Defining Success (Run Report #150)

Another hot and humid day – perfect for proofing croissants, not ideal conditions for running.

Yet, 140 finishers came out for College Park parkrun #150.

I’m Lori, and I am honored that Andrea asked me to be Run Director this week. Part of the duties include writing a Run Report and telling you a little bit about myself. If this is a little “TL;DR” for you, please feel free to skip to the photos.

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I started running about eight years ago. Actually, I started walking and hiking before that to get out of the house, lose weight, make friends, and get healthier. At some point, I decided to try running. On my walks, I would run to a mailbox, then walk to a mailbox. Then I started running from utility pole to utility pole. One day it was a mile. A mile turned into two miles, then three miles. I wasn’t very fast, but I was running.

Over time, 5Ks turned into 10Ks across the Chesapeake Bay Bridge, a couple of 10-milers and finally, a Half-Marathon. I paid for running classes to work on my form. I went to stores that just sold running shoes. I ran on a treadmill for an hour at a 4.0mph pace and that was a huge victory!

I moved to the College Park area two years ago to be closer to work, and I needed to find a group of people to run with. I searched online for 5Ks in the area and stumbled upon College Park parkrun. Wait – a FREE 5K? Every week? Really? I signed up right away and my first parkrun was #68 in January 2018. I was nervous, but Andrea, Colin, and many other parkrunners made me feel welcome immediately. It wasn’t long before I was volunteering for events. One of the things I really love about College Park parkrun is the amount of support and encouragement that everyone brings on Saturday. Whenever I cheer on a faster runner, they cheer for me too. That’s amazing.

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A couple of months ago, Valerie (a regular CP parkrunner) brought up a question: “Why do we measure the success of our parkruns by how fast we run them?” The answer seemed obvious to me, it’s easy to measure how fast we run, if we run faster, we’re doing better.

With the summer heat and humidity, my times are not getting better, and I’ve decided to revisit this question. How do you measure parkrun success in other ways besides how fast you run? I think it comes down to celebrating every victory, and the College Park parkrun team excels in this.

This week, I’d like to recognize some of our celebrations:

14 first-timers joined us this week. Hopefully, you had a chance to say hello to them. As a former first-timer, this makes a difference!

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14 second-timers CAME BACK this week! In this heat and humidity! You are 1 parkrun closer to 250! [But that’s a long way! So getting to 5 or 10 might seem like a reasonable target.] It was great to see some people who we hadn't seen for a year or two. Your barcode never expires.

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18 people set PBs and got to ring the PB bell!

A special shout out to Cameron McPhee on her PB this week. Last week Cameron wrote to us on Friday to say that she had broken her toe and couldn’t run, so could she help out as a volunteer instead. Of course! So we were surprised to see her back running this week. And setting a PB, despite the heat and humidity. Nice job, Cameron!

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14 people volunteered their time this week.  Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! To my finish line crew: Mike McClellan, Judy Mulusa, Maia Swisdak, Alexander Swisdak, and Marc Swisdak. And Andrea Zukowski, who was on hand if I needed anything. Working out the results was a breeze thanks to this team. Out on the course Jackie and Kayla Hayes were smiling tail walkers, Lisa Wilson welcomed everybody at the turnaround. And we had the pleasure of seeing Hump back in his rightful position in command of Hump's Crossing. It's so good to see him in better health again.

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Families – From stylish moms to grateful dads, to princesses and a trio of timers, it’s great to see families together. And special congratulations to Nico for his first parkrun! Last week Nico was riding in the stroller as we celebrated his dad Eddie doing his 100th parkrun. This week Nico ditched the stroller and completed the course under his own steam for the first time. Mom and dad were suitably proud.

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Congratulations to everyone who participated in College Park parkrun #150. I appreciated your support and I hope to do this again!

Lori Dominick