Park Plogging! (Run Report #132)

This week’s College Park parkrun #132 was all about our love for the trail that we enjoy every Saturday morning. For the third year we teamed up with the University of Maryland and Prince George’s County Dept of Parks & Recreation for a tree planting and clean-up event as part of Good Neighbor Day.

We planted 97 trees in the part of the trail just beyond the start/finish area. Well, with a big assist from a couple of UMD student groups, who did much of the heavy lifting.

We also did some clean-up work along the whole length of the trail that we ‘adopted’. Some parkrunners set off with trash bags and grabbers, and tried to find as much trash as they could along the trail. Apparently, the Swedes have a term for running and trash pick-up - plogging! Thanks especially to Misha Bernard, Külli Crespin, and Rebecca White for their efforts along the trail. And an extra shout out to Marc and Maia Swisdak and Team Schneider - Erin, Samantha, and Mary Claire, for pitching in with the cleanup effort close to the start/finish.

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We had a BIG volunteer crew this week. That was partly due to Good Neighbor Day. Many people helped with the tree planting -- Russ Dickerson, Ben and Meghan Gieske, Stewart Mayhew, Pete Monacelli, Catherine Spirito, Neil Jograj and Julie Russell. We’d like to give a special shout out to dad-daughter duo Dave and Alyssa Heintzelman, who between them managed to plant 10 trees. But it was also due to the rotating crew of helpers at the start/finish. Dale Morey, Maia Swisdak, and Marc Swisdak were the constants, in addition to Run Director Andrea Zukowski. But Chris McGranahan stepped in as timer for much of the event, then replaced by Sam Phipps. And Keaton Ellis happily jumped in as backup barcode scanner once Ben Gieske passed the torch.

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A couple of volunteer roles this week deserve special mention. We’re lucky to have Hump Plotts and Lisa Wilson as our course marshals almost every week. But Hump is recovering from surgery, so we have substitute Hump and Lisa for a couple of weeks. This week Yancira Amaya  and Kim Fisher filled their shoes admirably. … But Lisa was still with us. As she described it, she snuck out while Hump was sleeping, and we were treated to the sight of Lisa in the crowd at the start line, for the first time in a long, long while. It’s not for nothing that Lisa is our most prolific parkrunner, now with 119 parkruns to her name.

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Also, it doesn’t feel so long since Rebecca White was first completing the 5k course with us. So it was great to see her this week leading the first-timers’ briefing, welcoming newcomers to this community that she is now a part of. Wonderful!

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It’s a mark of how we’ve grown that this week’s 92 finishers felt like a pretty quiet week. April is a month of good weather in DC, so there are lots of other fun things to do on a Saturday morning, whether they are track meets, the PGRC Springburst 10k race, soccer leagues, or just getting far out of town. Enjoy! We know that you haven’t forgotten about us and will be back soon enough.

We celebrated a couple of notable achievements before the start. Cotter Rosenberg joined the 50 club, with his proud dad Duane modeling the red shirt that soon will be on its way to Cotter. Cotter assured us when he started that he was not a runner. Well, the cat is now out of the bag, and it turns out that he’s a fairly handy runner. At first he would be duking it out with dad, but nowadays Duane stands no chance. And Cotter somehow is signed up to do this year’s Marine Corps Marathon. Congratulations Cotter!

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We also awarded our occasional Great Leap Forward award to Lucy Younes, who was clearly surprised to receive the award. Lucy is a long-time runner, but has been dealing with some balance issues lately, which have made it difficult to run. We’re thrilled that she has started joining us, and she brings yet more joy to the 50-minute part of the parkrun community.  The GLF award comes with a gift card generously provided by Vigilante Coffee. Congratulations, Lucy!

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It was also a quiet-ish week for first-timers. Olivia Zhao and PJ Bennett enjoyed a run together on the trail. And Chelsea Samo-Lipman was on hand to cheer Eli Black after they both finished their first parkrun.

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We welcomed a parkrun tourist from far afield, too. That’s entirely normal at downtown events like Roosevelt Island parkrun, but only the most discerning make it to College Park. Mareike Schomerus joined us from Finsbury Park in London. She’s used to somewhat larger attendances (parkrun is just huge in London), but she was pleasantly surprised by our trail and our enthusiastic vibe. Great that you could join us, Mareike!

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It was a week of many PBs. 15 to be exact. Many of them have a bit of a story.

First, Judy Barnes, a PB on her 58th parkrun. She’s finishing in 40:xx, and as far as we know she never runs. That’s some fast walking. That said, we’re curious about a couple of pictures taken on the downhill slope at the 1 mile to go mark. That’s as close as we’ve ever seen to evidence of Judy breaking into a run. In any case, nice going, Judy!

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Matt Kaplan continues his impressive streak. He has completed 11 parkruns, and he has set a PB in 10 of them. Wow!

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Luther Lemon is on a bit of a streak of his own, now with 4 PBs in 4 finishes. Oscar Mercado is on a similar streak. And he has now done 4 PBs in 4 weeks.

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Meghan Gieske was a deserved ringer of the PB bell after she took a full minute from her PB on her 20th parkrun. When she first joined us last summer Meghan was a 35-minute runner. As of this week she’s a 27:xx runner. Nice!

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It was a case of another week, another PB, another age-group record for Laurie Fisher.

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Derek Symer and Michael Laing were justifiably pleased to set PBs in their 20th and 22nd parkruns.

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And Stewart Mayhew has been blazing a trail. He first joined us on November 10th, when he finished in around 28 minutes. Now he’s on his 19th parkrun, and he finished this week in 22:xx. That’s some quick progress!

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We’re also seeing new members of our totally unofficial n-timer clubs. 7 people this week joined us for the 5th time: Rex Ledesma (PB!), Lawrence Steele, Keaton Ellis, Michael Osman, Kathleen Gustavson, Noemi Mercado, and her mom Dalila Jose.

Sam Phipps was our one new 10-timer this week. Impressively, Sam has taken only 185 minutes to complete those 10 parkruns. No wonder he needs to run between CP and Silver Spring en route, to get some extra miles in.

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We’re looking forward to welcoming you on Saturday, 4/20, for our 133rd event. Clark Ridge will be at the helm.

Colin Phillips
Co-Event Director

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