Not in a month of Saturdays (Run Report #134-#138)

Ok, so we’ve fallen behind a little on our run reports. So we’re going to cheat by doing a whole month’s worth in one report. That covers event #134 (April 27th) to event #138 (May 25th).


Some highlights from the past month …

-- 661 finishers

-- 79 first-timers

-- 67 volunteers

-- 88 PBs





We love celebrating your parkrun milestones, official and unofficial. Four people joined the 50 club (red shirt) in the past month, three of them on May 11th: Katie Hirsche, Kalonji Collins, and Diana Gough.




For that day a big crowd of parkrunners made a guard of honor in their various colorful parkrun shirts.


Just two weeks after Diana Gough joined the 50 club, it was the turn of her son Carlos. Who set a PB for good measure. We hear that may be because he knew of the cake waiting at the finish.


By our count in the same period EIGHT parkrunners joined the unofficial 25-timer club, making them halfway to 50: Isaac Scott, Anna Damm, Michelle Brandy, Alexander Swisdak, Jackie Hayes, Abba Milkii, Dominique Lisiero, and Carly Mills.

CP-parkrun-137-39ELEVEN parkrunners joined the unofficial 10-timer club, now over 300 strong: Michael Osman, Lucy Younes, Josh Schneider, Cheryle Galloway, Richard Goemann, Ada Lee, Eliza Kempton, Noe Saavedra, David Gang, Christian James, and Alondra Saavedra. CP-parkrun-138-110 And at least TWENTY FOUR parkrunners joined the unofficial 5-timer club. Wow, that’s a lot. They were: West Coile, Terrye Verge, Sonja Hatten, Rashawna Alfred, Randy Ontiveros, Mimi Veshi, Megan Winsor-Lovely, Mark Landis, Kadija Kamus, Edwin Hernandez, Cecilia Morissette, Anne Roberts-Smith, Ankit Mondal, Laura Ramos, Ben McHugh, Sofia Veshi, Ted Poulos, Sally Stuchlik, Michael Navarette, Stuart Landis, Peter Dennis, Oscar Mercado, Amanda Pinkston, Milkii Dagne. … Whew! CP-parkrun-138-148 To go along with the milestones, there was also a non-trivial amount of cake. There are many more coming up this summer. If any of you would be able to help with baking, we’d love to hear from you. CP-parkrun-138-1


We love seeing families getting active together to start the weekend, and we’re thrilled to see more and more families doing this. On May 4th Heather Sisan brought along her daughter Fiona for her first ever 5k. Fiona ran three times further than she had ever run before. AND she was dressed as a young Rey to mark Star Wars day. Fiona has now finished 3 times, so she’s turning into an old hand. CP-parkrun-135-71 Sometimes it’s good to run with your brother or sister. On May 4th Jonathan and Colette paced each other to his and hers PBs. CP-parkrun-135-35 Other times it can be great to run with your other half. Or to show up together and each run a pace that feels good. Even if that means leaving the kids at home. CP-parkrun-138-204 CP-parkrun-138-208 It can even be great to stay active while carrying a new family member. We are so impressed to see Dominique continue to run each week at parkrun, as her due date gets closer and closer. CP-parkrun-138-173

Walking at parkrun!

We love that more and more community members are joining us to walk the Paint Branch Trail. We wish that English had a simple word that covered bipedal locomotion, including both running and walking (German does!), but it doesn’t, alas. So we just have to make do with “parkrun” as our name. But we are at least as happy to see walkers on the trail as runners. Nobody should feel that they are making us wait for them. CP-parkrun-136-119 CP-parkrun-137-183 CP-parkrun-136-179


We feel SO fortunate to have such a strong community of volunteers at College Park parkrun. As you know, the events are free forever because a team of volunteers from the parkrun community helps to put on the event each week. Around 300 community members have volunteered so far to put on 138 events. And we welcome new volunteers every week. If you haven’t tried it out yet, we encourage you to give it a try. It really is a great way to feel more connected to the community, and it feels great to be part of a smoothly operating team. You get a whole new perspective on the event. CP-parkrun-137-4

Volunteering can be a great family activity. On April 27th Team Schneider were the tailwalking team. And they even brought along kid-sized volunteer vests for Samantha and Mary Claire. Team Schneider is expanding, and we wish them all the best with the new family member.


On May 18th Judy Mulusa and her daughter Kacey Nyongesa were our scanning team.


Stewart Mayhew has been trying out different volunteer roles, in between touring all the region’s parkruns. On May 11th he tried out the first-timers briefing role, and brought along props.


Keaton Ellis is another parkrunner who has been stepping up in multiple roles. One week he helped with setup. Other weeks he has jumped in as a scanner after running. And on May 25th he offered to help with results processing, and got an impromptu master class from Andrea.


And Abdur Rahman-Quadri deserves a special mention. At the start of May Adbur wrote to say, “Please sign me up as a volunteer for the next 5 weeks!” Like last year, Abdur is volunteering every week during Ramadan. And he has learned that he can be an ace timekeeper with one hand while also taking great photographs with his other hand. Very much appreciated!


Other cool stuff

We learn about cool stories every single week at parkrun. Here are just a few of the cool things that caught our attention in the past month.

On May 18th Joel Goldberg showed up early at the park with some tools. To our surprise, he had built a device that serves as a hole for our parkrun flag. And conveniently marks the start/finish line. Now we don’t have to worry about what to do when the ground is too solid to get the flag in. Thanks Joel!


On May 4th Barbara Gusack looked especially delighted at the finish line. We learned that it was the first time that she had run the full 5k in years. Fantastic!


We enjoy seeing groups from local running clubs join us on the trail on a Saturday. At this point we have seen many hundreds of finishes at College Park parkrun by members of Prince George’s Running Club and Montgomery County Road Runners.

Check them out - a number of parkrunners have discovered the clubs via parkrun. Especially popular are PGRC’s Tuesday evening track night at the UMD track. You do NOT need to be fast like Usain Bolt to take part. And many parkrunners enjoy training groups like MCRRC’s marathon programs or their series of low-key races that are free to club members.



One thing that we’re really excited to see: CP parkrun founder Andrea Zukowski is running again, after a long-time sidelined with knee injuries. Her recommendation: simple strength training, including barre classes, to build up many different muscle groups.


And we’ve also enjoyed seeing your parkrun tourism. One week we found John Ramsey doing his first non-CP parkrun at Crissy Field parkrun in San Francisco. Another week we found Russ Dickerson doing his first non-CP parkrun at South Boulder Creek parkrun in Colorado. There he ran into former CPer and now Kensington parkrun team member Jeff Lunsford.


And although I have been sorry that work travels have taken me away from College Park on too  many Saturdays lately, I have been thrilled to find myself within striking distances of more new parkrun events. On May 11th I greatly enjoyed my visit to the new Sippo Lake parkrun in Canton, OH. Highly recommended if you’re anywhere in the area.


And this isn’t really news, but we can never go wrong by including a picture of Trini Molina’s smile.


News etc.

A few newsy items of note.

First, new parkrun apricot shirts are (finally!) available. A few of our parkrunners got their hands on these before the old line of clothing was discontinued in 2017. The new t-shirts have a different fabric and higher quality. I have been testing mine out on hot and humid days, and I can confirm that they are good for DC summer weather.

Sales of the apricot shirts are one way that we’re able to keep parkrun free forever. Proceeds from the apricot shirts help to fund the cost of the free milestone shirts that our parkrunners are earning every week. At £33 (~$42, including shipping) they’re not the cheapest shirts you’ll find, and we don’t expect of anybody that they buy one. But if you are able to, then it’s supporting other parkrunners, at less than the cost of two typical 5ks.

You can order the shirts from Pro Direct Running. Some US purchasers have had credit card payment difficulties. It seems to work better if you choose the PayPal option.


Second, we were both happy and sad to give the May parkrunner of the month award to Ben and Meghan Gieske. Ben and Meghan have been valuable members of our community since first joining us last summer. They run, they walk, they volunteer, and they smile. But now they’re moving to Indiana. We wish them well, and hope that they will visit us when they’re in town. The PoTM award is generously supported by The Board and Brew, and we were happy that Meghan and Ben were able to put their new B&B gift card to good use on May 25th before moving west.


Next, we’re excited that our trail has gotten longer! The Paint Branch Trail used to come to an end just a few yards beyond Lisa’s turnaround spot. But as of a few weeks ago it now extends for a couple of miles to Beltsville Community Center and park. The new section of trail includes a nice new bridge that you can see just beyond Lisa’s spot. I have been enjoying using the trail extension for longer runs. It also means that we’re seeing some more bikers on the trail, so we need to be a little more vigilant about traffic on the trail, especially around the zigzag sections at the back of the golf course.


Meanwhile, we’re excited to see parkrun USA continue to grow. More and more communities are getting in on the fun that we’ve been having in College Park since 2016. When we started there were 7 US parkrun events, with around 300 finishers per week in total. Over the next couple of weeks events #33-#35 will be starting in Kentucky, Vermont, and Washington State, and this Memorial Day weekend was the first time that parkrun USA saw over 2,000 run, walk, or volunteer on a single day. Word is spreading!

We are especially interested in helping new parkrun communities to grow in the DC-MD-VA area, and we have many resources to help new teams. If you know of anybody in the region who would love to have a parkrun in their community, do let us know.


Finally, we’re looking forward to a special day on June 8th when local towns will be holding the first Trolley Trail Day, celebrating the trail that connects the cities of College Park, Riverdale Park, and Hyattsville. We are teaming up with TT Day to help put on an EXTRA fun run that starts right by the end of College Park parkrun and follows the trail down to end next to Franklins in Hyattsville, around 6k away. The event will start at 10:30 on 6/8, and we expect some swag for participants, including a free hot or cold drink at Vigilante Coffee in Hyattsville. Some of us may be tempted to also try out the new Denizens Brewery in Riverdale Park Station on that day. We are already a big fan of our local trails, and they now take us to more and more places!

If you made this this far, congratulations, and thanks for reading! (And apologies to my mum for any typos - she’s always the first to catch them. ... Newsflash -- she checked, and didn't find any. Bliss!)

See you next week for College Park parkrun #139.

Colin Phillips

Co-Event Director