Warm morning, PB bonanza (Run Report #19)

It feels like spring is almost here! The warm weather -- warm for February, at least -- saw 68 parkrunners join us this past weekend and 18 personal bests (PBs), which means that one out of every four runners ran their personal best (last week's parkrun saw 21 PBs out of 77 parkrunners, also a one in four ratio).

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Among the PB-ers are Austin Rios-Colon, who has set the second fastest time for his age category; long-time parkrunner Jim Parsons (14th College Park parkrun); Dominique Blom (9th); Eduardo Valente Jr. (3rd), Steve Feld (4th), Aaron Anderson (2nd), Hannah Russell (7th),former College Park mayor Andy Fellows (3rd, and he's faster every time), and Larry Lee (2nd; Larry does great work supporting fitness in the community). ... Although parkrun is not a race, racing against the clock is totally cool (and totally optional), and it's good to see so many making progress!

Among the 68 parkrunners were 24 first-timers. This was our second highest Saturday turnout yet, and it means that one out of every three runners was new to our parkrun. To our newcomers: welcome, and we hope to see you in future weeks!

Although some of first-timers are new to this parkrun, many are certainly not first-time runners. For example, Matthew Bernstein was the first to cross the finish line, with a time of 16:21 (although the course record and age-category record still belongs to Tom Bean, 15:54). He was soon joined by fellow first-timers Mark Neff, Danny Bennett, Exavier Watson (nice headband!), and Will Hoover, who all clocked sub-19 minute times.

Danny Bennett, Matthew Bernstein, Will Hoover, Mark Neff, and Exavier Watson

We were also joined by a few members of the UMD community (go Terps!), including alum Zak Mellen, and a group of Terp Vets. They include Lindsay Clark (first female finisher!), Aaron Anderson, Aaron Bricco, Brian Bertges, and Bryan Woodard.

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We were also well-represented across all age categories. On one end of the age scale was Xander Mease (joined by mom Tara): Xander might be four years old and have cystic fibrosis, but both are clearly no obstacle for him. Michael and Bonnie McClellan might be on the other end of age scale, but like Xander they are also proof that age is no barrier. Janete Amaya came with 11-timer Yancira. Parkrunners also achieved several age-related feats: Mark Neff's time is a record in age-graded terms (86.5%), while first-time parkrunner (but Paint Branch Trail regular) Larry Washington set an age-category record for VM65-69. Danny Bennett and daughter Emily, also first-timers at our parkrun, set age category records for VM45-49 and SW18-19 respectively.

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The unofficial College Park 5-run club also welcomed Jack Kammerer (PB!), Richard Blackman (PB!), Bernadette Gormally (last 5 weeks!), and Joyce Adams, who marked the occasion as our tailrunnner and photographer. Marvin Russell became the latest member of the unofficial 10-run club. 

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Lastly, a shout-out to our volunteers -- Alexandra Jackson (barcode scanning); Zoey Warecki and Chris Kujawa (timekeepers); Debbie Levenson (tokens); Lisa Wilson and Hump Plotts (marshals); Joyce Adams (tailrunner). Susan Soileau joined us for the first time as volunteer, and raised the bar on our photography: you can find hi-res versions of this week's photos at our Flickr group. Volunteers are what makes weekly parkruns possible -- please consider signing up to volunteer some time. Simply send an email to collegeparkhelpers@parkrun.com, and/or sign up at parkrun.com for the once-per-week volunteer update email. Pitch in, it's fun, and you'll look just great in one of those hi-vis vests.

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The weather forecast for this coming Saturday is a balmy 63 degrees in the morning -- great weather for more running / jogging / walking. We hope to see you all again then! In the meantime, follow us on FacebookTwitter, or Instagram, find loads of photos on Flickr, or join our Strava page!

-- Nick Huang

 

Family, Friends, Fun (Run Report #18)

77 parkrunners in mid-February? Ok, we did not see that coming! 

That’s a Saturday record for College Park parkrun (only exceeded on our special Sunday New Year’s Day parkrun). Our strong turnout also helped break the attendance record for parkrun USA (combining across the 8 current weekly events). Come spring, we don’t know what to expect, but we have a good feeling about it!  

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This week’s parkrun was about family, friends, and fun. If you were there, and thought you saw Clark Ridge whiz by you twice—no, you weren’t delusional. Clark brought along his brother Tim Ridge, his twin brother Claron Ridge, and his dad Douglas Ridge.

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Lisa Wilson and Hump Plotts brought their whole canine family this week, and Bernadette Gormally lent a hand with the dogs so that Lisa could do her magic with a camera while being your friendly neighborhood tailrunner.

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We were happy to welcome returning mother-daughter team Catherine Donohoe and Gabi Holzer and returning trio Ginger Wilkerson,  John Wilkerson and Susan Whitney. We won't implicate our source, but one of these folks was overheard saying at the finish, "We should do that every week, so it won't be so hard." We think you're on to something.

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This week Gus Campbell earned the parkrunner of the Month award for February. Gus’s daughters Jen Murphy and Jessica Gerbig and his son-in-law Rob Gerbig were all on hand to run and have a celebratory slice of chocolate cake with him. Our second reason for cake this week? Thomas Parsons earned his 10-parkruns milestone t-shirt. Congratulations Thomas!

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It was a big day for PBs: 21 in all, some which also set new age category records. Lisa Chilcote improved on her own record for VW45-59. Ken Leonard (and Scout of course) and Colin Phillips battled for the VM45-49 category, but Ken had the edge. Tom Hornik (and Martina) have set a PB nearly every time they have come, including this week. Schuyler Price and Connie Visnic have 4 runs each and 4 PBs each. Anthony Nelson, Lara Ehrenhofer, and Dave Vause have 3 runs each and 3 PBs each. And Gus Campbell set a PB on his 15th run this week (so that he could christen his parkrunner of the Month certificate with sweat!).

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We also welcomed 20 first timers this week, which included the Ridge family, Ted Poulos (new to College Park, but he has done 33 DMV parkruns to date!), Myriam Ramaekers and Freddy Vanbaelen (from Belgium via Chevy Chase), and trio Betty Ruiz-Yorro, Timothy Yorro, and Santiago Ruiz (Santiago put on a mean sprint at the finish!).

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Four new people made it into the unofficial College Park 10 Club this week: Anouk Dieuleveut, Sam McGranahan, Thomas Parsons, and Yancira Amaya. And four others made it into the College Park 5 Club: Tom Hornik, Cindy Cohen, Nick Huang, and Sarah D'Alexander.

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We can't thank this week's volunteers enough! Thank you Alex Hirtle, Andrea Zukowski, Anouk Dieuleveut, Chris Kujawa, Colin Phillips, Dustyn Dujawa, Hump Plots, Lisa Wilson, and Nick Huang! Parkrun is people-powered, and without volunteers, we literally wouldn't be able to offer parkrun every week.

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We love that some of our 'regulars' are jumping in from time to time to help us keep parkrun running smoothly. Please opt in to the volunteer appeals yourself (check your weekly results email for a how-to. It's simple.).

We'll leave the last word for this week to Gus Campbell. Why do you keep coming back to parkrun, we asked him?

"parkrun is a fantastic program. No registration fee, no packet pickup, just show up and do your best. I now look forward to each Saturday morning challenge parkrun provides. Over the last couple of months, it has been awesome to see the group grow and feel like a family."

We feel the same way, Gus.

Follow us on FacebookTwitter, or Instagram, find loads of photos on Flickr, or join our Strava club.

Andrea Zukowski

 

The colder it gets, the faster you go (Run Report #17)

The run report last week was titled "Chilly temps made you faster" and I think Chris, last week's run director/report writer, was onto something there. Temperatures dipped below freezing on Saturday morning, and we saw 12 personal bests! (of course, correlation does not entail causation...)

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Another reason this Saturday was memorable is because it marks the 50th run/walk by this group on the Paint Branch trail, if we count all unofficial runs leading up to our launch in October 2016.

Turnout was strong at 42, including a number of first-timers: Danny and Tiffany Donaldson, visiting from Ireland, took time off their travel schedule to join us; they had to dash off to catch a train soon after. We also welcomed Mara McMillen, Clara McCurdy-Kirlis (from Fairfax, VA), Lisa Black, Cindy Feld, Tamy Graf, Sarah Mulcahy, and Teresa Wertz.

First timers: (top, L to R) Danny, Tiffany, Mara; (bottom row, L to R) Clara, Lisa, Cindy, Sarah

(As you can see from the photo above, Danny is turning from his right; yet another example of cross-Atlantic differences. Run directors usually tell people to keep to the right, but I omitted that on Saturday to keep the briefing short, given the cold.)

As mentioned, the cold weather was no impediment to record-setting. 12 people set personal records, including two couples: Andrea Zukowski and Colin Phillips, Genevieve and Tom Hornik.

Couples setting personal bests: Colin and Andrea, and Tom (and Martina) and Genevieve

Two age-category records were set by first-timers: Tamy Graf in the VW80-84 category, and Teresa Wertz (joined by her dog Sasha, who wins our Best-Dressed award (prize: free 5ks for the rest of the year!)) for the VW65-69 category. For a complete list of records, please see our results page.

Our age-category record setters Tamy and Teresa

In other news, UMD undergrads Josh Haverstick, a regular volunteer and runner, and Hannah Russell joined the College Park parkrun 5-run club!

Josh and Hannah: welcome to the 5-run club!

In addition, parkrun USA has launched a new partnership with the American Cancer Society, and we are excited to help promote a healthy lifestyle. We are looking for local parkrunners to help; if you are interested, please let us know.

Of course, let's not forget about the volunteers who braved the cold to help: Deborah Levenson (tail-runner), Dustyn Kujawa and Jessica Hsieh (time-keepers), Hump Plotts and Lisa Wilson (marshals), Jenn Augsburger (tokens). Our parkrun is only possible because of our volunteers, so please let us know, at collegeparkhelpers@parkrun.com, if you are interested in lending a hand.

Some of our intrepid volunteers: Lisa, Jenn, and Dustyn

Don't let the recent spate of cold weather give you cold feet -- the forecast next week looks more promising, and we look forward to seeing all of you again next Saturday at 9 am!

Last but not least, follow us on FacebookTwitter, or Instagram, find loads of photos on Flickr, or join our Strava club!

-- Nick Huang

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