Auf Wiedersehen, Chris

We enjoy surprising people with our parkrunner of the Month award. So, for April 2020 it’s congratulations to Chris Roth! We planned this months ago, but things didn’t quite unfold as expected.

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Chris’s PoTM award comes with a gift card to The Board and Brew, our wonderful coffee and brunch spot. But we won’t be able to give it to Chris in person, as he had to return to Germany as the COVID-19 crisis was escalating. Hopefully he can pass it along to some of his many parkrun friends.

(And whereas B&B donated these gift cards in the past (thank you!), right now we’re donating them, as local businesses need all the help they can get in these difficult times. You can order a B&B gift card online here. Here at CP parkrun Towers we’re ordering one for the family every Saturday.)

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Chris moved to the area from Germany in November, planning to spend 6 months with UMD Engineering, working on his masters thesis. It can be difficult to meet people when you’re a temporary student in a new country, especially when you arrive in the middle of the school year. After a few weeks, Chris found out that this parkrun thing that he had come across back home at Kiessee parkrun in Göttingen also existed in College Park. So he came along to check us out. He clearly enjoyed it.

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Chris's first time at CP parkrun, Dec 7th, 2019

Chris ran and volunteered on his first visit. Then he volunteered in different roles the next 2 weeks. Then he kept up a mix of running and volunteering almost every week until his last CP parkrun on March 7th. He generally ran from Hyattsville to parkrun, then made new friends at The Board and Brew after running and/or volunteering. And then he ran back home to Hyattsville.

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Week 2, volunteering in the rain with new friends

Chis quickly became an ambassador for CP parkrun, inviting friends to join him on a Saturday morning, adding more friendly faces to the community.

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Chris even got in on the baking scene, making a cake to share with his parkrun friends one week. (Ok, so he didn’t run to the park on that day. Thanks to Andrea for the transportation.)

Chris was due to remain in College Park through the end of April, and we were looking forward to a sendoff on his last day in the US on April 25th. That’s why we also planned the PoTM award for April. But plans unraveled when everything changed because of COVID-19. With UMD research shut down or moved online, and students dispersing around the world, Chris had to take a chance to get back to Germany before travel became nearly impossible.

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New Year's Day, 2020. Working with Tomas Marambio (from Chile), scanning 285 finishers

Chris sent us this message about his experience with the CP parkrun community.

“Getting up extra early every Saturday to run 3 miles to get to College Park and participate in parkrun by running a timed 5k only to run 3 miles back home might sound strange. In fact, it’s awesome!

But why is it that College Park parkrun is so popular, with well over 100 finishers and way more volunteers than needed, eager to meet up every Saturday? For me personally, it was never about aiming for a new PB. It was about meeting diverse people and being part of a great community that supports each other to stay active and experiencing great moments or conversations together.

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The small details mattered, like sharing a cake someone prepared in advance, cheering for someone ringing the PB bell, or celebrating someone's milestone for 50+ runs. It's a place where I found friends while sitting at The Board & Brew for breakfast, enjoying pancakes and drinking coffee.

A small place of peace and happiness in our crazy world!”

Thank you, Chris! We will miss you. Thanks for making a difference in our community in your short time here. We hope you’ll visit us some time in the future. Auf Wiedersehen!

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