Heart (Run Report #167)

We did not expect to see Hump Plotts at College Park parkrun #167. It was just last week that we were wishing him well for his upcoming heart surgery. It is a testament to the wonders of modern medicine and the draw of this community that Hump was there in his regular marshal spot at 9am on Saturday, with Joel Goldberg on hand as his stunt double. The surgery went well, and his heart is in much better shape. Still a little raw and unable to leave his truck. But still checking on everybody as they come and go in either direction. Great to see you making such good progress, Hump!

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Whereas Hump has been with us almost every week for the past 3 years, Chris Roth moved to College Park just a couple of weeks ago. But he has already found that CP parkrun is a great way to get to know the community. Chris is a German student who is doing a 6-month masters project at UMD. Already on his first visit he met a lot of different people and asked about how to sign up to volunteer. We love it! (Answer: follow the link in a weekly results email, or edit your profile at parkrun.com to opt in to Andrea’s once weekly news update email.)

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This week 121 people walked or ran the full course at College Park parkrun and 19 people volunteered. A few people covered part of the course, and we had a good few barkrunners, stroller riders, and other friends along for the party. So, all told around 150 taking part on a brisk December morning with temps in the 30s. Not at all bad!

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Two stories caught our eye this week about parents and kids at CP parkrun.

John Barnhardt and his young son are a regular fixture at CP parkrun. Normally John is pushing the stroller and junior is reading a book while speeding along the trail. This week I was surprised to see them roll up without the stroller. They were going to try out the course on foot together! And they did great. They made it to the bridges and back, which is a little over 2 miles. That’s really good going on young legs.

Sometimes the greatest achievements at CP parkrun are from people who don’t even appear in the results table.

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Meanwhile, Robin Moon was another person who was running along the trail for the first time, thanks to a parent. But Robin is in the 60+ age category. And the parent is Tami Graf, an inspirational octogenarian runner who has joined us many times before. Tami explained that it was Robin who got her into running, when she was running in high school. Tami started running a few decades ago, and now she’s one of the leading 80+ runners in the region.

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We celebrated one official milestone this week: Külli Crespin did her 50th parkrun. Külli has been a regular runner and regular volunteer, and she is always smiling. Currently she and parkrun friend Teresa are doing a tour of DC-area parkruns. They have recently checked out Roosevelt Island parkrun and Fletcher’s Cove parkrun. Next week they plan to visit Anacostia parkrun. But we’re glad that Külli was back at College Park for her 50th. (And we cannot deny that the donuts that she brought along were rather popular. Thank you, Külli!)

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We are always so grateful for the volunteers who make CP parkrun such a pleasure to organize. This week Neil Jograj was back in the role of Run Director. That’s the person who is responsible for making sure that everything goes smoothly on the day. Today was almost exactly 2 years after Neil and his wife Julie first joined us. Last year they shared their inspirational story in a blog piece for parkrun USA. And it was so good that it was recently translated into German.

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Whereas Neil signed up to be run director a couple of months ago -- that one role is coordinated on a roughly quarterly basis -- Lauren Filocco didn’t know that she would be volunteering at this week’s CP parkrun until around 30 seconds before the start.

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Lauren runs College Park’s Open Barre studio, and she is a 2012 UMD grad. She’s one of the small business owners that is helping to make College Park an exciting place to live nowadays. She and husband Adam -- and their pup Freddy -- came along to check out our Saturday morning community. And when Andrea announced before the start that we needed somebody to hand out finish tokens, she immediately came forward. This put her right in the thick of the action, so she definitely got to see how we roll.

Thank you, Lauren. And good luck with the barre studio. I should probably do something like this to help with my own strength and injury prevention. Andrea has tried it, and she was very happy with the benefits.

Another source of joy for us at CP parkrun is the welcoming environment that you create for Zoe, our high school senior, who identifies as male. Zoe has been having a challenging time lately due to a functional neurological disorder that leads to constant motor tics. But after a couple of years of not wanting to join us at Acredale Park on a Saturday morning, CP parkrun has become something that Zoe looks forward to on a Saturday morning. Right now running isn’t really in the cards, but just coming along, helping with different volunteer roles, and chatting with different community members is a really good way to start the weekend. Thank you to everybody!

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A related thank you to everybody who helps to make Isaac Scott feel quite at home at CP parkrun. We love this picture of him smiling on the trail this week. The 21-23 minute crowd at CP parkrun knows Isaac, and they make him feel very welcome.

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Some people aren’t much into the cooler weather. But others really love it. This helped to fuel a bunch of PBs at this week’s event.

Emily Flamm beat a PB that she set almost 2 years ago. Nice!

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Stewart Mayhew shaved seconds from his PB. Our favorite part of this is that Duane Rosenberg agreed to pace Stewart to a PB. Duane had given blood this week, and last time that he did this the parkrun didn’t work out so well. This week he finished up in one piece, and Stewart got the PB.

We were excited to see Elizabeth Cooper ringing the PB bell AGAIN. Elizabeth started joining us at the start of the UMD semester, and she’s now finishing around 10 minutes earlier than she was at the start of the semester. Nice!

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We’re loving following Reece Madsen’s journey. Reece recently had a hip replacement, and now he’s running. And he’s getting faster all the time. Another minute and a half off his PB this week!

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Similar for Stephanie Bean, who took 2 minutes from her PB!

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Second timer Malik Al-Jame first joined us only last week, but already this week he was back and setting a PB.

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I was super happy to pass Anna Damm running on the trail this week. Anna has been sidelined by injury lately and we’ve been seeing more of her in the volunteer crew while she recovers. She’s back to run-walking for now, and I’m sure that is a relief for her. I’m sure she will be back to her speedy ways before long, but for now simply being able to get active outdoors with friends is the best.

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As always it’s great to see friends bringing friends along to join our community. As you probably know, our advertising budget is the same as the entry fee, i.e., $0. So the main ways that word spreads is through you.

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Congratulations to the following people who are now members of our super-exclusive 5-timer club: Judy Meyer, Jessica Ek, Kim Lopez, and Jordan Yee Prendez. We’re happy to start Saturday mornings with you, whenever you’re available!

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Looking ahead, we have just THREE more CP parkruns in 2019. But we’re going to be kicking off 2020 in style, with our fourth annual College Park Resolution parkrun on January 1st. Do make a note of this in your diary. A few things will be special about this one:

  • It starts at 10:30am on Wednesday January 1st. Later than usual.
  • It is possible to do a DOUBLE parkrun on that day only. Kensington parkrun and Leakin Park parkrun (Baltimore) are holding 8:30am events, and we expect that many will do one of those and then head over to CP for a second.
  • We hope to again be teaming up with Prince George’s Running Club as partners for the New Years event. They’re a super accessible and inclusive group of runners and walkers who serve many in our community.
  • Big community brunch afterwards at The Board and Brew, to be confirmed.
  • And a few of us are new years babies -- including me -- so it doubles as a birthday celebration, and you’re all invited!

See you soon,

Colin Phillips, co-Event Director

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