Chapter and Verse (Run Report #169)

For the run report from our holiday parkrun, Run Director Brian Murphy reveals poetic talents that we had previously been unaware of.

'Twas the morning of parkrun, when all through Acredale Park
Not a creature was stirring, well, maybe deer or squirrels;
The finish chute was hung by the Paint Branch Trail with care,
In hopes that our parkrun friends soon would be there;
The Board and Brew were warming their pots of coffee;
While thinking of parkrunners enjoying cappuccino all warm and frothy;
And volunteers in their hi-vis, and I in my run director vest,
Had just settled our brains thinking no one had left,
When out in the park there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from my seat to see what was the matter.
99 parkrunners arrived happy to gather,
It was time to join friends despite the cold weather.

[Bravo, Brian, bravo!]

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We had such a great day at parkrun for our 169th outing. No one was really too sure how many we would see this week, with the holidays keeping people busy, the temps in the 20s to start the morning, … and the unexpected extra challenge of utility work blocking the main road to the park. Despite all this, we really had a wonderful turnout of new and old friends.

We got to celebrate a milestone on Saturday. Maia Swisdak completed her 50th parkrun! The Swisdak-Bernard family’s laundry just got a touch more confusing with all their red shirts. Congrats Maia! It’s great we get to spend so many Saturday mornings with you.

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It’s always surprising to me when we get first-timers joining us on the sub-ideal weather days. I know why I come to parkrun, but when you have never been, it can be a leap of faith to join in the fun. That’s especially true, I think, on those days when it can be nice to just stay in the warmth of your bed. This week, on a chilly first day of winter, we had 7 first-timers. A big, warm, parkrun welcome to Andy Schmegel, Varun Suryan, Jeremy Rueter, Jonathon Defeo, Kate Potapova, Deb Bernard, and Dickson Mercer. Jeremy registered just that morning and decided to join us. I hope you all quickly saw why so many of us keep coming back week after week.

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It wouldn’t be College Park parkrun without the PB bell being rung a few times. In fact, we had 10 PBs this Saturday. Malik Al-Jame, John Maneval, Andrea Solan, Kathleen Donavan, Joan Richards Gordon, Thomas Bigford, Steven Thurber, Chris Swain, David Lai, and Carleton Conant. Carleton and Cindy Conant are regulars at Kensington parkrun now, but joined us this week to make it a family affair with their niece, Erin. Andrea Solan has a nice PB streak going - this was her 4th parkrun and 4th time PBing! Chris Swain ran under 25 minutes for the first time on his 10th parkrun. Joan was late to the start of parkrun, because of the utility work blocking the road. However, she was determined. Even while starting after everyone had already set off down the trail, she still set a PB! Amazing!

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No PB for Sam Phipps this week, but he was so close! I’m sure he was happy to meet first-timer Dickson Mercer who, like Sam, ran from his house in Takoma Park to join us. I see a joint run to College Park in their future.

(Side note: Dickson is one of the brains behind RunWashington, the leading local online news source for runners. Check them out some time.)

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Because it was the holidays, festive wear did not disappoint. Hats, sweaters, lights, socks, bells, you name it, the parkrunners had it on and it was great! A personal favorite of mine was Teresa Perdomo and her shark sweater, frilly red skirt, and fun socks. I wonder if we could pull off this kind of dress all year…

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Of course, we could not have done any of this without our wonderful volunteer crew. A big thanks to Katie Hirsche, Trace Huard, Eddie Matus, Jen Murphy, Colin Phillips, Hump Plotts, Lloyd Rawley, Chris Roth, Valerie Silensky, Lisa Wilson, and Andrea Zukowski.

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And let’s not forget, Lori Dominick. Lori retired one day prior after 31 years of service to the University of Maryland. She thought, what better way to spend the first day in retirement, than to help out at parkrun and be with all my friends. Thank you to each of you!

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There’s lots happening the next couple of weeks. We have your regularly scheduled parkrun on December 28th, then a few days later, we are looking forward to the special New Year’s Day parkrun. There’s an opportunity to run a double on Jan 1 (and you get to celebrate Colin’s birthday with him)! Kensington or Leakin Park at 8:30am and Fletchers Cove or College Park at 10:30am.

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Board and Brew after - they’ll be ready for a big crowd. We could see a few big milestones coming up in those events, too. Russell Dickerson and Jim Parsons will be wearing the black 100 sash soon, and Bonnie McClellan will have her 50th soon. We hope you’ll be able to join us for the fun.

For a full album of photos from this week's CP parkrun and from every other week, look here: College Park parkrun albums.

If you're not already signed up for Andrea's once-weekly email about CP parkrun news and volunteering, you're missing out. Do please add yourself to the list by updating your parkrun profile, by logging in at parkrun.com or by following the link at the bottom of any parkrun results email.

Brian Murphy
CP parkrun #169 run director

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