All the little things (Report #176)

Spoiler alert: nothing momentous happened this week. Really, you won’t be calling your mom to tell her about anything you read here. But that’s ok. The reason why we welcomed over 150 parkrunners and parkwalkers to the trail on a just-above-freezing morning in February is all the little things that add up to make people keep coming back, and then bringing friends and family along, too.

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First, there’s the volunteers that keep things humming along every week. The volunteers are parkrunners and parkwalkers just like you. They range from the speediest runners to folks who wish they could walk the full 5K, and all in between.

This week Sam Phipps flew around the course to a new PB. The finish crew wasn’t expecting him when he appeared out of the woods. First time under 17 minutes is a nice achievement. But then, as usual, Sam hung around the finish line to cheer everybody else in.

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Perennial first female Katie Hirsche wasn’t parkrunning this week, as she was doing an indoor track race later that morning. So she came along to volunteer as timekeeper instead, while her parents ran the 5K. When Katie needed to head off, Sam stepped in to take over her role.

Then there’s Amanda Mercer, who was looking forward to doing her 100th parkrun with us this week. Then she tore her ACL (not snowboarding, just while shepherding 2nd graders). She didn’t want to stay away, so she came out and volunteered as a timekeeper instead. Sorry that  you couldn’t run, Amanda. Here’s wishing you a speedy recovery!

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Zoe Phillips helped out with the pre-parkrun briefing this week. Zoe’s a 12th grader, and it looks like he’s going to be around for another few years (thanks UMD!). So he’s excited to continue as part of our regular volunteer crew, and is looking into trying out the Run Director role.

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We love hearing from you if you’d like to help out as part of the volunteer crew. We’d especially love to hear from new volunteers. Not because we’re struggling to fill the weekly roster. Far from it. But because the broader and the more diverse our volunteer pool, the stronger the community. Oh, and volunteering at CP parkrun is fun! If you’re not already receiving Andrea’s once-weekly email with news and volunteering updates, please do sign up via your parkrun profile (use the link in any weekly results email).

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We celebrated a few official parkrun milestones this week. Michael Laing and Susan Keller both joined the 50 club. We’re looking forward to seeing them on the trail in their red 50 shirts in the near future. And Raphael Larson earned himself a white 10 shirt, though he almost snuck under our radar.

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We keep track of the various parkrun milestones reached by CP parkrunners -- the count is up to 175 now. This week we noticed an interesting statistic: 50 of this week’s finishers are 50 clubbers. All of them local. That sounds like a lot now, but with another 90 people who have completed CP parkrun 25-49 times, that number is sure to keep growing.

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Even in the middle of winter we welcome first-time parkrunners to the trail every single week. It’s always interesting to hear how they learned about us.

Mocha Lee, Amber Perry, and Regina Hampton all came along after hearing about us from CP parkrun regular Jim Cantwell.

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Semih Kara adds to the list of Terp grad students who have been persuaded to come along by Chris Roth.

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Lenora Woods is another who heard about us via a friend. So many people now have come because they heard from a friend, who heard from another friend. And so it goes.

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Tom Pilon found us online. He has been following a couch to 5K program, and needed to find an event to cap off the program. Fortunately, he found us. Great venue to do your first ever 5K. And your second, and your third …

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Speaking of which, Erin Munsell did her first 5K with us a couple of years ago. This week she did her 94th. It’s as much walking as running right now as she recovers from injury. But we’re happy to see her on the trail at whatever pace.

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Two other regulars are reaching a milestone of sorts. Violet and Clark Ridge have been running together at CP parkrun since 2017, shortly after Violet turned 8. They have run together around 70 times. But this week Violet turns 11, the age of parkrun freedom, when she’s able to run alone. So they won’t be required to run together in the future. But we suspect this was not their last time running together.

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The cool weather turned out to be great for PBs, with *28* registering a new best time. Impressive!

We barely recognized Evan Hirsche without his usual barkrunner companion Sophie. But we were happy to see him set a PB. This was his 85th parkrun.

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Reese Madsen took another minute from his PB. A couple of years ago walking was painful. Now, with a new hip and a friendly, weekly 5K, he’s getting faster all the time. And this week he was just 4 minutes behind his wife Cathy. Not that he’s counting or anything.

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David Lai, Chris Roth, and Dan Pearlstein all were happy with their PBs. And they credit speedy Mary Commins for pulling them to a fast time. Mary was back for her second parkrun, and she set a PB herself. Nice!

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Jen Matis took *2* minutes from her PB, and credits her PT for getting her there.

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Shayla Chelliah went even better, taking *4* minutes from her PB. She’s gaining on her dad.

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And we’re closely watching Joanne Heintzelmann’s progress. She first joined us on New Years Day, and walked the 5K in just under an hour. Now we’re seeing her running more and more, and she’s knocking on the door of 50 minutes. Husband Dave and daughter Alyssa have now done 100 parkruns between them, but we’re super excited to see Joanne becoming a part of the community, too.

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Also this week, our mayors were going the extra mile. After completing the 5K, Patrick and Duane set off to do it all again, with David and Keaton as security detail. Then they joined us at The Board and Brew, where they teamed up with Valerie Silensky to sort finisher tokens. Let it be noted that all 151 tokens were accounted for and correctly ordered.

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And we also noticed Andy Fellows pacing the 5K with Misha Bernard. With 45 CP parkruns under his belt, Andy is on track to become our 3rd (current or former) mayor in the 50 club. We have a healthy community!

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See you soon! I am looking forward to following events at CP parkrun from afar for the next few weeks, as I’ll be on the road for work. Whether I have been running, or volunteering on site, or both, I haven’t missed out my Saturday morning fix in about 6 months. Mostly in College Park, but sometimes in faraway places, like Neckarau parkrun in Mannheim, Germany, or Rec Plex North parkrun in Pensacola, FL, or Howard Temin Lakeshore Path parkrun in Madison, WI. Or the New Year’s double with Kensington parkrun. It has been great fun. But no run in College Park for me until Feb 29th. And only one weekend in a city with a parkrun at all. Have fun out there, and I’ll see you at the end of the month. (And if you’re following along on social media, I’ll be doing that from wherever I might be.)

To see our full photo album from this week, or from any week, visit our Flickr albums page.

Colin Phillips
Co-Event Director

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