You can’t eat only one (Run Reports #171-#172)

#171: January 1st 2020

We couldn’t think of a better way to start out 2020. We had an amazing New Year’s morning, taking in two parkruns, and welcoming a record-sized crowd to the Paint Branch Trail for the first CP parkrun of the year.

We welcomed nearly 300 people to the Paint Branch Trail on a chilly 1st of January. 285 of them finished CP parkrun. We have never seen such a big, bustling crowd at Acredale Park. Last year on New Year’s Day we were unprepared for the crowd, and we showed up with too few finisher tokens. This year we came prepared!


A few things were unusual about the crowd in the park, compared to other weeks.

First, we had a LOT of visitors from other events. Normally when we ask before the start of the event either zero or one person raises their hand. This time there were too many to count. We had visitors from Kensington parkrun, Leakin Park parkrun, Roosevelt Island parkrun, Anacostia parkrun, Fletcher’s Cove parkrun, and even Deep Run parkrun in Richmond, VA. That’s all of the other parkrun communities in our region. But we also had visiting dignitaries from Mansfield, OH parkrun (Karen and Steve Crane), and Lille parkrun, Ann Arbor (Emma Keer and Adam Hockley). And from parkruns in Canberra, Australia (Claire Stutchbury and Jack Corkill).


Second, many people were already on their second 5K of 2020. 44 did the Kensington - College Park double, and 20 the Leakin Park - College Park double. And that’s only counting those who are listed as finishers in two events.


Pride of place goes to Pam Marcus, who completed the somewhat unique double of being the run director (i.e., boss for the day) at both Kensington parkrun and College Park parkrun. With 394 finishers between the two events, nobody has ever herded so many parkrunners in a single day in N America. Nobody is better prepared to do this than Pam, as she was a key member of the CP team before striking out 2 years ago to create a lovely event in her own neighborhood.



Clare Imholtz also deserves a special mention: she ran the 5k at Kensington parkrun, then volunteered at College Park, joining Janice Bernache as timekeeper. And Andrea Zukowski volunteered at both events. She had really been looking forward to completing Kensington parkrun for the first time, but broke a toe the previous day, so she took photos instead. Then she headed over to CP to support the event as a photographer and in the role of just being Andrea.


Another special volunteer shout out for Lisa Wilson and Hump Plotts, who came over to Kensington for the first parkrun of the day before taking on their normal course marshal roles at College Park. Those two got to see the start of a parkrun for the first time in a LONG while, as they’re normally out on the course when things get underway.


We had a LOT of milestones to celebrate on New Year’s day. We celebrated five, and a sixth slipped under our radar.


Bonnie McClellan became the oldest female 50-timer in the US. She has completed 50 5Ks with us, a few weeks shy of her 80th birthday. And seemingly smiling all the way. How fitting that her barcode was scanned by husband Mike, who has also completed more than 50 CP parkruns.


Jim Parsons completed his 100th parkrun. Jim has been a part of the CP parkrun team since the early days, and has been a real stalwart of the event.

Stewart Mayhew first joined us only a little over a year ago, but he quickly became one of the key team members. And in fact he has become one of the key figures in the DC parkrun community, regularly running and/or volunteering at many of the DC-area events. And all this would have seemed quite improbable to Stewart just 18 months ago, before he started his fitness journey.

Cory Kind completed her 49th and 50th parkrun on New Years morning. Cory’s home parkrun is Roosevelt Island parkrun, but she has visited CP a few times, and earlier this fall she even ran from Virginia to CP parkrun. Wow. She wasn’t entirely deserting her RI friends, as RI parkrun co-Event Director Joyce Adams was on hand to congratulate her.

Mark Lutterman did his 50th and 51st parkrun on NYD. Mark is part of the core team at Eagan parkrun in Minnesota, but he has roots in the DC area and was in town for the holidays. There was no time to highlight his accomplishment before Kensington parkrun, as Pam wanted to get things moving promptly, so we celebrated Mark at CP instead.

And finally, Ashley Ward did her 49th and 50th parkrun on NYD. This is the one that slipped under our radar. So we’ll have a red sash for Ashley the next time that she joins us.


We are always very happy to welcome walkers and walk-runners to CP parkrun. The word ‘run’ is in our name, but if you’re getting around at whatever pace suits you, then that’s cool with us. So we were super happy to see many walkers, and stroller-pushers to start the year. There were 98 finishers in over 40 minutes, almost certainly a record for CP parkrun. We LOVE that!


One first-time parkwalker was Fran Atkinson, who finished her first 5K with us. As did her daughter Jordyn. Congratulations, and welcome, to both! They were among 67 named first timers who joined us to start the year. That included 44 who were completing their first ever parkrun. So glad that you could join us, and we hope to see you again!


We had a big crew afterwards for brunch at The Board and Brew. We’re so fortunate that there’s a large, tasty, and friendly place where we can gather every week, even when there’s a really big crowd. The finisher token sorting task was a little more demanding than usual. Thanks, Valerie and Janice! And we got to do side-by-side results processing for College Park and Kensington.


And so 2020 begins. If this were an annual event, we’d be done and starting the LONG countdown until we get to do this again. But at CP parkrun we don’t need that patience. In 2020 we’ll get to do it again *54* times. It’s a leap year!


#172: January 4th 2020

… And in fact we had so little time before the next parkrun that the double report turned into a triple report!

We were greeted by a damp, grey morning, and 126 parkrunners and parkwalkers chose to brighten up the trail with their smiles (and colorful rain gear). Did anything notable happen? Well, of course!

Keri Pierce and Derek Symer both completed their 50th parkruns, and so got to wear the red sash. Then Derek went and set a PB!


If you have ever felt like you’re never going to match your PB again, Clark Ridge can probably sympathize. As often as not Clark is zipping around at the front of the field, but it was a long while since his last PB. In fact, he set it in his 15th time at CP parkrun, in January 2017. It took until this week, his 126th time at CP parkrun, 3 years later, to beat that time, with a super speedy 17:10. Nice going, Clark! But as Clark also knows, there are so many other ways to enjoy CP parkrun. In the intervening 3 years he has earned a 100 shirt. He has made parkrun a family affair, with his daughter and son reaching 50 and 10 parkrun milestones. This has also helped him to often run slower -- his average finishing time is nearly 10 minutes slower than his PB. He has volunteered a lot, too. He has often been Run Director, and one time he helped to shovel snow from the trail so that the event could go ahead. And he has met so many people in our community. PBs are nice when they come, but there’s so much more to enjoy.


Clark was helped to a PB by Michael Laskowski, who also set a PB, a few seconds ahead of Clark. Michael was with us for just the 7th time, but he is now part of a select group who have taken part in CP parkrun in all of 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, and 2020. He has joined us only once per year, except in 2017 when he came along 3 times. So maybe this is it for 2020, or maybe we’ll see Michael again this year. Always welcome, of course.

Even on such a grey day we were happy that a number of first-timers joined us. These included Kris, Susan, and Lilian, who seemed to enjoy checking out the course together, together with 10 other first-timers.


One other thing that happened. You may have noticed that your time was off in your results email this week. In some cases by rather a lot. Some were a little faster or slower, a few were a lot faster than in reality. Thanks to everybody who reached out to us to alert us to their own anomalous result. Thanks to the pictures we had from the turnaround and the finish we were able to piece together what happened and set everything straight. Those pictures that you often see somebody taking on a phone at the finish line sometimes make it into our photo album for the week. But they very often save us by making it possible to reconstruct who actually finished when.


The event was ably led by Run Director for the day Chris McGranahan. This was Chris’s 13th time at the helm, and it also makes him the only person to have led CP parkrun in each year from 2016-2020.


Chris was ably assisted by a crack team of volunteers; Misha Bernard, Steven Borunda, Lori Dominick, Carlos Gough, Diana Gough, Tomas Marambio, Eddie Matus, Nina McGranahan, Hump Plotts, and Lisa Wilson.


Andrea and I were both doing our regular volunteer coordination and parkrun propaganda from afar this week, as we were on the road, but we still managed to sneak in a little parkrunning. Both at events that we’d recommend anybody to visit if they get a chance.

Andrea was in Michigan, and she was part of the tailwalking crew at Lillie parkrun in Ann Arbor. This gem of an event has a vibrant community and a lovely course that includes 3 times across a boardwalk across a pond. If you go there in winter when they’re on their backup winter course it’s a different kind of fun, as they have a 6 lapper, which can become a bit like the marriage of parkrun with short-track speed skating. Their coffee shop is right across the street, so they always draw a big crowd.


Meanwhile, I was on the Gulf coast. I was in New Orleans for work, but I really wanted to meet some folks in Pensacola, FL who I had been in regular contact with over the past year as they developed their new parkrun community. That was 200 miles away, and parkrun events in Florida start at 7:30am. So I took an early night and set out at 3:30am to drive through Mississippi and Alabama to get to Rec Plex North parkrun in time. It was well worth the slightly nutty journey. It was great to meet the team in person. They are doing wonderful things in bringing folks together from different parts of the Pensacola community.


And their course is a wonder to behold. It is a lovely trail course that winds through the woods of the Baars-Firestone Wildlife Sanctuary, on the University of West Florida campus. Soft trails, and some real hills. But what is really impressive is that the parkrun team pretty much cleared the forest trail themselves. It had become overgrown and mostly impassable from years of neglect. But a group of parkrun volunteers cleared the trail, and now work regularly to continue to make improvements to the trail, which is now wide enough for 2-3 people to run abreast. The trail isn’t only serving RPN parkrun. It’s also getting use by local school cross-country teams, and it will become the cross-country course of the UWF varsity team. Very impressive community project! … And one benefit of the early start was that there was time for coffee AND to make it back to New Orleans by lunchtime.

Traveling to visit friends in other places is nice, but we’re looking forward to being back at CP parkrun this week. Not least because of a couple of notable happenings.

First, we’ll be celebrating Yancira Amaya’s 100th parkrun. This week Yancira could be found sprinting to the finish with (back from injury) Xinzi He.


Second, if you have any interest in a parkrun in Ann Arundel County, Mark Allen and John Maneval will be there to talk about plans. Mark has been working for some time on trying to start a parkrun event on the B&A Trail in Glen Burnie, and we would love to see it take flight.

And third, if the rain holds off we’ll be debuting a New Years gift from our sister parkrun, Kensington parkrun. What could it be? Join us on Saturday to find out.

See you soon, and Happy New Year!

Colin Phillips
Co-Event Director

Bonus New Years pictures


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Bonus January 4th Pictures

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