They say that a picture is worth a thousand words. I’m not about to test that here, but this picture from College Park parkrun #162 is my favorite because of the stories that it holds.
The scene is the Tunnel of Trees, possibly the prettiest stretch of the Paint Branch Trail at any time of year. And it’s at its fall peak, when the leaves make the light golden.
Heading towards us are the front of the pack runners. Sam Phipps is trying to outrun Steven Moore (it didn’t work), both pushing each other to fast times around 17 minutes. Sam always finishes and then stops around to cheer everybody else in, before typically running back home to Silver Spring. Steven had his whole family with him, and all four set PBs this week, with mom Amanda finishing to a gauntlet of high fives from her boys.
Heading in the other direction is a small group of walkers. They’re accompanying Ellie Elliott, great grandma of Xander Mease, who is walking along the trail, pushing her own wheelchair, going as far as feels right this week.
Of course, both the folks at the front and the folks at the back are just as much a part of this community, and I’m pretty sure that Ellie got a lot more cheers when she reached the finish than the speedsters did.
It was an unusually cold morning for early November, with temps in the 20s when we loaded up our van to set out for Acredale Park. One of the things that has made Saturday mornings even more enjoyable this fall is that now Zoe always joins us and helps with setup before heading off to run.
We figured that the cold would keep more people home, but we saw the largest ever November crowd at College Park parkrun.
We had some big milestones to celebrate this week.
Duane Rosenberg and Dom Blom both joined the 100 club.
Duane became the first mayor in America to complete 100 parkruns. Duane is currently mayor of New Carrollton.
Dom became the latest member of Prince George’s Running Club to earn a black milestone shirt.
Teresa Perdomo did her 50th parkrun, just 14 months after she joined us for the first time! She and her friend Külli celebrated by running the trail together, then heading back out along the trail to meet up with the tailwalking crew and walk back with them. And then heading to The Board and Brew for a delicious brunch.
Speaking of tailwalkers, we were very happy that this week’s tailwalker was new volunteer Ellen Oberholtzer and her tailwagger Eli. They made sure that everybody was safe, and that nobody else finished last. And Eli enjoyed making lots of new friends.
A few people reached unofficial milestones this week …
Angel Cejo, Lorelis Gonzalez, Reece Madsen, and RJ Spalding all joined our unofficial 10-timer club.
Kevin Oriani and Zoe Phillips became 5 timers. That’s good going for Zoe, who completed the course for the first time on October 12th!
The records show that there were 18 volunteers this week. You might think that there was a big crowd waiting in the park while everybody else was enjoying the trail. That’s not really how it worked.
We had just 4 people at the finish line while everybody else was out running and walking. I, Colin, was Run Director. That wasn’t in the plans originally, but taking the RD role ensured that I didn’t make myself more injured by joining the parkrun. Xinzi He was primary timekeeper. Xinzi took a fall at last week’s parkrun and quickly decided to volunteer this week to help her recovery along. Ginger Wilkerson led barcode scanning, while mom and dad were both running their 41st parkrun. And Kerry Callaghan volunteered (again!) as part of a UMD School of Public Health class that she’s taking.
A few volunteers were out on the course. Hump and Lisa were in their regular marshal spots, welcoming you as you passed. Carlos Gough volunteered this week as Hump’s understudy. Ellen and Eli were tailwalkers.
By the time the clock had clicked past 18:30 we had two more of our finish line crew. Brian Murphy and Tomas Marambio both sped around the course, took a moment to ring the PB bell, and then jumped in as volunteers. And a few minutes later Susan Whitney arrived and pulled on a volunteer vest to help out as third barcode scanner for the busiest part of the finish, from around 25-35 minutes.
While you were all finishing Evan Hirsche was volunteering as photographer. He’s resting up ahead of a marathon next weekend, and so he and barkrunner Sophie took a break from parkrunning and instead captured some great shots from the trail.
Some more volunteers came into action at The Board and Brew, as Neil, Trace, Russell, and first-timer Boriana got all the tokens in order. As Run Director, it was my job to process the results, and normally this would be a bit slow and distracting. But thanks to the excellent volunteers and the joys of the parkrun Virtual Volunteer app, I set a results processing PB, and was able to enjoy chatting with lots of parkrunners and parkwalkers.
Friends, First-timers and Visitors
An extra shout out this week to The Board and Brew, who sold enough coffees that they put out a carafe of coffee for free refills for parkrunners. Be still my heart!
And another caffeinated shout out. Our friends at Vigilante Coffee have given us free drink gift cards to give to deserving parkrunners. This week, in recognition of the coldest parkrun of the season so far, the volunteers were surprised with a Vigilante gift card. Thank you everybody!
We welcomed a few first timers and visitors this week. Some local, some not so local.
Cory Kind is not a first-timer, but she’s a visitor from Roosevelt Island parkrun in Washington DC. She decided that she wanted to run to all of the DC parkruns from her home base in Arlington. So this week she set out early to run the 12 miles to College Park. Then, impressively, she was 5th female finisher. After which she had earned a hearty breakfast!
Greg Ervin is based in Ohio, but he tries to join us whenever he’s in town. In fact, he has come so many times that he’s practically a regular.
Kim and Carlos are based in West Virginia, but they are in town and their friend Trace Huard told them about CP parkrun, so they came along to check what the fuss was about.
Tricia Cecil was this week’s first female finisher and a first timer. It was only when I finished the results processing that I realized that I had met Tricia many years ago, when we were both budding triathletes. Neither of us are now, life is too complicated. But it was a cool blast from the past. Welcome Tricia!
It was great to welcome Pamela and Pablo to CP parkrun for the first time. CP parkrun regular Jim Sebastian has known them for a long time, and he heard that they were looking to get in shape. So he recommended that they check out CP parkrun. We’re delighted that they joined us, and hope to see them again.
More first-timers: Austin and Adrienne, together with their passengers (see the picture above). If Adrienne looks a little familiar, that’s because she’s a cousin of CP regular Tara Mease. They were with us this week together with Janet and great grandma Ellie.
PBs and other speediness
Lots of PBs to feel good about, too!
The fast guys were really moving this week. Steven Moore dipped under 17 minutes for the first time. Wow. Sam Phipps was so close to a PB. Brian Murphy and Tomas Marambio both set PBs.
Rebecca White set another PB, walking the 5K in 1:10. We’re excited to see Rebecca progress, and we know there’s much more to come. She was joined this week by her son Joel, who also set a PB.
For Mike McClellan it wasn’t a PB, but it was a big step over his walking time last week. Mike is recovering from spine surgery. Last week he walked the 5K in around 1:08. This week he was back with his two walking canes and he set off with determination, finishing in 56 minutes.
Wayne Dunbar has now set 4 PBs in 4 visits to CP parkrun. And Celeste Pere has set a PB on almost all of her 9 parkruns!
Andrew Widman’s string of PBs keeps getting longer. Now under 24 minutes!
Maria Cecil put in a strong finish to duck under 31 minutes for the first time.
Maureen Hewick returned for a third time, and took a few minutes from her walking PB. A few more weeks like this and she’ll be breathing down Judy Barnes’ neck!
Lorelis Gonzalez and Angel Cejo just keep on setting PBs. Out of 10 parkruns, they have set a PB or been within a second or two 9 times (see picture above).
Amy Rice set a nice new PB this week, possibly thanks to the enthusiasm of her barkrunner.
Lots to look forward to. Still 4 more parkrun days this month!
- Don’t forget about our special College Park parkrun Turkey Trot on Thursday 11/28. Usual 9am start time. Tell friends and family! Especially walkers.
- Next Saturday, 11/16, we’ll be celebrating a few milestones. Xander and Tara Mease will be wearing the black sashes for their 100th parkrun. They started joining us when Xander was 4, and he recently reached the ripe old age of 7. Also, double milestone for Zoe Phillips — 10th parkrun AND 25th time volunteering. We’ll leave it to Zoe to figure out how to juggle the sash and the purple superhero cape.
- Looking further ahead, mark your calendars for our 4th annual New Year’s Resolution parkrun on January 1st. College Park parkrun will start at the special late hour of 10:30am. And you have the option of doing an additional parkrun at 8:30am in Kensington or Leakin Park (Baltimore). Followed by a big community brunch at The Board and Brew.
See you soon! I’m looking forward to running again soon, if this pesky achilles injury will go away.
P.S. Oops. The run report came in at more than a thousand words