Prodigal Son (Report 210)

If you don’t enjoy being surrounded by interesting young people from all over, then a college town might not be the best place for you. Fortunately we love it! And at College Park parkrun we enjoy the many smart and interesting young people who join our community for a while. The sad part is when they graduate and then move on.

When Carlos Chaverri graduated from UMD in spring 2019 and moved with his family back to Costa Rica, we figured that he would be eternally a 46-timer. Not so! Not only was he able to stay in touch with us during the pandemic shutdown, as we went virtual and location didn’t much matter any more. But by 2021 he found a new job in DC and was getting ready to move the family back. Carlos wasted no time in getting back to College Park parkrun, and we are very happy to have him back. (Carlos: “I missed this place!”)

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Welcome back, Carlos!

We had plenty else to feel good about this week. On a surprisingly mild December morning we welcomed one of our largest “normal Saturday” crowds yet. It was especially good to see so many strollers, kids, and barkrunners enjoying the trail with the rest of the family. After last week’s huge influx of first timers, this week we welcomed around 30 second and third timers. It was great to see folks returning for more.

PHOTOS
RESULTS
(NOT)PARKRUN

** Note that in the results table, you can display more than a list of names by switching from "compact" to "detailed" view. Clicking on an individual's name links to their parkrun history.

** To see all of our photo albums, organized by week, visit our Flickr photo archive.

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One of our busiest ever "normal" Saturdays. Amazing weather for December.

So much more than the numbers

We enjoy celebrating the milestones and the personal speed accomplishments. But that’s really not what we’re in it for. Simply getting outside and doing something healthy and positive with a broad community is the number one priority. So let’s start with some of those this week.

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Why hurry, when you can stop to say hi to Hump?CP-parkrun-210-245-web

In fact, you can stop to say hi to Hump in both directionsCP-parkrun-210-219-web

It's not all about going fast. Sometimes you just want to pause and consider your options.CP-parkrun-210-129-web

Well hello there!CP-parkrun-210-139-web

Welcome back to David Johnson, joining us for the first time since Fall 2017, at which point he was a young man of 73.CP-parkrun-210-203-web CP-parkrun-210-204-web CP-parkrun-210-206-web

Nice jump, mom!CP-parkrun-210-226-web

We don't get many December mornings like thisCP-parkrun-210-223-web

When you discover that you're not the only Costa Rican at CP parkrun

Gongs and more

But we do enjoy celebrating the personal milestones, PBs, and other achievements. We really do not care if you’re the fastest or the slowest. But we love sharing the satisfaction when you do something that is personally rewarding.

There was plenty to feel good about this week.

MILESTONES: 25th time for Pratyush Tiwary, Kimberly Bills, and Jim Trone.

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25th time for Kimberly Bills and Jim Trone. Both have also volunteered this fall as roving photographers at CP parkrun. Thank you both!CP-parkrun-210-142-web

Pratyush got to wear the purple sash. But barkrunners Pakora and Shackleton know that they're the real stars of the show.

FIRST TIMERS: Around a dozen new parkrunners this week, and a LOT of second and third timers.

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Welcome (back) to Nolan Clancy. A couple of weeks ago he came to interview parkrunners for a project for a UMD journalism class. The interviews must have been persuasive, as he was back this week with a barcode of his own. And he left all in his wake with a 17:xx time.

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Welcome back to second timer Sarah Denes (right), part of the growing Hyattsville crew to be found every week at CP parkrun. CP-parkrun-210-205-web

Stephen Duncan is a regular, and he has taken a break from setting PBs to enjoy running with his nieces and nephews. Perfect!CP-parkrun-210-111-web

Welcome back to second timer Emily Morrison. PB this week!CP-parkrun-210-70-web

Welcome to first timer Joel Wakesberg.CP-parkrun-210-18-web

Meg and Dan joined us for the first time on Thanksgiving. Great to see them back with us again this weekend!

PBs AND OTHER SPEEDINESS: In ideal conditions, there were sure to be a lot this week.

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5-minute PB for Nico Matis on his 9th parkrun. Nice! We'll have the white 10-timer sash waiting for you next time out, Nico.CP-parkrun-210-120-web

Second PB in a little over a week for Tracy Sweet!CP-parkrun-210-146-web

Not to be outdone, Tracy's UMD colleague Rachel Romeo also set another PB this week. Go Terps!CP-parkrun-210-135-web

Deb Bernard is on a PB tear these daysCP-parkrun-210-186-web

Anne Baum's daughter paced her to a 5-minute PB. Nice!CP-parkrun-210-82-web

When you finish in 22:xx and you're still not the fastest double stroller pusher. But Luther was the fastest unicorn pusher (we think).CP-parkrun-210-67-web

Colin was pretty happy to record his first 18:xx finish in a couple of years. Thanks in large part to second timer George Ly, who was chasing (and cheering!) him for much of the way. 

Stat(s) of the Week

For this week’s numbers, we look at big days, and a tie in to our upcoming December attractions.

We were not at all expecting such a big crowd this week, and we were curious how it stacks up against the busiest days yet at CP parkrun.

  • The 4 busiest days (303, 285, 249, 245) were all Thanksgiving and New Years special events.
  • #5 and #6 (210, 191) were days in 2018 and 2019 when numbers were swelled by high school cross country teams that were visiting us for a time trial.
  • #7 (180) was Memorial Day weekend in 2017, when parkrun founder Paul Sinton-Hewitt visited us and we drew visiting parkrunners from near and far.
  • #8 and #9 (179, 178 - this week!) were unexpectedly mild winter days when people wanted to get outside and fewer events were already on their calendars.
  • #10 (174) was a June day in 2019 when we were part of the CP City-University Partnership’s Trolley Trail Day, and many people followed their CP parkrun with a run from Acredale Park along the Trolley Trail to … Franklin’s Brewery & Toy Store.

So, as we suspected, this was one of our busiest ever “normal” Saturdays.

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Great to see so many kids getting active on the trail this week.

Christmas Day: Our biggest ever days are tiny compared to some of the parkrun events in other countries. The current largest ever parkrun event was in London’s Bushy Park on Christmas Day 2019, when 2,545 finishers were recorded!

Logistically, it’s a whole different game to manage 2,000+ parkrun finishers. On that day there were 50 volunteers. The finish funnel, which at College Park is probably only around 50 feet long, totaled 750 feet in length, split into 3 parallel “lanes”. Here is a picture of the lines for the barcode scanners after the finish. That’s a lot of Santa Hats!

(Take a look at more pictures in their report from that day.)

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Bushy parkrun, 12/25/19. When 2500+ people need to line up to get their barcode scanned ... and half of them seem to be wearing Santa hats.

Christmas in College Park: This year only we are holding a Christmas Day parkrun in College Park, because 12/25 falls on a Saturday. We don’t have a tradition of doing this. As far as we know there are almost no other organized running events on Christmas Day in the region. So we are flying blind. But we are encouraged that the volunteer roster is already looking healthy for that day.

If you’re in the area, and if your family won’t disown you for coming along, we hope that you can join us!

  • Tired of exchanging objects and packaging? Come share some smiles and encouragement with us.
  • Looking to get some healthy outdoor activity ahead of a big dinner? We can help with that.
  • It’s a holiday that many don’t celebrate. Come celebrate a diverse community with us!
  • Many can’t be with family this year. We can offer great company to start the holiday.
  • Looking for more excuses to wear your festive gear? Look no further!

Please help us to spread the word!

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So many different holidays to celebrate. Whatever you like to celebrate at this time of year, on December 25th we'll be celebrating getting outside together.

Volunteers

You might think that it’s stressful organizing events every week. Not with such a fabulous volunteer community it isn’t.

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Skipper Chris McGranahan confers with his ace team for the dayCP-parkrun-210-2-web CP-parkrun-210-201-web

Rebecca White, Mariella McElhenny, and Bud Verge were ready for your post-parkrun pep talk (and a scan of your barcode) this week.

Thanks to everybody who stepped forward this week to join the crew. By the time Andrea sent out her weekly email the roster was already mostly complete. (Note that there’s no limit on the number of tailwalkers, so if you fancy being part of the caboose, there’s always available space on the crew.)

This week's crew: Chris McGranahan, Lisa Wilson, Hump Plotts, Gaurav Sharma, Pete Monacelli, Catherine Spirito, Bud Verge, Mariella McElhenny, Rebecca White, Külli Crespin, Misha Bernard, Lucy Younes, Valerie Silensky, Andrea Zukowski, and Colin Phillips.

Can you try your hand on the volunteer crew some week? Drop us a line at collegepark@parkrun.com and Andrea will be delighted to sign you up. It’s really a great way to get to know this community better.

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Five Years Ago

Our social media feed helpfully sent us a reminder this week of our event from this weekend 5 years ago. It was our 8th official event (this week was #210). There were 49 finishers that day, which was normal for those early days.

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The coffee group on Dec 3rd 2016.

We love this picture from The Board and Brew. Many familiar faces. Some haven’t changed much at all. But some of the kids have grown a LOT. Ian Parsons, then an elementary schooler, is now a high schooler who did his 90th CP parkrun this week. Hannah Russell, then a UMD undergraduate, now does her parkruns in Hamburg, Germany, where she’s in graduate school. This week she took a turn as tailwalker at Alstervorland parkrun.

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Ian Parsons is now approaching his 100th CP parkrun, and he's at least a foot talleralstervorland-12042021-web

Hannah Russell wore the orange vest for Schlussbegleitung (Tailwalker, literally, "end accompaniment") this weekend at Alstervorland parkrun in Hamburg, Germany

Another thing we noted from that day. First male and female finishers were Luke and Marissa Krmpotich, who had joined us a couple of times in the early days, but who we had not seen since.

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Luke Krmpotich en route to a PB on 12/3/16CP-parkrun-210-78-web

Luke Krmpotich en route to a double stroller PB on 12/4/21. Welcome back, Luke!

… and then who should show up this week, but Luke Krmpotich! He sped along the trail, finishing in 21:05 while pushing a double stroller! So, while our ‘family’ has been growing these past five years, it appears that Luke’s family has been growing, too. Welcome back, Luke! And those first timers clearly deserved a bang on our gong.

So, it doesn’t matter whether you were last with us two years ago or five years ago, your barcode still works, and we’re happy to welcome you back any time.

See you next week!

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Felix was ready to cheer for the next finishersCP-parkrun-210-253-web CP-parkrun-210-255-web CP-parkrun-210-118-web CP-parkrun-210-6-web CP-parkrun-210-55-web

 

A Double Helping (Reports 208-209)

Thanksgiving is one of our favorite holidays. Yeah, the history is a bit complicated. But the core values are lovely. It’s all about getting together with friends and family, sharing food, and being appreciative. We love that somewhere along the way it also became associated with inclusive, non-competitive running events, with around 1 million Americans taking part in turkey trots to start the holiday.

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On Thursday first timer Meg Ryan did a 20:xx 5K wearing an apron and a big turkey hat. She clearly gets how we roll!

Some cities have long-established turkey trot traditions. College Park and the Route 1 communities do not. So we are delighted that our Thanksgiving Day CP parkrun is now becoming that tradition. It’s especially good because it’s free, because thousands are already registered and can simply show up with their barcode, and because with an established year-round community, it really does fit the Thanksgiving vibe of getting together with lots of friends and a big family.

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Big crowd to start the Thanksgiving holiday!

It was so much fun this year! After barely being able to get together at all last year, this year we saw our biggest ever single day turnout, with 303 finishers on Thursday. (We have 308 plastic finisher tokens, so we nearly ran out. Don’t worry, we had backup printouts on hand.) And we were back again on Saturday, with a more normal crowd on a day with icy cold winds.

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The lack of bare legs in this picture from Saturday morning is telling. The wind was COLD.

Our photographers got some wonderful pictures on both days. Take a scroll through and enjoy! Or read on, and find out about some of the stories behind the pictures.

RESULTS: THURSDAY - SATURDAY
PHOTOS: THURSDAY - SATURDAY
(NOT)PARKRUN

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Rebecca White's boys were out in force, and in style, on Thursday

We are very grateful to the City of College Park for their help in promoting the event to the community and in arranging photography help by the excellent Justin Derato. We are always very grateful to Prince George’s County Parks for giving us a free permit to hold this event.

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Thanks to Justin Derato for some great pictures from Thursday's event (and to Andrea, Külli, Lisa, Colin, and Louise for many more from the weekend)

And we were thrilled that one of this week’s 100+ first timers was Darryll Pines, UMD President. We ran into him a few weeks ago at UMD basketball’s Midnight Mile event, and invited him to come along then. He came through! And he showed that he’s pretty fit for a university president … clearly in good enough shape to go for a run with our mayor.

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CP parkrun is a place to meet so many different members of the UMD community ... including the president

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Nice job on your Thanksgiving 5K, Darryll! 

Two Stories

Saturday’s Run Director, Bud Verge, left this comment on our Facebook page, which seemed to resonate with many readers:

“I was asked today how I discovered parkrun. I said I was tired of paying race entry fees and getting crappy t-shirts. The more important question is why did I come back for the 2nd time? It’s because someone knew my name and I was welcomed in like I had been running parkruns for years!”

Yes. This is an important part of what we try to do every week. And it’s a part of what Bud tries to do, now that he’s a part of the crew leading the event. We can’t guarantee to learn all of the new names this week. There were just so many! But we’re working on it!

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One of our regulars this week also shared a useful story. She first came to CP parkrun a few years ago. But at first she would mostly be there only on special days like Thanksgiving and New Years, due to other commitments on Saturday mornings. That changed during the pandemic. And now she’s a regular runner, walker, or volunteer with us on Saturdays. And more of her friends are joining us, too.

Both useful stories, for a week when we welcomed more first timers than ever.

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So true

Gongs - Milestones, First-timers, PBs

With 100+ first timers and 40+ PBs over the two days, we can barely do justice to them. Our apologies!

Milestones: We had a full set: a 100, a 50, at least 5 25s, and a 10.

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#100 for Kalonji Collins

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#50 for Louise Godley on Thursday. Then she was back in a volunteer vest on Saturday.

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We love our new purple 25-timer sashes. Lisa Shiota and Gwynnie McElhenny got to wear them on Saturday. (And we also love the matching purple hat!)

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Rebekah Esmaili did her 25th CP parkrun on Thursday, setting a PB for good measure. Then on Saturday she was back for more, setting yet another PB, and finishing as first female. Productive weekend!

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#25 for Jacqui Galik on Thursday. Impressive, as Jacqui first joined us only after the restart this year. We think that Jacqui may be the only person we've seen skipping along the trail en route to a PB. Continuing the theme, Jacqui was back on Saturday, as a volunteer ... in the role of Dancing Finish Token Distributor.CP-parkrun-208-116-web

#25 -- and a PB -- for Marina Goldgisser on ThursdayCP-parkrun-208-259-web

Eliza Kempton snuck off to Kensington for #25 last week, so we had a purple sash for her when she joined us on Thursday.CP-parkrun-208-145-web

Great to see Dylan Sweet join us for #10 on Thursday. #9 had been our last live event before the pandemic. This week he paced his mom Tracy to a big PB. 

First timers: On Thursday we welcomed at least 100 first timers. That’s more than ever before at CP parkrun. We did our best to talk with all the newcomers, but we’re sure that we didn’t catch everyone. Join us again some future weekend, and we’ll look forward to chatting further with you.

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George Ly signed up to join us right before the pandemic hit. This week he joined us for the first time. He's already looking forward to the next time.CP-parkrun-208-341-web

Joanne Waszczak joined us for the first time last week. On Thursday she was back with the whole family ... barkrunner included. We love it!CP-parkrun-208-283-web

By Saturday, we were back to a more normal crop of first timers, so Andrea was able to welcome the newcomers using her normal outdoor voice.

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On Saturday Carey White brought along her friends Emily and Mandi. Welcome!

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Yemi Akinmoyalan joined us for the first time on Saturday. So a ring of the gong was in order.

We were excited that some of Thursday’s first timers were already second timers by Saturday!

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Chris and family were first timers on Thursday, and already second timers on Saturday!

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Hongli Wan was back 2 days after her first CP parkrun, and set a PB for good measureCP-parkrun-209-108-web

Elias Fonseca and Virmarie Rivera did the Thanksgiving double. Hope you can join us again!

PBs: Thursday was perfect cool weather for running or walking. Saturday brought a cold wind that provided motivation to get it done. Either way, there were plenty of PBs.

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Great to see Abba Milkii back with us for the first time since the shutdown, and smashing his PB for good measure.CP-parkrun-209-45-web

Gwynnie McElhenny not only wore the purple 25 sash on Saturday. She also took 2 minutes from her PB, AND she paced her mom Kate to a big PB too, AND she was 3rd female finisher ... at age 8. Wow!CP-parkrun-209-52-web

The McElhenny ladies were on fire on Saturday. PB for big sister Mariella, too. On Thursday Mariella had been a member of our fabulous finish line volunteer crew.CP-parkrun-209-120-web

Another big PB for Andrea Solan on Saturday, who recently has been lopping a minute per week from her time, taking her now to 37:xx. Nice!CP-parkrun-209-127-web

Whoa! 13-minute PB for Karren Colobong on Saturday. (Karren says it was cold so she needed to keep moving.)

Slow is good, too

One reason why we avoid referring to CP parkrun as a “race” is because the aim is really not about getting there first. Sometimes your personal goals are about getting around as fast as possible. Other times your personal goals are to simply enjoy the outdoors with friends and family.

We were happy to see some of our speedsters getting around in no hurry at all on Thursday.

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Some weeks Alexandra Amidon is first female finisher. This week she was happy to simply take a walk with friends and family. Perfect!CP-parkrun-208-212-web

No hurry this week for Wayne Dunbar. Much better to enjoy a Turkey Trot with Krista Riddley instead

Visitors

We always ask at the start of every event whether anybody is visiting from far afield or from other parkruns. Almost every week this question is met with silence. Not so this week.

With 3 of the 7 local parkrun events holding special Thanksgiving events, we were delighted to welcome groups of visiting parkrunners from Baltimore and Annapolis Trail parkrun and from Roosevelt Island parkrun. We only wish we had 10 hours to hang out with everybody for coffee afterwards.

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The Roosevelt Island crewCP-parkrun-208-199-web

Jessica Gerbig is part of the B&A Trail parkrun crew. On Thursday she got to return to old haunts at CP, and to run with her big sister Jen Murphy, who turned 40 the day before. Happy birthday, Jen!CP-parkrun-208-16-web

More of the B&A Trail parkrun crew. Welcome back to Alyssa, Tommy, and Keaton

We welcomed some long time members of this community who were back from college for the holiday.

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Dave Heintzelman enjoyed being able to run with his daughter Alyssa, home from college for the holidayCP-parkrun-208-219-web

Katie Hirsche was back from college for a few days. Her successful cross-country racing season was cut short by injury. So she signed up right away to join the volunteer crew on Thursday. She and Zoe Phillips were our experienced finish funnel directors for the big crowd. (Thanks to them, we didn't lose ANY finish tokens from #1 - #174.)

We also welcomed visitors from further afield. On Saturday, Stewart Mayhew brought along his brother Jonathan, visiting from Kansas. Jonathan already has ties to the community, as his daughter is in grad school at UMD currently.

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Welcome Jonathan Mayhew!

On Thursday and Saturday we were visited by Michigan parkrunner Ali Khoyee, who has been a regular at both Livonia parkrun and at Lillie parkrun in Ann Arbor, MI.

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Double helping of Maryland parkruns for Michigander Ali Khoyee

Finally, and unusually for us, we also welcomed a small number of parkrun tourists from the UK.

Eve Taylor and her husband Ian visited from Macclesfield parkrun in Cheshire, near Manchester. For Eve it was a special visit to the US, as it was her first opportunity in years to visit her brother in Virginia.

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Eve Taylor got to test out our gong

Eve also brought along a gift of a new book about parkrun, by her friend Eileen Jones. The book is called How parkrun changed our lives. Our copy is signed by the author and by parkrun founder Paul Sinton-Hewitt. Thanks, Eve!

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Thanks for the book, Eve! We're a couple of chapters in already.

David Duggan is volunteer coordinator at Bedfont Lakes parkrun, in the shadow of London’s Heathrow Airport. He’s an old hand at all volunteer roles, so he was happy to pitch in to help us set up, and to help as an extra barcode scanner.

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David Duggan wasted no time in jumping in to help as a volunteer. That green shirt is one of the new V250 shirts. He didn't get that for nothing.

On Saturday Keith Bennett, from Leeds, UK, stopped by as part of a Thanksgiving tour in which he had driven from DC to central Florida and back. Keith is “collecting” visits to the older US parkruns. With his visits to Clermont, Fletcher’s Cove, and College Park this week, he now has covered all of the first 7 events that remain active.

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Safe travels back to Yorkshire, Keith

Whether you’re joining us from down the street or from across the ocean, we’re always happy to see you.

Volunteers

You know it’s true. None of this would be possible without the many parkrunners who also take part as volunteers. This week we were feeling especially appreciative of their experience, good spirits, and initiative. The pictures tell the story.

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Louise Godley figured that after getting boosted (yay!) a spot of tail walking and photography would be the right kind of pace. Good choice!CP-parkrun-208-356-web

On Thursday Xinzi He helped to register new folks on site. She was a natural!CP-parkrun-208-318-web

Who wouldn't want to jump in to join Rebecca's barcode scanning crew!CP-parkrun-208-29-web

Even with Aileen Kroll, Jen Matis, and Zoe Phillips all working to welcome Thursday's many first timers, it was still hard to keep up.CP-parkrun-209-117-web

Jake Foley and Madison Scaccia were part of a big tailwalking crew on Saturday. And they brought along a pair of tail waggers, too, who look quite ready for winter.CP-parkrun-209-109-web

Thanks to Evan Hirsche for jumping in after his run to join Rebecca and Lori on barcode scanning on Saturday. (We didn't even try to put up the canopy on Saturday. The wind would have blown it right away.)CP-parkrun-209-145-web

Try your hand at joining the volunteer crew some week. It gives a whole new perspective on the event and the community. It’s a scientifically proven way to help maintain healthy habits. Drop us a line at collegepark@parkrun.com. As a first step, be sure to update the “email options” in your parkrun.com profile so that you receive Andrea’s weekly update email.

Stat(s) of the Week

No need for niche numbers this week. Like Texas, everything was big.

  • DAILY FINISHERS: 303 (Thursday) was the highest ever turnout for CP parkrun. (It was almost the highest ever total for a North American parkrun event, eclipsed only by 318 who took part in Jamaica Pond parkrun in Boston in April 2019, most of them Brits who were visiting for the Boston Marathon.)
  • WEEKLY FINISHERS: 420 (Thursday + Saturday) was our busiest ever week.
  • FIRST TIMERS: 101 (Thursday + Saturday) easily our most ever in a week. And it’s an undercount, due to quite a few unregistered first timers.
  • WALKERS & RUN-WALKERS: 166 (121 on Thursday, 45 on Saturday). Thursday’s count of finishers after 40 minutes was certainly a record. We love that 40% of this week’s finishers came in the 40:00+ group.
  • REGISTRATIONS: 131 in the past 2 weeks. In a normal week we would see 15-20 new registrations. These past 2 weeks have been our busiest ever for new sign-ups.
  • PHOTOS: Between the two days our photographers took more than 3,000 pictures of you all. So many to choose from in cutting down to a couple of manageable sets for sharing. You can find all of our photo albums in Flickr, organized by week.

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Thursday's crowd before the start. Andrea's in there giving the pre-event briefing. Can you spot her?

Ok, one niche number. By our calculations, 80 people took a double helping of CP parkrun this week, by taking part on both Thursday and Saturday, through some combination of running, walking, or volunteering.

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Deb Bernard was one of 80 who joined both Thursday and Saturday, as walkers, runners, and/or volunteers. On Thursday Deb took it steady with her son. On Saturday she let it rip and set a big PB. Congrats!

Half year back: We restarted live events on May 29th of this year. So we have now been getting together again (more) normally for 6 months. Here are some of the top line figures from a half year back.

  • FINISHERS: 4,045 finishes by 880 individuals (probably closer to 1000 due to unknowns). This is slightly higher than the corresponding period in 2019 or the last 6 months before the shutdown.
  • VOLUNTEERS: 118 individuals volunteered 429 times to put on 28 events. The breadth of the volunteer crew is so valuable.
  • SPEED DIVERSITY: 35% of finishers arrive after 40 minutes. That’s many more than 2-3 years ago. More and more people are comfortable joining us for a walk or a walk-run.
  • GENDER DIVERSITY: 49.2% female, 50.8% male. Men used to outnumber women at CP parkrun almost every week. That’s no longer the case (and the small remaining difference is mostly due to the couple of visits by the boys from the DeMatha HS cross country team).
  • RACE/ETHNICITY: Across the US, participation in running events is much less diverse than the country as a whole. In Northern Prince George’s County we should be able to do better. For a long time College Park parkrun was not remotely representative of the diverse surrounding community. This is one area where we lost ground during our pandemic virtual events. In 2021 we are seeing progress. Participation is now around 25% non-white. But there is still a long way to go. We want to serve the entire community.

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Welcome to the Koroknay-Palicz family, who were among the 120 walkers and walk-runners at Thursday's event. They loved the atmosphere, and really appreciated the support from tailwalker Külli Crespin.

Global fun fact: This week around 1300 parkrun 5K events were held around the world. Two-thirds of them were in the UK, Australia, and South Africa. Although CP parkrun is unusually large by North American standards, it is generally tiny relative to those big three countries, where parkrun is hugely popular. But this week, unusually, participation in CP parkrun put us in the top 6 in the world by size (if we cheat by combining Thursday and Saturday) or in the top 30 (Thursday alone). This is unlikely to happen again. It was due to a combination of abysmal weather conditions in the UK that led hundreds of events to cancel, and a mix of pandemic-related restrictions and apprehension in Australia and South Africa.

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Barcodes

You likely received an email from parkrun Global this week about scanning barcodes from mobile devices. Until recently it was a no-no. Now it’s officially fine.

This email may be a bit puzzling to CP locals, especially as it’s framed in terms of responding to volunteers being harassed over this in the past. The stories of conflict are real, but not in College Park. A simpler narrative would be that UK parkrun events shifted only in the past few months to using the phone-based scanning app that we’ve been using for a couple of years. Those apps are good at scanning from mobile devices. Easy!

But we would like to highlight a couple of things that risk being buried in this discussion.

ICE details. It is genuinely useful for parkrunners to have accessible ICE (“in case of emergency”) details when they take part in CP parkrun. In a paid running event your race bib number would be linked to an emergency contact. In our “just show up” model, we don’t have any of that. Medical emergencies are fortunately very rare. But they are sure to happen at some point. Our volunteers can respond to them better if everybody has readily accessible ICE information on them. The easiest way to carry these on you during CP parkrun is via a visibly attached barcode.

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The leaves are almost all gone now. But the trail is still beautiful.

Keeping it free. Those barcode tags and wristbands that you see some parkrunners using are a valuable contributor to keeping our event free every week. We really don’t need any money locally in CP, thanks to the support of the parks department, the volunteer community, and occasional donations of useful gear. But there are key things on the back end that cost real money. It takes skilled people (and servers) to maintain the parkrun IT systems. We also get insurance that’s paid centrally.

Buying parkrun barcode gear or other merchandise helps support those very real shared costs. And the more these are supported by small payments from individual parkrunners, the less the organization is dependent on the interests of commercial sponsors.

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Seasoned skipper Bud Verge had the results all processed and emails in your inboxes by 10:45am on Saturday. This wouldn't be possible without (i) an excellent volunteer crew backing him up, and (ii) robust IT systems that make it so much easier.

More than a number. Your barcode identifies you in the parkrun IT systems via a unique number. But we also like learning names. We also know that many of you appreciate that at CP parkrun you’re more than an anonymous person in the crowd. In the past, parkrun Global argued that the visibility of names on barcodes was one of the reasons for insisting on printed barcodes, because it allowed barcode scanners to put a name to a face. (The details do tend to be harder for humans to read on phones.)

That rationale rings a little hollow now with the policy change … but we agree that learning names is a great thing as part of a healthy, connected community. We suspect that there may be more effective ways than barcodes of advancing this laudable goal.

How you can help. Easy steps

  • Carry ICE details with you during your 5K. A barcode is an easy solution.
  • Buy barcodes and other merch that supports IT and insurance.
  • Talk to new people at CP parkrun. Learn their names and their stories. Sometimes the simplest things make the most difference.

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Andrea says this picture from Thursday is one of her favorites, as it captures the vibe as you round the final turn and enter the park at the end of CP parkrun.

Looking Ahead

We have just four more events left in 2021, on December 4th, 11th, 18th … and 25th. Saturdays line up with holidays this winter season, so that will make our calendar a little more interesting. The fall is more or less done. We may have some colder days ahead. But we have no plans to simply hole up indoors!

Dec 4 & 11: They’re just normal Saturdays. But there are sure to be some nice surprises. There always are. We already know that there will be some cool things to celebrate.

Case in point: many old timers will remember Carlos Chaverri-Morales, who we bid farewell to in mid 2019 when he moved back to Costa Rica after completing grad school at UMD. Well, he’s back in the area, and his plans for Saturday mornings are quite clear!

Dec 18: We hereby designate this as our Winter Solstice event. We plan to show that we won’t be brought down by the dark and cold. Think of hot cocoa and you have the general idea.

Dec 25: Christmas Day falls on a Saturday this year, so it’s a parkrun day. Christmas Day parkruns have become an established tradition in the UK. The Christmas Day edition of Bushy parkrun in London attracts upwards of 2,000 participants! But as far as we know Christmas Day running/walking events just are not a thing in the US.

We have never tried this before, so we have no idea how much interest there will be. But we are excited to offer an activity to start the day that is healthy, welcoming for all, and not at all about the accumulation of objects.

Jan 1: On the other hand, New Years running/walking events are definitely a thing. We always welcome a bigger crowd to start the new year. Importantly, lots of people are looking to form new healthy habits at the start of a new year, and we are all about supporting healthy habits.

Note that in previous years our New Years events started later and we offered the option of doing another local parkrun beforehand. Unfortunately, parkrun Global no longer allows this, due to problems created by the immense popularity of these new years doubles in the UK. Some venues saw participation surges on January 1st that undermined relations with landowners and local communities.

And what about omicron? Our hearts sank when we read of the new COVID variant that is currently raising the alarm around the world. Initial signs suggest that Omicron might spread significantly better than Delta. We worry that this could leave us with ongoing restrictions on normal life as we enter a third year of the pandemic.

It’s too early to know much about what the coming months will hold. (We found this summary useful.) It could have a big impact on the College Park community. Or we might be relatively spared. For the past few months we have been fortunate to be in one of the safest places in the United States, thanks to so many different parts of the community working well together. But we remain confident that we’ll be able to keep serving our mission of helping this community to keep moving and stay connected. Outdoor activity is incredibly safe. And in the event that there are new restrictions that apply to us, we know that we can fairly easily pivot to virtual mode again.

But for now -- see you next week!

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Young at heart (Report 207)

With the temps below freezing at dawn on Saturday, we figured that many might choose to stay home this week. And maybe they did. But many more than expected decided that there’s no better way to start the weekend than getting active with friends on the Paint Branch Trail. With 166 finishers, this was one of our busiest days since the restart.

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With all those great people, we warmed up nice and quick!

A big part of the reason for the larger crowd is that there were so many families joining us this week. Some seasoned parkrunners. Some newcomers. We love this!

PHOTO ALBUM
RESULTS
(NOT)PARKRUN

And this kicks off what may be our busiest week of the year, as we have two more events in the next few days. If you’re in town, we hope that you can join us for our CP parkrun Turkey Trot on Thursday. Please encourage friends and family to join, too. And we’ll be back as normal at 9am on Saturday morning.

CP-parkrun-207-140-webWelcome to first timers Susan and Gillian

Gong Ringers

Milestones, first-timers, PBs -- we had lots of all of those this week.

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Amanda Ruff earned her junior 10-timer milestone this week. Amanda is an exchange student from Italy this year. We're not sure that she realized what Saturday mornings would be like when she moved in with Diana and Carlos GoughCP-parkrun-207-100-web

25-timer milestone for Kate McElhenny. Kate got to be the first person to wear one of the lovely new purple sashes that Sarah Plotts (Hump and Lisa's daughter) made for us.eliza-kempton-web

That's not College Park! But that's College Park regular Eliza Kempton finishing her 25th parkrun with our friends down the street at Kensington parkrunCP-parkrun-207-150-web

Any guesses on which milestone Meridith Phillips was celebrating this week? Congratulations Meridith! Her smiles, her cheers, her chalking (especially during the pandemic!) and her barkrunners help to keep our spirits up.CP-parkrun-207-60-web

50th time for Adam Kiely, too! Adam completed #49 months ago, but had to wait a while to recover from injury to get the next one done.

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First timers James, Jacob, and Kate Latter are Brits who are based in this area for a few years. This week was their first ever parkrun. Hope you can join us again!CP-parkrun-207-35-web

A couple of weeks ago Devon Struck was including CP parkrun as part of her virtual Marine Corps Marathon. This week it was time to dial it back and enjoy the trail walking with her friend Joanne Waszczak. Welcome, Joanne!CP-parkrun-207-62-web

Welcome to first timer Michael Caine, who joined us for his 10th parkrun after doing the previous 9 with our friends in Kensington.CP-parkrun-207-122-web

Welcome back, Grace Pooley. Grace brought along her friend Jona Elwell. Looks like they enjoyed the trail.CP-parkrun-207-175-web

PB time! Somehow after 50+ parkruns, Lori Dominick managed to take almost 2 minutes from her PB. That deserves a ring of the gong, for sure!CP-parkrun-207-142-web

5 parkruns, 5 PBs for Darron Monteiro. Nice!CP-parkrun-207-87-web

Kathy Gustafson keeps on rolling. Yet another PB this week!CP-parkrun-207-126-web

Brunhilda Eya is on fire. She has been taking about a minute from her PB just about every week for the past 6 weeks, now getting her to 27:xx. How long can this continue?CP-parkrun-207-83-web

PB for Charlie Foley! Keep up, dad!CP-parkrun-207-64-web

Dave Heintzelman has done 87 CP parkruns, and didn't show a lot of interest in PBs ... until we got that gong. This week he went and beat the time he set years ago. And you can imagine what was the first thing that he did after finishing.CP-parkrun-207-61-web

PB for Catherine Spirito, also beating a time that she set years ago. Nice going, Catherine!

Volunteers

There were lots of them. They were awesome. You should get in on the fun! Really, that’s all we need to say.

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Drop us a line if you'd like to join the crew some week. It's a fun time.

Actually, it was a joy to behold first-time volunteer Judy Reynolds taking finish token distribution to a new level. Sure, everybody got a little numbered piece of plastic. But the welcome that they received right before that was priceless. Judy, you’re a natural!

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Judy Reynolds' enthusiasm at the finish line was totally infectious this week!

Thanks to ALL of this week’s team, ably led by veteran Chris McGranahan, just one week after he wore the black sash for his 100th run. His crew was: Rebecca White, Bud Verge, Diana Gough, Judy Reynolds, Steven Bailey, Gaurav Sharma, Misha Bernard, Michelle Brandy, Hump Plotts, Lisa Wilson, Valerie Silensky, Lisa Shiota, Andrea Zukowski, and Colin Phillips.

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Lisa Shiota was so focused on her role as first timers welcomer that she forgot to leave the yellow vest at the start. It didn't prevent her from setting a PB, though! We'll need some extra helpers with welcoming newcomers on Thursday. Let us know if you can help.

We’re looking forward to a larger crowd for our Thanksgiving event, so we’ll need a larger-than-usual volunteer crew. Let us know if you can help. Some of these roles are compatible with also running or walking a 5K.

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Two Michelle's - Misha Bernard and Michelle Brandy - were our tail walking duo this week. Janet Tate is leading the Thanksgiving tail walking crew. Can you join her? It's always a party in the caboose.

Stat(s) of the Week

First a playful stat. Then a couple that are closer to our hearts.

Go Blue! This week was the last UMD home football game of the year. Football days have minimal impact on CP parkrun, though they do call for minor adjustments. As locals all know, College Park is not a big football town. This week UMD welcomed the University of Michigan. Ann Arbor is a town that is very serious about its football. Also, they have a lovely parkrun event, too. Our friends at Lillie parkrun, Ann Arbor were celebrating their 100th event this week.

So we made a quiet challenge with Emma Keer, the Ann Arbor event director (and a regular CPVp participant in 2020-21). Could Ann Arbor’s combined score from football + parkrunners top College Park’s total?

Ann Arbor came through strongly. With 59 football points and 93 parkrunners, their 152 set a formidable target.

Taking football scores against ranked opponents and 2021 CP parkrun turnouts, the average total for College Park would be 154. So close!

But College Park delivered: 18 football points and 166 parkrunners made for a total of 184. We give credit for this rather obscure ‘victory’ to the many kindergarteners and elementary schoolers who did a 5K to start the weekend.

With an assist from Michigan fans Jeff Brown and Roland Bisio, who were taking turns pushing the stroller at College Park parkrun.

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Go Blue!

In other news. The numbers that we are more invested in involve diversity and sustainability. Are we reaching a wide cross-section of our community, and are people coming back for more? That’s how we know whether we’re meeting our goal of supporting a healthy, connected community.

One key indicator is speed diversity. This week 65 finishers came in after 40:00. That’s the most that we have seen since 1/1/20. That 40% of finishers came in after 40 minutes is an encouraging sign that we’re not seen as just an event for the speedsters.

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Welcome back to Team Jack -- Nina, Marie, and Bill -- who were among this week's may second timers. We just love it when folks come back for another helping.

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Karren and Alka had such a good time last week that they were back this week, together with Karren's husband Juno, and their friends Hasan and Bibin.

Another indicator is that people keep returning for more. There are many ways of looking at that. A simple way is whether we’re seeing lots of regulars in the park on a Saturday morning. This week there were over 100 10+ timers with us. That has happened only a handful of times before. And there were over 50 50+ timers with us. That has never happened before at CP parkrun.

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Oooh, nice new 50 shirt, Xinzi! Almost a third of this week's crowd were 50 timers. 

When combined with all the new folks who we are meeting every week, that’s a sure sign of a growing community.

Thanksgiving Double!

Did we mention that we’re holding TWO CP parkrun events this week? Ok, so you noticed that part. Join us on Thursday at 9am, or on Saturday at 9am. Or both times. There are many reasons why we are looking forward to this week.

  • Welcoming back old friends, e.g., college students who will be back visiting family.
  • Welcoming folks from nearby parkrun communities in MD and DC who will be visiting us.
  • Welcoming parkrun tourists from far away who will be joining us to get their first taste of a Thanksgiving parkrun.
  • Meeting lots of local first timers … including some regular CPVpers who haven’t been able to join our live events due to Saturday commitments.
  • Cheering so many people (and pups!) as we pass each other along the out-and-back route.
  • Post-parkrun coffee at Bagels ‘n Grinds, which is open Thursday morning. Their fireplace is very welcoming!

Thanksgiving is one of our favorite holidays. Mostly because it’s all about getting together with friends and family. But the tradition of taking part in a Turkey Trot to start the day is a big bonus. Turkey trots are all about getting active with your community, wherever you happen to be. They’re not about winning or being as fast as possible. And generally not about bling or swag. Around 1 million Americans take part in turkey trots on a Thursday in late November, making it the busiest day for running events in the world.

In fact, many of the things that make turkey trots so popular are things that we do all year round. Here’s a piece from a couple of years ago on that very issue: The year-round turkey trot. (Full disclosure, we wrote it.)

So the thing that we are most excited about for this week is welcoming to this community new people who might otherwise be intimidated by events that sound like competitive or cliquey running events. If you have friends or family who might be interested, please do spread the word! More details at: https://bit.ly/collegeparkturkeytrot

We’ll likely need some extra volunteers on Thursday, and a whole new crew on Saturday. On Thursday this will include things like extra welcomers for first-timers, plus a parking marshal and extra finish line crew. As usual, there’s no limit on the number of tailwalkers, and the more people in the caboose the more fun it is! Do let us know if you can help out: collegepark@parkrun.com.

See you … on THURSDAY!

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We just love Pratyush's shirt. (And that's his wife Megan right behind him.)CP-parkrun-207-120-web

Kate Lemay brought along her friend Natalie Howe (with stroller) for the first time. Welcome!CP-parkrun-207-109-web

10th time this week for Denise Penn!CP-parkrun-207-92-web

Win Persina is one of the fastest 60+ runners in the region. She could be touring around to different events picking up trinkets every week. But pacing Isaac at CP parkrun is more fun! We like your priorities, Win.CP-parkrun-207-75-web

We love seeing more and more UMD undergraduates with us. We suspect that Amanda Liu, Marie Brodsky, and Justin Lumpkin are responsible for some of this. Thanks for spreading the word, guys!CP-parkrun-207-72-web

So good to see Francis Parks back with us after a couple of years away. He was unable to run for a long while, so it's great to see him enjoying the trail again.board-and-brew-web

Back inside The Board and Brew for coffee and results processing. It's good to be back!CP-parkrun-207-31-web

See you ... on Thursday!

 

It’s an elephant! (Report 206)

We love it when somebody looks at something that we think we know really well, and notices something that totally eluded us before.

So it was this week, when Mariángel Villalobos looked at our course map in her Strava feed and remarked that it looked like the elephant in The Little Prince. And she’s right! How did we go for years without noticing this similarity between our favorite trail and one of our favorite pieces of literature? (Really: at CP parkrun HQ there are multiple copies of the book, in different languages.)

Here’s Mariángel. She also set a PB this week!

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 Mariángel Villalobos en route to a PB ... and a profound realization

And here's our course map.

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A little background -- and we promise to get to the parkrunning soon -- in Antoine de Saint Exupery’s classic book he explains how he was turned off a career in art at an early age because grown-ups didn’t appreciate his drawings.

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Yes, that first picture isn't so different than the shape of our course map

This story isn’t a million miles from our experience. You could look at what we do on Saturdays and see a lot of people doing the same out-and-back 5K week after week. It sounds mundane. That’s the hat version.

We see the elephant and the boa constrictor. When we get to know the people and their stories it’s so much more interesting. When we get to know the nature and how it reacts to the changing seasons, we see so much that we wouldn’t otherwise notice. It never gets boring.

PHOTO ALBUM
RESULTS
(NOT)PARKRUN

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See you soon! Always plenty of company for walkers at CP parkrun

This is why we share the stories every week. If you want more motivation to keep coming back and to stay active, then our best recommendation is to just approach some people who you don’t know, and strike up a conversation. CP parkrun is a space where it’s not remotely weird to do that. And you’ll be surprised what you learn about the interesting people around you.

This week’s CP parkrun was billed as our 5th year teaming up with UMD’s Good Neighbor Day, together with Prince George’s Parks and the City of College Park. Thanks to everybody who helped out with trail cleanup or tree planting this year. This week we definitely left the park and the trail in better shape than when we arrived.

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Eileen Kroll headed out after her run to fill a bag of trash

We had expected there to be more visible activity in the park for Good Neighbor Day, as in previous years. It seems that some of the Acredale Park activity fell through at the last minute (long story), and there was a lot more going on just out of sight on the stretch of trail between Acredale Park and UMD.

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Catherine Spirito brought along her parents. They walked the entire trail together, and picked up a lot of trash.

In any case, the trail was looking resplendent this week. A warm October left some trees changing color late this year, while others have already shed their leaves. Our tunnel of trees was blanketed in color this week, and Andrea headed down there with her camera, to capture a mix of fall foliage and happy parkrunners.

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The trail was at its fall peak

We also had a special guest. Karen Wojahn, College Park’s “first mom”, was visiting her son, newly re-elected mayor Patrick Wojahn. Karen is based in Minnesota. She is in College Park only about once per year. But one of the silver linings of the pandemic is that she became a regular in our CPVp community, sharing updates on her weekly walks in Green Bay, WI, Door County, WI, or Minneapolis, MN. One time she even did the virtual 5K on skis. Since we restarted live events, Karen has continued to regularly log (not)parkrun 5Ks, and we noticed that last week her count of virtual 5Ks reached 50. So surely she deserved to join this week’s group of milestone honorees. Wonderful that you could join us, Karen!

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This week’s other milestone earners were Chris McGranahan (100), Carolyn Kelley (50), Eileen Sullivan (50), and Cordell Eddings (25).

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Chris was part of the original team that launched CP parkrun in 2016. He was a regular before we were even A Thing. One very wet day in early 2016 he and his son Sam made up half of the turnout of *4* people for our proto-parkrun. Chris’s first ‘official’ parkrun was later that year when Colin and Andrea dragged Chris and family along to Newport parkrun in Wales while on vacation in the UK. In addition to his 100 live CP parkruns, Chris has volunteered over 40 times, and he was a 50-timer in our pandemic virtual events. Congratulations, Chris. We look forward to seeing you in your black 100 shirt.

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Eileen encouraged her daughter Angela to join us long before she came along herself. By Angela’s recounting, it was her barkrunner Shackleton who played a key role in persuading Eileen to first run with us. Once she came along, there was no looking back. From late 2019 until mid 2021 Eileen did not miss a single live CP parkrun! The first one that she missed was on July 4th weekend this year, when she had the good excuse that her grandson Arthur was being born.

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Carolyn first joined us in Spring 2018. Sometimes she would run on her own, sometimes with her husband Jorge, sometimes with one of her kids. We are really happy that she has kept joining us through 2021, even while unable to run due to injury. Walking with us is a great way to start the weekend. Carolyn’s fan club was out in force this week to join her for #50. And kudos also to Carolyn’s friend Sandra Maciuba, who reached #5 this week.

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Carolyn and her crew doing one of our virtual parkruns in summer 2020

High fives also to Cordell Eddings, who earned a purple 25-timer shirt this week. Cordell has been joining us since spring 2019, always bringing along a big smile, and often bringing along family members. Sorry that we missed you at the start, Cordell, and didn’t get to bestow our new purple sash on you.

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Gong Ringers and More

With great weather and fewer competing events as the fall season winds down, it’s little surprise that there were lots of first timers and PBs at this week’s event.

There’s a whole lot more to feel good about at CP parkrun than setting your fastest time. But we love celebrating the achievements with those who are able to do this.

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Rachel Romeo holds the gong for first timer Genevieve MeyerCP-parkrun-206-59-web

Welcome to Emily Shohfi. (Maybe not her first time with us -- but first time scanning her barcode with us.)CP-parkrun-206-163-web

Karren Colobong and Alka Matter enjoyed their first time with us. They're looking forward to coming back, and bringing family along.CP-parkrun-206-62-web

Welcome to first timer Supratik SarkarCP-parkrun-206-39-web

Speedy first timer David RichardsonCP-parkrun-206-8-web

Andrea explains the essentials of CP parkrun to the week's first timers. Plus some of her favorite non-essentials.CP-parkrun-206-46-web

Chris Bailey shared that this was his first organized running event in around 10 years. Finishing in a little over 20 minutes, it seems he's in pretty good shape.CP-parkrun-206-69-web

Jeremy Rueter isn't a first timer. But we think his barkrunner Rocky is. Rocky did great!

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Welcome to first timers Nina Jack and her kids Marie and Bill (just out of shot). They learned about us via the St Jerome's Academy elementary school XC team. CP-parkrun-206-159-web

Katie's crew completed the 5K without the stroller for the first time. Fantastic stuff, guys!

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PB time! Andrea Solan came in under 40 minutes for the first time. We were super happy to see this!CP-parkrun-206-95-web

Brunhilda Eya smiled her way to another big PB this weekCP-parkrun-206-91-web

Whoa - Ashley Ward took a couple of minutes from her PB on her 59th parkrun. That's not easy to do!CP-parkrun-206-72-web

More PBs - Darron Monteiro!CP-parkrun-206-55-web

Adrian Dover pulled Rube Ahmed to a nice new PBCP-parkrun-206-34-web

Also on pacemaking duties this week, Steven Moore pulled his 14-year old son Liam to his first 18:xx finish this week. Steven figures that he has only about a year before it's Liam who's doing the pacemaking for him.

Stat(s) of the Week

A couple of miscellaneous ones this week.

1. Win Persina and Anna Richardson were this week’s first and second female finishers, coming in just 6 seconds apart. (Anna was finishing fast!) But they are separated in age by 50 years. Win is 61, and Anna is 11.

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Win Persina. 61 is the new 41. Or something like that.CP-parkrun-206-64-web

11-year old Anna Richardson almost caught Win at the end

It’s unlikely that we have ever seen such an age spread in our first two finishers of either gender. Running and walking are simple activities that can last a lifetime.

Women’s running has progressed a lot since Win was Anna’s age. Last weekend there were celebrations to mark the 50th running of the New York City Marathon. In this year’s edition, the women’s race drew more attention, for good reason. There was an exciting 3-way battle for the winners, and Molly Seidel ran the fastest ever time by an American woman at NYCM. But at the very first NYCM in 1970 the 127 starters included just one woman, Nina Kuscsik, who wasn’t even officially allowed to take part. (Nina’s still going strong nowadays.)

2. In earning their 50 milestones this week, Eileen Sullivan and Carolyn Kelley became the 100th and 101st people to complete CP parkrun 50 times. That’s a lot!

3. A couple of weeks ago we went down a probability rabbit hole after Bud Verge finished 77th in his 77th CP parkrun. This week he finished 79th in his 79th parkrun. (Bud has done one parkrun away from College Park, in London a couple of years ago.)

Bud was wondering if that’s a thing, and if it’s very likely to happen. Definitely a thing, Bud. And pretty darn unlikely.

Volunteers

This week we reached a community milestone (of sorts), as first-time volunteer Jaclyn Kramer became the 400th different volunteer at CP parkrun. Jaclyn teamed up with her friend Sharon Raszap-Skorbiansky as tailwalking team.

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Congratulations to Jaclyn Kramer (right) on becoming the 400th person to volunteer at CP parkrun

Those 400 individuals have volunteered on 2,863 occasions to put on 206 live events.

If we set aside the 4 people who are basically on the crew every week (course marshals, back end stuff), this means that the average volunteer has volunteered 5 times. And the average weekly volunteer crew involves 10 people in addition to the ever-presents. That’s an impressive community commitment.

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Lisa Wilson set off towards the turnaround early this week. Partly because she was picking trash along the way. But partly also because she recently sprained both ankles. As regulars know, it takes much more than that to hold Lisa back.

This week’s crew was led by Clark Ridge, who pulled off an unusual trick. At times when we have had bad weather or when there are other potential issues along the course, it’s typical for the day’s leader or a proxy to do a course check. This week Clark set off to do a course check after running to the park. Then completed his check of the entire course in 17:50, i.e., half a minute less than the day’s first finisher. We are relatively confident that this was some kind of a record.

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Course check completed ... in under 18 minutes!

During the event, Clark connected with a UMD journalism student who had been dispatched to the park to cover the Good Neighbor Day service projects. Instead she found herself interviewing Clark about CP parkrun. It turns out that she’s a runner, too, so hopefully she’ll be joining us on the trail in a future week.

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Congratulations to timekeeper Susan Whitney, who this week was elected to the College Park City Council, representing District 2 (roughly, the middle section of town). Having recently also earned her parkrun 50 shirt, we’d say it has been a successful fall season for Susan! We are happy to report that, with Susan’s election, now 50% of the city council, plus the mayor, all have parkrun barcodes.

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Congratulations to new councilwoman Susan Whitney

Susan, together with her husband John Wilkerson, and timekeeper Lori Dominick, certainly helped to create an enthusiastic vibe at the finish line this week.

Our great photos from the tunnel of trees this week are by co-event director Andrea Zukowski, who was resting up ahead of a Sunday half marathon (which went great, just saying). She chose a perfect spot for her photography.

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One of the week's photographers catches a shot of the other photographer racing back to start his job

Thanks to everybody who volunteered this week, whether on running the event or on trail maintenance. It wouldn’t be possible without you.

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Thanksgiving Week Fun

We have a busy week ahead, with THREE CP parkruns in the space of 8 days:

  • Saturday November 20th
  • Thursday November 25th
  • Saturday November 27th

Same time, same location, same barcode, etc. The only thing that is different about the Thanksgiving event is that it’s on a Thursday. Well, another difference is that we’re likely to see a somewhat larger crowd than usual, due to the immense popularity of Thanksgiving turkey trots.

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Arthur has his Thanksgiving outfit sorted out. How about you?

Around 1 million Americans take part in organized running/walking events on Thanksgiving in a typical (pre-COVID) year. That makes it arguably the biggest running day in the world. It’s striking that the low-key, non-competitive, family/social features that make turkey trots so popular are pretty much the same as what we do all year round. (See: The year round turkey trot.) So, our Thanksgiving event is a good opportunity for us to reach new people who don’t already know what we’re about.

A couple of other notes about the upcoming events:

On Saturday Nov 20th it will be the final UMD home football game of the year. College Park will be inundated with Michigan fans, who think nothing of tailgating when it’s freezing outside. UMD parking lot 11b will be off limits that day. And though we aspire to meet for coffee in The Board and Brew, it could be challenging.

On Thursday Nov 25th we will almost certainly need the additional parking at UMD lot 11b and at the bowling alley on Route 1. Please allow a little extra time for parking. Carpool or bike if you can. On this day we will meet for post-parkrun coffee at Bagels and Grinds in The Hotel at UMD, as they are the one local place with good capacity that is open on that day.

See you next week!

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Thanks to Valerie Silensky for having the finish tokens sorted before we even left the park this weekCP-parkrun-206-120-web

Looking good, Gloria!

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Welcome back to Bill Sweet. Last time that Bill was with us was our very final event before the pandemic shutdown. Since then he has been literally saving lives in a Baltimore ICU. Thanks Bill, and it's great to see you back with us.CP-parkrun-206-52-web

10th parkrun this week for Allen Garcia. It was *nearly* an official parkrun milestone, except that the pandemic intervened, so Allen turned 18 between his 9th and 10th times with us.CP-parkrun-206-45-web

Melanie Barzik clearly has her running mojo backCP-parkrun-206-32-web

Brian Murphy leads the way, with Kevin Camp in hot pursuit. Brian was SO close to his parkrun PB this week.CP-parkrun-206-11-web

Go Hoosiers!CP-parkrun-206-1-web

We're going to need these a lot in the coming weeks.CP-parkrun-206-56-web

See you next week! As many as THREE times.

 

 

Seventy is the new ten (Report 205)

Some of the best things in life take longer than you expect. Especially in the past couple of years. This week we celebrated 5-year old Mary Clare Schneider earning what might be the most hard won 10-timer milestone ever. Read on for more on Mary Clare’s story.

PHOTOS
RESULTS
(NOT)PARKRUN

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It has also been longer than expected since we last saw Adrian Dover at College Park parkrun. More than two years. The pandemic kept him at home in England, unable to come to the US to visit family. We have certainly heard from him often, as he was an ever-present in our virtual events through 2020-21. Finally able to travel again, Adrian wasted no time in getting down to the park to visit us. What a wonderful surprise to see him with us again!

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One more thing that has taken longer than expected: getting back to post-parkrun meetups at The Board and Brew. It will take a little while to reach a new normal, but it feels great to be back. A little more on that below.

Seventy is the new ten

Mary Clare Schneider has been joining us regularly for most of her life. She started coming to College Park parkrun regularly at the age of 2. At first, she mostly rode the stroller, but by the time she turned 3 she was already helping out with tail walking and trail maintenance, eventually ditching the stroller to cover the 5K under her own steam.

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 April 2019 - the littlest volunteer

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April 2019 - Good Neighbor Day

But Mary Clare couldn't sign up for her own barcode until she turned 4 ... which happened right at the start of the pandemic. In our 2nd CP virtual parkrun, right after she turned 4, the community arranged some special touches for Mary Clare as she covered our 5K course anyway. We chalked. Lisa and Hump made cameo appearances at their marshal spots. There were cupcakes. And in lieu of a crowd, Mary Clare’s mom Erin organized a Zoom meeting for parkrunners to pre-record finish line cheering to play on an iPad as she was finishing. (Erin said: Mary Clare probably figured that the cheering was live anyway.)

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Got a barcode ... but no more live parkruns for over a year!

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So we improvised!

Mary Clare then became a (very) regular virtual parkrunner, completing *50* virtual 5Ks during the time that we were shut down.

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50 CPVps!

She was already 5 by the time she was able to scan her barcode for the first time this spring. This event was covered in a story in the College Park city newspaper: Keep Moving, Stay Connected.

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May 2021 - first official finish (after about 60 5Ks completed)

As regular parkrunners know, Mary Clare is also often the best dressed person on the course. She is never averse to wearing a tutu (or three). So we encouraged folks to wear a tutu in her honor. And they did!

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This tutu may have been sized for a smaller personCP-parkrun-205-123-web CP-parkrun-205-188-web

Some of us can rock a tutu better than others. Lori leads by example.

Mary Clare’s big sister Samantha and her mom Erin volunteered as finish token distributors this week. Erin also made a lovely new white 10-timer sash that we can now use for other junior parkrunners who are reaching this milestone.

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Thanks for volunteering, Samantha and Erin

And to cap it all off, Mary Clare went and ran a PB, too. She dipped under 40 minutes. That certainly earned her a ring of the gong.

We don’t normally make such a big deal of somebody doing their 10th parkrun. But this was not normal. By our calculation, getting to 10 ‘official’ parkruns took Mary Clare around 70 5Ks. That is quite impressive for a 5 year old.

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SO WELL DESERVED!

Winter is coming

Winter weather made an early visit, with temps below freezing as the sun rose, and a frosty scene as the volunteers set up the start/finish area around 8:30am.

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Brrrrr

While some probably chose to stay home under the blankets, for others it was a great excuse to dig out the hats and gloves for the first time in months.

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We love Alanna's hat!

By the time the volunteers were packing up, shortly before 10:30am, the park looked quite different. It had turned from a glimpse of winter into a glorious fall day. Our photographers captured some fabulous shots of folks on the trail this week.

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It turned into a beautiful fall morning (and welcome to first timer Jordan Kreh!)

Gong Ringers

We welcomed 14 first timers this week, and 14 set PBs. Congratulations to all.

And really: it’s also totally cool if you don’t set a PB or aren’t likely to ever set one again. Take your time, it’s no hurry. While some are happy to test out their fitness against the clock, others are just happy to get outside with friends. All good!

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Welcome to first timers from the UMD triathlon clubCP-parkrun-205-204-web

Deb Bernard joined us again, and brought along her son as a first timer. Excellent!CP-parkrun-205-120-web

Welcome to first timers Linlin Chen and and Jijian XuCP-parkrun-205-80-web

First timer Terrence McCall - glad that you found us!CP-parkrun-205-72-webFirst-timer Sarah Ganes heard about us from a neighbor

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PB for second-timer Bianca WardCP-parkrun-205-133-web

Nice PB for Alanna Kempton - it must have been that hatCP-parkrun-205-208-web

Speedy PB for Luther Lemon, who's getting closer to a sub-18 finishCP-parkrun-205-177-web

PB for Sandra Maciuba (and #49 for walking buddy Carolyn Kelley, just saying)CP-parkrun-205-118-web

4 weeks, 4 parkruns, 4 PBs for Raymondo Williams. Nice!CP-parkrun-205-86-web

Welcome back to Claudia Ndenge! And a nice PB, too.CP-parkrun-205-66-web

Great to see DeMatha HS runner Jackson McCormick join us on a non-DeMatha day. He was rewarded with a new PB.CP-parkrun-205-54-web

PB for Chris van Vlack. He's gaining on you, Zak!

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10th time for Stephanie Child. That's got to be worth a bang on the gong, too, right?

Volunteers

Rebecca White volunteered for the 25th time this week, for which she got to wear the purple superhero cape. We are so glad that Rebecca found us, and grateful for her contributions to this community over the past (nearly) 3 years. Many of you know Rebecca’s story already. You can read about it here: Karaoke, a 5K, and the Grand Canyon.

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This week’s crew had two first-time volunteers: Jim Trone lent his photography skills, and the results were fabulous! Jim did his first ever parkrun on our second week back from the shutdown, and he has been back with us, or Kensington or Leakin Park parkruns almost every week since. He’s already just a couple of weeks away from earning a purple 25-timer shirt.

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So many good pictures from the trail this week. Thanks to our photographers!

Kate von Richthofen also joined the crew for the first time, teaming up with Misha Bernard for tailwalking. Thanks Kate!

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The rest of this week’s crew, ably led by Anna Tinnemore, was: Bud Verge, Stewart Mayhew, Trace Huard, Gaurav Sharma, Samantha Schneider, Erin Schneider, RJ Spalding, Hump Plotts, Lisa Wilson, Debbie Levenson, Michelle Hermanson, Andrea Zukowski, and Colin Phillips.

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Try your hand on the volunteer crew some week. In addition to keeping the community thriving, it’s the single most effective thing that you can do to keep moving and stay connected with College Park parkrun. To get involved, first be sure that you’re signed up for our weekly emails by updating the “email options” in your account at parkrun.com. Then drop us an email at collegepark@parkrun.com to sign up to join the crew some week.

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Back Inside (Stat(s) of the Week)

This week we decided that it was time to resume post-parkrun meetups at The Board and Brew. It was great to be back, after 20 months. Here’s why it took so long, and why we are making the change now.

  1. When we restarted live events in May, we focused on delivering safe, fun outdoor activities. At that point, merely gathering 150 people outside seemed novel. Our surveys indicated that this aligned with most people’s comfort level at the time. Much has changed since then.
  2. Locally, COVID case rates are low. In the most recent wave, Maryland has fared better than almost all states. Prince George’s and Montgomery Counties have among the lowest case rates in Maryland. College Park/UMD is faring better than either county. In the past week, the campus of 50,000 people has seen around 1 case per day. Of course, there’s more to College Park than the university. But UMD accounts for most of the population, and for most of the gatherings of people.
  3. Locally, vaccination rates are high. UMD has 98% full vaccination. Our surveys suggest that vaccination rates are extremely high among CP parkrunners.
  4. As of a couple of days ago, 5-11 year olds can also access COVID vaccines. Also, millions of adults are now getting booster shots.
  5. Guidelines from parkrun Global around COVID safety procedures are becoming more accommodating to local practices, which vary a lot around the world.
  6. It’s getting cold out.

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It's nearly 6 years since we started meeting up every Saturday at The Board and Brew. It feels great to be back!

Montgomery and Prince George’s Counties have aligned their indoor mask mandates to CDC thresholds. The counties have both said that when case rates drop below ~7 per 100,00 per day then the mask mandate will be lifted. Montgomery County also resolved this week that their mandate will be lifted once 85% of the population is fully vaccinated. (They’re currently at 78%.) Although Prince George’s County is behind Montgomery County in terms of cases and vaccination, College Park/UMD is doing much better, with case rates in CDC’s “low” range, and near universal vaccination.

Since we re-started live events 24 weeks ago we have spanned most of the Delta wave. In that time, to our knowledge, one person has shown up at CP parkrun with a COVID infection (that they did not discover until later). We followed up with close contacts, and nobody seems to have been infected.

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The world is certainly not yet fully “normal”. But we are fortunate to be living in one of the safest settings in the country right now. So it seems like a good time to restart indoor meetups. As with most things in the pandemic, some will see this as too late, while others will see it as too soon. The best that we can do is to be as transparent as possible.

One clear sign that we’ve been gone from The Board and Brew for too long: Debbie Levenson and Michelle Hermanson were sorting the finish tokens outdoors on the patio (thanks!), and their server thought they were playing a board game and tried to charge them $5 each for it.

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You can play this board game for free. The rules are pretty simple.

Coming up: Good Neighbor Day (11/13)

Next week, November 13th, we’ll be doing some post-parkrun park and trial maintenance as part of Good Neighbor Day, in conjunction with UMD, the City of College Park, and Prince George’s Parks.

In the past, we have planted trees, cleaned up trash, and done invasive species removal. Gloves and tools will be provided. You just need to bring suitable clothing for working outdoors after a run or a walk.

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Drop us a line if you can help: collegepark@parkrun.com.

Coming up: College Park Turkey Trot (11/25)

We hope that you can join us for College Park’s Turkey Trot on THURSDAY November 25th, hosted by College Park parkrun together with the City of College Park. Same course, start time, barcode, etc. etc. But an opportunity to invite extra family and friends along to join you.

There are turkey trot events all around the region on Thanksgiving. So you have plenty to choose from. Some are small. Some draw thousands of participants. We are biased, but we think you’ll struggle to find one that is as free, friendly, and on as pretty a route as ours in College Park.

We have a flyer - maybe you can post it someplace visible. PDF version for printing: College Park Turkey Trot 2021

JPG version - click to enlarge:

College Park Turkey Trot 2021

We have a webpage about that day’s event: bit.ly/collegeparkturkeytrot

And there’s also a QR code that points to the webpage.

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We could also use a few more volunteers than usual for that day. If you could help out with things like barcode scanning, helping new participants, photography, tailwalking, and more, then we’d love to hear from you. Andrea Zukowski will be leading the show that day, and she’ll ensure that you have a good time.

(And we’ll have a regular Saturday event on November 27th, too. So we get 4 more CP parkruns this month. Wheeee!)

Finally, congratulations to regular parkrunner Patrick Wojahn on his re-election on Sunday to a FOURTH term as College Park's mayor. He kept his campaign promise to earn a black 100 shirt during his third term as mayor. Thanks for all that you do for our community, Patrick.

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See you next week!

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Tourists! We found Sharon, Melanie, and Kevin enjoying the fall foliage at Roosevelt Island parkrun. Nice! CP-parkrun-205-187-web

Meridith Phillips shows what she was doing instead of CP parkrun last week. Swimming with GREAT WHITE SHARKS! Yikes.CP-parkrun-205-171-web

Congratulations to Devon Struck, who used CP parkrun as part of her virtual Marine Corps  Marathon this week.CP-parkrun-205-158-web

Evan Hirsche enjoyed the trail so much this week that he went right out and ran it againCP-parkrun-205-35-web

The out-and-back course is great for high fiving friendsCP-parkrun-205-119-web

The out-and-back course is also great for gratuitous puppy rubsCP-parkrun-205-102-web CP-parkrun-205-57-web

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See you next week!

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