A double helping (Run Reports #165-#166)

Thanksgiving is one of our favorite holidays, because the focus is on bringing family and friends together. Ok, and we also like the cooking and eating, and we sometimes regret how much we enjoyed that part.

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The other thing that we like is that Thanksgiving is the most popular day for running events IN THE WORLD. More than one million Americans take part in running events on Thanksgiving morning, via a thousand or more turkey trot events.

Everybody seems to agree that the turkey trot tradition dates back to the Buffalo YMCA Thanksgiving race, which started way back in 1896. It had 6 finishers the first year and nowadays participation is capped at 14,000. It has been operating continuously for longer than the Boston Marathon (est. 1897).

Various factors are credited for the success of turkey trots. One that often comes up is the warm, community vibe. They’re local, they’re fun, they’re about taking part rather than winning. They’re more of an annual family tradition than a bucket list item to train for once.

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That’s where CP parkrun comes in. Those things that people like about turkey trots are what we are all about, and then some. Plus we’re free and community led. And we keep it up every single week of the year. Check out parkrun USA’s article: A year-round turkey trot. (Confession: I wrote it.)

Anyhow, one of the best things about this year is that we had TWO parkrun days, on Thanksgiving Thursday, and another two days later. This made for a busy, but fun, couple of days.

Thanksgiving Thursday

On New Years Day we got caught out. We were so focused on the cake that we forgot about finisher tokens #201-300. That made matters a bit complicated when 243 parkrunners showed up.

For Thanksgiving we were ready. With cakes AND with the full complement of tokens. And we needed them, as we welcomed a record crowd of 249 finishers.

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The cake was in large part to celebrate our THREE new 50-club members: Debbie Levenson, Misha Bernard, and John Scott. All are valuable members of our community. Debbie was already a regular before CP parkrun was an official thing, in early 2016, and she was part of our initial core volunteer team, so she has seen quite the journey as CP parkrun has grown. Misha first joined us about 2 years ago and she and her family have been regular runners and volunteers ever since. John (and his son Isaac) found us more recently, and they have become an integral part of the community. Congratulations to all. You’re going to look great in red!

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The volunteer crew handled the super-sized crowd exceedingly well, and we are very grateful to them.

Andrea led one of our busiest first-timers’ briefings ever. Normally she tries to keep it intimate and learn everybody’s name. This week, with maybe 70 first-timers. Sorry! But it was a party atmosphere.

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Expert timers Katie Hirsche and Brian Murphy were exactly who we needed to keep everything in sync, together with the token team of Jorge Urrutia and Zoe Phillips. You might think it’s easy to just click a button whenever somebody passes and hand out numbered pieces of plastic. But at peak traffic times it can get a bit confusing. Especially when some folks miss the finish line, or come through as a family, unclear who covered the course. Or just speed through the finish and don’t pick up a token.

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We needed a lot of scanning support. So, in addition to Steven Borunda, Tomas Marambio and Susan Whitney and Danny Walker all jumped in as scanners after running.

Win Persina was going to take a run, but she figured that it would be more fun to hang out with Hump at his marshal spot, and they had a great time cheering everybody on.

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And Valerie Silensky and Rebecca White were our tailwalking crew, making sure that everybody was safe and nobody finished last. And they were suitably dressed for Thanksgiving, too.

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One unusual feature of our Thanksgiving parkrun: we had a bunch of visitors from further afield. And by that, I don’t mean just Maryland, DC, or Virginia.

Nick Huang was back! Nick was last with us 6 months ago, having just completed his PhD at UMD, and about to get married and move to Connecticut. This week he was back, together with his wife Jessica, AND Jessica’s parents! And he was proudly wearing the shirt that we presented him with as a going away gift.

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We had parkrun tourists visiting from London - Commeletia and Rosemary. And all the way from Sydney, Australia. Darren and Lucille are keen parkrun tourists, and Lucille has family in Northern VA, so they combined Thanksgiving with family with a couple of parkruns. AND they brought a box of Tim Tam cookies all the way from Australia to share with you all.

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Rob Eveson zipped around the course as first finisher, also completing his 350th parkrun. Rob is normally based at Bushy parkrun in London, the original parkrun. But he has been interning in DC for the past few months, and has been checking out the various parkrun communities in the area.

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… So where was our Sam Phipps, to give Rob a run for his (no) money? Well, Sam was with family in Houston, so he checked out Terry Hershey parkrun while he was there. And of course he both finished first and charmed the locals.

Personally, I was excited to see so many old and new friends. But there’s nothing quite like the surprise of a dear old friend who you totally didn’t expect to see rock up at parkrun. Welcome to John Whalen. So good to catch up. And results processing was just going to have to wait.

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One other unique feature of Thanksgiving: our regular coffee spot was closed, so instead we checked out Bagels ‘n Grinds, in The Hotel at UMD. It was a good time, with lots of space, and fireplaces too. Thanks to the team there for making us so welcome!

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Overall, it was a super fun morning, and we’re really happy to have done the extra event. Fun fact: for perhaps the only day EVER, College Park parkrun was the largest parkrun in the whole world on 11/28/19. (Of course, that’s mostly because there were only 12 events taking place. Normally, there are many South African parkruns with 1000+ finishers on a Saturday morning.)

Thanksgiving Saturday

We had barely caught our breath from the Thanksgiving extravaganza and it was time to head to Acredale Park again!

On Thanksgiving Saturday the temps were cooler and we welcomed a smaller and more low-key crowd. But it was just as much fun as ever.

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As always we were super happy for the support of the volunteer crew. John Scott and Misha Bernard, whose 50th parkruns we had celebrated just two days earlier, were back as part of the volunteer crew. Mike McClellan volunteered while his wife Bonnie completed her 48th. Mike also entertained the crew with his harmonica while you were out on the trail.

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Personally, I was thrilled to be able to run again. I’ve been sidelined by injury lately, and was making a tentative comeback. I enjoyed running with Xander, chatting about Thanksgiving fun and learning to fly. I also got to stop to say hi to Hump, and wish him well for his surgery (... it went well!).

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It was great as usual to see so many people supporting each other in different ways. Such as Frank, who slowed down to run with Win as she returns from injury. Or Janet, who ran back down the trail to support second-timer Sharlene. And so many others.

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And one of my favorite moments of the day. When Zoe’s dear old friend Alexandra showed up unexpectedly, home for a few days from college. The spontaneous joy is hard to beat.

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I had better wrap this up, it’s almost time for the next CP parkrun!

Colin Phillips
Co-Event Director

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How magic happens (Run Report #164)

The magician shows us the inside of his top hat—clearly empty. With an “abracadabra” and a wave of the wand, to our surprise and delight out pops a white bunny rabbit!

It all happens so fast, the seasoned magician makes it appear effortless. We raise a cheer and laugh at the bunny. Seldom do we stop to consider the years the magician spent learning and polishing the craft, all that goes into smuggling the bunny into the hat and practicing the routine until it becomes second nature to pull it off without a hitch.

Nor do we ask—who cleans the bunny rabbit’s cage?

So too at College Park parkrun, there is so much more than meets the eye going on to make the magic happen every Saturday morning.

At the risk of spoiling the illusion, let’s take a peek behind the curtain and learn a bit of what goes on behind the scenes. Here’s how the magic happened for event 164.

Before Event Day: August-November

Co-event director and volunteer coordinator Andrea lines up a run director for each parkrun date. This typically happens somewhere between three weeks to three months before the event date. Andrea started in August lining up volunteers for run directors for all the dates in September through November. For event 164, Yancira Amaya volunteered. Thanks Yancira! She always does a fantastic job.

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During the 5 weeks leading up to each event, members of our community sign up to be volunteers. Over 300 different people have volunteered at CP parkrun. You can see what volunteer roles are available for upcoming events by looking at the “volunteer” tab of the CP parkrun website here. If you wish to help make magic, the first step is to opt in to the CP parkrun email list from the link on your results e-mail. Or you can volunteer by sending e-mail to collegepark@parkrun.com. Don’t hesitate to reach out early and often to volunteer, and make Andrea’s job a little easier.  The mid-week email from Andrea has updates on the week’s happenings and news, plus volunteer needs for the coming week.

This week for event 164, we had a terrific group of volunteers, helping out in such roles as run director, event setup, first-timers’ briefing, course marshal, timing, tokens, barcode scanning, tailwalking, event take-down, token sorting, communications czar, and run report writer (that’s me, Stewart!).

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A special thanks to Alyssa and Aaron for helping out with tokens this week. Great job!

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Getting back to our story…

On Friday night, Andrea sends out an e-mail to make sure the run director and volunteers know who is doing what and how to contact each other in case of emergency.

Event Day: Saturday, November 23, 2019

8:19 a.m.  The run director, event directors, and a couple of volunteers arrive at Acredale Park to start setting up.

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8:33 a.m. Setup is complete: the finish funnel has been built, equipment table is up, all the signage is in place, the run director’s step-stools and megaphone are ready and waiting. Andrea and Zoe pull out the colored chalk and get busy writing inspirational messages at the starting line.

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8:38 a.m. Course marshals Lisa and Hump arrive. Lisa says hello to the team then heads out to the turnaround point. Hump drives over to Hump’s Crossing to serve as crossing marshal. On her way out, Lisa checks the safety of the course, and messages the start line crew if there are any alerts. She also places dimple cones to discourage creative parkrunners from going astray.

8:30-8:45 a.m.  Volunteers make predictions of how many finishers we will have today. Winner gets gazes of admiration from other volunteers and a free timed 5K.

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8:30-8:44 a.m. Members of the St. Francis International School running club arrive, exemplary in (1) their punctuality, and (2) reminding us the importance of dynamic stretching.

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Is your school running club looking for a free 5K on a Saturday morning? parkrun may be just the ticket. Give us a shout, we’d be happy to give you the rundown.

8:30-9:00 a.m. Abracadabra!  Blink your eyes and Acredale park transforms from nearly empty to over 150 runners, walkers, and volunteers. Veteran CP parkrunners welcome the newcomers.

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8:44-8:52 a.m. Numerous individuals are spotted confusedly trying to show anyone wearing a hi-viz vest a freshly printed page of six barcodes, asking where to sign in. They are kindly invited to … 8:53 a.m. Andrea’s first-timers briefing, She makes it sound completely spontaneous every week.

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8:58 a.m. Run director Yancira gives a warm welcome to all the first timers and visitors. Then she lays down the law!

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9:00 a.m. exactly. (ok, maybe a few seconds of wiggle room there … minutes maybe if there are extra announcements or celebrations)

And we’re off!

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9:00-10:10 a.m. Tailwalker Ellen doubles as photographer, takes great action shots along the way…

First timer Marishka came with her dad, veteran parkrunner Lloyd. We hope to see you back again soon!

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Welcome back Paul, visiting from Long Island, NY. Second time at CP parkrun.

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More of Ellen’s action shots:

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Start time + 16:47: Zoom! First finisher Chris crosses the line.

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Start time + 18:50:  Tomas finishes second and volunteers to help take over as timekeeper.  Thanks Tomas!

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Start time + 19:02:  Cotter sets a new Personal Best time on his 73rd parkrun, and rings the PB cowbell. Nice work, Cotter!

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Start time + 26:56: Dylan sets a 5-minute PB!

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Cotter and Dylan were just two of 18 PBs this week! Ring that cowbell, College Park!

Don’t let these numbers deceive you—CP parkrun is also for walkers. By walking, you start to notice a lot of magic that you might not see when flying past at full steam.

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Start time + 1:13:28: CP parkrun veteran and frequent run director Anna completes her 73rd event. Great to see you, Anna!

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Start time + 16:47—Start time + 1:13:36:  Colin takes finish line photos

Ever wonder why a volunteer takes photos at the finish line? They serve double duty. They make for nice pictures in the run report and other post-event communications. But these photos also serve as a backup to resolve discrepancies or ambiguities with the scanning. If something goes awry at results processing time, Colin’s phone is another rabbit we can pull out of the hat.

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Walking along the Little Paint Branch Trail can turn strangers into friends. That’s a kind of magic we can’t explain. But we love it!

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Start time + 16:47—Start time + 1:13:36: Celebration with friends

Finishers scan their barcode and token to record their time. Nobody forgets to return their token  (ahem!). Some do a bit of cooldown stretching, some catch up with friends. Many cheer as finishers come in.  Some head down to The Board and Brew.

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Start time + 1:13:36: Tailwalkers Ellen and Joan cross the finish line.

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Lisa has brought the pylon and dimples back from the course on her way back. The last token is scanned. Timekeepers stop the clocks. Timers e-mail their time files, and scanners e-mail their barcode files, from their phone apps to the CP parkrun e-mail account.

10:20- ~10:25 a.m. Volunteers take down the finish funnel, equipment table, signage, and pack it all in Colin and Andrea’s trunk. It really doesn’t take long, and the park is as clear and empty as it was two hours ago. We always aim to leave without a trace.

10:45 a.m.- ?  Colin, Andrea, and Yancira join many others at The Board and Brew, where parkrunners are enjoying breakfast and coffee. At one end of the table, volunteers sort finish tokens and double check that none are missing, making sure all is ready for next week. At the other end of the table, Colin and Yancira are busy processing the results. This means running a computer program that pulls in the time files and links them to the barcode files, then manually checking all the results and correcting any errors.

… for example, this week we noticed that one speedy parkrunner accidentally presented his girlfriend’s barcode, creating a PB that would have been hard for her to beat.

11:24 a.m. Results processing is complete. Participants receive e-mails with their results; volunteers receive thank you e-mails. Colin, Stewart, and Rebecca pose for a picture modeling the latest apricot parkrun fashion shirts.

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After the event

Saturday afternoon: Communications team (Colin) posts a collection of 22 highlight photos on Facebook, with accompanying stories from the morning, as well as several highlight photos on Instagram.

Sunday and Beyond:

Colin assembles a larger collection of photos and places them in album accessible through Flickr or Facebook.

Tim Keer from Livonia parkrun in Michigan compiles a report with interesting summary statistics covering all events in the US, and providing interesting nuggets of information derived from each parkrun’s results tables. From this week’s report, we learned that 146 finishers is a new College Park record for the month of November! We also learned that parkrun USA had over 2,500 finishers and volunteers this week, within a whisker of the all-time record.

From the report we also learned about CP parkrunners on tour at other US parkruns. We learned that Larry Washington visited Byxbee parkrun in Palo Alto, CA; that Kathleen Gustafson visited Durham, NC parkrun; and that Külli Crespin and Teresa Perdomo checked out Roosevelt Island parkrun in DC. Nice tourism, everybody!

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Later in the Week:

  • Event directors replace any missing tokens.
  • Run report is drafted, edited, and posted on the CP parkrun website.
  • Communications team from parkrun USA culls interesting pictures and stories from all US parkrun events to create a weekly update online newsletter.
  • Communications team sends out additional posts on Facebook and Instagram to remind everyone what a great time we had, and get us thinking about coming next week.

I’m sure I missed a lot, but now we have a glimpse of how much goes on behind the scenes before, during, and after parkrun. After 164 events, it works so smoothly week after week. But there are many ways of helping out with the community -- drop us a line if you can lend a hand.

This week we have an extra event on Thursday, and then of course another event as usual on Saturday.  A million thanks to Colin, Andrea, and all the volunteers for all you do to make the magic happen each week at CP parkrun.

-Stewart

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Friends and Family (Run Report #163)

In the last year since finding College Park parkrun, I have been continually amazed at how parkrun brings families and friends together in a wonderful, supportive, inclusive community.  This is what keeps us coming back week after week. This week we had 128 finishers, of whom 114 were returners.

Last April, I learned that CP parkrun regulars Tara and Xander Mease headed up a team in Great Strides program at the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.  Xander runs every day to manage his CF—parkrun on Saturday is his easy day!

This week, Tara and Xander completed their 100th parkrun. Xander, who just turned seven, is (by far!) the youngest person in the USA to achieve this milestone. Congratulations, Tara and Xander! Four generations of Xander’s family showed up in force to celebrate the milestone.

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Inspired by Xander’s example, I took this opportunity to learn a bit more about CF. I learned that part of the normal functioning of the human body involves a process where chloride moves to the cell surface. For those with Cystic Fibrosis, this process does not work properly, and without the chloride to attract water to the cell surface, the mucus in the body’s organs becomes thick and sticky. Among other things, this clogs the airways of the lungs, and makes a person susceptible to infections and respiratory failure. The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation funds research that has significantly improved the ability of those with this disease to manage its complications, and is actively working toward finding a cure. Thank you Xander for inspiring me to learn more about the important work being done by CFF!

As another example of parkrun bringing families together—congratulations to Zoe Phillips, for earning two milestone shirts this week, volunteering for the 25th time and parkrunning for the 10th time.

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Zoe’s parents Colin and Andrea, event directors at CP parkrun, can’t contain their excitement about that. I understand that parkrun has inspired Andrea and Zoe to make plans for running a half marathon together in the Spring!

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On the topic of milestones, Nathan Widman and James Hudson also finished their 10th parkrun this week and earned milestone shirts. Congratulations!

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When I come to CP parkrun, everywhere I look I see family and friends coming together.

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Welcome to father/daughter first timers Marvin and Erika!

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Thanks to father/daughter barcode scanners Chris and Nina, and thanks to mother/daughter tailwalkers Yancira and Janete!

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CP parkrun is also a great place for reuniting with old friends, and meeting new ones!  Neil and Julie reunited this week with their friends from Connecticut, parkrun first timers David and Cindy.

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DC area parkrun regulars Terri and Sol reunited with their friend Tom, visiting from Telford parkrun near Birmingham, England.

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We were happy to meet Deep Run parkrun regular Randy, whose home event was apparently canceled due to a marathon. Come back any time!

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Thanks as always to the many volunteers who make this possible every week! A special shout out to our turnaround marshal Lisa for her 150th event!

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I’m so excited we have three more parkruns in November, including our special Thanksgiving day parkrun at 9am on Thursday 11/28. See you there!

Stewart Mayhew

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Worth a Thousand Words (Run Report #162)

They say that a picture is worth a thousand words. I’m not about to test that here, but this picture from College Park parkrun #162 is my favorite because of the stories that it holds.

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The scene is the Tunnel of Trees, possibly the prettiest stretch of the Paint Branch Trail at any time of year. And it’s at its fall peak, when the leaves make the light golden.

Heading towards us are the front of the pack runners. Sam Phipps is trying to outrun Steven Moore (it didn’t work), both pushing each other to fast times around 17 minutes. Sam always finishes and then stops around to cheer everybody else in, before typically running back home to Silver Spring. Steven had his whole family with him, and all four set PBs this week, with mom Amanda finishing to a gauntlet of high fives from her boys.

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Heading in the other direction is a small group of walkers. They’re accompanying Ellie Elliott, great grandma of Xander Mease, who is walking along the trail, pushing her own wheelchair, going as far as feels right this week.

Of course, both the folks at the front and the folks at the back are just as much a part of this community, and I’m pretty sure that Ellie got a lot more cheers when she reached the finish than the speedsters did.

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Happenings

It was an unusually cold morning for early November, with temps in the 20s when we loaded up our van to set out for Acredale Park. One of the things that has made Saturday mornings even more enjoyable this fall is that now Zoe always joins us and helps with setup before heading off to run.

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We figured that the cold would keep more people home, but we saw the largest ever November crowd at College Park parkrun.

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We had some big milestones to celebrate this week.

Duane Rosenberg and Dom Blom both joined the 100 club.

Duane became the first mayor in America to complete 100 parkruns. Duane is currently mayor of New Carrollton.

Dom became the latest member of Prince George’s Running Club to earn a black milestone shirt.

Teresa Perdomo did her 50th parkrun, just 14 months after she joined us for the first time! She and her friend Külli celebrated by running the trail together, then heading back out along the trail to meet up with the tailwalking crew and walk back with them. And then heading to The Board and Brew for a delicious brunch.

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Speaking of tailwalkers, we were very happy that this week’s tailwalker was new volunteer Ellen Oberholtzer and her tailwagger Eli. They made sure that everybody was safe, and that nobody else finished last. And Eli enjoyed making lots of new friends.

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A few people reached unofficial milestones this week …

Angel Cejo, Lorelis Gonzalez, Reece Madsen, and RJ Spalding all joined our unofficial 10-timer club.

Kevin Oriani and Zoe Phillips became 5 timers. That’s good going for Zoe, who completed the course for the first time on October 12th!

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Volunteers

The records show that there were 18 volunteers this week. You might think that there was a big crowd waiting in the park while everybody else was enjoying the trail. That’s not really how it worked.

We had just 4 people at the finish line while everybody else was out running and walking. I, Colin, was Run Director. That wasn’t in the plans originally, but taking the RD role ensured that I didn’t make myself more injured by joining the parkrun. Xinzi He was primary timekeeper. Xinzi took a fall at last week’s parkrun and quickly decided to volunteer this week to help her recovery along. Ginger Wilkerson led barcode scanning, while mom and dad were both running their 41st parkrun. And Kerry Callaghan volunteered (again!) as part of a UMD School of Public Health class that she’s taking.

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A few volunteers were out on the course. Hump and Lisa were in their regular marshal spots, welcoming you as you passed. Carlos Gough volunteered this week as Hump’s understudy. Ellen and Eli were tailwalkers.

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By the time the clock had clicked past 18:30 we had two more of our finish line crew. Brian Murphy and Tomas Marambio both sped around the course, took a moment to ring the PB bell, and then jumped in as volunteers. And a few minutes later Susan Whitney arrived and pulled on a volunteer vest to help out as third barcode scanner for the busiest part of the finish, from around 25-35 minutes.

While you were all finishing Evan Hirsche was volunteering as photographer. He’s resting up ahead of a marathon next weekend, and so he and barkrunner Sophie took a break from parkrunning and instead captured some great shots from the trail.

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Some more volunteers came into action at The Board and Brew, as Neil, Trace, Russell, and first-timer Boriana got all the tokens in order. As Run Director, it was my job to process the results, and normally this would be a bit slow and distracting. But thanks to the excellent volunteers and the joys of the parkrun Virtual Volunteer app, I set a results processing PB, and was able to enjoy chatting with lots of parkrunners and parkwalkers.

Friends, First-timers and Visitors

An extra shout out this week to The Board and Brew, who sold enough coffees that they put out a carafe of coffee for free refills for parkrunners. Be still my heart!

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And another caffeinated shout out. Our friends at Vigilante Coffee have given us free drink gift cards to give to deserving parkrunners. This week, in recognition of the coldest parkrun of the season so far, the volunteers were surprised with a Vigilante gift card. Thank you everybody!

We welcomed a few first timers and visitors this week. Some local, some not so local.

Cory Kind is not a first-timer, but she’s a visitor from Roosevelt Island parkrun in Washington DC. She decided that she wanted to run to all of the DC parkruns from her home base in Arlington. So this week she set out early to run the 12 miles to College Park. Then, impressively, she was 5th female finisher. After which she had earned a hearty breakfast!

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Greg Ervin is based in Ohio, but he tries to join us whenever he’s in town. In fact, he has come so many times that he’s practically a regular.

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Kim and Carlos are based in West Virginia, but they are in town and their friend Trace Huard told them about CP parkrun, so they came along to check what the fuss was about.

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Tricia Cecil was this week’s first female finisher and a first timer. It was only when I finished the results processing that I realized that I had met Tricia many years ago, when we were both budding triathletes. Neither of us are now, life is too complicated. But it was a cool blast from the past. Welcome Tricia!

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It was great to welcome Pamela and Pablo to CP parkrun for the first time. CP parkrun regular Jim Sebastian has known them for a long time, and he heard that they were looking to get in shape. So he recommended that they check out CP parkrun. We’re delighted that they joined us, and hope to see them again.

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More first-timers: Austin and Adrienne, together with their passengers (see the picture above). If Adrienne looks a little familiar, that’s because she’s a cousin of CP regular Tara Mease. They were with us this week together with Janet and great grandma Ellie.

PBs and other speediness

Lots of PBs to feel good about, too!

The fast guys were really moving this week. Steven Moore dipped under 17 minutes for the first time. Wow. Sam Phipps was so close to a PB. Brian Murphy and Tomas Marambio both set PBs.

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Rebecca White set another PB, walking the 5K in 1:10. We’re excited to see Rebecca progress, and we know there’s much more to come. She was joined this week by her son Joel, who also set a PB.

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For Mike McClellan it wasn’t a PB, but it was a big step over his walking time last week. Mike is recovering from spine surgery. Last week he walked the 5K in around 1:08. This week he was back with his two walking canes and he set off with determination, finishing in 56 minutes.

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Wayne Dunbar has now set 4 PBs in 4 visits to CP parkrun. And Celeste Pere has set a PB on almost all of her 9 parkruns!

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Andrew Widman’s string of PBs keeps getting longer. Now under 24 minutes!

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Maria Cecil put in a strong finish to duck under 31 minutes for the first time.

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Maureen Hewick returned for a third time, and took a few minutes from her walking PB. A few more weeks like this and she’ll be breathing down Judy Barnes’ neck!

Lorelis Gonzalez and Angel Cejo just keep on setting PBs. Out of 10 parkruns, they have set a PB or been within a second or two 9 times (see picture above).

Amy Rice set a nice new PB this week, possibly thanks to the enthusiasm of her barkrunner.

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Coming Attractions

Lots to look forward to. Still 4 more parkrun days this month!

  • Don’t forget about our special College Park parkrun Turkey Trot on Thursday 11/28. Usual 9am start time. Tell friends and family! Especially walkers.
  • Next Saturday, 11/16, we’ll be celebrating a few milestones. Xander and Tara Mease will be wearing the black sashes for their 100th parkrun. They started joining us when Xander was 4, and he recently reached the ripe old age of 7. Also, double milestone for Zoe Phillips — 10th parkrun AND 25th time volunteering. We’ll leave it to Zoe to figure out how to juggle the sash and the purple superhero cape.
  • Looking further ahead, mark your calendars for our 4th annual New Year’s Resolution parkrun on January 1st. College Park parkrun will start at the special late hour of 10:30am. And you have the option of doing an additional parkrun at 8:30am in Kensington or Leakin Park (Baltimore). Followed by a big community brunch at The Board and Brew.

See you soon! I’m looking forward to running again soon, if this pesky achilles injury will go away.

Colin Phillips
Co-Event Director

P.S. Oops. The run report came in at more than a thousand words

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Comeback Kids (Run Report #161)

A cool morning turned into a perfect day for a run or walk in the park! We had 99 finishers on the 161st running of our beloved College Park parkrun. It continues to be my favorite running event and something I look forward to week after week. It’s great to have a no-pressure, friendly jog or walk in the park with a wonderful community that is completely free! Here are some of the stories and milestones achieved this week.

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We had several “comeback kids” this time. Our parkrunners are not immune from injuries and ailments that keep them sidelined for a week or more. We are always thrilled to see them come back.

This week saw the return of Mike McClellan and Rebecca White after several months, with Rebecca marking her return with a PB! Mike is recovering from spine surgery, and he wasn’t sure how far he would get along the trail. So of course he went the whole 5K. It took him 30 minutes longer than his PB, but it was a mighty impressive achievement.

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Katie Hirsche returned after an almost two-month stint of volunteering (thanks!) to get a new PB of sorts as well. She enjoyed her first walking parkrun, which I encourage everyone to try. You get to enjoy the scenery and smiling faces for double the time of a typical run at no extra cost!

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We shared the trail with WABA’s Cider Ride. Lots more traffic on the trail, but all went off without incident. Thanks to all who called out warnings of passing riders.

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We also welcomed several first timers. Doug Dicks visited us from Indiana with newly local daughter Ashley. Their friend Cole Griffin visited from New Jersey. Other first timers included Haimei Jin and Charlene Shortte. Please join us again! You will be a regular before you know it.

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Thomas Parsons made his family the first to have four 50-timer shirts to keep track of and long-time College Park parkrunner Trace Huard made it to 50 as well. Congratulations, gents!

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Unofficial milestones include 5-timer James Whitehead who has come five weeks in a row and 10-timers Annika Dallmann and Kristen Wares who also got a PB. Dinah Cohen is now half-way to 50. It happens before you know it!

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Other PBs (there were plenty due in part to the perfect weather): Keri Pierce (after 41 parkruns!), Alanna Kempton cut seven minutes at age seven, Cirílio Perez is four-for-four with parkrun PBs and Natasha Oliviera has had five in a row! Angel Cejo and Lorelis Gonzalez both running their 9th have PBs almost every time.

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Finally, a thanks to those who made it happen this week: the volunteers! We had an almost-all-new finish line crew this week with Anna Damm and Violet Ridge both scanning for the first time and Cotter Rosenberg working as one of our timers. We had a great time at the finish with timer Brian Murphy and Catherine Madsen doing finish tokens. Duane Rosenberg and Russell Dickerson gamely sorted tokens and  Anna Tinnemore served as tail-walker.

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Colin Philips, Zoe Phillips, Hump Plotts, Lisa Wilson and Adrea Zukowski all did their regular part in serving as the backbone of this event.

It can’t happen without the wonderful volunteers. Try it! It’s fun!

Some coming attractions:

  • Lots more people to celebrate (of course!). This week four parkrunners completed their 99th parkrun, so it’s time to dust off the black sash. Duane Rosenberg and Dom Blom will be wearing black on Nov 9th, and Tara and Xander Mease on Nov 16th.
  • We have six parkrun days in November, so five more still to go!
  • And one of them is on Thanksgiving morning. Join us for the friendliest, freest turkey trot in all of College Park.

I very much enjoyed my 11th time as run director and look forward to participating again in the coming weeks. Run, walk, volunteer! We have something for everyone.

Clark Ridge

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