Ship Shape (Virtual Report 11)

We held our 11th CP Virtual parkrun on July 11th, and that’s how we learned (from a parkrunner) about one more casualty of the coronavirus: 7-11 suspended their free Slurpee promotion on 7/11 this year. That, folks, shows just how serious things have become.

It’s a time when it is hard to stay active and connected. We’re in the middle of a relentless heatwave. The pandemic is punishing us all for those who have failed to take it seriously. And we learn every day about new attempts to tear us apart. It can feel like the world wants us to give up.

Despite all this, we were as amazed as ever this week by the creative and inspiring stories that you shared about what you got up to, and how you supported each other. This report is mostly a collection of the cool things that you came up with. We’re being safe, we’re staying active, and we’re looking out for each other. That’s what matters right now.

Also, did you see that the cover story in the July edition of College Park Here & Now is -- CP Virtual parkrun! They ran a cool little feature, and many of you contributed quotes. See below for screenshots that you can enlarge to read more clearly. Watch this space for future plans for working with CPH&N to help make College Park a model of a healthy community.

So what all happened at CPVp #11? Darn good question!



Barkrunner Shackleton shows his tips for summer parkrunning. Get your run or walk in early, before it gets even hotter


There's always time to take a nap later on Saturday. Especially in a pandemic.

Facts and Figures

  • 159 virtual parkrunners
  • 735 miles covered
  • 14 first-timers
  • 22 new TEN TIMER TURTLE badges earned
  • 12 new HIGH FIVES earned
  • 11 barkrunners
  • 6 virtual volunteers




This week Malik ran a speedy 5K, then was joined by his 6-year old nephew Isaiah and they ran another 5K together. Fantastic!

Dismal Swamp

Let the record show that the conditions for virtual parkrunning this week weren’t exactly perfect.

Stewart Mayhew’s foggy glasses on the Seneca Greenway Trail tell you that, yes, it was classic July weather in DC.


We think that's Stewart behind those foggy glasses

Steve and Cindy Feld did their run at Virginia Beach. But the venue for their bike ride later in the day captures the conditions pretty well.


Well that pretty much sums it up

Creative Routes

When we said that for CPVp you could run or walk wherever you want, and however far you want, we had no idea of the creativity that this would unleash.

This week Lisa Wilson may have done one of the longest CPVp routes yet. It started in Delaware, and ended in New Jersey, with a point-to-point distance of 20 miles, and maybe about 23 miles in total. All in a little over an hour!. She did this by doing laps around the Cape May - Lewes ferry, for what was surely our first CPVp on a moving route. (Before you get any ideas, we do not recommend trying to do your CPVp on an airplane.)


No need for a turn-around marshal on this virtual parkrun route

But it turned out that Lisa’s route was not the longest of the day. That honor falls to Tim Keer, whose CPVp was part of a Quarantine Backyard Ultramarathon. We hadn’t heard of this race format until recently, but apparently it’s a thing. How it works is you set out from home on the hour every hour, with the aim of covering 4.17 miles within the hour. Then you do the same thing at the top of the next hour. And so on. The aim is to do as many “laps” as possible, and the last person standing is the winner. Why 4.17? That’s because if you do that 24 times it comes to a nice round 100 miles. Tim completed an impressive 12 laps, to make a total of 50 miles.


50 miles done

Meanwhile, Simon Wraight settled for a humble 10 miler in Bow, NH, where he is working his way through the task of covering ALL of the streets in town. (Hmm, what distance would you need to cover to run all the streets of College Park?)

Stefano Gazzano ran from his house in Civitavecchia, Italy to the beach in Tarquinia. The route passed near the ancient Etruscan necropolis of La Scaglia. Yeah, we weren’t quite sure what one of those is, so we looked it up. It’s a complex network of underground tombs. Fortunately, Stefano’s 5K did not go inside the tombs, though this would surely have qualified as the spookiest CPVp route yet.


Virtual parkrunners who headed to the Paint Branch Trail this week were met with two surprises. Inspiring chalk messages left on the trail the night before by Andrea. And a few stretches of trail resurfacing, smoothing out some of the bumpy parts. This is part of the project to create a new connector trail from the Tunnel of Trees over to the College Park Woods neighborhood.



"Find the good. It's all around you." -- Jesse Owenswinnie-the-pooh_web

"It's so much more friendly with two." -- Winnie the Poohtrail_web

Oh looky - newly patched trail!

Heather Sisan also found some inspiring signage on her route.


Rod Green was inspired by fellow parkrunners Lisa, Gail, Keirston, Laurie and Lucy, to extend his run past the 2 mile marker at the Bladensburg Waterfront. And he extended it by a whole lot, making it to 13 miles on a hot, hot day.

Diana Gough ran 3.4 miles in honor of her dad, whose birthday was on Saturday! He is 86 years young, but since there was no way she was going to run 8.6 miles, she decided to do 3.4 mi in honor of his birth year, 1934.

Meridith Phillips saw a mama turtle laying eggs by the Paint Branch Trail, just beyond Hump’s Crossing, so she stopped to watch (from a safe distance, of course). Later in the day, the eggs were still well hidden!

Ellen Oberholtzer and Eli’s run was cut short when they came across a lost beagle. Once the dog was reunited with her owner, Ellen and Eli set out to finish their 5K, which included a swim break for Eli.


More virtual parkrun animal rescue! This seems to be a thing.


Part of Eli's improvised course

Not to be outdone, barkrunner Sophie showed her true waterdog colors in Rock Creek. She gets VERY excited to see all her parkrun friends at the start of our regular parkruns. The one thing that might make it even better for her would be if we could run along the creek rather than along the trail.


Frithjov Iversen’s photography from his run on Roosevelt Island is pretty inspiring, too.


Geese on the Potomac


Apparently this is called a buttonbush, but doesn't it remind you of something else that is dominating our lives these days?

And Tara and Xander Mease had an even more special encounter on their run. They ran into grandma Janet! Between Janet’s healthcare work and Xander’s already struggling lungs, this family has needed to be seriously socially distanced during the pandemic. So running together in the woods for a bit is a huge treat.


Fast and Far

We advised everybody to take it steady in the heat. No need to go any faster or further than feels right on such a hot day. … Well, at least some of you paid attention.

Sam Phipps celebrated his birthday (the day before) by heading out on the B&A Trail in Glen Burnie, MD, where he put in a 17:10 5K as part of a longer run. That’s a CPVp record, we think, beating Brian Rosenberg’s time from a couple of weeks ago. And Sam’s dad Dave was a couple of minutes behind, in the day’s third fastest time.


Sam setting a CPVp record on the Baltimore & Annapolis Trail

Cindy Conant “only” ran 20:04 for her 5K this week, which translates to a 94% age-grade for a 59-year old woman. In other words, Cindy put down a world class 5K time at her local track  in pretty terrible running weather. Meanwhile Cindy’s niece Erin Munsell was out doing her longest run yet this year, of 11+ miles.

Duane Rosenberg has gotten his brother Dave addicted to our virtual parkruns. Dave has his sights on catching Larry Washington, who is a couple years younger than Dave’s 70 years, and ran in just under 24 minutes this week. Dave broke 20 minutes in local Iowa 5Ks when he was in his 50s.  But as Duane put it, “we runners know Papa Time is undefeated.”

Jen Matis completed her longest ever run, 5.5 miles. At least it was in the controlled conditions of her treadmill. And Joan Heffernan continued her progress towards running a full 5K by the time she turns 70 later this year. With 2.25 miles of continuous running this week, we think she’s got this.


Jen is SO ready for her 10K next week

Cindy Cohen again ran faster than she ever has in one of her 100+ regular parkruns. This was on a route in the Idaho mountains that dropped by 900’ over the course of the 5K.


It's all downhill from here. Cindy Cohen's start line in Sandpoint, ID. 


We love hearing about your comeback stories. We had a few this week.

It’s just a couple of weeks since Bud Verge had knee surgery, but he has been working hard on his PT, and this week he was excited to be back running the parkrun trail, being careful to take the pace “wicked easy”.


He's baaaack!

Trace Huard was struggling to walk at the start of the year, but he has been on a solid comeback since then, and this week ran his fastest time since shutdown. His post-run celebratory selfie captured Colin celebrating with him as he ran past on his own virtual parkrun … though at that point Colin didn’t know quite what he was celebrating.


And Clare Imholtz is also on the comeback trail. Normally she would be one of our speediest septuagenarians, but for this week she was plenty satisfied to be able to run a full mile of her 1.5 mile effort.


Already in week #11 there are over *60* CPVpers who have earned a prized 10-Timer Turtle badge in our results tables. Around 20 of them were earned this week. Here’s the honor roll:

Malik Al-Jame, Patrick Wojahn, Nick Huang, Robin Phillips, James Parsons, Kelsey Mannix, Dave Heintzelman, Joel Goldberg, Alyssa Heintzelman, Erin Munsell, Angela Gentile, Jacqueline Hayes, Emma Keer, Cindy Feld, Marvin Russell, Jen Matis, Sharlene Deskins, Bonnie McClellan, Joyce Adams, Tim Keer, Mike McClellan, and Clark Ridge.

Bonnie and Mike McClellan became the first octogenarians to earn turtle badges. Two father-daughter pairs are now turtle clubbers: Dave and Alyssa Heintzelman, and Tim and Emma Keer. Robin Phillips is now a 10-time CPVper, though he has never been to College Park parkrun in person, since he’s based in Bristol, UK.

Meanwhile, we are holding an investigation on whether Patrick Wojahn is the first mayor to earn a turtle badge. Duane Rosenberg already completed his 10th CPVp last week, on July 4th. However, Duane finished his term as mayor of New Carrollton shortly before that. So he did not complete all of his CPVps while in office.

12 more parkrunners earned High Five badges for completing their 5th CPVp.

Terri Snedeker, Dave Menusan, Carolyn Kelley, Stella Dover, Caitlin Poremba, Eve Fingerett, Gail Sockwell-Thompson, Heather Sisan, Mary Langan, Walker (barkrunner), Captain Jack (barkrunner), and Violet Ridge.

This week’s new 5-timers included three from the extended Roosevelt Island parkrun community, all of whom are too far away to run in the DMV right now. Eve Fingerett is based in Charleston, WV. She and husband Michael have become regulars at our CPVp coffee meetups. Mary Langan and her barkrunner Captain Jack are based in New Jersey.

Violet Ridge earned a High Five badge on the same day that her dad Clark earned his 10-timer badge. We’re not sure that they planned this one, but those two do seem to coordinate their milestones. It was last winter when Violet ran her 50th parkrun on the same day that Clark ran his 100th (AND volunteered for the 25th time, AND his son Calvin did his 10th parkrun).

We’d like to give a special virtual high five to Stella Dover, who now joins us regularly from Newent, UK. While her husband Adrian has done a couple of hundred parkruns, including many at College Park, Stella has always taken the role of parkrun widow. But nowadays she gets out for a walk near home each week, and she and Adrian are generally the first who we hear from each Saturday morning. Once the pandemic is over and travel is possible again, we’re really looking foward to welcoming Stella to CP non-virtual parkrun, so that she can be a parkrun widow no more!

And we’re always excited to welcome first-time virtual parkrunners. This week there were about a dozen first-timers. And there was a clear pattern. Almost everybody who joined us for the first time was doing so due thanks to close friendship or family ties.


Team Schneider is growing! This week including Brian, Tammy ... and barkrunner Betty Spaghetti. Ok, that's the best parkrunner name EVER.

Dave Phipps joined because of his son Sam. 6-year old Isaiah Dycks came along to run with his uncle Malik Al-Jame. Mark Grudzien enjoyed a walk with his daughter Janet Grudzien John. Brian and Tammy Camidge took part with their daughter Erin and her family … otherwise known as Team Schneider. Becky deGuzman ran with her dad Frank Snyder. Barkrunner Pakora got out for an easy run with his human Pratyush Tiwary. And Juliana Perry was inspired to run thanks to her dear friend Joyce Adams.


Welcome first-timer Pakora!

Mark Allen & Jason Barthelmy were first time CPVpers, part of the crew running on the B&A Trail in Glen Burnie.


Virtual Volunteers

We couldn’t be doing this without the team of virtual volunteers, who this week were Tara Mease, Joyce Adams, Hannah Russell, Angela Gentile, together with Andrea Zukowski and Colin Phillips.

The role of the volunteers in “old style” parkruns is focused on safety and results, with a secondary role in creating the vibe that keeps the community going.

The role of the volunteers in virtual parkruns is different. It’s SO MUCH MORE about doing the things that help us to all stay active and connected. You all provide the great material, and the volunteers help to ensure that everybody else can see it.

This week Angela Gentile helped on the results team. This role involves collecting information from our various channels, and also being a virtual cheerleader. Angela and her barkrunner Shackleton are regulars at CP parkrun since late 2017. Angela would have earned a red 50 shirt this spring if it wasn’t for the shutdown. And we’re so happy that she introduced both of her parents and also her husband to our community.

Joyce Adams is a weekly volunteer, and we encourage you to “Be Like Joyce!”. Joyce is co-Event Director for Roosevelt Island parkrun, which serves DC and Arlington, and she basically coordinates an event within an event during the pandemic. She builds community among the RI parkrunners, and they tap into our results and reporting. It’s a great partnership. Maybe you could do something similar? If you can work on engaging with your community group, we can help to track results and share stories.


Who said you can't do parkrun and volunteer at the same time! Joyce had the results spreadsheet close at hand *while* doing her virtual parkrun on her treadmill. #multitasking

Looking Ahead

Will CP parkrun be back in its “traditional’ format anytime soon? Sorry, that’s just not happening. Until the US is handling the pandemic better, it won’t be possible to hold events like we held in the past. We’re as disappointed as you are about that.

Prince George’s County was badly hit by COVID-19, and the county has recovered fairly well. But the county’s cautious re-opening combined with the national surge is making matters fragile. We thank you for EVERYTHING that you are doing to make this a safe and healthy community.

So, we expect to be parkrunning virtually for the rest of the year, and we’re looking for ways to help welcome more people into this community. That’s where you can help!

We have learned that many people who have been regular CP parkrunners in the past haven’t heard about the virtual parkruns (or they may have only heard about the globally managed “(not)parkruns”, which are … different. We can only reach people who follow us on our social media channels (Facebook, Strava, Instagram), or if they’re opted in to the College Park weekly emails. (To add yourself to this list, login to your account at, select “email options”, opt-in for College Park, and then click “save opt-in events list”.) We do not have access to your email address, and we will never spam you. You’ll get a nice email once per week from Andrea about what’s happening at CPVp.) We will try to reach more of the folks who aren’t hearing from us, but if you can reach friends, that’s even better.

Also, it’s becoming clear that folks get connected to face-to-face and virtual parkruns differently. For the F2F parkruns, people typically first come along for physical health reasons, then keep coming back because of the community. In the virtual parkruns we’re seeing that almost everybody who joins already has some strong social connection to others in the community. This means that individual parkrunners are the key ambassadors and supporters for the online community. And that we need to find new ways to support those who are more socially isolated and who might stand to benefit the most.

Until next time!

Your CPVp Team


Michelle Lemon had a great conversational partner at the start of her virtual parkrun (see the little feet!) ... who then fell asleep



"It was like a nuclear meltdown." -- Derekcoffee_web

Join us for post-parkrun coffee some time!


Seen on Valerie Silensky's route this week


Kristin and Gus joined us from Sewanee, TN, where Kristin leads the Mountain Goat Trail parkrun.


And some wildflowers for extra karma, courtesy of Lisa Shiota

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