Before we get to the week's run report, two announcements:
1. Do you get Andrea's weekly email with news about College Park parkrun?
Many of you don't, because you have not 'opted in' to receive it. Many people have told us that they love receiving this newsletter especially when they have to miss parkrun for a while, because it keeps them feeling connected.
*Make sure you are receiving our weekly newsletter by clicking the “Opt In” link in your Results Email!* Or go to https://www.parkrun.com/signin/ to update your preferences. (Don't worry if you've lost your password, it's easy to reset it.)
2. It's Tree-Planting Day next Saturday at Acredale Park on the trail. If you have a bit more time to spare after parkrun, please consider staying back to plant a few trees! Your efforts will provide more shade for the trail (well, eventually) and make the park a more beautiful place.
And the report:
It's April! The snow and the cold are gone. The leaves are starting to grow back, the cherry trees are blooming, and everyone is taking their favorite anti-allergy medication. But one thing remains constant: parkrun. Every Saturday at 9 am, whether the trees are bare or whether there is snow or not.
There is now a tradition of guessing the turnout each week, and this week it turned out (pardon the pun) to be good to be more conservative. One year ago, 108 finishers would have been a bumper crop, as this was our largest April crowd ever, but compared to chilly March, it felt like a quieter day. We know there are so many fun things to do outside at this time of year. Congrats, Mark (Shroder) -- your prize is free parkruns for the rest of the year!
This week's crowd included about a dozen first-timers. This community continues to grow because first-timers keep coming back for more, and because they encourage friends and family to join them. That's how now over 2,000 people have taken part over 12,000 times.
One great example: Sam Phipps is one of our regular speedsters, often finishing before many of us have reached Lisa's turnaround spot. Normally he stays around to cheer everybody else at the finish. But this week he ran back down the trail to meet up with his mom and grandma, who he had brought along for a stroll on the trail. Wonderful!
Another first timer this week was Daniel Waistell. He's not new to parkrun, as he has done most of his previous parkrunning in Cambridge, UK. Now based in DC, he knows where to find us any weekend.
And on that note, it was also really nice to see Steve and Cindy Feld again -- welcome back! Steve and Cindy were key team members at College Park parkrun before moving to North Carolina, but they were in town this weekend in part for the Cherry Blossom Ten-Miler race.
Rather unusually, there were no official parkrun milestones set this week, although a few people are getting very close (such as Cotter Rosenberg, Diana Gough, who did their 49th and 48th parkrun this week, respectively). Among the unofficial milestones that we like to call out: Lori Dominick joined the ranks of people who have done 25 parkruns -- halfway to the coveted red T-shirt. John Sener, Ryan Kneapler, Matt Kaplan each completed their 10th parkrun, and Elena Bailoni is now a 5-timer.
We counted 25 PBs: one in four parkrunners. It's great to see so many parkrunners improving on their previous times. Hopefully it will be a sign of even faster times as the weather gets better (and before the summer hits). Congratulations to Pete Wergin, Santiago Morales, Brian Hutchins, Abba Milkii, John Kastner, Abdur-Rahman Quadri, Kathy Cea, John Ramsey, Tom Charles, Briggs Rolfsrud, Xander Mease, Tara Mease, Elena Bailoni, Matt Kaplan, Aileen Kroll, Ada Lee, Ashley Barnes, Jason Alexis, Stefanie Hutchins, Oscar Mercado, Ellen Hamilton, Jie Yue, Fudong Han, Romy Wang, and Rebecca White!
Matt Kaplan deserves a special mention. This week he did his 10th parkrun, and we noticed that he has set a PB (almost) every single time so far. One week he missed by about 6 seconds, Impressive stuff, Matt!
Special shout out to Xander, who managed to raise $2,895 at the Great Strides 5k for Cystic Fibrosis the following day, almost doubling his fundraising goal. Thanks to the many parkrun friends who helped out with that.
Finally, I'd like to acknowledge the volunteers. As usual, a fantastic crew made sure you were safe on the trail and got your results on quickly. Hump and Lisa took up their usual positions along the trail, and Barbara Gusack made sure no one got left behind, while taking lots of great photos.
At the finish line were yours truly and people preparing for the Cherry Blossom race -- Ben and Meghan Gieske, who were your timekeepers, Steve Feld, who handed out tokens, and Catherine Spirito and Paul Monacelli, who scanned your barcodes and tokens. There were no timing or barcode issues when we processed results, all thanks to their great work.
That's it for this run report. See you all again, and don't forget your barcode!