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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org, 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.
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 Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, find loads of photos on Flickr, or join our Strava page!
-- Nick Huang