Quadruple Holiday parkrun Report (Run Reports #115-#118)

It has been such a busy couple of weeks of parkrunning that we’re wrapping up our holiday parkrunning in one big report. It’s our New Years gift to you.

In the 15 days from Dec 22 to Jan 5 we held 4 parkruns in College Park, including our New Years Day special event. In that time we saw 627 finishers, supported by 63 volunteers. 20 of you ran or volunteered at all 4 events. And some of you did a 5th event by taking part in a New Years Double parkrun. And there was no shortage of milestones and inspiring achievements to celebrate. So buckle up …

On December 22nd we held a festive pre-holiday parkrun. Santa joined us, an elf with jingly bells on his hat haunted fast-finishing Francisco. And we had elven tailwalkers, too, dancing to celebrate the sun.




On December 29th we had more sun to wrap up a great year of parkrunning in College Park, where we saw over 5700 5ks completed in 2018 (an increase of 40% over 2017). Three of our regulars completed their 51st parkrun of the year: John Ramsey, Frank Filteau, and Gus Campbell.



On January 1st we were amazed at the crowd of 243 finishers. Not only was this an attendance record for College Park, it was the first time that we ran out of finisher tokens. Well, full disclosure, we had higher numbers somewhere in our gear box, but we were more focused on protecting the cakes than on tokens, so we didn’t realize that until later.



43 parkrunners did a New Years Double by starting the day at Kensington parkrun or Leakin Park parkrun, and so many people joined us afterwards for a big community brunch at The Board and Brew. It was great to come together with folks from other local parkrun communities. What a fantastic start to 2019 for our community.




Just a few days later we were back for our first Saturday parkrun of 2019, where we celebrated FOUR 50-milestones, and introduced our new “parkrun Patronus” sign, with a terrapin, of course.



Our photo albums from all events can be found HERE.

As usual, beyond the numbers there were some great stories that inspired us over the holiday season.

Many of our regulars are familiar with young parkrunner Xander Mease and his always-upbeat attitude at parkrun. But on New Years Day he and his family were even more inspiring. Xander and his mom Tara did the Kensington-College Park double, proudly wearing their new red 50 shirts (a bit of a loose fit for a 6-year old). We gave the December parkrunner of the month award to Tara, for being an awesome parkrun mom. Xander’s grandma Janet was there too. This time she took a break from her recent speedy PBs, as she was looking out for her own mom, Ellie, who is 85. Turns out that Ellie was quite the runner in her time. That was at a time when women’s running was less common. Janet credits Ellie with inspiring her and subsequent generations to become runners. At parkrun Ellie set off pushing her own wheelchair, and made it most of the way to the turnaround. Quite the achievement, and we’re so happy that Ellie was able to join us. We’re fairly sure that this is the first time that we had 4 generations from the same family doing CP parkrun on the same day.



Our 4 January 5th 50 milestones all come with stories of their own.

Erin Munsell was inspired to get active when living for a time with her aunt in Kensington. That just happened to be Cindy Conant, one of the speediest masters runners in the country. Cindy encouraged Erin to try out her first ever 5k in spring 2017 at a low-key community event in College Park called parkrun. Now Erin has done 50 parkruns, and she recently ran her first half marathon. Aunt Cindy came along to celebrate Erin’s milestone, and paced her to a new PB, at a pace that would have been unimaginable 18 months ago. And she brought along the whole family to join the fun. Erin now runs with Prince George’s Running Club, where her friends include JJ Su, who also celebrated his 50-parkrun milestone on the same day, and was part of Erin’s pace squad.


This week is the 3rd birthday of Fletcher’s Cove parkrun, which introduced parkrun to the DC area. Andrea and I took part in that first event, and started holding weekly meetups on the Paint Branch Trail the very next week. Looking through the results from the Fletcher’s inaugural we also find Evan Hirsche doing his first parkrun. Quite a speedy runner, he went around in 31 minutes, because he was accompanying his 12-year old daughter Katie. 3 years on, Evan did his 50th parkrun with us on Jan 5th. He’s still running close to Katie, and enthusiastic barkrunner Sophie. But nowadays Katie holds our age-group record for 15-17 year olds, and they can be found speeding around towards the front of the pack.


Anna Tinnemore was our 4th new 50-club member. Anna is a UMD grad student and one of the people who helps to make CP parkrun welcoming to everybody. She can run if she’s so inclined. But she’s just as likely to walk the trail, accompanying different people in different weeks. We were thrilled that this week she was joined by Neil and Jules, two friends that she met via parkrun.


There was also some traveling going on over the holidays, and that created opportunities to catch up with other parkrun friends. On Dec 29 Andrea and I were with family in Michigan, so we dropped in on Lillie parkrun in Ann Arbor. There we ran into CP local Sharlene Deskins, and Roosevelt Island regular Cory Kind. It was great to see both of them with us in College Park on New Years Day. Then on January 5th I was in New York City for work, and had a chance to call in on Rory Murphy, one of our earliest regulars at CP, and now Event Director at Delaware & Raritan Canal parkrun, new New Brunswick. Better yet, I got a ride from the station from Adrian Dover, a regular tourist at CP who is often in NJ these days. Wonderful!

Many other parkrunners reached official and unofficial milestones over the holiday period.

Jeff Lunsford got to wear the purple superhero cape on January 1st, as it was his 25th time volunteering at parkrun. Jeff first joined us in early 2017, then went on to become a key part of the Kensington parkrun team, where he regularly leads the show. He did a New Years Double of his own, volunteering at both Kensington and College Park.


7 new people joined our unofficial 25-timer club: Maia Swisdak, Misha Bernard, Bonnie McClellan, Clare Imholtz, Helena Santos-Collins, Keri Pierce, and Maria Cecil.


16 new people joined our unofficial 10-timer club. Actually, one of them was Dinah Cohen, and as a junior parkrunner this counts as an official milestone. Magdalena Duhagon, Jen Charles, Heather Shrader, Kristine Rogers, Jesse Melchiori, Jeff Bowser, Maya Aleschnik, Dottie Jograj, Kimberly Bills, Lilly Ridge, Raffaelle Simpson, Abba Milkii, and Mike Roberts. A special extra shout out to Joyce Adams, who joined the group of 10-time tourists at College Park parkrun. Joyce is event director at Roosevelt Island parkrun in DC, and we’re always delighted when she’s able to join us. On January 1st she was *so* helpful as Andrea and I figured out the results.


And a remarkable 28 new people joined our unofficial 5-timer club over the holidays. Kathy Zentek, Polly O’Rourke, Greg Ervin, Chris Van Vlack, Christina Ferguson, Louis Roberts, Paul Christoph Schemionek, Marvin Perdomo, Jair Jackson, Delia Reyes, Stewart Mayhew, Erica Olmsted-Hawala, Autumn Miller, Vivienne Miller, Angela Taylor, Mara McMillen, Cristian Arteaga, Jen Kubit, Nozomi Sakakibara, Martha Askarov, Josh Weiss, Lara Pagano, John Maneval, Dottie Li, Jessica Rojas, Firehun Necha, Jon Sutton, and Jonathan Butacci.


With such big participation in parkrun over the holidays we were so happy to see how many different people stepped forward as volunteers. The hundreds of people who have volunteered at CP parkrun are what makes the event so special for our community. So thank you to all of the following for their holiday parkrun volunteering: Joyce Adams, Yancira Amaya, Jenn Augsburger, Janice Bernache, Jim Cantwell, Cindy Cohen (2), Carleton Conant, Cindy Feld, Steve Feld, Kim Fisher, Jake Foley (3), Saul Goldberg, Carlos Gough (2), Diana Gough, Ellen Hamilton, Evan Hirsche, Katie Hirsche, Neil Jograj, Aileen Kroll (2), Jeff Lunsford, Nina McGranahan, Judy Mulusa, Brian Murphy (2), Jen Murphy, Teresa Perdomo, Colin Phillips (4), Meredith Phillips, Abigail Phillips (2), Hump Plotts (4), Abdur-Rahman Quadri, Calvin Ridge, Clark Ridge (2), Julie Russell, Elizabeth Sheridan, Valerie Silensky (2), JJ Su, Janet Tate, Daniel Walker, Larry Washington, Lisa Wilson (4), and Andrea Zukowski (4).

… wow.




Saturday January 12th is the 3rd anniversary of parkrun in the DC area, and Fletcher’s Cove parkrun is inviting everybody to a post-parkrun pizza party at 7th Hill Pizza on MacArthur Boulevard at 11am. You could go try out FC parkrun on the C&O Canal towpath. Or you could do CP parkrun then zip into DC for lunch.

Saturday January 26th is the 6th annual Awards Gala for the College Park Community Foundation, at The Hotel at UMD. CPCF is a pillar of the local community and one of our launch supporters. We’re excited to share that this year CPCF is giving their Chair’s Award for an outstanding community organization to … College Park parkrun. There will be many familiar faces from parkrun at the gala, and we invite you to join us there. Ticket sales (HERE) raise funds that CPCF then uses for its community grant-making programs.

Well, now that we’re all caught up with this quadruple run report, it must be almost Saturday again, right? See you soon!

Colin Phillips