Celebration Run (Run Report #9)

Last Saturday brought our first weekend with near freezing temperatures. A few people stayed home under the covers, but the 50 parkrunners and volunteers who gathered enjoyed a beautiful morning and a satisfying start to the weekend. It turned out to be celebrate-at-parkun day.

The weather brought out a lot of interesting headgear, but pride of place goes to Monica Lewis, who celebrated her 40th birthday by running with friends at parkrun, and wearing a sparkly tiara so that everybody would know. Monica is one of our friends from Prince George’s Running Club. Tim Tormoen and Chris Rasmussen celebrated their 5th anniversary together by coming to parkrun and enjoying a pleasant walk on the trail. Tim is a new board member for our sponsors College Park Community Foundation, and Chris is a town councilman in neighboring Berwyn Heights. Meanwhile, event director Andrea Zukowski, and parkrun stalwart Sam McGranahan shared a birthday one day before parkrun.

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At last week’s College Park Community Foundation gala, Kate Kennedy was an MC. She encouraged everybody to come to parkrun, and pledged to give it a try herself. True to her word, she walked the trail with boyfriend Bill and her dog Seneca, and a grand time was had by all.

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PBs (personal bests) are also cause for celebration, and some people just keep setting them. 4 of this week’s runners have run at least 3 times at College Park parkrun, and have gone faster every time. This includes Jan Edwards, a recent transplant from Wisconsin who was unfazed by the temperatures, College Park Mayor Patrick Wojahn, Julie Epstein (4 times) and Amanda Mercer (5 times).

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We can also celebrate 3 new members of the exclusive club for parkrunners who have completed College Park parkrun 5 or more times. This includes aforementioned Amanda Mercer, a seasoned runner with Prince George’s Running Club who has used parkrun as part of her comeback from injury. Sam McGranahan has done 5 official parkruns with us, but he did countless runs with us during our stealth phase in early 2016, including a memorable May morning where Sam was one of only four who showed up in a downpour, running with a broken arm in a carefully wrapped cast. Rory Murphy now has 5 College Park parkruns to his name, but he’s rapidly approaching 200 parkruns overall. He already had the role of “parkrun ambassador” in the UK, i.e., he’s totally drunk the parkrun Kool-Aid and gives his time to help communities set up new events. In a stroke of good luck for us, he moved from London to Baltimore a couple of weeks before we launched, and he jumped in right away to help us, including serving as your run director on Thanksgiving weekend. Thanks Rory!

run9_5club College Park parkrun wouldn’t be a thing if it wasn’t for the volunteers, almost all of whom are parkrunners who take a break from running for a day to give back to the community. Thanks to all of you who have dropped us a line to offer to help (collegeparkhelpers@parkrun.com). This week Clare Imholtz was golf course marshal, Lisa Parsons was turn-around marshal and photographer. Nina McGranahan kept times, and Nick Huang scanned barcodes, and served as results guru. Andrea Zukowski was tailrunner and photographer/smile-catcher. Chris McGranahan is a core team member and regular volunteer who this week had the top dog position as run director. As for me, I was thrilled to finally run again after a couple of months on the sidelines, leaving me with the fun role of propagandist. A special additional thank you is in order for Judy Russell, who regularly joins us at parkrun, but never appears in the results. She walks part of the route while husband Marvin or daughter Hannah run the course. But in addition to that she has been demonstrating good stewardship of the trail, this week returning with an armful of trash that she picked up en route. Thanks Judy!

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All DC-area parkruns were sidelined by an ice storm on December 17th, leaving us with some stir-crazy parkrunners. But the long-range forecast is looking excellent for the Christmas Eve parkrun on Dec 24th - a free run with friends is a perfect antidote to frenzied holiday preparations. And we’re really looking forward to a double-helping of parkrunning on New Years weekend, when we’ll have our regular Saturday 9am gathering on Dec 31st, then will welcome lots of visitors and newcomers for our New Years Resolution parkrun at 11am on Sunday January 1st.

You can follow College Park parkrun on FacebookTwitter, or Instagram, find our photos on Flickr (let us know if you'd like to be a volunteer photographer), or join our Strava club. Or you can just show up 9am on Saturdays.

See you all next Saturday morning!

Colin Phillips