Cooler than July (Report 191)

This week’s title is a nod to a classic Stevie Wonder album, in honor of this week’s debut Run Director Bud Verge, who has been keeping us musically enriched through his weekly CP parkrun playlists on Spotify. 

The park and trail were buzzing on Saturday. So many happy, positive people, cool stories and achievements. And milder weather that we just don’t come to expect in July in the DMV.

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This week we have our usual line-up of stories, together with a photo album that made us smile a LOT. And we also have an update on how emerging information about the Delta variant impacts safety at our event.

RESULTS

PHOTO ALBUM

(NOT)PARKRUN

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Alan Mulindwa (right) joined us for the 75th time, and beat a PB that he set way back in early 2017.

We were excited to welcome back Abdur-Rahman Quadri to CP parkrun this week. When Abdur first joined us he was a UMD grad student from Nigeria who was living in the apartment building that practically overlooks the park. So he could practically roll out of bed on a Saturday morning and be with us in 2 minutes. He graduated a couple of years ago and is now based closer to Baltimore, but he still comes to the area to enjoy the trails.

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Welcome back, Abdur ... and Happy Birthday!

In addition to his big heart and infectious smile, Abdur is also a rather good photographer. So we were excited when he showed up and offered to explore the trail with his camera.

One thing that he forgot to mention to us is that it was his birthday. Happy birthday, Abdur! After seeing the photo album that he sent us, it feels like we were the ones who got a birthday gift.

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We have a big photo album this week, because Abdur made everybody look so good!

We welcomed our largest crowd since January 2020, with 170 finishers. That added to the buzz at the park. And the buzz lasted for a while, thanks to the continued great group of walkers and run-walkers. (More than 60 finished after 40:00 for the third consecutive week.)

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It feels so good to share the trail with a big crowd of friendly folks again

Folks running north on the trail this week were surprised to see a young woman charging ahead of Clark Ridge. (We should add that Clark was not taking it easy.) First timer Nina Zarina torched our female course record with a time of 17:18. Then she went right out and ran the course again, finishing her second lap while many were still on their first. Wow.

Nina already holds the course record at all three of the DC parkruns. She also won the San Francisco Marathon in 2019. So she’s a known speedster. But a cool thing about Nina is that she did not start running until her 20s, running for fitness. And then discovered that she was rather good at it. You can read her story here. Also, Nina has done a lot of parkruns. This was her 38th, so she’s ¾ of the way to earning a 50 shirt.

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17:18 course record for Nina Zarina. Wow!

We had two 50 sashes to hand out this week.

Brian Murphy has been with us from the start. He and Jen first joined us on a rainy morning two weeks before our official launch, on a day with 9 finishers of a 5-ish kilometer route (“Just run to the post and back.”) So he has really seen the community grow.

It’s almost surprising that it has taken Brian so long to reach this milestone. But it makes more sense if you know that he has also volunteered nearly 50 times. He already joined the crew in event #3, in the role of (pre-Lisa) turnaround marshal. By 2017 he was in our regular rota of on-the-day leaders. Brian always brings a smile, and is always looking to help out. And in his spare time he’s also vice president of Montgomery County Road Runners. And in training for a marathon.

Heather Sisan first joined us in late 2017 on the day when we hosted the UMD Homecoming 5K. Since 2018 we have shared custody of Heather on a Saturday morning with our friends at Kensington parkrun. Heather is another who spreads positivity wherever she goes.

Heather became an invaluable member of our virtual volunteer crew during our pandemic events, when she practically invented the “virtual cheerleader” role. Hundreds of people were checking in with us via social media and other channels on the things that they had been doing to stay active. Heather ensured that everybody felt seen and appreciated.

… and this week she went and set a PB for the second time in as many weeks.

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50 sash and a second PB in as many weekends. Nice, Heather!

Brian and Heather received their 50 sashes for the day from the lovely Laurie Fisher and Lucy Younes, who wore those sashes themselves just a couple of weeks ago (and who received their new red shirts in the mail just a couple of days ago).

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CJ Eddings also earned a milestone shirt for his 10th time (as an under 18).

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And although 25-time finishers are not yet A Thing, we hear that parkrun plans to make it An Official Thing in the next couple of months. So we’re going to need to start practicing keeping an eye out for them. This week we had 4 new 25 timers: Erin and Samantha Schneider, Kayla Hayes, and Tami Graf.

Thanks are due to Kayla for stepping up as one of this week’s photographers. One of our favorite pictures from her set this week -- her mom!

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One of the great pictures that Kayla got -- her mom!

In addition to her 25th parkrun, Tami became our first ever finisher in the 85-89 age group. And we think she also ran the fastest ever parkrun in the US for her age group (no, she’s not the only person to try it). All in a day’s work for Tami, as we hear that she recently set an American record for 5,000m on the track, and a WORLD record for the 200m hurdles. Inspiring stuff, Tami!

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World record holder in our midst! Hands up if you would love to be jumping hurdles at 85!

We welcomed 15 first timers this week. In addition to Nina Zarina and her husband Max Usubyan, there were John Hudak, Eric Johnson, Graham Ferguson, Dan Christenson, Steven Bailey, Khailen Carroll, Freddie Santiago, Carl Womack, Mark Preston, Daia Hansford, Tamara Wood, and Ruith Smith.

As always, we very much hope to see them again. And we are optimistic that we will. Most people who join us for the first time come back for a second visit.

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Welcome to Carl Womack and Mark Preston

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Nice run by first-timer Daia Hansford

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You did it Ruith!

College Park Anywhere parkrun

As always, we’re happy to hear from community members wherever they were getting active this week.

5 of you recorded (not)parkruns, including Cindy Cohen, who is now based in northern Idaho, and who recorded a (not)parkrun PB this week. We hope that she’s managing to avoid the fires and smoke out there.

We found Derek Symer visiting our friends at Lillie parkrun in Ann Arbor, MI. Good to see him representing in one of our Tunnel of Trees shirts.

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And we heard from Catherine Francoeur that she had a chance to call in on our friends at Howard Temin Lakeshore Path parkrun in Madison, WI.

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Volunteers

Congratulations to Bud Verge on his first turn at the helm this week. Bud has been trying out a bunch of different volunteer roles in recent weeks as he works his way back from a stress fracture injury. He was a natural as skipper for the day.

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New sheriff! Bud is clearly a natural leading the event

Jen Matis, Lori Dominick, and Larry Washington also volunteered while injured this week. We wish them a speedy and safe recovery. You don’t have to be injured to join the volunteer crew. But if you are, then it’s a good way to still enjoy the CP parkrun vibe.

Tailwalker Janet Tate looked like she had been in a collision. But she assured us that her wrapped arm was scheduled maintenance.

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Thanks to Sharon Raszap-Skorbiansky for trying her hand at the first-timers’ welcome. We love how more people are giving this important role a try.

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And thanks to our newest member of the volunteer crew, 11-year old Mariella McElhenny. Mariella did a great job coordinating with timekeepers Larry and Lloyd. And she also embraced the opportunity to be a cheerleader as much as a giver of small pieces of plastic.

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That request again: please do sign up for our once-weekly CP parkrun email from Andrea. It contains news and key updates. It’s also the main source of information about upcoming volunteer crews. If you don’t already receive the CP email, please sign up for College Park messages via your parkrun.com profile. We do not spam you; we don’t even have access to your email address; and parkrun does not sell its email lists.

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Looking good, Lorelis and Angel

Safety Update

The Delta variant of SARS-CoV-2 is surging. CDC recommendations are changing. There are alarming reports about the potential for vaccinated individuals to spread the virus. Down the street in Washington DC, some restrictions have returned, notably a requirement for indoor mask wearing. Back in May as we were preparing to resume live events, there was more optimism around than there is right now.

So what does this all mean for safety at our event?

The short answer is that we think it’s still a rather safe outdoor dispersion event, rather than a risky indoor gathering. But we are closely watching developments.

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As always, the risk of infection at CP parkrun comes down to: (i) the risk of an infected person showing up at the event, and (ii) the risk of you rebreathing enough of that person’s exhaled air to get infected.

The risk of an infected person showing up at our event is higher than a couple of months ago.

Currently, around 1 in 12,000 people test positive each day in Prince George’s and Montgomery Counties (pop. ~2 million). That figure was closer to 1 in 80,000 in June. Even though vaccinated people can get infected and may be able to transmit, the weight of evidence points to infection still being much less likely after full vaccination. To our knowledge, it is still the case that vaccination rates in our area are above the national average, and vaccination rates in the CP parkrun community are extremely high.

There are local effects that could be very relevant that we cannot quantify at present. UMD’s vaccine mandate went into effect this week. Compliance is high. UMD has reported almost no COVID cases in recent weeks. But it will be a few weeks before the semester ramps up and testing figures increase sharply..

Our current estimate is that infected people would show up at CP parkrun at a rate of 1-2 people per year. So we are fairly confident that most weekends when we meet up in the park there are zero infectious people in the park. (This estimate could change, of course.)

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We're delighted that Louise is able to join us in person again. (And glad to hear that her shoulder is improving. She tells us that it's from a baking injury. Go figure!)

But if it is one of those rare occasions when an infectious person is present, what is the risk that they will infect you? This mostly depends on whether you rebreathe enough of their air to get a high viral load and that you are unlucky enough to be one of those still rare cases of a breakthrough infection.

It is becoming likely that the Delta variant is more contagious because of the higher viral loads relative to earlier SARS-CoV-2 variants. So we presume that infections are possible with lower amounts of rebreathed air. That said, unless you are downwind and close to an infectious person for a substantial amount of time, i.e., minutes, the risk of transmission should still be rather low. The way that people tend to move at our events means that we often pass close to a number of people, but there are very few people who we are close to for a long time. In fact, those are usually family members or good friends, who we are likely spending time with anyway.

By far the greater risk is associated with indoor gathering. For this reason, we continue to encourage folks to meet outdoors for post-parkrun coffee and brunch. There is outdoor seating at The Board and Brew. And we have enjoyed gathering at the pocket park behind The Board and Brew and Vigilante Coffee. This week while processing parkrun results in that park we were joined by a Great Blue Heron (safely socially distanced, of course).

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Bud Verge processing results at our outdoor meetup spot by the Paint Branch Stream

Also, we certainly welcome anybody who is more comfortable participating in a mask right now. Some people have taken to carrying a mask that they use at the start and finish, but not once the field has dispersed along the trail.

We wish that we no longer needed to even think about these things, but we do. And we will update if the risks change substantially.

Until next time!

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Barkrunner Murphy set a PB. As for barkrunner Eli, sometimes the finish line just has to wait.CP-parkrun-191-276-web

24-minute PB for second-timer Berlynn - wow!20210731_College park_ABDURRAHMAN

Lily loves meeting up with her Saturday morning friendsCP-parkrun-191-251-web

Erica enjoyed running and walking the trail with her niece SimoneCP-parkrun-191-239-web

We can always count on Mary Clare to up our sartorial game ... and she set a PB, too!CP-parkrun-191-231-web

Felix points the way forwardCP-parkrun-191-214-web

When your bestie comes to town, why hurry! Carly's friend Blair was visiting from NC, and so she brought her along to see her Saturday morning peeps.CP-parkrun-191-192-web

Laurie quietly went and set yet another 70+ course record this weekCP-parkrun-191-155-web

Yet another PB for Megan Newcombe, with her fan club looking on proudlyCP-parkrun-191-67-web

150th parkrun for Colin this week. Yeah, that's not a thing. But enjoying a cooler than normal July morning definitely is. CP-parkrun-191-54-web

A Lisa's-eye view from the turnaround. Hundreds of people showing up very happy to see you.CP-parkrun-191-29-web

It was buzzing at the park at 8:55am this weekCP-parkrun-191-17-web

Good to see that Joel is recovering from a recent bike crashCP-parkrun-191-16-web

We have the best chalkers!CP-parkrun-191-9-web

Erica returned this week, and brought along her sonCP-parkrun-191-4-web

Look what Lucy and Laurie got in the mail this week. Nice!

See you next week!

 

Director’s Cut (Report 190)

This week’s report is by Run/Walk director for the day Lori Dominick. She was the first person to arrive at the park in the morning, and the last one to leave. And the week’s event was done when Lori clicked the buttons to send out all the results and volunteer thank-you emails. Here’s how the day looked from her vantage point.

CP PARKRUN 190 RESULTS

CP PARKRUN 190 PHOTO ALBUM

CP PARKRUN 190 (NOT)PARKRUN

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What happens before parkrun?

“In the morning's early hours, quiet voices were loud.”
― Markus Zusak, The Book Thief

7:33 am. It’s 66 degrees outside, and I step on the trail.  In an hour and a half, there will be over 100 people here for a parkrun, and I want to check out the trail and run/walk before everyone gets here. With the exception of a few people, it’s relatively quiet as my shoes hit the pavement. The trail is different every week; I can hear the birds and frogs starting their day, and a deer walks across the trail. As usual, I cannot get close enough to get a photo, and I have to get back before the parkrun volunteers start setting up.

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Early morning, before the parkrunners arrive

8:22 am. Andrea and Colin are here with the set up equipment. We have a tent, table, flag, signs, cones, chairs, a bullhorn, and those ever-so-important tokens. Lisa heads out to the turn- around point, and her husband, Hump, sets off for his course marshal spot. Ellen is ready for the First Timers briefing, Larry and Kristie are ready to start timing, Carolyn, Lucas, Diego, and Nicholas are in their orange vests and ready to be the tailwalkers and take photos. Bud, Kate, Steve and Frank are ready to hand out tokens and scan barcodes. In no time, we are set up, and runners and walkers start arriving.

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Ellen Oberholtzer welcomes first timers

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Take a look at that lovely crew!

9:02 am. It’s time to get this show on the road! After I welcome our First Timers and people from other parkruns, it is time to celebrate Cathy Madsen for her 50th parkrun. We also celebrate the opening of Danehey Park parkrun in Cambridge, MA and the return of 80% of the parkruns in the UK! After a quick check with the timekeepers, it’s ON YOUR MARK, GET SET, GO, and the runners, walkers, and barkrunners start another awesome 5K in College Park.

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Congrats to Cathy Madsen on joining the ranks of the 50-timers. By our calculation, this makes Cathy our 100th 50 clubber at CP parkrun.

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They're off!

Back at the start line, we have about 17 minutes to get ready for the first parkrunners to finish.  During this time, we spread the word about parkrun to people walking by, and we guess how many people are doing parkrun this week. We guessed low, there were 146 finishers this week. Time goes by pretty quickly, and before we know it, we are timing, handing out tokens, and scanning barcodes. Colin steps in after his run to take pictures at the finish that we use to fix any results queries. Gaurav steps in to help scan barcodes. After the tailwalkers cross the finish line, it’s time to pack up and head to the Board and Brew to process the results.

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Humans get a cheer (and a finisher token)

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No little pieces of plastic for the barkrunners. But a nice rub is a good exchange.

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Joseph Knofczynski was in the stroller last week when his dad ran. He saw other kids taking part and wanted to give it a try himself. So he got a barcode and covered the whole course this week. Nice job, Joseph!

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Team Aguilera Kelley was our tail walking crew this week. Including a one-armed Lucas. (How did it happen? Apparently a fall from the couch. Impressive!)

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Doing the results wizardry at The Board and Brew

The area around the finish line is one of my favorite parts about parkrun. You get to see ALL of the parkrunners and I am always amazed at how many people stay to cheer on everyone else.   It’s fun to watch friends and family cross the finish line together, or a last minute sprint to the finish. It’s heart-warming to celebrate with people as they hit their personal best, mark a milestone, or achieve some other victory.

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Cheering for friends

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Cheering for first-timers

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Erica Davis came long at the encouragement of her brother Cordell. Then Cordell proceeded to oversleep. Oops! He started a little late, but still caught up with the tail walkers.

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Welcome back to Adiam, Marilyn, and Renee

Volunteering for parkrun is an encouraging, fun, and positive way to spend your Saturday morning. There are some spots that let you volunteer AND still run or walk. If you want to be part of this, why not take a turn?

Lori’s right - volunteering at CP parkrun is fun. In just the last 2 months since our restart, 64 different people have been a part of the weekly crew. Drop us a line at collegepark@parkrun.com if you’d like to give it a try.

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PB for Kevin Camp

Stat of the week

This week's stat is a special request by Lisa Wilson. This week's 146 finishers included 72 women and 68 men. So, a "win" for the ladies. Excellent!

In fact, gender balance is one of the diversity numbers that we keep an eye on at CP parkrun. Although more women than men register for a barcode, most weeks more men than women join us at CP parkrun. The same is true at most other parkrun events.

This is surprising, given that larger 5K - half marathon events in the US tend to attract a clear majority of women. And the parkrun vibe is not obviously male-biased.

The key issues seem to be family and other commitments, speed diversity, and self-consciousness. We are making efforts to address these. And we look forward to the time when it's completely normal for us to see as many women as men on the trail on a Saturday morning.

How can you help? Encourage friends. Talk to people who you meet at the park on a Saturday. And support as many people as you can as you pass them on our out-and-back trail.

College Park Anywhere parkrun

We are always happy to hear from members of our extended community about how they are getting active.

We were thrilled to hear from Joan Heffernan, who got to complete an actual parkrun event while visiting her daughter Cathryn in the Seattle area. Joan is based in Connecticut, from where she completed every single one of our virtual events … well, except for the very last one, which she completed here on the Paint Branch Trail. And at Perrigo parkrun in Redmond, WA she was wearing her CPVp apricot shirt.

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Joan got to do an actual official parkrun with her daughter Cathryn. Perfect!

Elizabeth Cooper is visiting with family in northern California, and sent us this picture from her home-brewed 5K.

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Dominique Blom did her (not)parkrun in the mountains of Breckenridge, CO, which sounds rather lovely!

We noticed that Katie Hirsche wasn’t seen zooming off at the start in College Park this weekend. But she was zooming elsewhere. She and dad Evan did a speedy 5K by the water near the shore in Lancaster County, VA.

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Closer to home in Hyattsville, Diana Gough did her (not)parkrun from home early afternoon. It’s the last week of summer swim season for Diana and a few other of our regulars who are looking forward to seeing us on Saturday mornings in the near future.

The Anne Arundel County crew continues their weekly proto-parkrun meetups on the B&A Trail. We hope that in the coming months they will become Maryland’s 4th parkrun event. Want to say that you were one of the cool early adopters -- check them out some Saturday! They post regular updates on their Facebook page “Bring parkrun to Anne Arundel County.”

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Join these folks on the B&A Trail in Glen Burnie any Saturday. Hopefully not too much longer before they're scanning barcodes there.

Finally, thanks to Louise Godley, who shared that she was feeling under the weather and stayed away, so as not to cause alarm to other parkrunners. Thanks for following the advice to stay away when feeling sick. And we’re looking forward to seeing her again soon.

Further Afield

More and more college towns want to get in on the act.

College Park has one (obvs).

Durham, NC has one. In fact, they got there long before we did.

Ann Arbor, MI. Palo Alto, CA. Madison, WI, Boulder, CO. Tucson, AZ. New Brunswick, NJ (well, nearly). All the cool college towns want what we’re having. And this week Cambridge, MA joined the club. Welcome to Danehy Park parkrun.

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They want what we're having. Launch of Danehy Park parkrun in Cambridge, MA. 

Co-event director Drew Messenger visited us in College Park in October 2019 and decided that he should start an event in Cambridge. He set to work right away. Soon they were holding regular weekly meetups, and they were all ready to launch on March 28th, 2020. But by then there were, well, other things going on in the world. So, after a 16 month delay, it was great to see them finally in action this week.

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Drew Messenger at College Park in October 2019. Shortly afterwards he set to work on starting Danehy Park parkrun in Cambridge, MA. 

A little closer to home, Peace Valley parkrun started just a couple of weeks ago in Doylestown, PA, in Bucks County. Some CPVp regulars have sent scouting reports in the past 2 weekends. This weekend Joyce Adams teamed up with her friend Juliana as tailwalkers, and reported back with a two thumbs up rating. And possibly three thumbs up for their post-parkrun brunch spot. Worth a visit!

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Juliana and Joyce scoped out Peace Valley parkrun in Bucks County, PA

Much further afield, we were delighted that our parkrunning friends in the UK got to restart this week, after 16 months away. They had hoped to restart last fall. Then that fell through. Then it was going to be June. That fell through, also. Finally around 500 events, serving nearly 100,000 participants, got to return yesterday.

We found CP parkrun and CPVp regular Adrian Dover at his home event in Newent, Gloucestershire.

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Our virtual twins at Melton Mowbray parkrun in Leicestershire were back together again.

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And we found CPVp regular (and Colin’s brother) just thrilled to be running in the rain with 200 others at Chipping Sodbury parkrun near Bristol. Chipping Sodbury sounds like something out of a Midsomer Murders episode. But we can report that on our visits there we have found no dead bodies and simply excellent tea and cakes.

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Robin Phillips (green) in action at Chipping Sodbury parkrun. They often have 400+ people doing a 3-lap parkrun on that trail. So you can see why we have a LOT more capacity on our trail in College Park. 

Robin made it around the route in 19:38. A few hours later in College Park, Colin pushed the final kilometer to finish in 19:37. He swears that this was pure coincidence.

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It's not a race. But sibling rivalry is still a thing.
(And for Brian, in purple, it was his 49th time. Just saying.)

It’s back!

Really close to home, we’re are happy to report that the Acredale Park water fountain is operational again. This is a game changer for folks who run the trail during the hot summer months. Thank you, Prince George’s Parks!

Until next time!

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This makes us very happy!

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Jackie brought along her friend Berlynn

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"Yes, Lily, we did it!"CP-parkrun-190-158-web

A milder day at the park made it great for just hanging outCP-parkrun-190-150-web

Nico brought along his big sister Luana, who was visiting from Uruguay!CP-parkrun-190-145-web

Welcome back, Farrah!CP-parkrun-190-112-web

Happy birthday to Kim Fisher!

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Fiona cheered for dad from the stroller

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Then hopped out to help mom with her final sprintCP-parkrun-190-101-web

Welcome to first-time barkrunner EmmoCP-parkrun-190-99-web

Good luck to "hopefully not the last timer" Chris Swain. Chris is relocating to PA. Hope you can visit next time you're in the area, Chris.CP-parkrun-190-97-web

PB for Megan Newcombe!CP-parkrun-190-88-web

Look who ran her fastest time since early 2018!CP-parkrun-190-77-web

Welcome to first-timer Grace Knofcynski (mom of Joseph - see above)CP-parkrun-190-72-web

Welcome to first-timer Saurabh SaxenaCP-parkrun-190-67-web

Violet paced her neighbor Nathaniel this week CP-parkrun-190-57-web

Welcome to first-timer Lindsay Elkins. Hope you can join us again.CP-parkrun-190-53-web

This week's first female finisher was Katie Kaczmarski, who took nearly 2 minutes from her PB. Wow.CP-parkrun-190-6-web

Team McElhenny were well coordinated this week in their white 10 shirts. Mariella earned hers in the very last event before the pandemic. So Gwynnie and Theo had to wait a long time for theirs. Looking great, guys!

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More fashion coordinationCP-parkrun-190-39-web

Yes, Trace, you set a PB!CP-parkrun-190-32-web

Heather Sisan also set a PB *and* she rescued a baby turtle from the trail along the way!CP-parkrun-190-31-web

Welcome to first-timer William Orndorff

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See you next week! (And looking good, Eunice!)

 

Once more with feeling (Reports 188 & 189)

Oops! We missed a week of reporting. Sorry! Life got in the way. This week’s report is a team effort, culled from events #188 and #189 by Colin Phillips and Brian Murphy.

July isn’t always the best month to be active outdoors in the DMV. It’s hot and humid. Really humid. But getting to see friends on a Saturday morning makes it worthwhile, even in the most inhospitable of conditions.

July 10th was an unusually glorious morning, which inspired many people to push the pace. But by July 17th we were being treated to some of the more inhospitable conditions that DC summer weather can throw at us, and so we challenged everyone to go slow. To help with this, the PB bell was magically transformed into a PW (Personal Worst) bell. We were happy to see so many people rise to this challenge, with 48% of finishers coming in after 40:00, likely a record for CP parkrun. Excellent!

CP PARKRUN #188 (7/10/21): results, photo album, (not)parkrun

CP PARKRUN #189 (7/17/21): results, photo album, (not)parkrun

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Kudos to Denise Penn on achieving the Personal Worst challenge -- just the ticket on a super hot day

Birthdays

Felix Ridge appears in the 7/17 results as a first-timer. Nothing particularly unusual about that. Except that Felix is 4 years old. That’s the youngest age at which you can get a parkrun barcode. In fact, Felix joined us on his 4th birthday. So he’s our youngest ever official finisher. Yet Felix is no stranger to CP parkrun. He has been coming along since before he was born. He has also covered the course many times in a stroller. Including in the snow.

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Happy Birthday, Felix!

Also visiting for the first time this week: Felix’s baby brother Milo, who has a little over 3 years to wait until he can get his own barcode.

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It's great to have a big sister to hold the bell for you

Oh, and congratulations to proud parents Lilly and Clark. 7/17 was also their 17th wedding anniversary!

Speaking of weddings, we were surprised on 7/17 to come across a couple posing with a wedding photographer shortly before Lisa’s turnaround spot. According to our sources, the wedding was happening on the trail. (And the baby is due next week.) We always share the trail with other users, but this was definitely a first.

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We share the trail. Always.

Another birthday on 7/10: Andrea Maas, part of our extended community, celebrated her 55th birthday (new age group!) by heading out for a 5.5 miler. Happy birthday, Andrea!

Milestones

Back in 2019, which seems about 10 years ago now, Patrick Wojahn pledged to complete his 100th parkrun in his 3rd term if reelected as College Park mayor. The pandemic made it a little dicey, but he can now check off that campaign promise.

In a healthy community it helps to have good role models. We are very fortunate to have a mayor who is such a great supporter of what we do. He first joined us at our pre-launch test event. In addition to filling a few official volunteer roles, he has helped us out behind the scenes on many occasions. Plus he is a tireless advocate for the local trails that we all love.

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Congratulations, Mr Mayor

Also on 7/10 we got to celebrate Janet Tate’s 50th time. There is so much you can say about Janet. That she volunteered as tailwalker on her 50th time already tells a lot. But she’s also not shy to point out that she’s Xander’s Grandma (and Tara’s mom). Impressively, Janet was joined by her own mom to help celebrate her milestone. Ellie Elliott may be the true inspirational figure in the family. She was a runner back when it was not at all normal for women to run long distances. It clearly helped to inspire Janet and Tara, which made it much easier for Tara and Xander to become the legendary running buddies that they are now. We miss those two and we’re looking forward to that reunion.

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Speaking of running buddies, Lucy Younes and Laurie Fisher divided and conquered on 7/10. Lucy volunteered as part of the finish crew while Laurie ran. This was so that Laurie could catch up and they could do their 50th together on 7/17.

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Best running buddies

These two are fabulous companions. Laurie is a speedster when she wants to be. Just a couple of weeks ago she set a course record in the 70+ age group. But as often as not she’d prefer to run-walk with Lucy. They have traveled together to run all over the country. During the pandemic they would check in with us every week via email. They were so inseparable that they would simply report a combined distance.

When Lucy first joined us in early 2018 she was recovering from balance issues. This made it hard to complete a 5K, but especially challenging to make it through the darker section under the underpass. We’re so glad that she’s now able to go much further with relative ease.

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A Community Milestone

By finishing in 99th position this week, Megan Newcombe became the 20,000th finisher at CP parkrun since we started in 2016. That’s quite a lot.

(And it’s not including the 10,000 finishers in our pandemic virtual events. As a point of comparison, 30,000 finishers is about the size of the annual Marine Corps Marathon. Their budget: $millions. Our budget: $0, plus a whole lot of community love.)

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Megan was our 20,000th finisher. Aided by Pakora.

Also this week, we saw the 4,000th person register for a College Park parkrun barcode.

The 20,000 5Ks amount to 100,000km. That’s more than 2 times around the earth. Or a quarter of the distance to the moon.

They have been completed by around 2,900 different individuals. 750 have taken part at least 5 times.

All in all, that’s a pretty solid team effort.

These numbers also show one other important thing. Around a third of the barcodes registered to College Park parkrun have never been used. We don’t know who these folks are, or what held them back from joining us after signing up. But this probably shows that there are significant barriers to participating. However inclusive and welcoming we try to be, it can still be daunting to show up to participate in an event with ‘run’ in the name. Or it can feel difficult to break into an established community. As always, nobody is a better ambassador for the community than you are.

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First Timers

Lots of new people to welcome over the past 2 weeks. Ali and Manisha Shrestha, Vincent Zhang, and Adam Fowler on 7/10. Then on 7/17 Dave Haaga, Felix Ridge, Arthur Hayes, Cristina Riquelme, Allison Aubrey, Nicolas Aguilera Kelley, Matthew Knofczynski, Matthew Sebsibe, Bryce Walker, David Brown, and Brian McCullough.

As usual, the newcomers to the community range from kids to young speedsters to folks who are happy to do a walk or a run-walk together. All good with us, and we hope to see all of these folks again.

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Welcome to first-timer Matthew SebsibeCP-parkrun-189--093-web

First visit for Matthew Knofczynski, who came with the whole family

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Jackie Hayes brought along her husband Arthur for the first time, to see what she gets up to on Saturday mornings. Great day for a leisurely stroll together.

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Cristina Riquelme also came along to see what Tomas gets up to on Saturdays. Looks like she had a good time. 

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Welcome to first-timer Allison Aubrey. We hope she'll return!

CP Anywhere parkrun

This community is wherever you are. We heard from many people in the past two weeks who were getting active elsewhere.

Karen Wojahn wasn’t going to be outdone by her son Patrick, as she set a PB for her (not)parkrun 5K from her new home near Minneapolis.

Neha Joshi recently relocated from College Park to New York City, and this week she recorded her first (not)parkrun. That probably earns her a ring of the virtual PB bell.

Jessica Gerbig is getting her Saturday 5Ks in along the B&A Trail in Glen Burnie, where she’s working with a team to launch Maryland’s 4th parkrun event. See below for more on that.

Diana Gough wasn’t able to join us at 9am on 7/17, so she got out for a 5K (not)parkrun later in the afternoon. Hats off to Diana for being able to run in that furnace!

Jen Matis made the smart choice to get out early, ahead of the soaring heat. She was sorry to miss the crowd, but she was able to record a (not)parkrun instead.

Tara and Xander Mease are always among the early birds, especially as they wait for things to be safe enough for them to join us again. One benefit of that: on 7/17 they were already refueling with popsicles by the time the rest of us were getting set up at Acredale Park.

We are happy to see CP regulars visiting other local events. On 7/17 Frank Filteau made a visit to Leakin Park parkrun in Baltimore, and Alan Mulindwa was spotted at Deep Run parkrun in Richmond, VA.

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Alan Mulindwa enjoying the loops of the pond at Deep Run parkrun in Richmond, VA

Colin and Andrea weren’t in College Park on 7/10 because they were in the middle of a 4,000+ mile road trip across 13 states. But they didn’t entirely check out. They left right after CP parkrun results were posted on 7/3. By dinner time they had covered the 400 miles to Mansfield, OH, to meet up with Karen and Steve Crane, leaders of one of our sister events that started shortly after we did in College Park. Mansfield, OH parkrun restarted on 7/3 and it is wonderful to see them back in action.

Also, they just happened to make it to Boulder, CO by Friday night. So they visited South Boulder Creek parkrun on Saturday. We really can’t compete with the views from their start. But we definitely have them beat in terms of oxygen availability.

One nice surprise - bumping into Tami Bond. Tami is a Colorado State U engineer and atmospheric scientist, and a leading expert on aerosols. Her research was the basis of a recent parkrun UK report on the risk/safety of parkrun events. We relied heavily on it for our own safety estimates for College Park (see Virtual Report #54). But Tami didn’t know that her research played a key role in parkrun’s return. And as far as we know the folks at parkrun UK weren’t aware that Tami is herself a keen parkrunner.

We now look forward to welcoming Tami to College Park some day. (We’re on the case.)

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Mile high parkrunners

Volunteers … and a Big Move

Our volunteer crew is awesome -- as you well know. Give it a try some time. You’ll probably feel pretty awesome, too. This week we also are putting out a call for more people to join our core volunteer group. And we also have a cool update about one of our original volunteers.

The past two CP parkruns were brought to you by: Lisa Wilson, Bud Verge, Janet Tate, Lori Dominick, Trace Huard, Eliza Kempton,Hump Plotts, Colin Phillips, Kristie Maddox, Ellen Oberholtzer, Larry Washington, Lucy Younes, Brian Murphy, Jennifer Murphy, Susan Zengerle, Carly Maas, Maria Cecil, Sharon Raszap Skorbiansky, Evan Hirsche, Lisa Shiota, and Andrea Zukowski

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7/17 finish line crew

A special shout out to new volunteers Eliza Kempton, Lucy Younes, Susan Zengerle, Carly Maas, and Maria Cecil.

Two roles that we’d like to highlight can always use more hands. Both are key to making our community as inclusive and welcoming as possible.

Tail walkers: your main job is to be the last finisher. But you also help to show that it’s cool (and fun) to not be speedy. On the out-and-back route, tailwalkers also serve as cheerleaders, safety marshals, and sometimes roving photographers. The more the merrier in this role.

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There's always room for more tailwalkers. Sharon Raszap Skorbiansky took a turn in the orange vest on 7/17, and brought a friend.

First-timers: this role focuses on supporting new parkrunners and parkwalkers. You’re one of the faces of the event when people first show up. At a minimum, this involves giving a short speech before the start about the logistics of the event. But we can do more to help people feel that they belong. And we have room for more than one person on this role. We LOVE how more community members have been taking on this role recently.

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Maria Cecil gives the lowdown to first-timers on 7/17. 82-timer Katie Hirsche gets a refresher from mom.

We’d love to hear from you if you can join the crew in an upcoming week. Just send an email to Andrea at collegepark@parkrun.com.

Core Team: we are also looking to grow the central team of CP parkrun volunteers. Drop us a line or talk to Andrea or Colin (co-Event Directors) if you’d like to know more. This volunteer group acts as advocates for the community and the event beyond the specific individual roles on Saturday mornings. Many of them join the rotation of weekly Run Directors -- these are the folks who oversee operations on one specific Saturday. But some fill other key roles. E.g., Lisa Wilson’s expertise makes her our go-to person on trail maintenance. During the pandemic, Tara Mease was our results management guru. Communications is a big part of what we do, so we could use many kinds of help in encouraging different parts of the local community to be active (including language skills in Spanish, ASL, etc.).

Importantly, you do not have to fit the stereotype of a running evangelist to be a valuable part of the CP parkrun team. The only thing that matters is that you are enthusiastic about working together to create a healthy community.

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7/10 finish line crew, led by Brian Murphy

Not entirely unrelated: we are excited to share an update about one of the founding team that started CP parkrun. Nick Huang was a regular at CP parkrun before we officially started. He led the show at our second ever event in October 2016. He volunteered at 56 CP parkrun events before completing his PhD at UMD and moving to Connecticut in 2019. He had no parkrun event in the vicinity while based in Hartford, CT, but he resumed his volunteering from afar during our pandemic events in 2020.

As we write this, Nick is en route home to Singapore, where he is about to start a faculty position at the National University of Singapore. His wife Jessica has also landed a teaching position in a local school that she is excited about. Congratulations to Nick and Jessica! And it has not escaped our notice that NUS is right next to the route of West Coast Park parkrun. Just saying.

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Good luck in your new life in Singapore, Nick. Don't forget your barcode.

The Extra Mile

If you are a human, you may have noticed the great shape that our start/finish area is in these days. With perfectly mowed grass, it almost feels like we’re based at a golf course.

Credit for that goes to Hump Plotts, who is regularly heading out to trim the grass for us on Fridays.

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Look at that grass! (And at Nico Matus' joy at finishing)

If you are a barkrunner, you might be more interested in the water available at Hump’s Water Station, a third of a mile along the trail. With the heat on 7/17 it was so popular that there was practically a line up for drinks.

Thank you, Hump!

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Hump's water station for barkrunners was busy this week

Welcome back!

The pandemic isn’t over, by any means, but we’re happy to see more and more communities able to get together again. Two of them feature strongly on our radar this week.

First, Hasenheide parkrun in Berlin resumed on 7/17. Kazuko Yatsushiro was an ever-present at our CP virtual parkruns, while her home event was closed. She was thrilled to be able to get together with friends again, volunteering as timekeeper on their return event.

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Kazuko (left) was a timekeeper at the return of Hasenheide parkrun in Berlin, Germany. 

Second, Melton Mowbray parkrun in Leicestershire, UK, will resume together with most other English parkrun events next week on 7/24. Regular readers of these reports know that this small town in England provided key motivation for our pandemic events. Melton Mowbray Virtual parkrun started immediately after events in the UK closed in late March 2020. This week they held their 72nd virtual event. We wanted to hold virtual events in College Park anyway, but Melton Mowbray’s Shane Sharkey provided crucial inspiration, and many of the ingredients that we built upon in College Park.

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Shane Sharkey pushing the stroller ("buggy" in the local vernacular) at Melton Mowbray parkrun pre-COVID. His passenger has grown a lot during the pandemic.

Shane recognized that the main goal was to keep people active and connected. He recognized the value of weekly reports to help people know what everybody else was up to (his weekly reports were often hilarious, ingenious, or both, and sometimes moving; they were almost always completed by late Saturday night). Shane recognized that freedom from a fixed time and location allowed for people to unleash their creativity. They paid little attention to the fastest times each week, but made a big deal of the week’s slowest times, or the most creative venues. (This week, for their final virtual event, one participant recorded a (nearly) 5K time on a parachute jump.)

What we did in College Park was basically an extension of Shane’s idea, with even more focus on the social aspect, and less focus on being a timed 5K.

We are so very grateful to Shane and the Melton Mowbray community for their inspiration. And we are really excited to hear about their return this week. Also, it is now right at the top of our list of parkrun events to visit in the UK.

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Congratulations on your return, Melton Mowbray. (And what we would give for a cool, damp morning in the DMV right now!)

Looking Ahead

A few things on our radar this week.

First, momentum is growing for the start of a new parkrun event in Glen Burnie, in Anne Arundel County. The event plans to use an out-and-back route on the Baltimore & Annapolis Trail. The group has been meeting every week at 9am in recent months. It’s led by College Park regulars Jessica Gerbig and John Maneval, together with Mark Allen. A number of CP regulars have visited. The past 2 weeks they saw their biggest turnouts yet, and we hear that they are making progress on the permissions needed to become an official event. Go visit them sometime! Follow them on Facebook, or drop us a line to find out how to get on their email list.

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Growing crew at the Anne Arundel County proto-parkrun

Second, we are watching the developing COVID situation with interest and concern, especially the spread of the Delta variant. After our many pronouncements over the past few months about safety at CP parkrun, almost all of them optimistic, we owe a small update. We remain confident that our event offers a safe environment, but we continue to closely follow the latest statistics and science.

Delta is exploding in the UK, despite generally high vaccination rates. Daily case rates there are now roughly equivalent, on a per capita basis, to the very worst of the pandemic in the US, in January 2020. Yet this is when parkrun England events are poised to finally return, on July 24th. Hospitalizations and deaths are increasing, but at lower rates.

The US may be just a few weeks behind the UK. Delta is spreading. Cases are up almost everywhere, especially in states with low vaccine uptake. But even in Maryland, where vaccine uptake has been relatively good and case rates are still very low.

Latest figures for Prince George’s and Montgomery Counties show around 1 in 30,000 residents testing positive each day. This is up from less than 1 in 100,000 per day a few weeks ago. At its peak early this year the figures were closer to 1 in 2,000 per day locally.

All indications are that Delta is more transmissible than earlier variants. The changes in case rates cannot be explained by changes in behavior. It’s not yet clear that infections are more severe.

Despite the concerning rise in cases, we remain confident that College Park parkrun presents an extremely safe setting. There are a few reasons for this. We will not hesitate to change this view if new evidence emerges.

  • To our knowledge, almost everybody aged 12+ at CP parkrun is vaccinated.
  • We’re an outdoor event with rapid dispersion. We have very limited sustained close proximity.
  • Locally, case counts remain low. UMD figures present a useful reference point, since they have tested so broadly. In the past months UMD has reported a total of 2 positive cases from its tests, i.e., 1 per *month*. UMD also accounts for much of the local population, and its vaccine mandate is about to go into effect.

We know that infections in Maryland now are overwhelmingly among the unvaccinated. Among 100 COVD deaths in Maryland in June, zero were among vaccinated individuals.

We do not yet know why Delta is more transmissable, e.g., are infectious people emitting more viral particles, or does a smaller dose have a higher probability of infection? But it’s still true that indoor close encounters between unvaccinated individuals is by far the riskiest setting. It’s also clear that vaccine resistance is strongly correlated with social and political indicators.

So, the people and settings that are most likely the source of current infections are very much unlike College Park parkrun.

Based on current numbers, we estimate that the likelihood of an infectious (asymptomatic) person showing up at CP parkrun is on the order of 1 person every 2 years. The likelihood that you, as a likely vaccinated individual, would spend enough time close to that person outdoors to “rebreathe” enough of that person’s air to get infected yourself is very low indeed.

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It's more of a dispersion than a gathering

Third, as we at CP parkrun Towers drove around the country over the past 2 weeks, we were reminded of how very fortunate we are in College Park and surrounding communities, in terms of human and physical resources for a healthy community.

Some cities are set up in ways that actively encourage walking, biking, and outdoor physical activity. Others almost send the message that you’re weird if you’re not driving.

Some cities are famously active (and pricey). Some are notoriously designed for inactivity. But some others surprised us. The streets of Minneapolis, MN send a strong message that bikers are valued. And in Toledo, OH you’re spoiled for choice when looking for nice places to walk, ride, or run.

In College Park we’re in a pretty good situation. But it’s still a bit of a well-kept secret. If you are reading this report, you probably are well aware that we have a great trail network, and strong community support for outdoor activity (including CP parkrun!). But that’s not the impression that most people have of the city, if they’re mostly accustomed to driving along Baltimore Avenue.

Let’s hope that the word continues to spread, and that our support for healthy activity becomes less of a secret.

Until next time!

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College Park's trails remain a well guarded secret

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Therence Ngoa - 3 visits, 3 PBs. Even in the heat.

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Stewart Mayhew met the Personal Worst challenge this week. Nice job, Stewart.philip-obrien-web

First-timer Philip O'Brien demonstrates how to ring the bell with feeling.patrick-obrien-web

Philip's dad Patrick tries to copy Philip's lead. Keep trying, dad.kelleys-web

First time that all of Team Aguilera Kelley joined us without a stroller. Nice!nico-aguilera-kelley-web

First official finish for Nico Aguilera Kelley. Great job, Nico!louise-godley-web

An injured shoulder isn't going to keep Louise Godley away.judy-barnes-web

Thanks to Marvin, Judy, and Chris for the extra trail cleanup efforts on 7/10. This warrants an extra volunteer role. We aim to leave the trail in better shape than we found it.CP-parkrun-189--005-web

Nice cooling vest for barkrunner Lizzieali-shrestha-web

Welcome to first-timers the Shrestha family on 7/10aileen-kroll-web

That feeling when you see Lisa at the turnaround for the first time in a year and a half. Welcome back, Aileen!

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Once more with feeling, Alanna. See you all next week!

 

Land of the Free (Weekly 5K) (Report 187)

We have always found it a bit odd that most organized races in the US, from the neighborhood 5K to a big city marathon, start with the playing of the national anthem. Like, what’s the point really? Celebrate that fundraiser for the PTA. Celebrate the months of training that got everybody ready for that marathon. But what does the flag waving have to do with that? Lately, national anthems at sporting events seem to have become more of a tool to drive further wedges between us, rather than to bring us together.

Notwithstanding the local connection to Francis Scott Key, we don’t expect to ever be belting out the Star Spangled Banner before College Park parkrun. (Fun fact: F. Scott Fitzgerald of Great Gatsby fame had the full name Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald. He was Key’s 2nd cousin thrice removed.)

Speaking of local connections, the WaPo had a great article about Frederick Douglass’ remarkable speech about July 4th, from 1852, 14 years after his escape from slavery in Maryland: Frederick Douglass had nothing but scorn for July 4th.

… That said, this July 4th weekend felt a bit different than normal. And we could see some of the reasons why at CP parkrun #187 on July 3rd. We have a lot to feel positive about right now, especially locally.

RESULTS
PHOTO ALBUM
(NOT)PARKRUN

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If we gave style points at CP parkrun, Rebecca Purvis would have led the pack this week

We’re able to come together to meet old and new friends again, and to celebrate their achievements. Like first-timer Therence Ngoa. Originally from France, now based in Hyattsville, he completed his first ever 5K with us this week.

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Therence joined us thanks to Latisha Bempong, who was a first-timer herself last week. This week she was back, with a PB for good measure.

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We’re able to do this because COVID-19 safety is so much better than it was just 6 months ago. This country has not distinguished itself in its overall response to the pandemic. But locally a lot of people did a lot of good things to help us through. Maryland now has one of the lowest case rates in the country (though we’re about to be tested by the delta variant), together with one of the highest vaccination rates (75% of adults with at least one shot).

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Also lowering our stress levels: it’s just 6 months since we were told to stay home to avoid a violent insurrection. The middle of our city was a walled off militarized zone. Many in our community who are public servants did not feel safe in their workplaces. That’s a little better now.

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And the weather. It was the best July 4th weekend weather that we can remember in the DMV. We’ve been trapped in our typical summer swampiness lately, and Saturday offered a sweet breath of relief, with low humidity and a fresh breeze. It was hard not to smile.

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So it felt more joyous than jingoistic to see the red, white, and blue on display this week.

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Barkrunner Lily was among this week's style leaders

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Go faster tassels. Or something like that.

Stat of the week: despite the amazing weather, this week was our quietest week at CP parkrun since February 2020, with just 119 finishers.

Are locals losing interest? Do they prefer swampy weather? Both are unlikely. We’re pretty sure that the quieter day was due to so many people being on the road for the holidays. After so many of us have been stuck in place for the past year, that is a wonderful thing!

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One person who was on the road this weekend was College Park mayor Patrick Wojahn. He’ll have to wait until next week to wear the 100 sash. But he made sure to record a (not)parkrun from the beach.

This week’s volunteer crew was as wonderful as ever. As so many of you know already, joining the crew is a fun way to take shared ownership of this community, and to help create the vibe that we all enjoy.

Thank you to first-time volunteer Anne-Marie Gorman, part of the week’s scanning crew.

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And to Catherine Spirito and Pete Monacelli, who helped fill critical roles at the finish line.

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With Anna Tinnemore at the helm this week, we knew that everything would go smoothly. Anna is a UMD grad student who is as cool, collected, and competent as they come. It was no surprise that she had everybody on their way by 9:03am, and the results emails were reaching inboxes by 10:50am, probably the earliest in recent memory.

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Barkrunner Lizzie was an honorary member of this week's volunteer crew.
Role: Welcome waggin'

We also had a rare instance of a volunteer withdrawal this week. Angela Gentile emailed us in the middle of the night to say that she was sorry that she probably wouldn’t be able to be this week’s roving photographer … because she was giving birth. Pretty good excuse!

We were delighted to hear that Arthur Hool was born early on July 4th. Congratulations are in order for parents Angela and TJ, grandparents Tom and Eileen, and four-legged big brother Shackleton. Angela had told us that she was hoping to squeeze in her 50th CP parkrun before giving birth. Now it appears that she’ll have an extra member of her fan club rooting for her when that time comes.

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 Congratulations to Angela, Arthur, and the rest of the family

We had two official milestones to celebrate. Cameron McPhee reached #50. Cameron is one of the many people who first joined us on Memorial Day weekend 2017, the day when parkrun founder Paul Sinton-Hewitt was visiting us from the UK. Since then Cameron has been with us in all weathers. Sometimes pushing it hard. Sometimes taking it easy. Sometimes volunteering. All good.

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Theodore McElhenny joined his sisters as a 10-timer. For good measure, he took nearly 10 minutes from his PB. That certainly warrants a hefty ring of the bell. He wasn’t the only McElhenny to ring the bell this week, as Gwynnie and Kate paced Mariella to a PB of her own. Great team effort, guys!

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This week we welcomed 5 new first-timers: Madison Scaccia, Lorae Bonamy, Eunice Pierre, Alexa Woppman, and Therence Ngoa. We hope to see them all again.

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Welcome to Lorae Bonamy

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Ring of the bell for first-timer Eunice Pierre

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Welcome to Alexa Woppman

We also welcomed our first post-pandemic out-of-town parkrun tourist. Geoff Glaab is a regular at Joe Creason parkrun in Louisville, KY. Thanks for joining us this week, Geoff!

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Greg visited all the way from Kentucky

We were not too surprised that the PB bell saw plenty of action this week. The cooler, drier weather clearly left some of you feeling turbocharged. But we didn’t expect so many people to set BIG PBs. Daniel Bartolo, Eugene Kim, Tim Purvis, John Sumpter, Latisha Bempong, and Saurabh Kadam all took 2 minutes from their previous best time. In some cases those were times set in just the past couple of weeks!

And there were PBs from some of our most seasoned parkrunners: kudos to Lori Dominick, Jackie Hayes, and Sam McGranahan. These three have over 150 runs to their credit between them, so the PBs no longer come easy.

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Also, a shout out to Amanda Larsen, who appears to have a bit of a streak going. She has joined us 5 times now, and has set a PB every single time.

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PB for Gaurav Sharma

We continue to welcome back parkrunners who we haven’t seen since before the pandemic. This week’s returners included Carlos Gough, one of our most experienced junior parkrunners, and Louise Godley, who together with her wife Anne was among our most consistent virtual parkrunners.

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Welcome back, Louise!

We also welcomed back Team Foley for the first time in nearly 2 years. Colette must have grown by around a foot since we last saw her, so we barely recognized her!

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Another parkrunner who we didn’t recognize was Dan Pearlstein. Dan recently completed a half Ironman triathlon. He is so lean and trim right now that we didn’t recognize him at first.

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Great to see Delia and Alondra back on the trailCP-parkrun-187-106-web

Denise Penn was back with us again

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Cathy Madsen continues her march to 50 runs

Two CP parkrun regulars who were not on the trail this week were Sam Phipps and Clark Ridge. We noticed that they showed up at Leakin Park parkrun in Baltimore, where they both finished in 23:xx. We figured there must be a story behind this. Sure enough, it turns out that they both took part in a 10K race at 8am in Arbutus, MD. After speeding around the course, they made a beeline for Leakin Park, arriving a few minutes after the 9am parkrun start. Despite starting late, they both passed almost the entire field of parkrunners. Some days you just don’t want to stop running!

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Sometimes 25 minutes after finishing a 10K, Sam and Clark were at it again

As always, we love hearing from you whether you’re nearby or far away.

See you next week!

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Katie meets OliverCP-parkrun-187-114-web

49th parkrun this week for Lucy. But she's planning to sit out next week to volunteer. Why so? CP-parkrun-187-49-web

... because she's waiting for her buddy Laurie to catch up, so that they can do #50 together. (Also, nice PB by Jackie Hayes.)

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Katie was enjoying an 'easy' day. Then she noticed that Colin was catching her. So she turned on the after burners.  CP-parkrun-187-7-web

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Quiz time! (Report 186)

How glorious it has been these past five Saturdays to see the College Park parkrun community together in one place again! I must admit more than a year of social isolation, week after week, month after month, left me a bit dazed and confused. What better way to restore that old attention span than to walk, jog, or run 5000 meters on a Saturday morning with friends, old and new, on the Paint Branch Trail.

Here’s a little quiz based on this week’s event. You may have a little advantage if you were among the 150 or so who were there in person. But you can probably do pretty well even if you weren’t able to join us.

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Sure, it was swampy, but that wasn't going to keep us all home

You could cheat by peeking at the photos. But we know you wouldn’t do that, right? Meanwhile here are links to this week’s:

PHOTO ALBUM
CPp RESULTS
CP (NOT)PARKRUN

Question One: Which of the following is NOT a true statement about the trail conditions for College Park parkrun #186?

A)      Rain was pouring hard in the morning, but stopped in time for event setup.

B)      No waterfall gushed across the trail from the swamp into the golf course, thanks to drainage work done by PG County Park Service (and Lisa Wilson’s power of persuasion). We’ve heard of snaking a sink. We didn’t know you could snake a trail.

C)      It was 75 degrees, but humidity of 91% made it feel like parkswim.

D)      Lightning bolts were observed on the course; first finisher Sam Phipps outran them (before jumping in as a volunteer).

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Was that the rain dripping from the trees, or just the crazy high dew point?CP-parkrun-186-24-web

Sam didn't outrun lightning

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... but he did outrun his dad Dave, who nevertheless ran a speedy PB of 19:14. Nice!

Question Two: Which of the following was NOT mentioned in the opening briefing?

A)      Congratulations to Baltimore’s Leakin Park parkrun, re-opening this weekend!

B)      Welcome to Michelle and Eden, visiting all the way from Roosevelt Island parkrun.

C)      Fond farewell to Neha and Yogarshi, moving to New York City … don’t forget to come back to visit!

D)      Watch out for the mother Pterodactyl nesting in the pond just past Hump’s Crossing.

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Welcome to Michelle, visiting from Roosevelt Island parkrun

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And to Eden, who was celebrating being able to walk-jog on a surgically repaired ankle

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The pandemic closed Yogarshi's office in NYC, allowing him to move back to College Park, where he and Neha got in around 100 CP Virtual parkruns between them. The office is now reopening, so they're heading back to New York. Don't forget to visit us in the future, guys!

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The pterodactyl was carefully hidden

Question Three: Which of the following did NOT happen at CP parkrun #186?

A)      Joe White set a new PB, heckled at the finish line by volunteer scanner Rebecca Vandenbroeck White. (They remain happily married.)

B)      Zak Mellen got a new PB, clearly receiving good karma for his emergency mid-run volunteering 2 weeks ago with his first ever sub-20 clocking.

C)      Expectant Angela Gentile volunteered as course photographer and completed her 48th parkrun, at 38 weeks.

D)      Dave Heintzelman received an urgent memo from his running buddies reminding him of the plan to coordinate wearing 50 Milestone shirts.

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PB for Joe! (Not that he's likely to care.)CP-parkrun-186-60-web

Karma for Zak. 2 weeks ago when we learned mid-run that we were short one turnaround marshal, Zak suspended a likely PB effort to sub as a volunteer. This week he was back, and managed his first < 20:00 run. Nice!

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This week's roving photographer Angela - and soon-to-be grandparents Tom and Eileen

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Somebody didn't get the memo. But great to see Dave back to jogging again.

Question Four: Who was NOT a parkrun “first timer” at CP parkrun #186?

A)      Latisha Bempong

B)      Carter and Simone Eddings

C)      Sam Hendricks

D)      Michael and Robert Barnard

E)       None of the Above

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Welcome to Latisha!

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First official finish for Carter, so he got to ring the bell

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First official finish for Simone, too

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Welcome Sam!

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Kelly Barnard brought along the whole crew this week, including Michael and Robert as first-timers. 

Question Five: Which of the following is NOT a true statement about the volunteers at CP parkrun #186?

A)      First timers’ briefing was hit out of the park by debonair Bud Verge. (Good Scrabble word, BTW.)

B)      Tailwalkers Jackie Hayes and Janet Tate were seen sneaking a run in the middle of their 5K.

C)      The finish-line crew delivered a flawless performance (thanks to Michelle Brandy, Dale Morey, Rebecca White, Lori Dominick, Sam McGranahan, and Sam Phipps).

D)      Colin Phillips unsuccessfully attempted to debut the new role: Volunteer Hand-Eye Coordinator.

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Bud shares all the deets

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So why were tail walkers Jackie and Janet running towards the turnaround? They were accompanying a walker who turned back early (totally fine!), so they ran to Lisa and back to catch up with their companion. Join the tail walking crew some time. It's a fun way to experience CP parkrun.

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Rebecca and Sam are both seasoned CP parkrun volunteers. Great to see them back on the crew this week. And it looks like Lori's purple volunteer milestone shirt arrived already! This new setup with a line of scanners was designed to aid social distancing. Unexpectedly, it has been most effective at preventing lost tokens.

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Great team!

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We're not sure about that hand-eye coordination thing. But Colin does have a talent for falling down in unlikely settings. This week he arrived a little bumped and scraped from a tumble on flat pavement. Previous accomplishments include breaking an arm while climbing on a bike. His parkrun mishaps include falling off a 12" high box while taking photos at CP parkrun. And falling over a dog while touring at Crissy Field parkrun in San Francisco. #talent

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Looking good, Mariángel. And how about that nicely mowed grass! Thanks to Hump for that. Maybe we should list that among volunteer roles as "course setup"?

Question Six: Which of the following is NOT in the cards for next week at CP parkrun #187?

A)      College Park mayor Patrick Wojahn will fulfill his campaign pledge and complete his 100th parkrun.

B)      Veteran run director Anna Tinnemore will step up to wear the blue vest, supported by a wonderful volunteer crew

C)      We will continue our streak of welcoming more walkers and run-walkers to the trail each week.

D)      You will forget to bring your barcode.

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Actually, mayor Patrick won't be back for #100 until July 10th. But we bet that a lot of these regulars will be back next week.CP-parkrun-186-161-web

Anna will be conducting the orchestra next week. So you're in good hands.

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More than 50 walkers and walk-runners every week nowadays. Whatever your pace, you'll fit right in at CP parkrun.

ANSWERS: You think we’re going to grade you on your score? Not how we roll. And after all that has happened in the past year, we probably wouldn’t be fazed by seeing a pterodactyl on the trail. 

See you all soon!
Stewart Mayhew, CPp #186 director

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We think it's happy anniversary #45 to Joan and Tom, who were hiking in NH this weekend for their CP Anywhere parkrun

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Team Maas were repping CP parkrun in the Badlands of South Dakota this weekend. Looks amazing!

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David, Dami, and Malik needed something harder than a 5K in the swampy weather. So they did loops around Greenbelt Park instead. Presumably while carrying large boulders and fighting off dragons. You know, the usual stuff.

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Shackleton was happy to get to run with TJ this week.

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Barkrunner Liesi enjoyed a run with Bob and his son Daniel

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Great day to get active with the family. Katie's passengers were inspired to get out and run some of the trail.

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Great day to get active with the family. Fiona zoomed around the course in the stoller, pushed by dad. Then joined mom and her little brother for the run in to the finish.

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A jog-walk with a friend is just the ticket on steamy DMV summer days like this

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Amanda Larsen - 4th visit, and her 4th PB. We see a pattern!

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Last November Frank was quarantined and had to do his CP Virtual parkrun as ~100 laps of his apartment. It's really good to be back on the trail again.

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Great day for a walk. 81-year old Gloria had many stories to regale Anna with.

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Wonderful to see Yancira and Jacqueline back on the trail.

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Good to see Sheilah back with us. She's hot on Patrick's heels in the march to #100.

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Happy birthday, Larry! This was his first week back since turning 70. For months he had been looking forward to an attempt on the 70+ course record. Everything seemed to be going great. That is, until his friend Dan showed up last week. Dan is 5 days older than Larry, and he proceeded to put that record out of reach. Doh!

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This crew was out in force: Sam, Alyssa, Keaton, Tommy, and Andy

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See you next week! We don't know if it will be cooler or less humid. But at least it's always shaded along our trail.

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