exactly one year ago

Fear the Turtle(s) ... and maybe bears

Paul Wester learned what the University of Maryland Athletics tagline “Fear the Turtle” really means when he came across a turtle the size of his torso while on his run. He paused long enough to get a picture of it, but luckily it was facing the other way so he didn’t have to worry too much about how much damage those jaws could do!


Fear the turtle!

Turtles were a common sighting this weekend, with Dave and Alyssa Heintzelman reporting that they rescued one during their virtual parkrun. We’re not sure if it’s the same one as Paul’s, but we would be impressed if they had managed to move the one pictured above!

Mary Menendez from Roosevelt Island parkrun counted 31 turtles, along with the many ducks and fish, in the canal. Mary also had a close encounter with a deer who had no respect for social distancing guidelines.

But turtles were not the only thing worth fearing: Joan Heffernan, joining us from Connecticut, was on alert for a mama bear and 3 cubs that have been roaming her area. Fortunately all she saw were just a couple of runners and a bunny.


Joan was happy to NOT encounter these neighbors on her outing this week in Suffield, CT

Creative courses

A few parkrunners got creative with their courses this week. Team Schneider did 2K of their 5K through Luray Caverns, the largest caverns in the Eastern US. This may be the first known case of parkspelunking.


We love the masks AND the stalactites!

Stewart Mayhew ‘drew’ some Strava art in his neighborhood, as part of his recovery from a speedy run in College Park.


That's one way of celebrating a new parkrun PB!

Zebi Brown didn’t let the storms stop her from joining the fun. Instead she did laps between her TV and her stove, and she managed to keep going until she reached 3K. Impressive!

Civil Rights History Tour Progress

We continued our virtual civil rights history tour. Last week we covered 800 miles from Topeka, KS to Jackson, MS, including a stop in Tulsa, OK, which was prominent in the news this weekend. This week we covered 725 miles from Jackson, MS to eastern South Carolina. Here are some of the sites passed along the way.


Our virtual civil rights history tour progress this week

Jackson, MS. Medgar Evers, who led efforts to integrate the University of Mississippi, was assassinated in 1963 at his home in Jackson, on the same day that President John F. Kennedy delivered his most well known civil rights speech. [Civil Rights Trail]

Selma, AL. The story of the Selma to Montgomery marches for voting rights in 1965 is well known, but less well known is the levels of segregation, violence, and disenfranchisement in Selma that led up to this. In 1964 African Americans made up around half of the population of Selma, but only 1% of voters. [Wikipedia]. Today the population of Selma is 80% African American. That’s about the same as the African American or Hispanic population of Prince George’s County, Maryland.

Montgomery, AL. Montgomery was the site of Rosa Parks’ famous arrest for refusing to give up her bus seat to a white person. It also features prominently in the less well known story of the Freedom Riders, who faced shocking violence as they rode buses in pursuit of integration. [Civil Rights Trail]

We learned that Clare Imholtz was actually in the Selma-Montgomery march in 1965. As a freshman in college, Clare hopped on a bus with a bunch of strangers and joined the march on its way into Montgomery!

Atlanta, GA. Atlanta was the home of Martin Luther King. It has also long been represented by Rep. John Lewis, whose role in civil rights history extends from 1960 to the present. Look out for a forthcoming movie about Lewis’ life, due to be released on July 3rd. [Good Trouble - trailer]

Orangeburg, SC & Summerton, SC. These towns in eastern South Carolina are less well known, but played important roles. Orangeburg is home to South Carolina State University, and it was the center of SC’s desegregation movement in the 1950s and 1960s, including the site of the Orangeburg Massacre of February 1968. [Civil Rights Trail].

Summerton is a small town of just 1,000 that was the site of the first school desegregation case that culminated in the landmark Brown vs. Board of Education Supreme Court Case of 1954. Have things improved? Well, yes and no. Today Summerton is roughly 40% white, 60% black. But the local public high school is 95% black. Most white kids attend a local private school. [Discovery Channel video]

Next week we head north across SC, NC, VA towards our finish in Washington DC.


Start of the Selma-Montgomery march, March 1965. By the time they reached Montgomery the crowd had grown to over 25,000.

High Fives and PB Bells

This week we congratulate another 19 new members of our virtual High Five club, folks who have participated in 5 CPVps. For this great honor they appear in the weekly results table with a high five emoji next to their name. Yeah, it’s not much, but it’s what our budget can handle.

Tomas Marambio, Chris Anderson, Luther Lemon, Dominique Lisiero, Cory Kind, Lara Pagano, Derry Jarvis, Yogarshi Vyas, Rachel Lukens, Cameron McPhee, Eli (barkrunner), Ellen Oberholtzer, Jessica Gerbig, Amanda Mercer, Derek Symer, Anna Weber, Foxy (barkrunner), Luke Reuter, Samuel Mora

For Cory Kind, a Roosevelt Island parkrun regular, it’s a goodbye of sorts, as she’s moving to a new city. Cory is the only person we know of who has ever run to CP parkrun … from Virginia. But one of the nice features of the virtual format is that it really doesn’t matter where you are. So we hope to keep hearing from Cory!

Luke Rueter earns a virtual high five this week. Luke, age 9, has been heading out with dad Jeremy each week, gradually building up distance. This week they did 2.5 miles, and we hear they may be ready to tackle the full 5K next week. Go Luke!


Go Luke! He's running a little further each week with dad Jeremy.

Derek Symer completed his 5th CPVp taking a walk with his wife Allison in Kitty Hawk, NC. Kitty Hawk is the place where the Wright brothers famously flew the first controlled, powered aircraft in 1903. Less known is that 6 years later, Wilbur Wright founded the College Park Airport to teach the first military aviators. Today, College Park Airport is the oldest continuously operating airport in the world and boasts a Smithsonian Affiliate museum. (Well worth a visit.)

Jessica Gerbig earned her high five club badge running in the downpour together with husband Rob, dad Gus, and daughter Cora. They looked bedraggled but happy.


We also welcomed 20 first-time CPVPers this weekend. So we ring the virtual PB bell for:

Isaac Scott, Martin Kearns, John Scott, Elliott Hamilton, Tony San, Amy Weaver, Steve Beresford, Samantha Looney, Gwyneth McElhenny, Kate McElhenny, Mariella McElhenny, Robert von Haase, Judy Mulusa, Chris Lovell, Joanne Smith, Lizzie (barkrunner), Michaela Lovell, Nishinoya Yuu, Rebekah Esmaili, Willow (barkrunner).

Welcome to Team McElhenny (Kate, Mariella, and Gwyneth), who joined us virtually for the first time. It seems like forever ago that we had our last in person event on March 7th, where they brought cake for everybody to celebrate Mariella’s 10-parkrun milestone. Poor Gwyneth is stuck on 8 official runs - so for her next CPVp we’ll be sure to have virtual cake for her.


March 7th, 2020, celebrating Mariella McElhenny's 10 parkrun milestone. That was our last time together. It seems so long ago.

We were super happy to see Isaac Scott join us for his first virtual parkrun. He ran with dad John at their local track.


Also great to see Judy Mulusa join us for her first CPVp. Judy was just a few parkruns short of earning a 50 shirt before the shutdown. We’re going to be especially happy to celebrate those new milestones once we get going in person again.


Last summer. Judy Mulusa in a sprint finish with Yancira Amaya

We’re enjoying welcoming more parkrunners to CPVp from the lovely communities at Roosevelt Island parkrun and parkruns in Ohio. This week’s first-timers included Islanders Martin Kearns, Tony San, Steve Beresford, and Chris and Michaela Lovell. Chris and Michaela were contenders for the most scenic location, doing their parkhike from Sugarloaf Mountain, VA. (Yeah, apparently Virginia has one, too.) And we welcomed first-timers Samantha Looney and Robert von Haase from Mansfield, OH parkrun.


View from Chris and Michaela Lovell's parkhike at Sugarloaf Mountain, VA

A shout out to Nishinoya Yuu, who got moving in Ocean City, MD, part of Zoe Phillips’ virtual parkrun crew, who have been getting in miles for us in locations around N America each week. We love how this crew that mostly came together around shared online interests is now hitting the trails together, virtually.

A virtual PB bell is in order for Stewart Mayhew, who somehow smashed his PB on the CP parkrun course in this week’s swampy weather. When Stewart first joined us in late 2018 he was a new runner, finishing with a time of 28-something. This week: 21:34. Wow. Stewart has been putting in the miles, and it shows.

Dagny S set a PB, too. Not for speed, but for distance. He completed his longest run ever: 15 miles covering the WHOLE length of the Paint Branch Trail, from Lake Artemesia to Beltsville.


One year ago

Jen Matis is working up to new distance targets too. This week we found her running on her treadmill *during* the pre-parkrun briefing. #multitasking


Andrea's giving the pre-parkrun briefing, and Jen's already underway on her treadmill!

Meanwhile, 100+ time parkrunner Eddie Matus had been running exclusively on his treadmill in recent months, but he got to run outside for the first time this weekend. He hit the Paint Branch Trail and was quickly rewarded with seeing a few familiar parkrun friends.

Virtual Volunteers

Our regular virtual volunteer crew (Tara Mease - results, Joyce Adams for Roosevelt Island, Colin and Andrea for lots of stuff) was joined by two new virtual volunteers. Thank you!! We couldn’t do this without a team working together behind the scenes each week, collecting and sharing the cool things that you get up to.

Alex Dystant joined the results crew for this week. Her role was to pull activity reports from Strava that get added to our ever growing spreadsheet of CPVp activities, where we keep track not only of times and distances, but also notes on cool things that you tell us about. Alex is among our speedier parkrunners, and we look forward to watching her zoom past on the trail in the future.


Alex Dystant with parkrun friends, Thanksgiving 2019

Hannah Russell stepped up to help in putting this report together. Hannah first joined us in our earliest events in late 2016, but we haven’t seen her in over a year, as she has been working in Australia … where she also got to visit Kelvin Grove parkrun in Brisbane and Studley parkrun in Melbourne. Recently returned to University Park, MD she’s looking for work. So if you know of anybody who could use a super talented UMD graduate in engineering and environmental science, we can put you in touch with Hannah. [ed. - to clarify, Hannah didn’t write this part!]


April 2019: Hannah admires Tara, Xander, and her mom Judy doing parkrun warmups

Looking Ahead

We would LOVE to be able to get together again on Saturday mornings, in person. But we see little prospect of this happening anytime soon, alas.

One piece of encouraging news: we heard from our friends at The Board and Brew that they are working on plans for reopening. We don’t know when that will be, but you will definitely hear from us when that happens.

Maryland is showing encouraging progress in limiting the spread of COVID-19. New cases, hospitalizations, and deaths are all now around a third of their peak in April and May. But there’s still a long way to go. And much of the US is now headed in the opposite direction. In New Zealand social distancing restrictions have largely been lifted and parkrun events in New Zealand will resume on July 4th. We think it unlikely that the US will be in that situation before the end of 2020.

So we’ll keep looking for ways to keep supporting our healthy community while we’re apart. And we love hearing your ideas for how we can do this.

Our virtual parkrun approach focuses on the social aspect of parkrun. That’s why we’re continuing to focus on gathering and sharing stories and pictures via email, social media, and whatever else works, rather than shifting to the new (not)parkrun system launched this week by parkrun HQ.

Our approach takes time and effort, but we can now see the difference that it makes. Worldwide, participation in (not)parkrun in the first week was 5%-10% of typical weekly totals. Meanwhile, participation in local virtual parkruns with more social support is dramatically higher. We’ve been following and learning from communities in Melton Mowbray and Swindon in the UK, and in the US in Redmond, WA, Ann Arbor, MI, and Leakin Park, MD. Many of these are seeing 50%-100% of typical weekly participation.

The stories and the support that you share makes this SO much more rewarding than a set of 5K times. Unsurprisingly, as a community we get out what we put in. We are so glad that you are a part of this.

Until next week!

Your CPVp Team


Keri and Amanda enjoyed a walk-run together


Sophie never misses a chance to splash in Rock Creek


Smart Shackleton heard the thunder and bailed. So Angela ran by herself this week


Pete and Caitlin, running in Canton OH, did not realize they had a snake for company as they were taking this photo


"I haven't tried to jog in months and you would have thought I was doing a 50k but I pulled out all the tricks in the books (counting tenths of a mile, counting minutes, counting songs) and thought about running the Roosevelt Island course and all the people cheering me on and I didn't stop. I was super slow but I finished and I'm looking forward to the next one." Great job, Mary and Captain Jack!


Welcome to first-time virtual parkrunners Joanne and Lizzie


Eli combined art appreciation with his barkrun this weekend in Riverdale Park


Foxy chased bunnies for a mile before letting Eden head off to do her virtual parkrun


Catherine and Pete looking good in their red 50 shirts. 6 mile run, then blueberry scones at Shortcake Bakery in Hyattsville, then yoga. Perfect!


A new journey (Virtual Report 7)

This week, as usual, our plans for a short-and-sweet virtual parkrun report were overtaken by events. We had spectacular Saturday weather, which inspired you to go out and do so many cool things. We were on the fence about starting a new virtual “tour”, and then events out in the world made it clear that if we care about inclusion in the present then it’s time to learn about the history of inclusion in our country’s history. And an announcement of a new initiative from parkrun HQ got us thinking about what we’ve learned from the first 7 weeks of CPVp.



Julie, Neil, Dottie, and barkrunner Trista hiked at Gunpowder Falls State Park

Facts and Figures

  • 181 virtual parkrunners
  • 825 miles covered
  • 24 first-timers
  • 18 new HIGH FIVES earned (now over 100 in the 5-club!)
  • 11 barkrunners
  • 6 virtual volunteers


Mary Langan and Captain Jack joined us from NJ, part of this week's crew from Roosevelt Island parkrun

Where Things Stand

We are now 7 weeks into our CP virtual parkrun experiment. It’s not like meeting up at the park on a Saturday morning. But many things have worked well, and we’re surprised that average participation has been over 150 people per week, already with over 100 5-timers. But what we have been most pleased about is the way that the virtual events have helped people to feel a little bit more connected despite our isolation, a little bit more motivated to get active. Social support for healthy activity is what we are all about.

You might have seen communications from parkrun HQ (in the UK) this week about their new “(not)parkrun” initiative, which is basically a virtual parkrun on a global scale, starting this week. And so you might be wondering if this replaces our CP virtual parkruns or changes how they operate. The simple answer is: no, it doesn’t make a difference. We’ll keep doing what we have been doing with CPVp. We encourage you to take part in both (not)parkrun and CPVp if you would like to.

Some things are similar between the two initiatives. Both involve parkrunners and parkwalkers getting active at a time and place of their choosing and reporting via an honor system, leading to creation of a weekly results table. Also, both are not official parkrun events, and don’t contribute to tallies for milestone shirts. And, of course, they’re free, inclusive, and swag free and prize free.

Other things are a bit different.

(not)parkrun is automated, robust, scalable, and integrated into the central parkrun IT that supports nearly 7 million registrants worldwide. It’s all about recording times for a 5K distance (any day of the week) and displaying the times in a results table. We anticipate that there may be separate results tables for individual events each week and an aggregated national table.

This is all good. It allows all 2,000 parkrun events worldwide to offer some kind of virtual parkrun experience. And it can happen without any effort from local volunteer crews, who may have all manner of other things to contend with in their lives right now.

CPVp is different because we’re all about social support. Yes, we collect times and distances, but we’re interested in so much more than that. We’re interested in sharing stories, we’re interested in giving support (via Facebook, Strava, email, or whatever). We’re interested in the chit-chat that we get from Zoom meetups or random encounters on local trails. We’re interested in how you’re supporting friends and family in getting active, even if you’re far apart from each other. And we’re as interested as ever in ensuring that everybody feels that they belong, whatever their age, pace, or background. This all takes more time and coordination than simply having folks submit times to a database. And for that reason we also need a volunteer crew each week to keep things going. And volunteering isn’t just a chore. It’s a fun way to connect with others while doing something positive for your community. That’s also what has made it work so well. It helps us to keep going as a community, and may even help some new folks to join the community.


5K walk to coffee. We're cool with that. Especially when it's Vigilante Coffee. Neha and Yogarshi have their priorities right.

You won’t be surprised to learn that we have also been doing research on different models, both for virtual parkrun and for other virtual events. It’s fairly clear that the social aspect is even more important in virtual events than in in person events. That’s why CPVp participation has been at or higher than participation in our regular in person events. (Well, and there’s also our policy on virtual barkrunners. Because why not!)

So, CPVp will keep going for the foreseeable future, as long as there’s interest in participation and willing volunteers. Everybody is free to ALSO submit times to (not)parkrun. And you can certainly submit the same information to both initiatives. But if you want adorable or inspiring pictures of kittens or kids or centenarians or nature, here is where you will continue to find it.

Thanks to Shane Sharkey of Melton Mowbray parkrun in the UK whose pioneering work helped us to get CPVp off the ground, and whose thoughts about the different approaches to virtual events align very closely with ours. We basically took Shane’s model and "College Parkified" it.


Coffee time! It's not The Board and Brew, but it's great to see friends from near and far

Fast and Slow

Last week we celebrated the old and the young. This week we have some great stories from opposite ends of the speed spectrum.

On the speedy end, this week’s fastest finisher, both genders, was Katie Hirsche, who ran a 5K time trial at Blair HS track in 18:18. That’s fast! How fast? Well, it’s almost half a minute faster than the existing women’s record for CP parkrun. And Katie just completed 11th grade of high school. We look forward to the time when we can all cheer Katie as she zooms past on the trail en route to a real course record. Better yet, after the time trial Katie headed out for a few miles of easy running on the trails with the family, including barkrunner Sophie.


After laying down a new female course record, Katie did some trail running with the family

At the other end of the speed scale, this week’s unofficial tail walkers were Team Schneider, who incorporated some trail enrichment into their walk on the Trolley Trail. Pre-K and elementary schoolers Mary Clare and Samantha painted some rocks with uplifting messages and placed them strategically along the trail. That’s why the 5K took them 1h42, but so worth it. We already heard from other parkrunners that they noticed the rocks and wondered who put them there. So now you know!


Look out for decorated rocks along the Trolley Trail

Some others put down some notable times this week.

Lori Dominick has been coming back from injury, and managed a hilly 5K in Greenbelt in under an hour for the first time in a while. Big kudos for Lori!

Alyssa Heintzelman was seen sprinting to the finish of the regular CP parkrun course. This was because she was pushing for her first sub-30 time in a while. Nice! (And Alyssa reports that the kitten she rescued in CPVp #5 is doing nicely in its new home.)

Trace Huard has also been coming back from injury, and celebrated being back into the 24-something range for 5K. And Keaton Ellis was very happy to complete his first sub-21 time in a while.


Nice job, Lori. This comeback is ON!

The Tour

We launched a new community distance challenge this week, following on the successful parkrun Across America in May. Inspired by recent events, we started a civil rights history tour, following a route of at least 1900 miles from Topeka, KS through OK, AR, MS, AL, GA, SC, NC, VA to end in Washington, DC. This should take about 3 weekends.

We were inspired by learning about the US Civil Rights Trail. And we were also inspired by realizing that there are important historical events in the news that we are unaware of. Learning about history won’t directly solve society’s current problems. But it’s a start in understanding the current moment.


This week's route: Topeka, KS to Jackson, MS

Here are some of the places that we virtually visited this week, and some of the things we read along the way.

Topeka, KS. Focus of the landmark 1954 US Supreme Court case, Brown vs. Board of Education, which ruled school segregation unconstitutional. The chief lawyer in the case was Thurgood Marshall. [, Wikipedia]

Tulsa, OK. Tulsa has been in the news a lot recently. Because of events planned for this week, and events that happened 99 years ago. See: Tulsa race massacre of 1921. [Wikipedia, Washington Post 6/13/20, bonus: What is Juneteenth?]

Little Rock, AR. The Brown vs. Board of Education ruling did not go over well in Little Rock. That’s where the Little Rock Nine come in. There’s a memorial to these brave high schoolers at the Arkansas State Capitol. [National Museum of African American History]

Sumner, MS. Recent events have created many reminders of the murder of 14-year old Emmitt Till, and the men who were acquitted for his murder in a courtroom in Sumner, MS. [Civil Rights Trail description]

Jackson, MS. This is our final destination this week. Home of Medgar Evers, Tougaloo College, and the site of the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum. [Civil Rights Trail]

We are learning a lot about the history of the struggle for inclusion on this virtual tour. We encourage you to do some digging yourself.


The Little Rock Nine Memorial at the Arkansas State Capitol

Go Far

Some of you went the extra mile this week as we tried to collect miles for our virtual tour. We did not expect that some would go an extra 20 miles, or even more!

David Lai combined his CPVp with an unofficial “Juneteenth Marathon” in Washington DC, covering 27.2 miles along a rather interesting looking route. Juneteenth is coming up this Friday (6/19), and it has extra significance this year. It has been in the news a lot this past week. Why is this marathon one mile longer than a regular marathon? That’s tied into the history of Juneteenth - things that you don’t get to celebrate as soon as you should. And fittingly David’s marathon ended at the Frederick Douglass National Historic Site in Southeast DC.


David's route for the Juneteenth Marathon. Very cool!


Finish at the Frederick Douglass National Historic Site in SE DC. Very appropriate.

Malik Al-Jame took part in the half marathon version of the same event. Nice job, Malik!


Juneteenth half marathon for Malik

In Bloomfield Village, MI Tim Keer decided that a marathon was not enough. So he decided on a whim to extend his 25-miler to a 50K (31 miles), contributing 5K to the Lillie Virtual parkrun in Ann Arbor, and 28 miles to CPVp. But our favorite part of this is that for the last couple of miles he was joined by his daughter Emma, on a bike, who he had not seen in person for over 3 months. That’s a pretty nice reward for completing your first ultramarathon.


Emma Keer accompanies dad Tim as he wraps up an impromptu ultramarathon around his neighborhood

And even further afield, we got 17 miles from Linda Phillips, in Bristol, UK. Linda has never been to College Park, but she has been following us from afar since we began. She’s Colin and Andrea’s sister-in-law. We hope we can welcome her to the trail in person some day.

High Fives and Bells

It’s all about taking part, in whatever way you prefer. So a shout out to this week’s 18 new 5 timers. Welcome to the High Five Club.

John Maneval, Cotter Rosenberg, Simon Wraight, Kurt Wilson, Stefano Gazzano, Dale Morey, Louise Godley, Jason Yarwood, Robert Bernhard, Judith Barnes, Enrique Jograj Jr., Julie Russell, Deborah Levenson, Eden Gray, Laurie Fisher, Lucy Younes, Misha Bernard, Jeremy Reuter.

This week’s new 5-timers include old and new friends, near and far. Stefano Gazzano is located outside Rome, Italy, where the lockdown was far more strict than ours. We have enjoyed reading his reports of his return to outdoor life. Laurie Fisher and Lucy Younes have been meeting up on the Paint Branch Trail weekly to exercise together. If it hadn’t been for the shutdown, we would have been celebrating their 50th official parkruns right around now.


Eden Gray joined the High Five club using a not-exactly-parkrun-compliant course in Columbus, OH. But for virtual parkrun - no problem!

And welcome to the 24 who joined us for the first time this week. We hope you’ll join us again!

Ariana Lecouras, Jonathan Morgan, Dominic White, Amanda Photenhauer, Carey White, Anne L'Ecuyer, Jonathan Garcia, Freya (barkrunner), Jessica Hsieh, Ariel Ayres, James Cantwell, Jeri Gallant Keer, Whistler (barkrunner), Elizabeth Sheridan, Eve Fingerett, Heather Sisan, Larissa Olson, Linda Phillips, Captain Jack (barkrunner), Deb Tinnemore, Marianne Poon, Mary Langan, Michael Bevers, Rod Tinnemore.

This week’s first-timers include Deb and Rod Tinnemore, Anna’s parents, who took part from Raleigh, NC. Hope you can visit us in person when that’s a thing. It’s good to hear from Marianne Poon again. We were thrilled to see that Louise Godley talked her partner Anne L’Ecuyer into joining us for the first time. And we’re really happy to see Jim Cantwell getting back into the game.


Welcome to first time virtual parkrunner Heather Sisan


You weren’t asking for nutrition advice, were you? Good thing. We’ll just leave here these inspired refueling options that parkrunners found in the absence of our regular post-parkrun coffee spots.

Bud Verge ran the Paint Branch Trail in College Park, then went for donuts. We hope he shared them! (Good luck with the knee procedure this week, Bud.)


Don't try this at home, folks. At least, not without inviting us to help.

In Newport, RI Janet Grudzien John noticed that the beach snack shop was exactly 5K from her front door. So, perfect way to combine a virtual parkrun (or two) with a lobster roll. We’re salivating!


It's not Lisa's turnaround spot, but that's a pretty appealing midpoint for a virtual parkrun, in Newport, RI

Virtual Volunteers

At a regular parkrun the volunteers are quite visible in their bright yellow vests, recording times, tailwalking, marshaling, giving high fives, and more. The rotating cast of volunteers (over 300!) is a key to the success of the community.

In our virtual parkrun format, the volunteer crew is even more important, but they’re less visible. They are what keeps the social support and inclusion of the event going. They track down activities, stories, and pictures from across multiple channels -- so that you don’t need to be on Facebook or Strava to take part. They help to provide support and encouragement to participants. They make it possible to keep track of things like distances covered, so that we can create community challenges. And they help to generate the reports that help us to feel together despite being apart.

A special shout out this week to first-time virtual volunteer Nick Huang. Nick was one of the initial core team members of CP parkrun back in 2016. One year ago this week we bid him farewell as he wrapped up his PhD at UMD and moved to Connecticut to get married and start a new job. We have really missed Nick, so it has been great that in the virtual parkrun format we have been able to connect with Nick again! This week he did an gentle 5K with his wife Jessica and barkrunner Freya on a trail in Simsbury, CT.


Virtual volunteer Nick Huang did his virtual 5K with his wife Jessica in Simsbury, CT

Also welcome this week to new virtual volunteer John Scott, who helped to collect pictures and stories. John has completed over 50 CP parkruns, and often comes with his adult son Isaac. We miss them both! For Isaac, the supportive community provides safe and welcoming human support. This kind of support is very hard to recreate in the virtual format. One more reason why we can’t wait to be back together again.



We're looking forward to welcoming John, Isaac, and Michelle back to the trail in person ... on some Saturday in the future

The rest of the volunteer crew was rounded out by virtual regulars Tara Mease, Joyce Adams, Andrea Zukowski, and Colin Phillips.

We cannot overstate how valuable it has been to have Tara as the results tsarina for CPVp. Thanks to Tara, we can instantly answer questions like: “It’s 3pm on Saturday - how many miles have we covered together so far today?” Or “How many new High Five club members do we have this week?”

Joyce is coordinating the Roosevelt Island parkrun community-within-a-virtual-community. This piece is working well. It allows the balance between being part of something broader while maintaining local social connections and support.

Looking ahead

We’ll be back next week for CPVp #8. We’ll look forward to hearing more of your stories, and we’ll continue learning as part of our civil rights history tour.

This week sees the next steps in the reopening of life as we knew it in Prince George’s County, with more businesses able to open starting Monday 6/15, though with many protective measures in place. We need to remain vigilant, and always remember that our own actions bear on the health and safety of those more vulnerable than us.

We’ll keep our eyes out for the possible return of outdoor fitness classes, such as our popular Yoga in the Parks partnership with Prince George’s Parks that we have held in past years. And we hope that it won’t be too much longer before we can start supporting The Board and Brew in person again.

Stay safe everybody! Keep wearing those masks! And we’ll see you soon.

CPVp Team


Happy Birthday Valerie! And happy Pride Month!


Valerie's route took in a well-timed break for this jazz quartet


That looks like a nice breathable mask, Zebi


Good to see Rory for our virtual parkruns, joining us from Morris Plains, NJ. It has been a hard month for him, so we're glad to see him smiling. 


The weather was great in MOST places. In Berlin, Germany, Kazuko got caught in a thunderstorm.


Jen Matis combined her CPVp with the virtual Run for Love in support of LGBTQ causes


Barkrunner Eli sat out Ellen's 5K, but lucked out with a stroll around Riversdale Mansion later in the day. Lucky pup!


Not the Paint Branch Trail! Another steep downhill virtual parkrun for Cindy Cohen in northern Idaho.


Sunny virtual parkrun for Ashfaq Hasan


Yes, we mean ALL ages (Virtual parkrun Report 6)

You know that feeling where you’ve been cooped up for months? You want a little space, some time to yourself? That’s apparently how Lisa Wilson’s mom felt on Saturday morning. So, she called up Lisa and encouraged her to take her dad for a walk. Nothing much unusual there. Except that Lisa’s mom is 103 years old. And that’s how James Wilson, age 102, became one of the 150 participants in College Park Virtual parkrun #6. And yes, he walked 5K. It took 2 hours and 20 minutes. And why not! As we know, it’s not a race.

In fact, James already had a parkrun barcode. He joined us in late 2018 at the tender age of 100. (Colin remembers that day fondly. Lisa commissioned him to do the first half of the parkrun carrying a (sealed) mug of hot cocoa to deliver to James at the turnaround.)


James Wilson joined us one day in late 2018, at the tender age of 100

This week we also pushed the other end of the age scale. Rachel Unger joined us for a “parkwaddle” in CPVp #2-#4 while very pregnant indeed. She skipped last week. Turns out she had a great excuse, as she gave birth to a baby boy on Saturday. This week, Rachel and husband Jeff Brown walked 2K around their ‘hood with 7-day old Felix (and barkrunner Scooter). Welcome, Felix!!

We just love hearing about all your stories each week. This week we were feeling more than ever that we are stronger together.


No more parkwaddling for Rachel!


Welcome Felix

Facts and Figures

Here is College Park Virtual parkrun by the numbers.

  • 157 participants
  • 600 miles covered
  • 14 first-timers
  • 27 HIGH FIVE badges earned (5 times at CPVp)
  • 11 barkrunners
  • 9 virtual volunteers
  • Age range: 102 years



David combined his CPVp with the Virtual Baltimore 10 Miler

parkrunning, parkwalking, parkmarching

For CPVp we encourage you to take part how you want and where you want, as long as it’s safe. Many people choose to run, and a lot of people choose to walk. This week we added parkmarching to the options, as a few of you got miles in at the Black Lives Matter protests, either downtown or in Hyattsville.

Valerie Silensky’s run-walk took her to the Hyattsville protest. Anna Weber covered nearly 5 miles at the DC protest.


From Valerie Silensky's virtual parkrun in Hyattsville. Note the masks and distancing.

Looking inward

We cannot ignore that our virtual parkruns are taking place in a time of immense upheaval in society around us. Between the pandemic, the economic meltdown, and the response to social injustice there is so much to be worried about right now

And we are well aware that some of us enjoy privileges that others do not. White privilege is very real. Having a job that allows you to work from home is a privilege. Being young and having a dramatically lower risk of severe COVID-19 outcomes is a privilege. So is being free of underlying health conditions that make the world a dangerous place right now.

We need to take seriously what this means for us as a community within a community.

parkrun as a global initiative is committed to diversity and inclusion. At College Park parkrun we take inclusion very seriously. We think that it is not enough to merely say that “all are welcome”. People need to really feel that they belong, that they fit in.

We are glad that College Park parkrun has become more diverse over time. We see people from a wider range of ages, speeds, and social and ethnic backgrounds now than when we were getting started.

We love the fact that we live in an area with a rich mix of people from diverse ethnic and national backgrounds.

But we are also aware that College Park is whiter, more affluent, and less prone to COVID-19 infections than the surrounding area. [Washington Post article] And CP parkrun is less diverse than the College Park community. Our virtual events have been even less diverse than our regular CP parkruns.

Meanwhile, CP parkrun is the only parkrun event in Prince George’s County, which faces widespread health challenges. One of the goals of Prince George’s County Parks & Recreation is to use outdoor spaces to help improve community health. We are happy to contribute to this, but we want to do more.

So we want to hear from YOU about things that we can do, individually and as a community, to make a difference in our community, to broaden participation, community connections, and to improve health outcomes.

We can make statements about our values and our hopes, but as an entirely grassroots, community-led initiative, we are most interested in the things that we can actually do to make a difference to realizing those goals.


We want to help more people in the community come together

They scrub up well!

Zoe Phillips had a high school graduation at parkrun o’clock this week. Zoe volunteered almost every week at CP parkrun this school year. At first, the aim was just to do some volunteer hours to satisfy a graduation requirement. Then Zoe came to really love the CP parkrun community, and continued volunteering, just because. And then started joining as a runner, too.

Zoe will be staying very close for college (Go Terps!), so we’re hopeful that this is one regular volunteer who we won’t have to say goodbye to.

Zoe’s graduation presented an interesting challenge for the proud parents, since they also handle the technical side of our virtual meetups. So, Andrea and Colin both headed out early for a run in the soupy morning weather. Then tried to quickly cool down to change into respectable graduation attire. This left them a little over-dressed for the 8:50am virtual parkrun briefing.


Perhaps a little overdressed for a (virtual) parkrun

From there they were able to immediately join the virtual graduation. And then by 10:30, when it was almost Zoe’s turn to be recognized at the graduation, they had the graduation and the parkrun coffee meetup going at opposite ends of the dining room table.

These are some things that it’s easier to do in the virtual parkrun format than in the traditional format.


Congratulations, Zoe! Looking forward to more volunteering and running when we're back together in person.

Oh, and despite the heat and the hectic schedule, Andrea somehow managed her 6th week of fastest-in-two-years might-as-well-be-a-PB time. Go Andrea!



Ah, that looks more like it. A short while earlier, on sweaty morning virtual parkruns

Family Affairs

Welcome to the Aguilera-Kelley clan, regular parkrunners who joined us en masse for the first time. Carolyn and Jorge ran with Diego and Lucas, and Nico joined on his bike. Excellent!


Team Aguilera Kelley in full force!

Team Schneider did their parkwalk on the shore at Rehoboth Beach, DE. Erin reported that their time was a bit slower this week, because there were too many cool things to look at. Sounds perfect!


That is NOT the Paint Branch creek!

The Rosenberg clan was also out in force this week, but from different corners of the country. Duane was joined by his brother David (in Iowa) and nephews Jeff (in Colorado) and Brian (in Pennsylvania). First-timer Brian was this week’s fastest finisher, setting a CPVp record. Duane explains that Brian won the Baltimore Marathon in 2014, but has a bit less time for running these days while raising a half dozen future Rosenberg runners.


Brian Rosenberg winning the Baltimore Marathon in 2014. Everyone's a winner at (virtual) parkrun, but Brian's still pretty speedy, like his uncle Duane

Derek Symer was joined by his wife and first-timer Allison Aubrey for a 5K around their neighborhood in Kensington, MD. Derek wrote: “"I walked 3.1 miles with my wife today. She stopped to smell and taste mulberries, pull a book from the free library, chat with a neighbor. We still PR’d.” This sounds great, and it reminds us of one of our all-time favorite children’s books, DB Johnson’s Henry Hikes to Fitchburg. Beautiful art, and a moral that’s all about enjoying the journey.


"His friend was sitting in the moonlight when Henry arrived. "The train was faster", he said. Henry took a small pail from his pack. "I know,", he smiled. "I stopped for blackberries.""


No tales of lost kittens this week. But we did have baby ducks! Many parkrunners who headed out on the Paint Branch Trail enjoyed meeting a family of ducks who were unperturbed by the passing parkrunners. Well, mostly. They didn’t seem to mind the humans, but Cameron McPhee reports that they were a bit more circumspect about barkrunner Ranger, who was showing a little too much interest.


Stay away from those ducklings, Ranger!

Angela Gentile and Thomas Hool headed out for a run with barkrunner Shackleton on the Paint Branch Trail. They cleverly brought along a water bottle and a bowl to stash at Hump’s Crossing. Shackleton appreciated it, but still feels that Hump’s water bowl is better.


Shackleton: "I miss Hump (and his water bowl)!"

Barkrunner Wonka joined Rebecca Gitter for a parkwalk around Hyattsville, and appreciated the puddles that he found.


Well, that's another way to enjoy your water

Barkrunner Foxy got in a 4 mile run in Canton, OH together with Eden Gray (of Roosevelt Island parkrun) and Sam Mora (of Sippo Lake parkrun). Special kudos to Sam for his return to running after a car accident.

And Emma Keer, virtually parkrunning in Ann Arbor, MI, is this week’s winner of our occasional Strava art contest with this dolphin. Nice job, Emma! Emma is also a key part of the energy behind Lillie Virtual parkrun, which is doing similar things for the Ann Arbor community that we're trying to do in College Park. Their virtual parkrun briefing video this week, made by the Yun family, is just brilliant. Check it out (it's on Facebook only, alas.)


Cool Strava art dolphin by Emma Keer!

High Fives

We’re not able to celebrate new official parkrun milestones right now, so we’re instead celebrating virtual parkrun milestones. And since we’re starting from scratch and only giving virtual badges, the first utterly unofficial virtual parkrun milestone is the HIGH FIVE badge.

This week, in our 6th week, we bestow virtual high fives on 27 new members of the 5-timer club, to add to the 58 who joined the high five club last week already.

Malik Al-Jame, Patrick Wojahn, Susan Crammond, Clark Ridge, Nick Huang, Ian Parsons, Lokesh Meena, Zak Mellen, Robin Phillips, Emma Keer, Tim Keer, Erin Munsell, Shackleton (barkrunner), Joel Goldberg, Joe Fox, Jacqueline Hayes, Alyssa Heintzelman, Dave Heintzelman, Janete Amaya, Sharlene Deskins, Bonnie McClellan, Dominique Blom, Rebecca White, Catherine Spirito, Pete Monacelli, Joyce Adams, Mike McClellan.

Fun fact: in our 6 weeks of virtual parkruns we’ve got as many 5-timers as we got in the first 6 months of official parkruns. Maybe our Saturdays are just a bit less crowded now than they used to be.


Virtual Volunteers

Many thanks to this week’s virtual volunteers.

Katie Hirsche and Trace Huard were this week’s results team crew, with Katie following Strava and Trace following Facebook. Ellen Oberholtzer helped gather material for this report. We LOVE all the pictures and stories that you share with us for your virtual parkruns, but it’s a bit more complicated than it is for the regular parkruns, and so the team effort is very much appreciated. Thanks everybody!

Carlos and Diana Gough were our ceremonial tailwalkers, accompanied by barkrunner Ruby. Carlos has a particularly stylish mask.

Joyce Adams coordinated activities for our Roosevelt Island parkrun friends, who are teaming up with us for the results and the briefing, but organizing their own coffee meetup and check-ins.

And Colin, Andrea, and Tara coordinated the rest.

Drop us a line if you’d like to help with a future CPVp. Being a virtual volunteer is a fun way to support your community, and it definitely takes a village.


This week's official tailwalkers and tail-wagger

Looking ahead

It will likely be a few months before there is any prospect of a return to regular parkruns, alas. There are still no parkruns operating anywhere in the world, including in New Zealand, where the control of COVID-19 has been, um, slightly more successful.

Here is the latest from parkrun HQ in the UK on the status of events.

So we’re expecting to keep parkrunning virtually for a while, making the best of things. We had a GREAT response to the parkrun across America challenge in the last two weeks of May. Many people told us that they enjoyed the collective effort. We’re definitely interested in your ideas about possible future adventures.

Until next week. Stay safe and healthy out there, everybody!

The CPVp Team


Team Gieske joined from South Bend, IN this week. Looking good!


Meridith met Anna and Bonnie on the Paint Branch Trail. Just one of many happy encounters on the trails early Saturday.


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