Winter’s Last Stand (Reports #179-181)

Now that spring seems to have arrived, our fingers have thawed out from a few chilly Saturday mornings at College Park parkrun. So here’s our newest triple report, covering the events on Feb 22nd, Feb 29th, and Mar 7th.

Coronavirus Update

We need to start with some announcements about how we are responding to the novel coronavirus situation. Our goal is to support a healthy community, and so we take all health and safety concerns seriously. We are following guidance from federal, state, and local authorities, which are rapidly evolving.

Until now, the risk has been low in our area, and so we focused at our March 7th event on implementing some simple steps that can reduce risk of transmission. In thinking through the parkrun routine, we were struck by how predictable many of the actions are, and hence manageable.

  • We’ll take a rain check on the high fives and hugs for now.
  • Barcodes and finisher tokens are one area where many sweaty hands can touch the same items. We’re now doing touch free scanning. And token sorting isn’t happening at The Board and Brew.
  • The PB bell is grounded for a few weeks.
  • We’re reducing touching of food and shared utensils.

If you have any concerns about your own safety or health, take a break and we’ll look forward to seeing you when things improve. But aside from that we hope that we can continue to make a positive contribution to the physical and mental health of the community.

It may be that we have to cancel at some point. Some of our sister events in the Seattle area have already had to do that, in response to local outbreaks. We shall see!

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Now on to happier updates …

Tutus!

On 22-2-2020 we invited parkrunners to wear a tutu, to celebrate a date with a LOT of twos. And we were happy to see that many rose to the challenge.

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Leap Day

It’s not often that you get to do a parkrun on Leap Day. In fact, your next chance will be in 2048. Not a lot of extra leaping happening, though we did have some good examples the following week, as demonstrated here by first timer Borris Verdan. And Stewart Mayhew's frog-colored outfit seemed to help him score a PB.

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Just a few notables

We celebrated FIVE milestones.

On Feb 22 Helena Santos-Collins joined the 50 club. Helena has been a regular walker and walk-runner over the past couple of years who has helped to make many feel welcome at CP parkrun.

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On Mar 7 we had his and hers sashes ready for Catherine Spirito and Pete Monacelli as they joined the 50 club. This came one week after they both set PBs in their 49th parkrun.

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On Mar 7 Milkii Dagne joined the junior 10 club. Her dad is working his way towards his 50th parkrun, but his daughter earned the first milestone shirt in the family. Congratulations!

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Also on Mar 7, Team McElhenny did All The Things. Dad John and siblings Theodore and Gwyneth all set PBs, on their 4th, 6th, and 8th parkruns. Big sister Mariella continued the pattern by doing her 10th parkrun and earning herself a free shirt. And mom Kate, who leads the family with her 11 parkruns, brought along a delicious gluten-free applesauce gingerbread cake to share. And it was SO delicious!

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Sam Stafford, now 4, has his own barcode, and completed his first 5K with us on 2/22, with proud mom and 50-clubber Crystal helping him along. Great stuff, Sam!

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On the other end of the age scale, Bonnie McClellan recently turned 80. So now she and her husband Mike are our two octogenarian 50-clubbers. So inspiring! Mike is still on the comeback trail and we were happy that he was able to walk 2 miles of the trail on Mar 7.

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And one more special first-timer … well, sort of a first-timer … is Hump Plotts, our favorite golf course marshal. It wasn’t Saturday morning, but one day at the end of February he set off walking down the trail, and somehow got carried away and walked the entire 5K. This was just a few months after heart surgery. We’re just as happy about Hump’s achievement as somebody who zips around in 15 minutes. No, scratch that. We’re definitely more excited!

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By the numbers

So far in 2020 we have held 11 free events already.

So far in 2020, around 600 people have completed 1,591 5Ks. Supported by 63 volunteers who have between them volunteered 180 times.

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Over 200 people have registered for CP parkrun in 2020 alone, taking the total to over 3,800 who have registered with College Park as their home parkrun.

There were 37 first-timers at the past 3 events.

College Park parkrun now has over 700 5-timers, and over 400 10-timers. On any given Saturday, roughly a quarter of the 10-timers join us. That’s getting to be a lot of regular parkrunners.

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There are now over 90 CP parkrunners who have earned a red 50 shirt. And it’s becoming normal to see 50 of them at the park on a Saturday morning.

We are happy to see the near parity in male-female participation at CP parkrun. That was not always the case, but it’s increasingly common that there are more women than men finishers.

We’re also really glad to see a strong contingent of walkers and walk-runners at CP parkrun, even in the cold months. Around a quarter of finishers arrive after 40:00, and we are just delighted to see them, however long it takes.

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We are super happy to see some speedy runners taking a break to walk with a friend or a family member, to help them feel at home at CP parkrun. Like Catherine Franceour, who brought along her friend Curry. Or John Larsen, who has taken to enjoying the trail with his wife Amanda. We love this!

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Volunteers!

We would be nowhere without our wonderful volunteer crews. Different people volunteer every week, and so many have found that it’s FUN to join the CP parkrun volunteer crew. Simply sign up for some week by emailing Andrea at collegepark@parkrun.com. Also, we highly recommend to sign up for our once-weekly dose of email fuzziness (and volunteer recruitment). To sign up, update your profile at parkrun.com. Please and Thank You.

Our fearless run directors for these weeks were (drumroll) … Brian Murphy, Jacqueline Hayes, and Neil Jograj. Thank you all!

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We have been happy to welcome some new volunteers to the crew. Owen Brewer is in town for an internship for a couple of months, and he has already volunteered more than he has run. Hira Nasir and her brother Abdullah have stepped up as finish line crew the past two weeks, braving the icy winds at the park.

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Trace Huard has been showing the many ways of enjoying CP parkrun when you’re not (yet) able to run again after injury. On 2/29 he was timekeeper and high-fiver. He’s an old hand at that. On 3/7 he was able to walk again, so he teamed up with his friend Gloria Cottman as the photography crew, and they roamed the trail, finding happy parkrunners wherever they turned.

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Coming Attractions

April 4th is UMD’s Good Neighbor Day, and we hope to again be partnering with UMD and PG Parks on some trail maintenance and beautification projects. We’d LOVE to see a big crew of parkrun volunteers helping out with this effort.

March 21st and March 28th see the launch of two new US parkrun events. 3/21 sees the start of Danehy Park parkrun in Cambridge, MA. Yes, another college town with a parkrun. Go check them out if you’re in Boston some time. 3/28 sees the launch of Canyon Rim Trail parkrun in Twin Falls, ID. You’re less likely be “just passing through”, but this one has to be on your parkrun bucket list. The trail literally follows the rim of the Snake River Canyon. (For those of you of a certain age, you may remember 70s daredevil Evel Knievel attempting to cross the canyon in one of his more memorable stunts.)

June 13th is a little further afield, but we’re happy to be involved in the Second Trolley Trail Day festivities. We’ll hold our regular parkrun at 9am, followed by free Yoga in the Park. Then at 10:30am we’ll be helping to host a 6K point-to-point run from parkrun to Franklin’s. We’re looking for a good name for this: Rail Trail to Ale perhaps? We’re sure you can do better than us!

Finally, I was not around for the 2/22 parkrun, as I was working in Philadelphia. So I missed out on my favorite Saturday morning activity. But what should I find across the street from my hotel in University City, but … The Board and Brew! Our favorite CP coffee spot now has a sister in Philly, and it’s REALLY nice. Two floors of coffee, food, and gaming. I was there just a couple of weeks after they opened, and the place was already hopping. Check them out sometime.

Colin

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