Independence Day (Virtual Report 10)

At the start of the year we noticed that July 4th this year would fall on a Saturday, so we could look forward to a holiday parkrun. Well, we got one, but not quite how we expected.

This week was our 10th CP Virtual parkrun already. That’s a cause for celebration. And we already have a LOT of 10-timers to celebrate. More on that below.

One thing that was quite predictable was that the weather would be hot. No time for PBs.

We always love seeing the creative ways that you get your virtual parkrun done. This week’s creativity was holiday and heat themed.

So what happened at CPVp #10?


Sharlene came equipped -- for sun, and for the holiday

Facts and Figures

  • 161 virtual parkrunners
  • 660 miles covered
  • 9 first-timers
  • 41 new TEN TIMER TURTLE club members
  • 13 new HIGH FIVES earned
  • 7 barkrunners
  • 6 virtual volunteers


You’ll notice two tweaks in this week’s results table.

First, we have added new turtle badges for 10-timers. Why turtles? Well, College Park already has a strong affinity with the turtle. Back in late 2017 UMD mascot Testudo actually visited CP parkrun. Also, we get quite a few turtle sightings along our favorite trail, especially at this time of year. Turtles are not about speed, they’re all about getting there. And aside from all that, the turtle emoji is just darn cute. So there!

Second, we have added virtual volunteer icons to highlight folks who have helped out behind the scenes to make the virtual parkruns work so well. It may appear that these events work like magic. Well, these are the magicians.


This guy was seen a few yards beyond our regular start line. We welcome ALL paces.

Red, White, and Blue

Many of you got into the spirit of the July 4th holiday.

Valerie Silensky wore a pair of stars and stripes sneakers that she has owned for two years but had never gotten a chance to wear before. Valerie’s a diplomat, and this time last year she was working in Argentina. Nowadays, even diplomats are grounded. As always, Valerie shared interesting scenes from her virtual parkrun around the neighborhoods near the DC-Maryland line.



Adrian and Stella Dover completed their parkruns in Newent, UK but still celebrated July 4th with a stars & stripes headcovering.


Erin Munsell tried to be patriotic by wearing red, white, and blue clothing on her 10 mile run; but the red dye was no match for the heat and humidity induced sweating!


Erin's impromptu tie-dye

Anna Tinnemore and Mike and Bonnie McClellan coordinated their red, white, and blue outfits. They walked to the regular parkrun trail from the College Park Woods neighborhood, checking out construction on the new connector trail and passing some parkrun friends along the way.


Color coordinated!

Dale Morey’s four mile course ended at an italian ice shop that had a gelato special for July 4th.

Meridith Phillips wore a red-white-blue tutu for her virtual run, and she did some recruiting along the way. “Ran my 5k decked out in my tutu for the 4th and then walked another 3.5k. Also met two women who wanted more info on the paths and I invited them to join us now and in the future! Happy 4th to all.”


Meridith's holiday tutu!

And the Russell-Barnes family made their own ice cream for a post parkrun treat! Coincidentally, the coconut milk ice cream topped with blueberry and sour cherry compotes fit the July 4th theme.


Now THAT is the way to show some red-white-blue

Beating … or beaten by the heat

No way of sugar-coating this one. It was hot in the DC area this July 4th. Many of us could sympathize with how Keaton Ellis was feeling after his run. Or with barkunner Shackleton, for that matter.




But some of you found creative solutions.

Some chose to run indoors where they could control the weather. Jen Matis not only completed her longest ever run, 5 miles on her treadmill. She also had good company: Lin-Manuel Miranda. She combined her virtual parkrun with watching Hamilton.



Rosemary Schwartzbard found an even better solution to running in one place. She hopped into a friend’s pool and did 45 minutes of aqua-jogging. Brilliant! Rosemary is also one of the Roosevelt Island parkrun regulars who this week earned a High Five badge for completing 5 CPVps.

Cindy Cohen escaped the heat by being far away and at high altitude. She found amazing mountain views on her virtual parkrun in Sandpoint, ID. And she also found preparations for a mountaintop wedding.


Ok, so those seats aren't very distanced ... but the views!

Lisa Jordan, Keirston Woods, and Gail Sockwell-Thompson took refuge in the cool of the underpass below Route 193, close to Hump’s Crossing. Wise move!


Smart place to stop for a moment

Heather Sisan’s daughters Fiona and Hannah went for an even better approach. They hopped into Rock Creek and wished Heather well for her run.


Enjoy that run, Mom!


After 10 CP Virtual parkruns we already have *41* virtual parkrunners who have taken part 10 times! When we started in person parkruns, there was *1* person who took part in all of the first 10. Maybe the flexibility of the virtual parkrun format has some benefits.

So, drumroll, our inaugural members of the Ten-Timer Turtle Club are:

Colin Phillips, Keaton Ellis, Duane Rosenberg, Larry Washington, David Lai, Trace Huard, Brian Murphy, Stewart Mayhew, John Ramsey, Adrian Dover, Katie Hirsche, Kazuko Yatsushiro, Steve Feld, Kalonji Collins, Tara Mease, Xander Mease, Meridith Phillips, Dagny S, Joan Heffernan, Andrea Zukowski, Frank Snyder, Lisa Wilson, Rory Murphy, Diana Gough, Mary Anderson, Külli Crespin, Teresa Perdomo, Gus Campbell, Kristine Rogers, Paul Wester, Cindy Cohen, Gloria Cottman, Lori Dominick, Erin Schneider, Joshua Schneider, Mary Clare Schneider, Samantha Schneider, Anna Tinnemore, Chris McGranahan, Janet Tate, Valerie Silensky.

Mary Anderson deserves a special mention for her dedication: “Three day weekend! I was so excited to get my tenth virtual CP NotAParkrun that I did it right away. Couldn’t figure out why there was no Facebook posting until I realized it was Friday! So … did it again this morning, 5k in Bowie in 40:30. Happy Independence Day all weekend!”

A special shout out to Mary Clare Schneider, one of the four Schneiders in this list. You may recall Mary Clare celebrating getting her new parkrun barcode when she turned 4 in early May. Mary Clare has done every CPVp so far. Under normal circumstances she would be earning a *very* fast parkrun 10 shirt. But no dice, alas. This week big sister Samantha wore her 10 shirt on the family’s parkwalk, and both sisters raised the sartorial bar with their holiday tutus.


10th CPVp for Team Schneider

Kudos to the 10-timers who have joined us every time, despite being nowhere near College Park. Steve Feld (N Carolina), Cindy Cohen (Idaho), Rory Murphy (New Jersey), and Adrian Dover (UK) all have been regulars in person in the past. But Kazuko Yatsushiro (Germany) and Joan Heffernan (Connecticut) have one prior CP parkrun between them, so it has been great to ‘adopt’ them into our community from afar.

Also, virtual high fives are in order for this week’s new 5-timers.

Sam Phipps, Carly Mills, Mika Sauerland, Neha Joshi, Janet Grudzien John, Matt Kaplan, Roo (barkrunner), Adam Gann, Chris Van Vlack, Frithjov Iversen, Kat M, Laurie Goodfriend, Rosemary Schwartzbard

Frithjov Iversen, Kat M, Adam Gann, and Rosemary Schwartzbard are among our regulars from Roosevelt Island parkrun in DC/NOVA. We have enjoyed welcoming them to the CPVp community. Kat sent us a cool photo of the Roosevelt Island boardwalk that they use for their parkruns. RI parkrun started just a few weeks before CP in late 2016. Well worth a visit sometime. … In fact, Stewart Mayhew chose RI as the venue for his 10th CPVp this weekend.


The Roosevelt Island parkrun boardwalk. Give it a try sometime! (Don't worry, the boardwalk is totally safe. If there's winter ice, they have alternate routes.)


Creative Courses

Simon Wraight, joining from Concord, NH, continues his pursuit of a sub-19 minute 5K, using all available tools. Especially hills. Downhills. He came very close this week, with a 19:04 on his route that dropped 400’ in 5K. This still left Simon a little way back from Brian Rosenberg (Duane’s nephew), joining from Mechanicsburg, PA, who simply put in a fast 5K spurt into a longer run.

Barkrunner Eli (and his human Ellen Oberholtzer) continued their tour of local cultural sites. This week they found this cool sculpture in Riverdale Park. Apparently it is called “Icarus”. Flying too close to the sun seems extra relevant this weekend.


Eli and Icarus

Patrick Wojahn is a very busy mayor on Saturdays, whether he’s working local food banks, chairing community meetings, or serving as the city’s leading pandemic food critic. (Every weekend he and husband Dave post pictures from their deck of the latest local eateries that they are supporting, eliciting responses of “Ooh, we must visit that place!” and “Is Patrick’s plate really that full?”) This week he found a creative way to combine mayoral duties with his CPVp. He started at the ribbon cutting for the new Hollywood Nutrition in North College Park (yessss, smoothies!). Then he did a tour of performances as part of College Park’s July 4th Porchfest, joined (by bike) by Eric Olson of the CP City-University Partnership.


Want. Smoothie. Now.


Virtual Volunteers

This week our weekly volunteer crew (Andrea, Colin, Tara, Joyce (for Roosevelt Island)) were joined by Trace Huard on results and Hannah Russell helping with this report.

Trace did some errands after an early run on the Paint Branch Trail, then got down to business early afternoon: “Great! I’m only 68 Facebook comments behind at this point!”

Hannah helped to dig through the many, many cool things that you told us about, helping to turn it into a manageable story that is (just barely) shorter than a Tolstoy novel.

Thank you to both! If YOU are curious about joining our virtual volunteer crew some week, just let us know. It’s fun, it’s easy, and it doesn’t require standing outside in 90-degree weather.


Our volunteers are a key part of our healthy community. They're at least as essential in the virtual format. Just a little less visible.

Looking Ahead

This weekend, on July 4th, parkrun started again in New Zealand, where COVID-19 has been eradicated. Congratulations to our Kiwi friends! (To our knowledge, we have had a grand total of 4 Kiwi parkrun tourists at CP parkrun.)

Nothing similar is in the cards for the US, alas. New infections are surging throughout the South. Maryland’s decline in new cases has stalled, and we are bracing ourselves for a new surge here. The very best that we can hope for in the coming weeks and months is a world where the spread of infection is somewhat kept in check thanks to extreme care in all that we do.

If we don’t do things right, as a region, we will be hit by a new tide of cases. If we don’t find a way to succeed as a community, the return of tens of thousands of people next month for the new UMD semester will increase infection and mistrust.

So, our plans assume that we’ll be continuing virtually through the end of the year. That’s 25 more Saturdays. At least.


Andrea gave her new CPVp shirt a test. It works!

We also feel the need, more than ever, to help create a healthy, connected community. Staying physically active is important, for sure. Staying connected with people outside your COVID bubble is just as important. The more that we can bridge divides, the better off we all will be. We’re just a little running/walking event, but in the age of social distancing there aren’t many ways that bring people together outside their bubble.

(Related to this: look out for a feature on CPVp in the upcoming edition of College Park Here and Now, the new city newspaper. Thanks to those who contributed material for this.)

To make a difference we need your help.

We need volunteers to help with the virtual parkruns. We are so grateful to the folks who have already helped out (and they now have an extra icon in our results tables to recognize this).

We also need help in reaching different parts of our community and helping to support connections. Two good examples of how this can work are the Roosevelt Island parkrun group that has been joining us virtually, and the many different family groups that have been getting active together, even when far apart geographically. Drop us a line if you have ideas.

And, to end on a surprising-but-related note, this week the global organization World Athletics, which is basically in charge of elite level track & field worldwide, announced a new partnership with parkrun Global, focused on broadening participation and getting more people active. We’re not sure what all this involves. At CP parkrun we've thought a lot about strategies for broadening participation, and we know that SO much depends on efforts at the local level. And on being honest about successes and failures. In any case, we were heartened to see the picture that World Athletics chose to illustrate their goal: College Park parkrun! Clearly, the world just wants to be like College Park. We had no role in this, but we’ll take it as a compliment to our community.

Until next time!

Your CPVp Team


World Athletics was looking for a picture that captures their goal for broadening participation. With 2,000 parkrun events to choose from, look at which one they chose! This was the start on this weekend in 2018. We started on the grass for a few months, to add some distance when the turnaround was blocked by construction.


Caitlin and Pete did an ACTUAL RACE in Ohio, with other humans. Amazing!


Mary chose the treadmill this week. For some reason her barkrunner took a pass.


The Mansfield, OH crew left little doubt what day it is


Malik's first sub-22 clocking in a while. On SUCH a hot day.


"Short" day for David. Just 10 miles.


And we leave you with a puppy picture. Because why not! (Plus Eden, and Sam, and Great Falls. They are all lovely, too.)