Good Luck Comes in Fours (Virtual parkrun Report 2)

They say that bad luck comes in threes. So this week we’re declaring that good luck comes in fours. We know that times are hard for so many people right now, but we’re happy to share so much positivity that was in evidence this weekend.

Congratulations to everyone who participated in this week’s CP Virtual parkrun #2. Whether you ran or walked, indoors or out, on a treadmill, in a parking lot, on a trail, in other time zones or other countries, as part of a virtual race, with friends, with family, or on your own, it is great to read about your accomplishments, either through Strava, email, or Facebook.  HIGH FIVES (virtually) all around!

Despite the coldest May day in at least a dozen years, we were thrilled to see another big and diverse crowd join us, with 130 participants at last count - exactly the same as last week.

We were also super happy to see the breadth of participation, from speedsters to very pregnant “parkwaddles”, and with ages from a few months to eighty-something years. And it was great to be joined by friends from near and far, helping us to connect with folks who could no longer join us in person.


But the stories are more interesting. Here are just a few of this week’s stories.


Four Years

Mary Clare Schneider has long been looking forward to turning four years old and being able to get her very own barcode. The birthday came during the week, and by the next day, there she was in the parkrun database … but with no official parkrun to take part in.


No problem, thanks to mom Erin and lots of parkrun friends, it became a special day.

Erin wrote: “Mary Clare had a great birthday parkrun!! Team Schneider did the whole 5k in 1:27. Mary Clare was reluctant to get going because it was so cold, but after some "fuel" and seeing some parkrun friends she started to warm up! When she saw Lisa at the turn around she took off running!! She had to show off her pink barcode which was graciously "scanned" for her post run. She was excited to get a certificate, and see her name on the trail. And she talked to the people in the Zoom cheering section as if it was live!! Thank you everyone for your help!”

We just love the community support, and how parents Erin and Joshua are fostering a love of outdoor exercise in their family.





Four Generations

At CP Virtual parkrun you can take part where you want, and go as far as you want. Great news for Xander Mease, who had four generations of his family taking part this week.

Xander took an early morning run with mom Tara. Dad Jon took a walk later in the day.

Grandma Janet was working as a nursing supervisor, but put on her tracker as she worked. Her Strava art is, um, interesting. And we think the time is maybe a little optimistic. But we’re sure that the 5K is legit.

Meanwhile great grandma Ellie, aged 86, put in a mile on her treadmill, to complete the family collection. Wonderful!


Four Legs

Plenty of barkrunners got in on the action.

Ranger took to the trail with Cameron McPhee. He is quickly growing up!


Shackleton made it to the pre-parkrun briefing this week, and then was seen racing down the trail soon afterwards.


Barkrunner Gifford is a regular fixture at Fletcher’s Cove parkrun downtown. This week he did our virtual barkrun together with his humans Dan and Zak Owen. Dan reports that Gifford edged ahead of him at the finish, thanks to motivation from a squirrel.


Tuffi got out for a walk with Gloria Cottman, and looks pretty happy to be out on the trail again.


Four Babies (give or take)

We were super happy to hear from Meghan and Ben Gieske, regular parkrunners who moved back to Indiana last summer. Turns out they have a new member of the family. Blaise is around 5 months old now, and she got out for a run-walk with mom and dad. Meghan wrote:

“Greetings from the Midwest! Missing all of you in Maryland! Thank you so much for organizing this! Ben and I had our first child right before Thanksgiving. I managed to keep running (well, jogging anyway) until 35 weeks pregnant, but I’ve had a hard time finding motivation to get back out there, so this was really great! We managed to do a full 5k. I’m certain it was a personal slowest for me, and possibly for Ben too (we only ran about a quarter of the distance and walked the rest). Blaise’s face looks about how I felt.”


Rachel Unger sent us pictures from her “parkwaddle”. She’s 37-weeks pregnant, and moving a little slower than at her last parkrun. She and Jeff and barkrunner Scooter took a steady paced 5K walk to recently reopened Vigilante Coffee in College Park. It took “about an hour and a half”. Great job, Rachel, and we can’t wait to meet the new member of the family some time!


Kate and Matt Perkins got out for a run with the double stroller in Rock Creek Park. For Kate it was her first 5K in a while. Congratulations, Kate!


Four Continents

It was cool to have friends join us from far away again this week.

Carlos Chaverri-Morales made this cool sign for us in Costa Rica.


Lokesh Meena joined us from New Delhi, India, where he ran a LOT of laps of a ~0.5 km loop near his home, making for an impressive Strava track. Lokesh was a regular at local parkruns during his time working for the Indian Embassy in Washington DC. If you haven’t read about Lokesh’s own story, it’s well worth a look.


Stefano Gazzano checked in from Citavecchia, near Rome, Italy. Italy faced a much stricter lockdown than we have had in Maryland, so he’s easing back into the outdoor running.


Regular CP parkrun visitor Adrian Dover sent us a picture from his virtual parkrun in Newent, Gloucestershire, UK. The locals may have been surprised by his brightly colored socks. But we all know exactly what they mean!


And we welcomed a special first-time virtual parkrunner from Bristol, UK. Robin Phillips (Colin’s brother) was the person who planted the parkrun seed in Andrea’s mind back in 2014. By now he has done 319 parkruns in 60 different locations. But he has never visited CP parkrun in person. So the next best thing was to do CP Virtual parkrun, starting at his front door. Robin put down a speedy 19:05. That might have been good for our fastest time of the day. But then Sam Phipps came out and turned on the gas … so never mind. Welcome Robin!

Within the US, regular CP parkrunner Cindy Cohen is currently based at a ski resort in Idaho, where she took on what must be one of the toughest parkrun courses that we have seen. She ran two miles down the mountain, and then two miles back up. Here’s the elevation profile for the first 5K of this. The current hilliest parkrun route in the US is at Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller parkrun in Woodstock, VT, which climbs 360 feet in the first mile. Cindy’s run looks even hillier!


A couple of parkrunners joined us from Michigan, where Lillie parkrun in Ann Arbor was launching their virtual parkrun this week, following a similar approach to ours. Emma Keer had joined us at CP parkrun on New Years Day 2020, and her dad Tim Keer had joined us in late 2018. Welcome “back”, Emma & Tim!


Running and Walking FOR a Cause

Jackie and Kayla Hayes were due to take part in the National Police Week 5K. It turned into a virtual event, but with real race bibs. So they headed out into their neighborhood to do the race, and it counted for CP Virtual parkrun also. A few other runners with those bibs were spotted around College Park, too.


Others were part of the movement to honor the memory of Ahmaud Arbery, a young African American who was shot while running near his home in Georgia on February 23rd. A number of virtual parkruns included a 2.23 mile section and/or the tag #irunwithahmaud. Among those was College Park mayor Patrick Wojahn, who was joining us for his first virtual parkrun.


Tailwalking crew members Lori Dominick and Rebecca White took along a grabber and a trash bag, to clean up the Paint Branch Trail as they walked. Thank you! They were pleasantly surprised to find little trash along the way. That’s thanks in part to responsible trail users. And also to helpful parkrunners. Lisa Wilson has been doing some trail maintenance during the pandemic. And we recently found the Heintzelman family working on clearing trash from the Acredale Park parking lot.



Four Kinds of Volunteers

CP parkrun is 100% volunteer-led, and hundreds have helped out over the past few years. It’s no different for CP Virtual parkrun, except that the roles are a little different, where most of the action is in connecting with, tracking, and supporting people online.

This week Andrea and Colin hosted the 9am briefing. We’d love to bring in a new briefing host next week. Let us know if this could be you!

The biggest role is collecting results and stories, and engaging with virtual parkrunners who reach us through various channels. Tara Mease has spearheaded results coordination (spreadsheets!). This week her support team was Jen Matis, Anna Tinnemore, Teresa Bippus, together with Colin and Andrea. And Colin teamed up with Lori on storytelling.


We can have as many virtual tailwalkers as we want in the virtual format. The more the merrier. Your job is simply to walk and to tell us about it. This week Lori Dominick and Rebecca White were joined by a highly inexperienced tailwalker. Colin has never walked a parkrun before, but he’s now on the injured list. So he walked a 5K around his neighborhood, stopping to take a picture by a park bench dedicated to Muppets creator Jim Henson, who grew up in the neighborhood. The message on the bench is oddly appropriate.


Not FORgetting …

It was cold for May! Like some of us, Valerie Silensky wasn’t going to venture out because of the wind and cold, but the sunshine was so glorious, she’s glad she did!  John Ramsey never thought he’d be wearing a hat, gloves, pants and long sleeves in May. Zak Mellen reported that he didn’t see any other people (or bunnies for that matter). Josh Weiss got through the wind and cold by pretending that every person out there was a parkrunner cheering him on. Jen Matis thinks the cold may have helped her shave a few minutes off last week's time.


Meridith Phillips was excited by her all-time parkrun PB! She ran the regular trail, and was happy to see some familiar faces along the way.


Zoe Phillips (no relation to Meridith) volunteers almost every week at CP parkrun, but hasn’t completed a 5K since last fall. So he was happy to get out for a 5K walk this weekend. And he was greeted by a surprise when he got home. A care package from his school, including a yard sign. This year’s 12th graders won’t have regular graduation celebrations, so local schools are finding creative ways of celebrating their seniors. Congratulations, Zoe!


And we’re happy that many parkrunners are supporting local businesses that are struggling during the pandemic. Vigilante Coffee is a supporter of CP parkrun, and they make fabulous coffee. (Andrea also swears by their acai bowls. Just saying.) Vigilante recently opened for curbside pickup at their College Park location, and we’re happy to see that more parkrunners are combining a run or walk on the local trails with a nice cup of coffee from Vigilante. We had a few on display at the mid-morning online meetup this week.


We’re also looking to support our friends at The Board and Brew, who are closed right now. Gift cards are available here.

The New Normal

We’re looking forward to getting back to our regular parkruns. But we don’t expect that to happen anytime soon. The State of Maryland has outlined a sensible, cautious plan for reopening, and we are in the middle of the epicenter for COVID-19 cases for the state. Also, parkrun HQ has made it clear that they are not going to hurry. Their position is: if special measures are needed, then it’s not yet safe to go ahead.

So for now we’ll do our best as a community to help each other stay active and connected.

We have been very happy to see so many taking part. We have enjoyed seeing friends on the live chats. We have LOVED hearing stories from folks near and far. We’re glad that we’re able to reach beyond the social media bubble. But we also know that there are lots of people who we’re unable to reach. So we’d love to hear from you about your ideas for how we could help to support more people as part of our healthy community. Right now we all need this more than ever.

Until next week!

Colin and Lori


Susan Crammond joined from Greystones, Ireland, where it was a bit warmer than in College Park.


Sharlene Deskins did her first CP Virtual parkrun!


Violet and Clark Ridge first ran a 5K together. Then Clark went straight out to do another. Maybe that's why he looks a little tired!


Perfect day for a fleece mask. Misha, Marc, and Maia took a 5 mile walk together


Mike McClellan got in a couple of miles on the trail. Nice!


Melanie Barzik and Matthias Machner incorporated CP Virtual parkrun into a 14-mile run together by Rock Creek. Pretty!


Special guest appearances for Mary Clare's first parkrun with her new barcode.


Lucy & Laurie in matching outfits


Joyce completed 5K on her treadmill. (And we like that London Marathon map in the background, Joyce!)


John Maneval on the Baltimore & Annapolis Trail. John, Jessica, and Mark are still looking to bring a parkrun to the B&A Trail in Anne Arundel County.


Nice day for a virtual parkrun for Frank Snyder


Steve and Cindy Feld representing CP parkrun in Durham, NC


We think that's Anna and Bonnie behind those masks


Andrea ran her fastest 5K in a while, and then got to work with her camera.