Each week as we head home after post-parkrun brunch at The Board and Brew Andrea and I like to share our favorite things that caught our attention at the morning’s parkrun. This week we enthused about how so many different members of the community are taking steps to make everybody feel welcome and valued.
Valerie Silensky and Lori Dominick made a point of heading back down the trail after finishing to join their new parkrun friend Rebecca White and support her on the last part of the route. Clark Ridge stopped along the trail when he noticed Mike McClellan limping. Other people headed back out after finishing to meet partners, kids, or parents. We were slightly short-handed at the finish line this week, but we didn’t need to worry, as we had so many offers of help from finishing parkrunners. Katie and Evan Hirsche sped around the course (with Sophie, of course) and then quickly morphed into the scanning team. Nick Huang and JJ Su then took over at some point. Once we reached The Board and Brew I found there was no need for me to do the results processing, as Neil Jograj picked up the purple laptop and took the lead. It’s wonderful to see so many people just stepping up to help out in different ways.
Speaking of supporting each other, we’re really happy to see more and more people walking or walk-running at CP parkrunning, and we’d like to share the fun, supportive community with more walkers. Maybe you can help? You know that you’re just as valuable a part of the community if you cover 5k in 15 minutes or 1 hour or longer. We just love that you’re out there. But there’s that pesky “run” word in our name, and we totally understand apprehension about coming along. Together with some other US parkrun events, and inspired by a successful initiative at parkrun Ireland, we’re developing a “Park Walk” program at CP parkrun.
Here are a couple of ways that you could help if you’re interested.
First, simply by joining us and walking or walk-running on the trail you help to inspire others to do the same.
Second, we’re looking to find 1-2 volunteers per week who can be available as walk group leaders. The aim is to ensure that walkers who join us won’t feel that they have to go it alone, though everyone is free to walk alone or with friends if they prefer. This volunteer role is super easy. It’s just like being tailwalker, except that your job is not to finish last. Drop us a line if you’d like to give this a try some time. firstname.lastname@example.org
What else was happening at this week’s parkrun?
We celebrated a few awards! Aileen Kroll wore the red 50-sash with style and smiles -- we would expect no less from her -- and she did so one day after becoming a grandma. Congratulations, Aileen! We also celebrated Marvin Perdomo on reaching the junior 10 parkrun milestone, and earning a free parkrun shirt to prove it. Marvin actually did his 10th parkrun last week, but it slipped under our radar. Oops!
We rolled out a new award. Our friends at Vigilante Coffee have generously donated some gift cards. We awarded a Certificate of Awesome and a Vigilante card to Rebecca White for her Great Leap Forward in joining us, completing her first 5k, and then coming back for more (PB this week!).
We welcomed many first-timers this week. We love meeting you and welcoming you to our warm community.
Kate and Mariella McElhenny ran together, adding to the many families who are getting their weekend off to a great start by getting active outdoors together. Carlos Chaverri-Morales did his 32nd parkrun this week, but for the first time he came along with wife Viviana and twin daughters Sara and Elena, who had a great time on the trail. The Kaczmarski family came as a group and parents had a grand time while some younger family members got a little R&R. First timer Janine joined us for a run and coffee. And Keith Gallihue drove all the way from Delaware to join us. (We’re hoping that Delaware will have its own parkrun before too long -- if you know of anybody in the First State who might be interested, drop us a line.)
It’s only occasionally that international “parkrun tourists” make it out to College Park. If they’re in DC then the siren calls from Roosevelt Island are generally too hard to resist. But Irishman Aland Moen chose College Park as the venue for his first ever parkrun tourism. He has completed River Valley parkrun in Swords, near Dublin, Ireland on 54 occasions, and came to College Park for his 55th. Welcome, Aland! I took a look at the website for Aland’s home parkrun, and it almost looks like our long-lost twin. Launched within a couple of months of each other. Northern edge of a capital city. Almost identical average attendance. Almost identical average number of finishes per person. Female course records just one second apart. Now I’m tempted to visit, if I’m ever near Dublin Airport on a Saturday morning.
This week saw a lot of PBs, too. It’s fun to see so many of you getting faster, and great to hear the PB bell ringing at the finish line.
Pride of place this week goes to the Puddle Queen herself. Violet Ridge took nearly *2 minutes* from her PB on her 53rd parkrun. She was clearly inspiring for the grown-ups around her this week, as they arrived saying, “Wow, Violet was on FIRE today!” When she first joined us in Spring 2017 Violet was covering the course in a little under 40 minutes. This week she took 26 minutes. We suspect that she’s not done yet!
THREE parkrunners did their 45th parkrun this week, and ALL of them ran a PB, or what might as well be a PB. Katie Hirsche led home dad Evan and barkrunner Sophie in 20:44, improving her own age-category record. Gloria Cottman arrived earlier than expected, taking most of a minute from her PB. And although it wasn’t an official PB for Diana Gough, it was her fastest finish in almost 2 years, and it so good to see Diana able to run comfortably again, after a long time of struggling with injuries. We are looking forward to seeing all of these folks in the red 50 sash in the not too distant future.
Teresa Perdomo set her 4th PB in as many weeks for her 25th parkrun. Impressive! And Stewart Mayhew took a sizable chunk from his PB on his 10th run at College Park. This week Stewart joined the Tuesday evening track night with Prince George’s Running Club, and feels that it helped him set the PB. “Track night” may sound a bit scary, but the PGRC version is anything but intimidating, and if you go along you’ll be sure to find many friendly faces, including a few parkrunners. Ben Gieske set a PB on his 15th parkrun. Meanwhile, Matt Kaplan seems to be running up an impressive streak of PBs: 6 times at CP parkrun, 6 PBs. Nice! Matthew Bowman is on a similar streak, this week setting his 4th PB in 4 visits.
Luther and Michelle Lemon came back for a second time, and both set PBs. In part this was because they *almost* made it to the start on time this week. So most parkrunners were treated to the sight of Luther zooming past them along the trail … while pushing a stroller.
Amy Duan was another second-timer setting a PB this week. Amy had joined us once before, for the Homecoming 5k in late 2017. Great to see her back. If it has been a little while since your last time at CP parkrun, we’d still love to see you.
Also, it almost slipped under our radar, but Laurie Fisher’s PB as a second-timer also turns out to be an age-category record for the 65-69 group.
More people joined our unofficial CP parkrun clubs this week. We like to call these out as people are on the path towards the official parkrun milestones. Teresa Perdomo and Neil Jograj both joined the 25-timer group. John Maneval, Travis Boltjes, and Stewart Mayhew are now 10-timers at College Park. And Ada Lee and Michael Reed both did their 5th CP parkrun.
We would be nowhere without the crew of smiling volunteers each week, and we love the mix of experienced and new volunteers. On the super-experienced event of the scale, we celebrated Hump Plotts 67th birthday on his 111th time volunteering. Carolyn Kelley delivered a cupcake to him at Hump’s Crossing. And many of you signed a card for him at the finish. Thank you, Hump, for being there for us in ALL weathers. Lisa Wilson was in her normal spot in the woods, just beyond the nicely repaired stream bank. Külli Puusta was tailwalker and cheerleader, together with her friend Gina Morales. Ryan Chelton, Michael Cohen, and Dave Roeder handled the timekeeping and token distribution with skill. This was harder than usual, as we finished on the trail to avoid the slippery field, and so it became tricky to figure out who was and was not finishing. Evan and Katie Hirsche jumped in after running to do barcode scanning. Dottie Jograj, Rebecca White and Valerie Silensky sorted tokens (and we seemed to end up with more than we started - impressive!). Neil Jograj processed results, under the watchful eye of volunteer coordinator and paparazza Andrea Zukowski. And I kind of just stood around in an orange vest and did a lot of cheering, which was rather fun.
See you again soon!