College Park parkrun is cancelled on 26 September 2020: COVID-19 (Coronavirus)

One Step at a Time (Virtual Report 21)

"Real change, enduring change, happens one step at a time." (Ruth Bader Ginsburg)

CP Virtual parkrun #21 had a little bit of everything.

We enjoyed the best weather for running and walking in months. A truly beautiful day.

We did a one day challenge, to try to cover the length of the perimeter of Maryland. Virtually, of course. At 842 miles, that was going to require more than we had covered since Week #14.

And we were thinking a lot about the struggle for equality and opportunity, following the news just hours earlier of the death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. We had RBG quotes to inspire us on the trail this week.

And yeah, there’s still that pandemic thing going on.

2020 is an emotional whirlwind already. This weekend was like 2020 after drinking a little too much coffee. Of course, we have plenty to share. And it was a bit of a whirlwind week in parkrun world, too. More on that at the end of the report.



Teresa and Külli completed a half marathon distance on local trails this weekend

Facts and Figures

  • 174 virtual parkrunners
  • 842 miles covered (nice!)
  • 10 first-timers
  • 5 new TEN TIMER TURTLE badges earned
  • 15 new HIGH FIVE badges earned
  • 12 barkrunners (a record!)
  • 7 virtual volunteers

Stat of the week: the boundary length of Maryland is 842 miles. But the total tidal shoreline of the state is 3,190 miles



Bonnie McClellan and Anna Tinnemore with one of the RBG quotes on the trail

Remembering RBG

After hearing the news Friday evening about the passing of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the second ever woman on the US Supreme Court, many parkrunners set out to honor her memory on Saturday. Andrea wrote some inspiring RBG quotes on the trail, including "You will get satisfaction out of doing something to give back to the community that you never get in any other way."


We can relate to this

Louise Godley & Anne L’Ecuyer’s walk in Takoma Park brought them to a neighborhood shrine to both RBG and John Lewis. (C’mon 2020, why are you doing this to us?)


Seen in Takoma Park

Hannah Russell discovered it was almost exactly a 5K round trip to the Supreme Court building, so there was no other option for where to run. By 8am, there were already tons of flowers, signs, and messages at the steps of the building, and many people walking up to pay their respects.


Supreme Court flag at half mast

Local Routes

There were more people than we have seen since March on the Paint Branch Trail on Saturday morning. Never crowded, but lots of smiling faces.

Win Persina was out picking up trash while running, to make sure the trail was as beautiful as the day’s weather.

It wasn’t only parkrunners who were enjoying the trail. Prince George’s Running Club and Mocha Lee’s fitness group were taking advantage of the lovely day to do some (responsibly social distanced) group running. The DeMatha HS cross country team often do a pre-season time trial at CP parkrun. This year they did the same thing, but without parkrunners (well, aside from team member Ian Parsons, a regular parkrunner). Plus lots of other runners and cyclists.


So many enjoying the great running weather on the Paint Branch Trail

Some folks at the Paint Branch Trail must have thought they were seeing double, or triple, as Andrea and Colin kept passing them. They’re both training for the Virtual London Marathon in 2 weeks, and so were doing multiple laps. Andrea covered around 10 miles before her knee told her to stop. … And then Zoe Phillips said, “I’ll help you to finish your marathon, Mom!”, and proceeded to recruit friends to make up the remaining 16 miles. Colin ran the parkrun course 6 times this week. Meridith Phillips reports that he passed her 7 times on the trail.


Colin approaches the end of his 6th lap of the CP parkrun course. He's planning an 8-lap version for the Virtual London Marathon on Sunday Oct 4th.

On another local trail, the gaping hole in the NE Branch trail we mentioned last week has already been fixed! Two thumbs up to our friends at PG Parks for that!

David Lai and Malik Al Jame were excited to explore more of the great trails and parks in the DC area with a couple other friends. They ran the Capital Crescent Trail; starting in Adams Morgan, passing through Fletcher’s Cove to visit the parkrun route there, onto downtown Bethesda, and back via the National Zoo on the way back.


David and Malik did an epic DC tour this week. Then Malik came over to College Park to run 5K with his nephew Isaiah. Perfect!

Also in DC, Dottie Jograj took a walk on Roosevelt Island with Julie Russell and Neil Jograj. And Külli Crespin & Teresa Perdomo each covered a half marathon distance in College Park (see picture at the top).


Dottie, Julie and Neil pretty much covered all of the alternate courses for Roosevelt Island parkrun.

Enjoying good weather and good company

So many parkrunners commented on the great weather - it feels like Fall, which is such a relief after months of blistering humidity. Our picnic this week behind The Board and Brew even moved to a sunny spot on the other side of the bridge because our usual spot was too chilly!


We found a warmer spot for the outdoor meetup this week, right across the stream bridge, next to the Paint Branch Trail and UMD Lot 11b.

Anne L’Ecuyer & Louise Godley went for a long walk on the Sligo Creek Trail. Both were loving the great fall weather, with Anne throwing in some funky dance moves along the way. Louise, on the other hand, was having a harder time getting out the door and is grateful to CPVp, and the prospect of a beer later, for the motivation.

Ellen Oberholtzer and barkrunner Eli continued their local artwork tour.


Eli's contribution this week in his local art tour

Tour de Maryland

This week we set a 1-day challenge to cover the length of the perimeter of the State of Maryland, which is listed at 842 miles. Our final count for the day is 840 miles. So we’ll treat that as well within the margin of error, and declare victory!

We passed (virtually) many familiar and less familiar landmarks along the way.

We first headed west along the C&O Canal towpath, which parallels the Potomac River and marks the southern border of the state. One of the first landmarks we reached was the small town of Harper’s Ferry, famous for John Brown’s unsuccessful 1859 raid that aimed to end slavery. It’s a good reminder that setbacks in the fight for freedom are sometimes followed by victories.


After following the tributaries of the Potomac beyond Cumberland, MD into the Alleghenies we reached Backbone Mountain, at 3,360 ft. the highest point in the state.


We traversed the northern border of the state, otherwise known as the Mason-Dixon Line. This led us past Hancock, MD, where the state is just 1.8 miles wide north-to-south, and eventually to the top of the Chesapeake Bay at Elkton, MD. The small seat of Cecil County turns out to have a more colorful history than we could have imagined. For many years it was known as the “Gretna Green” or “elopement capital” of the east. Both baseball legend Willie Mays and televangelist Pat Robertson tied the knot in Elkton, MD. Who knew that this small town was once the Las Vegas of its time!



Heading south into the Delmarva Peninsula we eventually reached the Atlantic Ocean. We skipped the bustle of Ocean City to instead visit the wild ponies that can be found at Assateague Island National Seashore.


At this point the border of Maryland requires a crossing of the Chesapeake Bay, close to Smith Island, a fishing community that is known for the official state dessert, and a distinctive local dialect.


Smith Island cake: did you know that we have a "state dessert"? Us neither.

For our final leg we returned to College Park from Point Lookout State Park, soon passing through St Mary’s City, the first European settlement in Maryland, and the one time state capital. The main activity in SMC these days is St Mary’s College of Maryland, part of the University System of Maryland (and current home of regular CPVper Alyssa Heintzelman).

Got some ideas for future community challenges? We’d love to hear them!

Milestones and other achievements

Our fastest runners this week were Robin Phillips (M) who ran a 19:11 in Bristol, UK, and Carly Maas (F) who ran 23:19 on the Paint Branch Trail and was pleased with running her fastest 5K time in a while. [Uh oh, sorry bro -- a late arriving result nabbed the top slot.] And our virtual tailwalkers this week were Lisa & James Wilson. Lisa broke her father James out from his assisted living facility because it was such a pretty day. James deserves a special (virtual) high five, because it was his fifth CPVp 5K. Impressive for 102 years old. We think this makes him the oldest person in the world to complete 5 parkruns. (Unfortunately, they're virtual, but we're not going to be picky.)

The longest distance this week was run by Dagny S, who has been training for the Marine Corps Marathon. He completed his longest run ever at 22.22 miles, on an out and back route along the B&A Trail in Anne Arundel County. Dagny wrote that he’s having fun running in the footsteps of his fellow Oromo athletes, which includes many of the world’s fastest distance runners. (

Other runners also had personal milestones this week, with Jen Matis and Jeremy Rueter both running 10Ks, and Mike McClellan going sub 50 for his 5K for the first time since surgery over a year ago. Colin was at Acredale Park as Mike ran towards the finish and then dropped to the floor, after pushing himself a little too hard. But 82-year old Mike was up and smiling again very soon afterwards, waiting to cheer Bonnie McClellan and Anna Tinnemore to the finish. Later in the morning, Trace Huard also ran an all-time PB of 22:13!



We welcomed 10 first-timers this week: Jessica Rosenberg, Adrien Harrison, Mocha Lee, Stephanie Brown, Darlene Dyer, Anne Byrnes, Richard DeAngelis, Sevi X, Sevi X's mom, and Vicki Stevens.

We had our highest count of new HIGH FIVE badge earners since, well, CPVp #5, with 15 new 5-timers: Ben Flamm, Emily Flamm, Sarah Wimmer, Diana Claros, Jim Linn, Jasper (barkrunner), Whistler (barkrunner), James Wilson, Kiki Ivanovsky, Kurama (barkrunner), Lizzie (barkrunner), Michelle Brane, Sasha Ivanovsky, Yoko (barkrunner), and Jules Adamo.

And 5 parkrunners earned a 10-timer Turtle badge: Terri Snedeker, Danny Walker, Jeff Rosenberg, Sophie (barkrunner), and Judy Mason.

Congratulations to all, but here are just a few special shout-outs.

Welcome to Mocha Lee and her fitness group, including Stephanie Brown and Darlene Dyer, who did our regular 5K course as part of their weekly group workout. Also a member of the group: regular CP parkrunner Jim Cantwell. Plus some photobomber in a yellow parkrun shirt.


Mocha Lee and her crew

First-timer Jessica Rosenberg joins husband Brian and son Peter as the latest addition to Team Rosenberg, who had 6 participants this week. They were the Pennsylvania arm of Team Rosenberg, while Jeff Rosenberg earned his 10-timer badge running in Colorado.

Welcome also to Adrien Harrison, from Columbia, MD, sister of regular CPVper (and chalking helper) Meridith Phillips. And Anne Byrnes, wife of regular CPVper Amanda Mercer. They enjoyed the outdoors at Gravelly Point on the Mount Vernon Trail, one of our favorite spots for people and airplane watching in the region.

It was great to see Vicki Stevens and Richard DeAngelis back on the PB Trail on a Saturday morning. Both were regular CP parkrunners in the Before Times. We hope they can continue to join us (semi-)virtually.

Good to see Ben Flamm and Emily Flamm both earning their High Five badges on the same day. We’re pretty sure that wasn’t planned.

Impressively, five barkrunners were among this week’s new 5-timers. The pups probably don’t mind the cooler weather.

And we were thrilled to see barkrunner Sophie earn a turtle badge this week. Sophie is our most enthusiastic barkrunner at regular CP parkrun, and we know she must be missing leading the pack on a Saturday morning.


Sophie can't wait to rejoin her parkrun friends

Congrats to Judy Mason of Kensington parkrun and Terri Snedeker of Fletcher’s Cove parkrun on their 10-timer badges. To mix things up a bit more, Terri completed his 10th CPVp while running a 5K PB on the course of Anacostia parkrun. Clearly the best way to celebrate that achievement would be to go to the coffee shop for Roosevelt Island or Kensington parkruns.

Virtual Volunteers

This week’s CPVp was brought to you by 7 virtual volunteers.

Hannah Russell (report), Tara Mease (results wizardry), Anna Tinnemore (more results wizardry), Colin Phillips (propaganda), and Andrea Zukowski (email and chalk-based comms) are the core crew who have been keeping things humming along week after week.

This week they were joined by Katie Hirsche, who did Strava results collecting while resting up ahead of her first ever half marathon on Sunday - the Virtual Parks Half Marathon. Congrats Katie! (And Evan.)

And Lisa Shiota was a first time virtual volunteer, also monitoring results as they rolled in on Saturday. Lisa was feeling under the weather, so she handled this role adeptly from her couch while recovering. Thanks for your help, Lisa!

An additional shout out to the past virtual volunteers who helped out as online cheerleaders, reading and responding to activities posted on our Facebook feed. All very much appreciated!

As usual, we always welcome offers of help to keep CPVp going. It’s fun. And it earns you a cute volunteer badge in your CPVp results that stays even in weeks when you’re not volunteering.



Congrats to Katie on her first ever half marathon, and to pacemaker Evan

Looking Ahead

This report would not be complete without our weekly update on prospects for a return to “normal”. If we can remember what that even means. It's a bit long this week, so feel free to just skip to the bonus photos at the end.

In global parkrun world, the week was a bit of a whirlwind. Barely 24 hours after parkrun UK announced their carefully crafted plan to bring back hundreds of events in England by late October, the UK government announced new restrictions. Coronavirus cases are surging again in the UK. At the time of writing, per capita rates are similar to what we have seen in Maryland over the past couple of months.

In the current situation in the UK, it looks like a number of landowners will be reluctant to allow events to restart. Increasing numbers of parkrunners are reluctant to restart. And there’s a heightened risk of reputational damage in local communities. These issues are all discussed in a (long!) online Q&A hosted by parkrun global leaders this past Friday. We give full credit to them for recognizing that this likely will delay plans to return in the UK, and for being transparent about some of their survey data.

In other places, there are glimmers of a restart. This weekend 4 events started in very COVID-safe locations. 3 in the remote northern Australian city of Darwin. And one on a disputed British island in the South Atlantic. There are currently plans for most New Zealand events to restart next week, Sept 26th. And for events in Western Australia to return not long afterwards. The experience in these safer locations will surely be helpful.


Sharlene and some of our RBG graffiti

In College Park and surrounding areas the COVID situation is becoming clearer.

Infection rates in Maryland and Prince George’s County have been holding steady for weeks now. At the time of writing, hospitalizations in Maryland are below 300 for the first time since March, around one sixth of the peak total in the Spring.

The COVID-19 situation at UMD is clearer now than one week ago. From Sept 13-19 UMD reported 177 positive cases in their dashboard (61 from campus testing, 116 from self-reported cases). Results from the latest round of mass screening on campus are showing around 1% positives. That is much higher prevalence than in PG County as a whole. (Hold on to your wallet if somebody makes an argument using "positivity rates".) But it's not at the levels of some of the more alarming campus outbreaks around the country. UMD reports that it is working closely with the county health department on coronavirus control measures. One dorm building is currently in quarantine. It will be a few more weeks before we can see more clearly how the rest of the year will unfold for the College Park community.

This week saw the announcement that Big10 football will return in October. Albeit in empty stadiums. Meanwhile, there is no news on changes in event restrictions in PG County.


Congratulations to Angela Gentile on the (virtual, of course) National Women's Half Marathon. She reports that barkrunner Shackleton ran with her for the first 3 miles.

It’s clear that things aren’t likely to change dramatically for months. So there is increasing discussion of: “Is the medicine worse than the cure?”. A blog post shared with parkrunners worldwide this week (The time to act is now) directly claims that the health benefits of bringing parkrun events back outweigh the health risks. This is similar to discussions that have unfolded over opening of schools and colleges, and other parts of the economy.

We do not take a position on whether the benefits of our local event outweigh the risks. But in the case of College Park, we can at least be specific about the relevant considerations. Also, CPVp has given us a clearer picture of what community members have been up to during the pandemic.

CP parkrun is probably the largest running and walking event in Prince George’s County, with around 7,000 participations per year, and growing. It is probably the largest regular fitness activity in the College Park area.

Of course, CP parkrun is free. No money changes hands. So the cost-benefit analysis is free of economic considerations.

The health benefits of CP parkrun to the community include physical health, mental health, and what we might call “community health”, the benefit of positive interaction between different segments of the local community. A healthy community is a connected community. What matters is whether the event is improving these health indicators over what would happen otherwise. If CP parkrun is just creating a free version of activities that would happen anyway, then there is no net benefit.

Currently, the health risks of CP parkrun involve increasing the risk of spread of COVID-19, not only to participants but to those individuals who participants come into contact with.

The following are ballpark figures, but they give a sense of the numbers involved.

In Prince George’s County currently around 1 in 1000 of the population gets a positive COVID-19 diagnosis each week. Assuming that individuals remain positive and infectious for 14 days, this suggests that 1 in 500 in the county is positive right now. It’s hard to know how many asymptomatic cases are out there, but recent CDC estimates are that as many as 50% of cases are asymptomatic. So, maybe around 1 in 1000 in the county are positive-but-asymptomatic currently.

If we assume that those with COVID-19 symptoms would avoid coming to CP parkrun, but that asymptomatic carriers would still attend, this means that around 1 in 1,000 participants would be an asymptomatic carrier. (Of course, some asymptomatic people would stay away if they are quarantining for a family member or close contact. And some mild symptomatic people might still come along, not recognizing their symptoms. These are only rough figures.)

Over the next 6 months, assuming regular turnout of ~150/week, this would amount to about 4 or 5 instances of an asymptomatic carrier coming along to CP parkrun on a Saturday. That's 1 every 4-6 weeks.

Risks of transmission are said to be low outdoors (see the parkrun commissioned review of the relevant science). Asymptomatic individuals are thought to have low risks of transmission. Pre-symptomatics might be a different story. There are widely shared stories that raised fears about the risks of heavy breathing runners. But that science has been strongly disputed. Nowadays we know much more than we did a few months ago about the critical role of prolonged exposure. When parkrun events return, they will operate under a revised COVID-19 Framework that tweaks normal processes in order to reduce infection risk.

Again, we take no position on whether this level of risk is acceptable, for individuals, or for the city or county. But this is a first-pass estimate of the risk level at CP parkrun, if it were to return imminently. (To be clear, there has been no discussion of a return, to our knowledge.)

As for the health benefits of CP parkrun -- to physical, mental, or community health -- and the impact of events being paused, those are harder to calculate. In the case of COVID-19 you either have it or you don't have it. But these other health measures are far more complex.

We can use CPVp as a point of comparison to regular CP parkrun. It’s useful because it’s an indicator of activity during the pandemic. Of course, we have only partial information. But we do know who is reporting activities for CPVp on Saturdays. And the growth of our College Park parkrun Strava Club has given us more information about what folks get up to on other days of the week.

Overall participation in terms of numbers of runs or walks is barely different between Spring/Summer 2019 and Spring/Summer 2020. If anything, we see slightly increased counts of activities in 2020. This has surprised us. It is not what other parkrun communities around the US or around the world are seeing, with a couple of exceptions.

But we see many fewer new participants in 2020. In March - Sept 2019 we welcomed around 500 first-timers to CP parkrun. Some kept coming back, many did not. In the same period in 2020 we have seen many fewer local first-timers. Most newcomers are family members or close friends of current regulars. So, the community is strong. That's wonderful. But it is not currently growing in the way that it normally would.

The diversity of participation has been different in 2020 than in 2019. We now see more walkers, and more women. The flexibility on timing and distance, and the option of not recording a time, have almost certainly helped. But we see less racial and socioeconomic diversity than before. We also see fewer students, too. So we are making less progress on our aim of bringing together different parts of the local community.

We cannot pretend to quantify mental health impacts on the community, especially when 2020 is already so stressful. But we are confident that there are many community members that would see real benefits from being able to come together with a positive group of people on a regular basis. With CPVp and with our (safe, limited) meetups we’re doing what we can to address that need. But it only goes so far.

Volunteering at CP parkrun certainly contributes to the mental health benefits. It doesn’t make you fitter, but it does make you feel good about your role in your community. And volunteers tend to come back more often as runners and walkers. Volunteering at CP parkrun has shrunk dramatically during the pandemic.

As for community health, that is even harder to measure, as it’s a feature of groups rather than individuals. But there is clearly a difference between 2019 and 2020. CPp was one of the largest regular local gatherings that brought people together from different backgrounds. CPVp may, in fact, be one of the largest local “gatherings” during the pandemic. But it is less diverse, and the opportunities for people to support and to talk with people who they wouldn’t see otherwise has narrowed. At a time when town-gown relations are fragile due to concerns about the spread of the virus, the benefits of different parts of the community coming together are even greater than usual.

We leave it for you, dear reader, to weigh these benefits and risks. And they mean different things for each individual. But this is our very local version of what the parkrun HQ folks are working through on an international scale.

One thing that we can say for sure, however, is that the success of CPVp has made a difference to physical, mental, and community health. The vast majority of communities that have lost their local parkrun event do not have the benefit of something like CPVp. And, channeling Ruth Bader Ginsburg once more, we are proud to be a part of this change, one step at a time.

Until next time!

Your CPVp Team



Congrats to Eden Gray for completing a virtual 10k race. After 2 years of injuries and unsuccessful comebacks, this is a real achievement. andres-mbouh-web

Great to meet regular CPVper Andres Mbouh at the post-parkrun picnic


Keaton and Alyssa are back from Pennsylvania for some low altitude training


Ha! Seen on Strava. That's kind of how we roll in College Park.


Twenty Already (Virtual Report 20)

Two years ago on this weekend most local running events were canceled due to an expected hurricane. It didn’t materialize, and College Park parkrun went ahead, welcoming a record crowd of 210 finishers for our 100th event. Looking back at our photo album from that day, the thing that looks most remarkable now is something that seemed entirely normal then - crowds of people running, walking, or standing around in close quarters, enjoying each other’s company, without masks, and not feeling remotely guilty about it.


Look at all those people! College Park parkrun #100, 2 years ago this week.


So many smiles on the trail - and we were even allowed to give high fives! College Park parkrun #100, 2 years ago this week

This week an unexpected weather event on Thursday brought record rainfall amounts, causing damage to trails, trees, bridges, and basements. For the first time that we can remember, Prince George’s Parks put out an alert on Friday morning that ALL of their trails in our area were temporarily closed for safety inspections. We’re not sure what will seem surprising when we look back in 2022, but for now what is striking is just how much we all value simple acts of being able to get outside, and finding small ways to connect to others.

This week was our TWENTIETH CP Virtual parkrun. And as always we were amazed and amused to learn about your adventures, and touched by your acts of kindness.


Lori's 20th CPVp was more challenging than expected - read on to find out why


Facts and Figures

  • 159 virtual parkrunners
  • 775 miles covered
  • 6 first-timers
  • 2 new TEN TIMER TURTLE badges earned
  • 4 new HIGH FIVE badges earned
  • 7 barkrunners
  • 7 virtual volunteers

Stat of the week: maybe it was the milder weather, maybe the stress of the week, but this week you wanted to walk or run further. After 20 CPVps, you have logged over 14,000 miles in around 3,300 activities. The average length of a CPVp is 6.8km, but this week the average was 7.8km. You fit right in at CPVp, whatever your pace or distance. But sometimes you just want to keep on moving.



Team Aguilera Kelley - 5 virtual parkrunners this week! At Calvert Cliffs beach

Thursday’s Storm

The storm that hit the DC area on Thursday dumped 4-6 inches of rain in under 2 hours in our immediate area. The resulting flooding even made international news as multiple major roads were shut down for hours on Thursday afternoon. The Paint Branch Trail was largely ok, but other trails in the area weren’t as lucky. On Saturday, Jen Matis and Angela Gentile both took pictures of this dramatically washed out section of the Northeast Branch Trail near the airport.


Steeplechase anybody?

David Lai followed his virtual parkrun by going out on a kayak to clean up trash from Four Mile Run in Alexandria.


Thank you for helping to clean up local waterways, David!

Meanwhile, spare a thought for our friends in Ann Arbor, MI, where Lillie Virtual parkrun was on its 19th event this week. While we can still enjoy our regular trail every week, there’s no such luck for the Lillie parkrunners. Emma Keer & Adam Hockley ran around Lillie Park, and checked out the boardwalk across a pond that is the centerpiece of their parkrun course. It has been submerged for months, and so it may need to be entirely rebuilt.


We hope the beautiful Lillie parkrun bridge in Ann Arbor can be saved (or replaced)

Appreciation and Supporting each other

We love hearing your messages of appreciation. And just as much we love seeing virtual parkrunners supporting each other.

The rain this week washed away last week’s chalk from the trail, leaving a clean slate for new chalkers. If you head down the Paint Branch Trail between now and the next rainfall, you’ll see greetings all along the trail. Barkrunner Ranger took a run on the trail with his human, Cameron McPhee, who sent us this picture of Ranger’s message.


Nice handwriting, Ranger

Joan Heffernan enjoyed a beautiful day in Connecticut while running her 20th CP Virtual parkrun. Joan says she never would have done 20 5Ks in 20 weeks if it wasn’t for this community. Joan also ran exactly the same time as last week, for which she earns herself a gratuitous groundhog.


We don't yet have a way to do automatic checks for repeat times, so if you think you earned one of these, let us know!

Lori Dominick was also among this week’s crop of 20-timers. She made it around despite an unusual injury from dropping a blender on her foot - she reported that both the foot and the blender are doing well!

New graduate student Carly Maas wrote: "Another beautiful day! Thank you for having this program. I feel very welcomed to College Park!"

We received a lovely message from Alyssa Heintzelman, who has continued to take part in CPVp now that she’s back in college in St Mary’s City, MD: “I missed running at College Park so much I have started to run here at school! I have made my own little 5k course and have even run with some friends a couple of times. I am currently training for a virtual 5k that the Bronx Zoo is putting on called Run for the Wild to support the rhinos. It is Sept. 26 and some of my friends are even going to wake up early to cheer me on! Thank you for doing virtual parkruns. Maybe after the pandemic is over you can still hold them so college students like me can still participate? It is really motivating.”

Külli Crespin & Teresa Perdomo were reunited after 2 months and went for a nearly 6.5 mile walk to celebrate.




It was a week for many-lap courses. Some more than others.

Jackie Hayes went 14 miles on a local running track. That’s 56 laps! Wow.


56 laps for Jackie. Hard to keep count!

Derek Symer did 9.5 laps of a local baseball field to make his 5K in Kensington, MD. Derek normally finds more varied routes, so maybe this was related to the flooding on Beach Drive that left the Kensington parkrun course under water.

In College Park, Colin Phillips, Andrea Zukowsi and Joyce Adams could be found running laps on the parkrun 5K route. They were testing out the course for the virtual London Marathon on October 4th. It passed with flying colors! Andrea and Joyce run-walked 4 laps, and Colin ran 5 laps or 25K. So between them they got to see a lot of friendly parkrunners along the trail, some of them multiple times. (Come join the fun on Oct 4th if you’d like to do a lap, or a few laps.)


Virtual London Marathon training crew. Multi-lap parkruns planned for the next couple of weeks ahead of the Oct 4th big day. Join them!

And while some of their fellow parkrunners ran laps in familiar areas, others decided to try something new. Yogarshi Vyas and Neha & Nitish Joshi went hiking in Cold Spring, NY. On the other side of the country, Janet Grudzien John went for a nearly 5 mile solo walk on the beach in Honolulu. Current restrictions in Hawaii are so tight that you can’t even walk on the beach with a family member.


Not bad views over the Hudson River Valley

In Sandpoint, ID, Cindy Cohen had to take it easy and swap out her usual mountain route for a route on lower ground, as the smoke from the West Coast fires covered the mountains. Closer to home, Team Aguilera Kelley - Jorge, Nico, Diego, Lucas, and Carolyn - walked 3.6 mi on Calvert Cliffs beach after Carolyn had already done her 5k run earlier in the day. This week was Nico’s “first official unofficial” parkrun! (Photo above)

Ellen Oberholtzer and barkrunner Eli continued their tour of public art this week with a visit to the blue bear at Riverdale Park Station. The bear was installed in 2017 and named Sir Rulean by a social media contest. (And what does that name mean? It took (one of) us a while to figure it out. See here.)


No social distancing rules for glittery bears and barkrunners

Milestones and other achievements

The cooler weather on Saturday must have helped lots of people to achieve new milestones for CPVp.

Meghan Gieske ran the full 5k for the first time running since the birth of baby Blaise.

Frank Snyder has been running a 5K every week during the shutdown around his retirement community in Gaithersburg, MD. Frank’s in his late 70s, but is still motivated to bring his times down, and this week made good progress on his goals.

At the speedy end of the (virtual) field, there was a bevvy of PBs. Clark Ridge scored a narrow CPVp PB. Andres Mbouh dipped under 19 minutes for the first time. Tomas Marambio ran what may be his fastest CPVp yet. And we think that Patrick Wojahn’s 21:04 is ahead of his all-time parkrun PB … which may well also make it an all-time US parkrun record in the mayoral category.


Patrick followed his CPVp PB on Saturday by running the Virtual Parks Half Marathon on Sunday, together with Duane Rosenberg. They made good use of the Paint Branch Trail

A few of our parkrunners this week also completed virtual marathons. Brian Murphy and Luther Lemon both ran the virtual Boston Marathon. These two 3-hour marathoners should have been lining up with 30-40,000 others, with hundreds of thousands cheering them along the route of one of the oldest and most famous marathons in the world. Both ran impressive solo efforts in under 3:30.


That's not Copley Square. But it's a marathon well done. Congrats, Brian!

In contrast, Pratyush Tiwary had been training all summer for the Abebe Bikila Marathon, a far smaller affair that was being held as a full marathon for the first time (it had been a half marathon in previous years) and that anticipated a field around 1% of the size of the Boston Marathon. This event commemorates the 184 who lost their lives in the 9/11 attack on The Pentagon, and also remembers Abebe Bikila, the Ethiopian runner who was Africa’s first Olympic champion. The race was due to take place on the C&O Canal towpath, starting at Fletcher’s Cove in Washington DC. Pratyush did his virtual race around the trails of College Park, starting at 5:30am together with UMD graduate student Luke Evans. And he was joined for the last 10 miles by a couple more students as pacers. So he probably had more company on his virtual run than he would have had in the non-virtual race. And he went and ran a 28-minute personal best for the marathon of 3:40. Impressive!

Barkrunner Pakora was there to congratulate Pratyush at the finish, and is looking forward to joining his human on some shorter and cooler runs in the weeks and months ahead.


Pratyush with his pacers

34 people ran their 20th CPVp this week. That’s a perfect “attendance” record. No new badges for that -- we’re holding off until week #25, October 17th, which coincides with the 4th birthday of College Park parkrun.

Andres Mbouh and Isaiah Dycks both earned ten-timer turtle badges. 7-year old Isaiah deserves a special shout out, as in normal times his 10 5Ks would have earned him an official parkrun milestone shirt.


Isaiah sets out for his 10th CPVp

Amy Rice, Kristie Atwood, Sally Newman, and Faith Hays all earned high five badges for completing their fifth CPVp. Amy managed an interesting combo this week, first running a couple of miles outdoors with her sons, and then hopping on the treadmill to add a few more miles. Sally is a regular at Kensington parkrun, and Faith is a regular at Durham, NC parkrun.

We welcomed six newcomers this week: Jeff Bowser, Nitish Joshi, Nico Aguilera Kelley, Deborah Gayle, Daniele Forno, and Magdalena Duhagon! Deborah was taking part in a non-virtual race and celebrated her fastest 5K in years. Daniele Forno is the latest addition to our pool of CPVpers in Civitavecchia, Italy. And we were thrilled to see Magdalena back running on the Paint Branch Trail on a Saturday.


Welcome Daniele (and Paolo Giulio). Now we have THREE CPVPers in Italy

If you need some calming, locally-sourced music to help you through the pandemic, we can recommend Magdalena’s YouTube channel, where you can hear some of her wonderful classical guitar music.

An Even Bigger Milestone

Luther and Michelle Lemon were out on the Paint Branch Trail this week, and sent their regrets for not joining the coffee meetup this week (no worries!). But Michelle shared a very important update for the day. 9-month old Dashiell walked his first steps this Saturday.

Now THAT is a big achievement. Congratulations Dashiell! We’re counting down to late 2023, when you can get your own barcode. For now, riding in the stroller while mom runs is a pretty good gig, too.


Fiona skips along while Dashiell rests on his laurels after taking his first ever steps!

Virtual Volunteers

A big Thank You, as always, to our team of virtual volunteers. The regular weekly crew of Colin Phillips, Andrea Zukowski, Tara Mease, Anna Tinnemore, and Hannah Russell were joined this week by Katie Hirsche and Meridith Phillips.

For Meridith it was her first time as a CPVp virtual volunteer, and she filled the joint role of results wrangler and online cheerleader like a natural. Thank you!

We’d like to give an extra shout out to Tara for a super handy addition to our results tracking system, which makes it easy for us to check whether we have overlooked any regulars.

If you can help out as a virtual volunteer in future weeks, we’d LOVE to hear from you. There are many roles. They’re fun and easy. And they all help us to keep supporting this community during the pandemic.


New virtual volunteer -- thank you, Meridith!

Looking Ahead

This section is our weekly update on where things stand in parkrun world and in our local area, and how this affects our community in the months ahead.

Responses to the COVID-19 pandemic create a dilemma that we’re all familiar with by now. We need to keep people apart, to limit the spread of the virus and protect health and lives. But keeping people apart brings untold costs. It damages lives, it damages livelihoods, it further erodes society, and it can also undermine physical and mental health.

This is the backdrop to the big news in parkrun world this week: the planned return of parkrun in England in late October.

This took us by surprise. The UK has made huge progress in controlling COVID-19, but it’s definitely not the most virus-safe parkrun country. Especially since it’s also the biggest, with 500+ events every Saturday and around 150,000 participants per week. Many events draw 500+ per week, often on narrow multi-lap courses. UK parkruns are crowded.

The return of parkrun in England (not all of the UK) was announced one day before the UK government changed their “Rule of Six” from guidance to a legal requirement. Groups of more than 6 people cannot gather, even outside, unless it’s part of a specifically approved activity. So this creates a situation where, at some point in October, it will be illegal for a group of 7 friends to gather in a park, but it will be ok for 700 to gather in that same park if it’s for a parkrun.

This sounds like a bit of a contradiction. It surely won’t pass without controversy. The justification is that the benefits of parkrun outweigh the risks, because parkrun brings huge benefits to physical and mental health, and the recently published parkrun COVID-19 framework mitigates the risks of virus transmission. We don’t know what’s right, but it’s clearly a brainer (i.e., not a no-brainer). In England, parkrun was able to get this exception, together with schools, workplaces, and other organized sporting events, thanks to their close connections with national government bodies.

We are curious to see how the re-start of parkrun in England proceeds. We certainly hope that it is a success. But this has minimal bearing on how parkrun events will restart in the US. There is no way that we will get the kind of special status given to events in the UK.

You don’t need us to tell you that the US lacks a coherent national approach to the pandemic. Regulations on events and activities in the US are currently set primarily at the level of states, counties, and even municipalities. So central planning of event re-starts is almost impossible. Also, the US is a place where influence happens mostly on a local basis. So the successful restart of hundreds of parkrun events in the UK would have roughly zero influence on decisions made by local authorities here. The decisions of a US county will be influenced by what happens in the next county over, but not by what happens in London.

Bottom line: it’s going to be a while.


We do miss Hump, but there's one way to find him ...


... at the weekly CPVp socially distanced outdoor picnic


And for a bonus, you can practice yoga moves with Lisa

Meanwhile, the trajectory of the pandemic is becoming clearer in Maryland and the DMV, but we’re still in the “fog of uncertainty” stage in College Park.

At the state and county level, we’re in a relatively steady state. There are gradual steps towards reopening, and gradual increases and decreases in the spread of the virus. But there’s little reason to expect things to get dramatically better or dramatically worse in the foreseeable future. Any significant drops in the spread of the virus are likely to be met with further reopening measures. And it's more important that schools reopen than that sporting events restart.

At the local level, on the other hand, things are much less clear, due to the ramp up of activity at UMD. Some say that things are going well. Others see alarming signs. Tensions and suspicions are unusually high.

Maryland high school sports announced a plan for restarting, with the year’s three ‘seasons’ squeezed into February - June 2021. That’s encouraging. But February is still a long way away.

So, there’s a whole lot that we don’t know. And uncertainty is hard for all of us. But it is clear that the dilemma facing parkrun in the UK is less acute for us here in College Park. It is certainly hard to be apart, and there are real negative consequences of that. We are not able to serve the local community as broadly as we did in the past. But with CPVp now fairly well established, and relatively sustainable, we can continue supporting one another for as long as it takes, until we are able to come back together.

Until next time!

Your CPVp Team







Chalk Talks (Virtual Report 19)

Here at CPVp HQ we generally have mixed feelings about the arrival of September. The end of summer brings better weather for running outdoors, but tighter schedules and more deadlines with the start of the school year. In 2020 we are SO HAPPY to welcome September. The summer was, well, 2020, so it’s not like it will be missed. And the advent of milder weather is JUST AWESOME, as so many of us experienced this weekend.

When lives are turned upside down by the pandemic, and many are homeschooling, or tele-working, or doing all we can to keep a business afloat, or take care of loved ones, or just trying to stay sane -- it is SO good to be able to get outdoors to do simple things like walk or run. And better yet if we happen to see other humans. Like, in person.

As usual, you have given us plenty to share for CPVp Report #19. Thank you to everybody who contributes material regularly. We love hearing from you. And your stories and pictures help everyone to feel that little bit less isolated in these strange times.



Great to see Elmer Hernandez running on the Paint Branch Trail this week

Facts and Figures

  • 170 virtual parkrunners
  • 750 miles covered
  • 4 first-timers
  • 6 new TEN TIMER TURTLE badges earned
  • 11 barkrunners
  • 6 virtual volunteers

Fun fact: to date 84 people have completed CPVp at least 15 times. 80 of them took part on this beautiful weekend.



Amanda got to give her 100 shirt a spin. And she came across Win on the trail!

Chalk Talk

In the before times we would gather at Acredale Park and actually talk to one another and cheer for each other. What a thought! In case that’s hard to remember, here’s a picture of us doing just that one year ago.


Remember when this was a normal thing? We barely can!

This week we found a new low-tech way to interact, without electronic devices … but with chalk! Andrea left a message by the start line at Acredale Park, and then left a box of chalk for parkrunners to leave messages along the trail. And the result was fabulous. If you follow “our” stretch of trail, you’ll find so many different messages of encouragement. Thanks to everyone who contributed to this team effort.

The chalk is out there until the next rain comes along. And then we can start again.


Andrea got things started -- you can take a girl out of Detroit, but you can't take Detroit out of a girl


Lisa Shiota's greeting


Lisa Wilson's contribution


Good advice


We have so many talented artists in our community

Scenes from the Trail

If you visit the Paint Branch Trail on a Saturday, any time from 7:00 - 10:30 or so, there’s a good chance of seeing parkrunners. And you might see paparazza Andrea roving with her camera, too. (Fancy giving this role a try some week? Let us know!)


Meridith found the roving paparazza

Farrah Darbouze, Jessica Heard and barkrunner Idgy struck out southwards for a change of scenery, to visit new sections of the trail -- great idea!

And a few parkrunners included the PB Trail into longer runs. Kristie Atwood got in a 10-miler that took her down the Trolley Trail to Hyattsville. Somewhere along the trail she found a crayfish with rather impressive claws!



Don't stand so close to me!

Lisa Shiota and Matt Kaplan explored some side trails.

Zak Mellen and Chris van Vlack headed up the big hill on the PB Trail extension that leads to Beltsville, and somehow Chris managed to score a big PB for his 5K. Nice!


Looking good, Neha!

Further Afield

As always, we had a lot of virtual parkrunners share their stories with us from places other than the Paint Branch Trail this week.

Janet Grudzien John is a CPVp stalwart who has been sharing great pictures throughout the summer. First from the ocean in Newport, RI, then walks with her dad in Michigan. But she has been missing from the CPVp results the past couple of weeks. Why? Because she moved to Hawaii and has been in 2-week quarantine. This week she celebrated her first morning of freedom with a beautiful sunrise walk in Honolulu.


Congratulations on your freedom, Janet!

Joan Heffernan ran 5K from home in Suffield, Connecticut, and contributed this week’s CPVp history lesson. Joan sent us a picture of this sign commemorating Suffield native Sylvester Graham, the guy who graham crackers are named after. And she had a graham cracker after her run. Nice! But this sent our report writers down an interesting rabbit hole about Graham and his influence.

It turns out that Reverend Graham didn’t actually invent the eponymous cracker. But he was a leader in the temperance movement and a proponent of healthy living in the early 19th century. He is regarded by some as the father of the American vegetarian movement. And he rose to fame during a period of widespread panic around a cholera pandemic, when it appeared that Graham’s followers were avoiding infection better than most.

Graham is also credited as one of the first to recognize that stress contributes to disease, something we’re all more aware of right now.

Graham also had a strong influence on another figure who would come to be a household name, John Harvey Kellogg. We mostly know the name from breakfast cereal, but there’s a lot more to the story than that (some of it good, some not so much).


Moving from history class to art class, Ellen Oberholtzer and Eli ran 5K with a brief photo stop to capture another part of the Decatur Street bridge in Edmonston.


Eli's art tour continues

Anna Weber completed about 4 miles on Roosevelt Island, with lots to look at, including a skink, butterflies, mushrooms and a friendly arachnid.


Erin Fields Saddler completed over 5 miles and got a great selfie with the new ‘M’ circle at the University of Maryland.


Erin checked out the new "M" circle at UMD. The new landmark has been built to make space for the route of the Purple Line light rail

Sarah Cunanan’s run generated run art that looks like lobster claws!


Malik Al-Jame, David Lai, and another friend ran 15 miles along the Northeast Branch Trail, from Lake Artemesia to Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens in DC, and back.  Malik then honored a promise to his nephew, Isaiah, for another 3 miles.



Malik did a 15-mile warm up for his 5K with Isaiah. That's probably enough.


Brian Rosenberg set a CPVp record, with a time of 17:04, running in Mechanicsburg, PA. Brian’s message to Sam Phipps (or any other challenger): please run faster, as that will help push me (virtually) to a sub-17 time. Game on!

Clark Ridge checked in with a speedy 17:36 clocking, and Andres Mbouh put down a 19:07 PB. So we had a good contingent of speedsters taking part this week.

Külli Crespin combined her parkrun 5K with the Virginia Beach Rock n Roll Half Marathon, with her husband encouraging her by biking alongside. She plans to do another half marathon in 2 weeks and hopes to get her time down to 2.5 hours.

Jen Matis is not only back from injury. She also combined her virtual parkrun with a virtual race and got a cool, wooden medal for her efforts.

In Idaho, Cindy Cohen continued her gravity aided assault on her PBs, this week coming close to cracking 23 minutes for her (very) downhill 5K.


Jen's race number says "Salute your shorts". We're not sure whether to ask.


In last week’s bad weather, the barkrunners were happy to stay indoors. This week they were even more happy to get outside. Our 11 barkrunners may be a CPVp record.

Angela Gentile’s pup Shackleton ran a mile in Ocean View, Delaware. It’s a big achievement since he’s been afraid to run or walk recently. His humans managed some slightly longer distances, with Angela adding on another 2.1 miles and TJ Hool doing 4 miles.


Shack is back!

Shelly Gough Lauffer and barkrunner, Tucker the beagle, completed a walk in the evening in Mt Airy, MD. And Cameron McPhee and Ranger did just over 4 miles, conveniently finishing up at Vigilante Coffee.

Eden Gray and Foxy got in a zig-zagging, tail-wagging mile. Foxy may look all sweet and innocent in the picture, but Eden says this is her 'Foxy isn't going anywhere until Foxy decides where Foxy wants to walk' stance.


Tim Keer was joined by barkrunners Whistler and Jasper. Whistler did a whole 5K with Tim, but Jasper decided 2.5 miles was plenty, especially since they were passing by his house at that point!


Maybe Tim heard the rumor about our CPVp virtual Iditarod in the winter


Not a barkrunner. But seen on Stefano Gazzano's run this week in central Italy


6 more virtual parkrunners completed their 10th CPVp this week, earning their turtle badges: barkrunner Roo, Jason Yarwood, Joanne Smith, Lisa Shiota, Matt Kaplan, and Gail Sockwell-Thompson. Congrats to all!

And we had at least one actual turtle joining in the action, as spotted by Michelle Lemon.


Don't fear this turtle

And we welcomed a lot of first-time CPVpers. We’re thrilled to have new folks joining us as the seasons shift.

Karen Wojahn is “first mom” of College Park, as her son is mayor Patrick Wojahn. Karen has visited us at our regular events when she’s in town. This week she got in a walk in the beautiful surroundings of Door County, WI. That sounds like an amazing place to be at this time of year! Karen walked 4.4 miles, while in College Park her son Patrick enjoyed the cooler weather with a speedy 3.6 miles.

Hannah Collins is a regular CP parkrunner, but this week she joined dad Kalonji on the Paint Branch Trail for her first CPVp, and they visited the Lisa sign at the turnaround together.


Welcome Hannah!

UMD grad students Janel Niska and Elizabeth Cooper have encountered the parkrun meetup behind The Board and Brew a couple of times, and so this week they got in on the fun by running the Paint Branch Trail, bringing more good vibes to the trail.


We were happy to welcome new UMD grad student Carly Maas to the community. It’s hard to move to a new town in the middle of a pandemic. Welcome!


Welcome to College Park, Carly (... and Elizabeth is still looking for pregnant sows, BTW)

And it was great to see regular parkrunner Patty Hall join CPVp for the first time, together with barkrunner Jude.


Welcome Patty and Jude

Virtual Volunteers

This week’s veteran crew consisted of: Ellen Oberholtzer, Anna Tinnemore, Tara Mease, Hannah Russell, plus Colin Phillips and Andrea Zukowski.

Thank you to those who have dropped us a message to offer to help in a future week. That’s always very much appreciated. The virtual volunteer jobs are interesting -- you get to gather and organize the pictures and stories that 150+ people send us every week. And they can be done from wherever you happen to be right now.

Speaking of far away volunteers, we owe an extra shout out to Kath Phillips -- Colin’s mum -- who does quality control on these reports every week. If there are errors, Colin gets to hear about them! Sometimes it’s, “Is this a mistake, or is that how Americans say that?” At least half the time it’s a mistake. Thanks!


This week Colin ran the actual parkrun course on a Saturday for the first time since March. Great to be back!

Looking Ahead

This is the part where we give a mix of local and global updates on prospects for getting back to normal.

As regular readers probably know, our events work because of a partnership between local volunteers and the centralized infrastructure of parkrun Global. Locals do all the things on the ground in College Park, but the tech and the insurance and lots of other stuff on the back end depends on parkrun Global. And they control when we return. Two developments of note this week.

First, a very few events worldwide will be returning in mid-September: the 3 events in the Northern Territories of Australia and Cape Pembroke Lighthouse parkrun, on a remote South Atlantic island that bizarrely remains under UK control. Two take-aways from this. parkrun events can return on a regional basis, without the need for an entire country to restart. But the bar for these re-starts is set pretty high so far. These events are really, really remote, and they are in locations that are very safe from the pandemic. The moral for College Park: nothing in here that speeds our return, alas. But we'd love to see Marsh, Billings, Rockefeller parkrun in Vermont get a chance to re-start ahead of us.

Second, parkrun Global released a report that they commissioned from a UK-based team of scientists, assessing evidence on the spread of COVID-19 in outdoor settings. You can read it here. It’s interesting. We see two main take-aways: (i) as we already knew, the risk of transmission is much lower in outdoor settings, due to a mix of air circulation and more space; (ii) we know remarkably little after 25M+ cases worldwide, because it’s so hard to confidently trace the source of infections. The moral for College Park: our regular parkruns aren’t coming back imminently, but our brief outdoor encounters on the trail are low risk, as are socially distanced meetups.

UPDATE [9/7/20, 2pm] Ok, so this comes as a surprise. parkrun Global has just now announced that parkrun events in England (not the UK as a whole) will re-start late October. No plans yet announced for other parts of the world.


Luther tapers for the virtual Boston Marathon with a speedy stroller run

As for local updates, the big change in College Park is the influx of new residents with the start of the UMD fall semester last week.

Classes are very much underway at UMD. (At CPVp HQ, two of us are teaching classes and one is taking classes, all via Zoom, from different rooms of the same house. It’s going surprisingly well!) There are certainly more people and more traffic around town. But it’s still very quiet compared to a normal beginning of September in College Park.

It’s too early to know the impact of the new semester on the city, on physical, mental, and economic health. But it’s worth highlighting a couple of things.

Most students are being admirably careful. We hear stories about the exceptions, of course. But we need to remember that most people are acting in the interest of those around them most of the time. And thank them for this.

Local businesses are still struggling. We have been excited to see the return of businesses like The Board and Brew. But with local density still way down, relative to a normal semester, it’s hard for those places to stay afloat. They really appreciate your support!

And we need to be cautious ourselves. The outdoor, socially distanced meetups have been great, and they help to support local businesses. But we also need to be aware that students are watching us, and won’t hesitate to notice any evidence of a double standard being applied to younger vs. older community members. (Thanks to UMD freshman Zoe Phillips for bringing this to our attention.)

Meanwhile take a look below for pictures from the new College Park Woods connector trail  that links to the Paint Branch Trail. It looks so close to being ready to open. We can't wait to check it out!

Until next time!

Your CPVp Team


9-month old Dashiell enjoyed the trail so much that he didn't fall asleep on this week's run!


3-year old Fiona didn't want to be left out of the running action


Socially-distanced picnic behind The Board & Brew


Great to see Win back to running, and back on the trail


Virtual Utica Boilermaker shirts for Mary Clare and Samantha


Lisa keeping tabs on herself


Catherine and Pete biked up to CP for the socially-distanced picnic


The new trail is looking SO close to ready


Looks good for a future alternate route on days when flooding blocks the upper part of the main trail.


Hello Laura! (Virtual Report 18)

Exercising in the DC summer weather, you’ve probably thought to yourself, “I’m so wet, it might as well have been raining!” Well, this week it was raining, as we had a visit from the remnants of Hurricane Laura, which had left a trail of destruction in Western Louisiana a couple of days earlier.

But after all that 2020 has thrown at us, a little bit of rain wasn’t going to throw us off balance! We’re stronger than that. So, as always there was plenty to share and plenty to feel good about at CP Virtual parkrun #18.

And, for THIS WEEK ONLY we made up for the storm by extending our activity window through noon on Sunday, by which time we had some of the best running and walking weather we’ve seen in months. By next week, we shouldn’t need the extra time -- the Saturday forecast is looking awesome.



Driest place to be on Saturday morning was in a well-covered stroller

Facts and Figures

  • 152 virtual parkrunners
  • 660 miles covered
  • 4 first-timers
  • 7 new TEN TIMER TURTLE badges earned
  • 4 new HIGH FIVES earned
  • 9 barkrunners
  • 6 virtual volunteers



David Lai and his crew were not going to be held back by the rain

Mother Nature

It was tempting to stay home in the dry, but lots of you got outside anyway. Not so many pictures of you in the rain, because you had your devices safely tucked away. And some of you waited out the rain and enjoyed the sauna later in the day instead.

Team Schneider interrupted their run-walk to enjoy splashing in some puddles.


When life gives you puddles, splash!

We may have set a record for the number of virtual parkrunners who completed their run on a treadmill this week (6). Extra kudos to Eddie Matus, who managed an 11-mile treadmill run. We’re not sure that we could go that far without falling off.


Record number of treadmill runs this week. Jen had perfect weather for her CPVp

We weren’t going to let our socially-distanced outdoor meetup be rained out. So Andrea sleuthed out a quiet-if-not-bucolic corner of the parking structure at The Varsity and posted a sign to direct parkrunners from the park out back. It worked surprisingly well!


We meet in the fanciest places

Team Lemon -- that’s Michelle, Luther, Fiona, and Daschle -- joined us after their soggy CPVp.


And barkrunner Shackleton came along in his raincoat, and was so excited to say hello to everybody that he needed to be carried away.


Well hello Shackleton!


Sometimes you just have to be dragged away from the friends

Running in Bowie, Mary Anderson saw a pretty awesome terrapin.


Go Terps!

Ellen Oberholtzer and barkrunner Eli continued their tour of beautiful things in our midst. This week they visited the flowers at Dupont Circle … the one in Riverdale Park.


Eli's latest entry for his art tour

And parkrunners who were outside later in the day were treated to some cool skies.


Goodnight lake


While many parents are dropping off their offspring in College Park at the start of a new school year (welcome new students!), many local parents are taking their sons and daughters elsewhere. For Dan Owen this meant a trip to Madison, WI, and an opportunity to check out the route of Howard Temin Lakeshore Path parkrun on the campus of the University of Wisconsin.


Go Badgers!

HTLP parkrun would have been celebrating its first birthday this week. It is well worth a visit if you get a chance. It starts right in front of the UWM Student Union, and follows a pretty trail along the shore of Lake Mendota. In the summer the post-parkrun coffee is in a spectacular spot overlooking the lake. In the winter the event has the distinction of being the only parkrun (to our knowledge) where the pre-event briefing is held inside the student pub, and the finish line is directly in front of the pub door. Colin Phillips got to visit on a snowy day this past January, when he was one of only 6 finishers, and it was excellent!

Better yet, if you choose your timing right, you might get to enjoy a parkrun on the day of the Madison Winter Carnival, where the lake views are even better!


Ok, now THAT is a cool parkrun start

Even further afield, this week we found Robin Phillips running along part of the route of Keswick parkrun in the Lake District National Park in the UK. 6 years ago this week he took Andrea, Colin, and Zoe to Keswick parkrun a couple of days after his wedding. For new runner Andrea this followed her first parkrun the week before, and it may have been what got her to say, “Wouldn’t it be good if we had this in College Park!”


Keswick parkrun, August 2014. Andrea's 2nd ever parkrun

Speaking of new parkrun communities, the Glen Burnie crew met up for a run along their planned route on the B&A Trail. For Jessica Gerbig it was more of a run-waddle with dad Gus Campbell, as she’s looking forward to a new family member on the way!


The Glen Burnie crew was out in force this week


New parkrunner on the way!

Undaunted by the rain, Stewart Mayhew set out from home in Chevy Chase and ran all the way to Vigilante in College Park, ordered a coffee, and then ran home again. We’ll take that as an endorsement for College Park’s coffee scene.

And in Detroit, MI regular CPVper Cory Kind celebrated completing 1000 miles of running since we started in May, as part of the Great Virtual Race Across Tennessee challenge that has captured the imagination of many this summer. Maybe she has earned a little bit of a rest now?


In University Park on Sunday morning a handful of runners and walkers gathered to take on the Virtual Dreaded Druid Hills 10K. This virtualized version of a Baltimore running staple operates on the principle of “run anywhere, as long as it’s hilly!” So Andrea Zukowski devised a route that went up the stiffest hill in her ‘hood 8 times. Ouch!





Smiles ahead of the first of the hills

But our favorite route choice of the week was one of the simplest. Dom Blom, Michael Iati and barkrunner Roo headed south on the Trolley Trail and walked to the new Tiki Bar at Franklin’s Brewery. And then walked home. The question of whether they paused at their CPVp turnaround is an interesting one which we will not dwell upon here.


Nice route, Roo


The start of the school year would normally be a big week for first-timers at CPp. But between the storm and the pandemic, that wasn’t happening this week. So we had our most ‘exclusive’ crew of first-timers yet. Welcome to Kristin Maneval, part of the Glen Burnie crew. And to Elizabeth Corona, who found us online and hopes to keep joining us to help stay active. Welcome Elizabeth! And welcome to experienced CP parkrunners Susan Keller and Chris Nichols.

As usual, we conferred a bunch of new badges this week for regular CPVpers.

HIGH FIVES: Peter Rosenberg, Adam Hockley, Rod Green, Tom Gentile

TEN TIMER TURTLES: Brian Rosenberg, Heather Sisan, Michelle Lemon, Janice Bernache, Debbie Levenson, Anne L’Ecuyer, and Carolyn Kelley.

A special shout out to Brian Rosenberg and his son Peter, who both earned badges this week. Brian is a former winner of the Baltimore Marathon, and may hold the distinction of the fastest CPVp yet. But these days he’s happy to try to match uncle Duane’s time each week, while running in Mechanicsburg, PA. Meanwhile, Peter has gone from strength to strength, and we suspect that his 26:xx time this week is a clear PB. Nice!

Adam Hockley earned his High Five badge in Michigan, getting in an easy walk after a 100km bike race.


Adam warmed up by doing a 100km bike race

And Michelle Lemon enjoyed her 10th CPVp on a rather wet Paint Branch Trail, with 9-month old Daschle as a well-waterproofed companion (see picture above).

Debbie Levenson and Rod Green were among the folks earning their badges in the glorious Sunday morning weather.



Virtual Volunteers

CPVp #18 was brought to you by an elite team of virtual volunteers. Special thanks to regular volunteers Joyce Adams, Tara Mease, Anna Tinnemore, Andrea Zukowski, and Colin Phillips. Between them this crew have volunteered at 80 virtual CP parkruns.

And an extra shout out this week to Gloria Cottman, who picked up litter along the Paint Branch Trail in the rain.

Can you help one Saturday in September? We’d love to hear from you:


Thanks to Gloria for plogging this week

Looking Ahead

So, what do we have to look forward to in the weeks and months ahead?

Old school CP parkrun? Nice try, but it’s probably going to be a while yet. In this week’s update from the mothership, a hint was dropped that parkrun Global hopes to bring back a number of countries by the end of October. If this happens, will the US be among them? We have no inside information on this. So place your bets! If we were the betting type, we’d say the most likely candidates are the Scandinavian countries and Western Australia. Watch this space!

New challenges? Our distance challenges in May (Run Across America), June (Civil Rights Tour) and July (Appalachian Trail) were popular additions to CPVp. We’re looking to do more. Got ideas? Let us know. One that is definitely on our list -- but we’re saving it for colder months -- is to do a virtual Iditarod.

Indoor Board & Brew. Starting Monday 8/31 our friends at The Board and Brew will be opening for indoor dining and gaming, for the first time since mid-March. We don’t expect to move our CPVp meetups indoors anytime soon. Outdoors is safer and better for mingling. And we’re looking forward to some of our favorite weather of the year. But who knows, maybe by the time it gets colder outside we’ll be able to meet indoors.

New trail! Visitors to the Paint Branch Trail will have noticed that the College Park Woods Connector trail is close to completion. We’re looking forward to exploring this new stretch of trail soon. It might even come in handy as a backup on those days when flooding or snow/ice blocks the trail at the Tornado Forest area, allowing us to make a simpler double out-and-back, without the detour at Hump’s Crossing.


We can't wait to try out the new connector trail

Good luck to everybody who is starting a new school year right now. Stay healthy, stay active, stay strong!

Until next time!

Your CPVp Team


In Mansfield, OH, Ann and Samantha dedicated their virtual parkrun to local parkrunner Lyle Beveridge who is recovering from a recent stroke. They look forward to running with him again soon.



Tutu Day (Virtual Report 17)

Each week we love learning about the new people who are getting involved in CP Virtual parkrun or are coming back for more. In the beforetimes, people would often find us because they would be looking online for local races. That rarely happens now. Since March, almost all first timers are family members or friends who an existing parkrunner inspired to get involved. This week was no exception.

Stefano Gazzano has been joining us from near Rome since we started, at which time Stefano was just emerging from Italy’s strict lockdown. This week Stefano’s son Paulo Giulio joined us for the first time. In Mansfield, OH, Ann Robinson’s 3 grandsons Adam, Bradley, and Darren joined us. And Derek Symer shared that his daughter is working up to running with us, inspired by Dad. Duane Rosenberg family members around the country are now regulars, as is Louise Godley’s wife Ann L’Ecuyer. And we were happy this week to meet Lori Dominick’s neighbor Kristie.

We have always said that our advertising budget is YOU, and that has never been truer than now.

This week was our 17th CPVp already, and we were greeted with a return of steamy weather. But it was also August 22nd, meaning it was tutu day at parkrun. And for our friends at Roosevelt Island parkrun it was -- or it should have been -- their 4th birthday. So, virtual cake was called for.



A little inspiration at the start line this week

Facts and Figures

  • 156 virtual parkrunners
  • 680 miles covered
  • 11 first-timers
  • 11 new TEN TIMER TURTLE badges earned
  • 3 new HIGH FIVES earned
  • 8 barkrunners
  • 8 virtual volunteers


Tutu Day

A parkrun tradition that is rumored to have started in New Zealand is to don tutus when Saturday falls on the 22nd of the month. Now that’s a tradition that the pandemic can’t stand in the way of. A bunch of our parkrunners celebrated tutu day and sent us pictures to prove it!

The Schneider girls were decked out with headbands, wands, and dragon shoes to go along with their tutus!


There was no way the Schneider girls were going to miss out on tutu day!

Lori Dominick and Rebecca White wore matching Ravens themed tutus!


Go Ravens!

Duane Rosenberg wore a red tutu to match his red parkrun shirt.


Duane was perfectly color coordinated. (Fortunately he's no longer an elected official, otherwise we might need to treat this as kompromat)

The Czech crew from RI wore their tutus to their track session.


The Czech crew celebrated the 4th birthday of Roosevelt Island parkrun in style

Angela Gentile forgot her tutu at the beginning of her run, but remembered when she saw Meridith Phillips in a blue tutu when she got to the trail. Angela had her tutu, and some water, delivered in the middle of her run. Now THAT is service.


Angela, with her tutu safely delivered mid-run


Andres Mbouh was our first finisher this week, with a time of 19:44! Stewart Mayhew ran another all-time PB this week at 21:24. And Isaiah Dycks chipped another minute off of his time at his 7th consecutive CPVp.


Stewart practically flew to a PB of 21:24 this week. Nice!


Isaiah's time this week was HALF of what it was in his first outing 6 weeks ago. Wow.

We’re not sure if Robin Phillips was the first parkrunner to finish this week, but he was almost certainly the first parkrunner to start, as he set out at 2am from home in Bristol, UK, on a 46-mile ultramarathon that circled the entire city. It took him about 9.5 hours, so he was finishing as many parkrunners in Maryland were waking up.


Everyone's a winner at CP virtual parkrun. But Robin was certainly this week's first starter. Looks like he was at Privet Drive at 2am, starting his 46-mile journey.

Along the route, Robin passed close to at least 3 parkrun venues. This included Ashton Court parkrun, where he did the first of his 319 parkruns back in 2011. And Little Stoke parkrun, where Robin first introduced sister-in-law and new runner Andrea Zukowski to parkrun in 2014. And Somerdale Pavilion parkrun, which Robin introduced brother Colin to in 2019. This event is held on the sports ground of a former chocolate factory, and it has the absolute wildest course you could imagine.


One of the challenges of running Somerdale Pavilion parkrun is to stop laughing. You follow this "route" twice to cover 5K.

Brian & Duane Rosenberg met their goal of finishing adjacent this week; they were 10 seconds apart even though they ran in different states -- Brian in Mechanicsburg, PA and uncle Duane in New Carrollton, MD. A last minute entry from Patrick Wojahn threatened to separate them, but fortunately Patrick was just a few seconds behind Duane this week.


This weekend Andrea ramped up her trail chalking another notch. At the start line she left a Venus Williams quote, complete with a drawing. And she also took a break in the middle of her run to add more quotes at the turnaround spot. One more reason to visit the Paint Branch Trail on a Saturday morning.goodall2-web goodall1-web

 Fancy yourself as a Chalker in future weeks? Drop us a line!

As always, we had parkrunners join us from all over the world this week. We had parkrunners from the UK, Italy, Germany, and all over the US.

Cindy Cohen was glad to be back at her mountainside downhill runs in Idaho after a few weeks enduring the humidity of DC. And Paul Wester ran on Assateague Island this week!


Ooh - we LIKE that view, Cindy!

The trail at Durham, NC where Steve and Cindy Feld ran was flooded on Saturday.


Steve and Cindy. Also with a lake. This one in Durham, NC

Alyssa Heintzelman has been doing CPVp with dad Dave for the past few months after colleges closed down in March. But this week she was back in St Mary’s, MD. Alyssa: “It was my first time running on my campus again, so I thought I would share a photo. I made two friends that are interested in doing a running club which starts tomorrow!”


Alyssa's back in college. But she can still do CPVp

And Gloria Cottman wins the award for best solution to the hot-and-sticky weather this week. She did a 2-hour walk inside a pool. Nice!

Haiku Interlude

Heather Sisan composed a haiku while running in Kensington, MD, close to Rock Creek.

I run alongside.
Without effort or goals, still
The creek slips ahead.

That is impressive multi-tasking, Heather!


This week’s field included 11 first timers. Yay, and welcome! They were:

Paolo Giulio Gazzano, Kadija Kamus, Sonja Hatten, Adam Robinson, Bradley Robinson, Darren Robinson, Danielle Dycks, Sarah Wimmer, Alden Jay Gibbs, Dexter Guillaume, Jane Handelsman

Paolo Guilio is the son of regular CPVper Stefano Gazzano, who joined us from Civitavecchia, Italy, immediately doubling the size of our Italian contingent.


Welcome Paulo Giulio!

Adam, Bradley, and Darren are all grandsons of Ann Robinson, a regular CPVper who joins us most weeks from Mansfield, OH, where she typically runs the Mansfield parkrun route along the B&O Railroad trail.

Danielle is mom of Isaiah, whose weekly PBs we have been following in awe this summer. Danielle this week “tail walked” while pushing Isaiah’s little sister. Excellent!

Kadija and Sonja are no strangers to CP parkrun, as they have joined us for a number of our face-to-face events before. As has first-time virtual parkrunner Dexter.


Sonja and Kadija last spring at Cpp


Dexter at CPp last fall

Sarah, Jane, and Alden Jay are newer parkrunners who we look forward to meeting when we are able to.

Three more parkrunners now earned the honor of a High Five badge in the results table: Cindy Conant, Rebekah Esmaili, and Steve Beresford.

Cindy was the National Runner of the Year in her age category a couple of years ago, and her 20:03 clocking this week is off-the-charts fast (Cindy’s next birthday is her 60th). But we’re sure that her virtual High Five badge will rank right up there in her list of accolades.

And we congratulate 11 more virtual parkrunners who have earned 10-timer turtle badges this week: Luther Lemon, Cameron McPhee, Dave Menusan, Jim Cantwell, Amanda Mercer, Luke Rueter, Mary Langan, Michael Bevers, Captain Jack (barkrunner), Carly Mills, and Hannah Russell.

Amanda completed her 100th regular parkrun shortly before we closed down, at which point she was injured and unable to run. So it was GREAT to see her running along the trail again this week.

Mary Langan and barkrunner Captain Jack added to our contingent of proud owners of turtle badges in New Jersey.

And a special shout out to Luke Rueter. When we started CPVp he was working his way up towards 5K with dad Jeremy. Now it’s more or less routine for Luke, and he has 10 CPVps under his belt. This week they walked the Paint Branch Trail together with barkrunner Rocky. Luke joins the ranks of kids who should have earned an official parkrun 10 shirt by now, if it wasn’t for the pandemic. Parents: let’s see if we can find a solution to this. Drop us a line if you’re interested.


Turtle badge earned for 9-year old Luke!

Virtual Volunteers

This week’s crew of virtual volunteers was a seasoned crew. THANK YOU to Joyce Adams, Angela Gentile, Katie Hirsche, Tara Mease, Colin Phillips, Hannah Russell, Anna Tinnemore, and Andrea Zukowski. This would not be possible without a team of willing helpers each week.

We would LOVE to see some broadening of the volunteer pool in the coming weeks and months. Most roles are fairly easy, and there’s time flexibility over the course of Saturday.

We always need a couple of results collectors each Saturday. Help in putting together this report would be greatly appreciated (timing: mostly Saturday night or Sunday morning). For these roles, you don’t even need to be anywhere near College Park.

We have increasing opportunities for trail angels who contribute to the welcome for folks who visit our regular trail at different times on a Saturday morning. Maybe you fancy yourself as a chalker. Or you could take pictures. Or just hang out and be a friendly face in the park. Let us know if you can help some time:


Looking Ahead

Survey: In the coming weeks some of you might start to receive emails from parkrun Global inviting you to fill out a survey about the return of face-to-face parkruns. We encourage you to fill this out.

What is this all about?

The key criteria for the return of face-to-face parkruns are (i) following all local regulations, (ii) low risk of infection, (iii) participant buy-in, and (iv) community buy-in. It’s not feasible to restart events if parkrunners and parkrun volunteers do not feel ready, or if the local community will be hostile to the return of parkrun, then it’s not feasible to go ahead. These surveys form part of the effort to gauge community opinion.

Our understanding is that random subsets of US parkrunners will receive these surveys over the coming weeks and months, and the answers will be used as part of the process of figuring out when to restart. But don’t get too excited that a return is imminent. As we discussed in this section in last week’s report, many things will likely need to happen before we can get back to the “old normal”.

Trail use: We’re seeing gradually more people going for a run or walk on the Paint Branch Trail on a Saturday morning. Not gathering at 9am, but showing up whenever seems right. It’s a great way to see friendly faces along the trail.


Post-parkrun outdoor distanced meetup. Elizabeth updates us on her search for pregnant sows. Now she needs more of them!

New arrivals: If you’re in the College Park area you may have noticed widespread anxiety over what will happen with the start of the UMD fall semester and the return of more students to the area. You may also have noticed the many recent media stories about upheaval in college towns, with student gatherings leading to surges in COVID-19 cases. We are as curious as everybody else to see what happens in College Park in the coming weeks. UMD is planning a “slow opening”, gradually ramping up over the course of a few weeks. But that’s not what we are here to tell you about.

What we want to say is that one of our hopes for CP parkrun has always been to help create bridges between different parts of our local community, including students and long-term residents. That has never been more important than now, when people are more worried and less connected than usual.

Most students are responsible. Most will take seriously the many warnings about how to limit health risks.

Many students, especially graduate students, have made valuable contributions to the CP parkrun community over the past 4 years.


Nick Huang and Abdur Quadri. Two of our many grad student parkrunners and volunteers

Many students move here from across the country or across the world. Getting to know people from the local community can make a big difference to their sense of belonging while here. And in some cases those positive experiences can have life-long benefits.

While we remain in virtual parkrun mode, it’s going to be more difficult to build those bridges. But we very much hope that we can find ways. Right now, our most effective ambassadors are you. So if you find opportunities to make those connections and invitations to join us, it will make a big difference.

Until next time!

Your CPVp Team


Kristie visited the trail for the first time, and met veteran parkrunner Derek


Eli's art tour continues. This is on a bridge along the Northeast Branch


Barkrunners can wear tutus, too. Thanks Foxy!


Meridith also scores extra points for her color-coordinated tutu


If you missed out on tutu day this time, next chance is May 2021. Just sayin'


Happy birthday to parkrunning mayor, Patrick Wojahn


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