140 Flags (Run Report #159)

To celebrate the third birthday of College Park parkrun we decorated cakes and pumpkin pies with a flag for each College Park parkrunner who has reached a parkrun milestone over the past 3 years.

There were 140 flags in all. They filled 6 cakes. We really did not expect there to be so many.

  • 70 red 50 shirts
  • 41 white 10 shirts (for juniors)
  • 11 black 100 shirts
  • 18 purple V25 shirts (for volunteering)

We’re grateful to Andrea, Hump, and Misha for baking cakes and pies. And to Andrea, and to my parents, Kath and Derrick Phillips, for helping to make all the flags. Making the flags turned out to be quite fun, as each name gave a chance to think about the person and their story and how they came to be a part of this community.

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We had Thanksgiving-themed pumpkin pie to go along with Andrea’s theme of “gratitude” for the anniversary event. At her pre-parkrun briefing Andrea thanked many different people who have helped to build the community over the past 3 years.

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PBpalooza!

Among this week’s 163 finishers were **47** PBs. We were sure that must be a record for CP parkrun. But not quite. There were 48 PBs on Sept 15th last year. … And there’s a connection.

About half of this week’s PBs came from the DeMatha High School cross-country team, who joined us for the second time this week. We didn’t know that they would be coming -- at parkrun you just show up (with a barcode) -- but we were happy to see them. They previously ran with us on 8/31, and their training must have been working out well, as almost all of them were faster this time out.

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The day with 48 PBs was similar. It was when Elizabeth Seton High School cross-country team made a return visit a few weeks after a pre-season time trial.

Among the DeMatha PBs was Ian Parsons, who dipped under 20 minutes for the first time, on his 76th parkrun. Nice job, Ian! Ian’s older brother Thomas didn’t quite reach his PB, but it was his 49th parkrun, so next time out he earns a nice red parkrun 50 shirt.

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Jayden Keels almost lost his age-group record last week to middle-schooler Nathan Widman. So this week he went out and took another minute from his record. The 11-14 record is now 18:06. Wow.

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And kudos to Stephen Camarano, who first joined us in early 2017. This week he not only set another PB, he also did his 9th parkrun. So next time out he earns a white parkrun 10 shirt.

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I cannot deny that I was feeling pretty good about the three PBs from Team Phillips. Zoe and his grandparents ALL set PBs this week. My parents have been traveling in Montana and Wyoming since they visited us one month ago. So it was probably the altitude training that made the difference!

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Ada Lee was impressive, taking a whole minute from her PB on her 27th parkrun.

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And Frank Filteau must be doing something right, as after two years without a PB, he has set a new PB twice in the past couple of weeks. That’s after 131 parkruns.

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Kudos to Jessica Gerbig, who achieved a rare feat. On her 17th visit to CP parkrun she beat the PB that she set waaaay back in our first event, 3 years ago. Better yet, this PB was set pushing a stroller. Normally we’re unsure whether an earlier time was set with/without a stroller. But in this case we’re fairly confident, as the PB is substantially older than the stroller passenger.

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And it’s not just the speed demons who were setting PBs this week. Judy Cantwell and her friend Ana Rivera joined us for the second time this week. We’re not sure whether they were concerned about PBs, but they both walked faster this time than last time out.

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And Reese Madsen and Elizabeth Cooper both had the distinction of setting a 1-second PB on their 7th time with us. Every little counts!

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First-timers and Visitors

There were 14 first-timers this week, to add to the nearly 2,500 people who have taken part in College Park parkrun since we started.

Kerry Callaghan has already volunteered a few times, but this was her first time running the course. She’s part of the crew from UMD’s School of Public Health that is trying out different roles at the event over the course of the semester. It turns out that Kerry’s a fairly speedy runner!

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Harvey Baker is the new Chief of Police in the Town of University Park. A couple of days ago he was quietly going about his business in town when he found Andrea, out on one of her nature walks. By some complete coincidence College Park parkrun came up in the conversation, and Andrea talked Harvey into joining us. We were very happy that he came along, together with his wife Zanetta. We hope that they will join us again!

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One of our first-timers this week brought along a first-time barkrunner. Hector Serra is another of the UMD SPH crew, and his mom Hilda came along this week, together with what one parkrunner described as “the perfect dog”. Welcome both!

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The DeMatha boys might have accounted for most of the earlier finishers this week, but it was first-timer Karen Kautz who hit the highest age-graded run of the day. Karen is in the 75-79 age group and she proceeded to take *12 minutes* from the previous age-group record, finishing in slightly over 30 minutes. Wow.

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Unusually for us, we had THREE parkrun tourists from the UK this week. Brothers Chris and John Smyth have done over 200 parkruns between them in the London area. This week they were visiting their cousin Maureen who lives in Bowie, MD. So imagine their good luck to find that CP parkrun was nearby. And they persuaded Maureen to come along too, and she enjoyed a walk on the trail with my mum.

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We also had a visit from Rachel Brown, who is based in Littleport, near Cambridge, UK. I know that part of the world fairly well, as it’s close to where I grew up. Let’s just say that our course may have seemed hilly compared to that area.

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One more visitor came as a very pleasant surprise. Vancouverite Susan H. has joined us a good few times over the past 2 summers while working at NASA. So she had never visited in the months with nicer weather. She is in DC for a short stay and she heard that it was our birthday, so she biked out from DC to join us. So good to see her again!

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Volunteers

Amy Duan tried out a new volunteer role this week, leading the first-timers briefing. This is a good role to try out if you want to volunteer and also run. Main role: make sure that everybody feels as welcome as possible.

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Debbie Levenson and Chris and Sam McGranahan have volunteered many times before -- they have been part of the CP parkrun team since the very beginning. It’s great to have their experience on hand. Sam tried out timekeeping with the parkrun Virtual Volunteer app. We’re hoping to switch more and more to using that, so that we can eventually dispense with dedicated hardware and wired connections. Garrett Day and Hector Serra were the UMD SPH volunteers this week. And Tomas Marambio wisely decided to volunteer instead of running this week, as he recovers from last week’s Chicago Marathon (big PB!).

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Misha Bernard and Külli Crespin were our tailwalkers and smile catchers. Abdur Rahman-Quadri also brought along his camera and took some great shots. Hump and Lisa expertly carried out the roles of being Hump and Lisa. Nobody does it better. Cotter Rosenberg, Alex Dystant, and Russ Dickerson sorted tokens while sipping coffee.

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And Andrea Zukowski led the show as Run Director for the umpteenth time. She thanked everybody else, and we all owe big thanks to Andrea for taking the initiative to create College Park parkrun.

What’s happening soon?

October 26th: We’re expecting a few milestones to celebrate in the coming weeks. As of now there are 6 CP parkrunners who have done 49 parkruns, and this week 4 people did their 97th.

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One celebration that is in store for next week is a double milestone for Steve and Cindy Feld. Steve and Cindy first joined us around the end of 2016 and became key members of the community, running and volunteering so many times. They later retired and moved to North Carolina, to be closer to family. But they will be back with us next week, when Steve will complete his 100th run, and Cindy will be volunteering for the 25th time. Yay!

November 3rd: yes, that’s a Sunday. We’ll be holding a meetup in the afternoon for parkrun teams from around the DMV region, to discuss ways that we can build on the existing parkrun communities to do more to serve the region, including new events, new connections, and broader collaboration. If you would like to take part, please drop me an email. My address is firstname.lastname@parkrun.com.

November 28th: Thanksgiving parkrun! Freest, friendliest turkey trot in the area.

January 1st: New Years parkrun. At the special time of 10:30am. Kensington parkrun will be going ahead at 8:30am, and you can do both if you are so inclined!

So much to look forward to!

Colin Phillips
Co-Event Director

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