Dog Days of Winter (Run Report #14)

The main story for this week was the warned ice storm that failed to materialize. Instead it was mildly cold, with intermittent rain. Enough to dampen our fur, but not our spirits. Turnout (27) was down relative to weeks with finer weather, but everybody had a good time.

An unexpected benefit of the weather alert was that Paint Branch Golf Course was closed for the day. This put our dedicated golf course marshal Hump Plotts out of a job, and so he got to join us for the start for once. Two other family members were on the trail: Lisa Wilson was your turnaround marshal, and their son Kenneth Plotts was a first-timer this week.

Even more unexpected was our second running Australian Cattle Dog. Ken Leonard and Scout are familiar faces at College Park parkrun (and they again set an age-category record this week). But this week they were joined by Tom Hornik and Martina. Tom previously ran Bury St Edmunds parkrun in the UK 50 times, earning him a red 50-club shirt. But after moving to Ellicott City in 2015, he had to wait 18 months to get to wear his shirt at a parkrun. For her part, Martina was sporting a dashing collar in the colors of the Maryland state flag. Needless to say, Martina and Scout were interested to meet each other, and are looking forward to meeting up again at parkrun.

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Lisa Chilcote of Montgomery County Road Runners was a first-timer this week, and she proceeded to run the second fastest female time ever on our course. Nice work Lisa! Better yet, Lisa’s husband Damon stepped in at the last minute as finisher token volunteer. And cowbell ringer, a new volunteer role for us. Hope you can visit again, Lisa and Damon. With or without the bell.

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We had no new members of our College Park 5 or 10 clubs this week, but expect many more in the coming weeks, with better weather in the forecast. But we did see an impressive number of PBs, with a third of finishers setting their best time to date: Ken Leonard, Evan Hirsche, Jenn Augsburger, Adria Schwarber, Ann Hendrix-Jenkins, Jeanette Novak, and both Dave and Denise Vause.

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This week’s tailrunner was Sarah D’Alexander from UMD’s Office of Community Engagement. In addition to securing our guarantee that you-will-not-finish-last-at-parkrun, Sarah was also checking out the trail and the stream. Watch this space for news of what she and Andrea have been plotting together, and plan to be at parkrun on April 1st. Thanks Sarah!

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It’s now one year since parkrun hit the DC area, and a lot has happened in that year. We went from zero to 3 weekly parkruns, with more in the pipeline. 2117 people have registered with DMV parkruns as their ‘home’ events, and 3825 runs have been completed, with around 700 of them in College Park since our official launch in October. Not bad.

Other volunteers this week included Thomas Parsons on barcode scanning, Debbie Levenson with the stopwatch, Nina McGranahan and Anouk Dieuleveut on photography, and Nick Huang as results-wrangler. We’re always happy to have new volunteers helping to make College Park parkrun free to everybody every week. You can contact collegeparkhelpers@parkrun.com to offer your help. Better yet, you can login to your parkrun.com profile and choose to receive our once-per-week volunteer emails. It’s a great way to contribute.

Next week, we will leave you in the capable hands of run director Rory Murphy, who this week was down at Fletcher’s Cove parkrun, celebrating their first birthday. Next week (Jan 21st) Mansfield, OH parkrun will launch. This means that College Park will no longer be the youngest US parkrun event. Organizers Karen and Steve Crane visited for our inaugural run in October; Andrea and Colin will be driving to central Ohio to check out their new event.

You can follow College Park parkrun on FacebookTwitter, or Instagram, find loads of photos on Flickr, or join our Strava club. Or you can just show up 9am on Saturdays.

Colin Phillips