Eighteen people and a banana creme pie (Virtual Report 31-32)

“I wish every week had three days of work, two parkruns, and cheesecake!”

Wise words from Jen Matis. If your week didn’t include cheesecake, then that is more evidence of how 2020 is failing us all.

Normally on Thanksgiving we would gather a big crowd in Acredale Park to start off the holiday. That didn’t happen this year, of course. But we still loved hearing from so many of you, and it was fantastic to see lots of families getting active together.

Some families were all together and pushing a running stroller. Some were thousands of miles apart. Whether you were pushing to break the CPVp “course” record, or taking a break for “a cuppa and a slice of toasted teacake” while walking with double hip replacements, it is 100% in the spirit of CPVp.

So put on the kettle, settle down, and read about what happened this week at College Park Virtual parkruns #31 and #32.



"Thankful for toys". What are you thankful for this Thanksgiving?

Facts and Figures

Big numbers this week. Each of the totals is for Thursday and Saturday combined, followed by the Thursday and Saturday counts.

  • 441 virtual parkrunners (247 + 194)
  • 1680 miles covered (890 + 790)
  • 81 first-timers (66 + 15)
  • 10 new HIGH FIVE badges earned (4 + 6)
  • 8 new TEN TIMER TURTLE badges earned (1 + 7)
  • 11 new 25-TIMER badges earned (2 + 9)
  • 34 barkrunners (19 + 15)
  • 14 virtual volunteers (8 + 6)

Stat(s) of the week: From our start in May through the end of November (7 months, 32 weeks) College Park Virtual parkrun has seen 5385 participants.

And this week was by some measures our busiest EVER week at CP parkrun.

Total participation for November was 945. This passes our previous monthly record of 865 in November 2019, a month that had the advantage of 6 events. Total participation for just this (long) weekend was 441. This passes our previous weekly record of 411 from New Years 2020.

Like so much else in 2020, this is all rather improbable.



Lisa Shiota wore her "traditional Turkey Trot hat" for her CPVp on Thursday

Family Affair

Many families chose not to come together for Thanksgiving this year, in the interest of public health. We encouraged families to use our Virtual Turkey Trot to help them to connect even when they were apart. And they did!

Team Rosenberg and Team Phillips-Zukowski had challenged each other to recruit as many family members as possible. Both turned out big groups.

Team Rosenberg had 10 participants in 6 locations (4 states) this week, including 1 barkrunner. In addition to CPVp regulars Duane, Peter, Jessica, Brian, and Dave, we also welcomed Emily, Jenna, barkrunner Rose, and TWO Dianes!


Diane David and Emily Sizemore (Duane Rosenberg's sister and niece) reported in for Team Rosenberg from Ellicott City, MD


Jenna David and barkrunner Rose reported in for Team Rosenberg from Colorado, where the weather was a little different than in Maryland.

Team Phillips-Zukowski can’t compete with the running pedigree of the Rosenbergs, but they extend to two countries. They had 14 participants this week (2 barkrunners), 4 in the UK and 10 spread across 3 US states.

They had plans for a couple of additional team members in London, but faced a last-minute withdrawal due to “potty training” for a nearly 3-year old. Serious business.


Arabella Phillips, age 5, got in a walk in Bristol, UK, as did her grandparents across town. 

But these two teams were no match for Team Ridge, who mustered 18 people in 4 states. Their team included no barkrunners. But it did include a banana creme pie (which did not count towards the team total). Lily, Violet, Calvin, and Felix did their virtual Turkey Trot by walking to a friend’s house to exchange Thanksgiving delicacies. Milo came along too. But he wasn’t able to walk, as he’s just 7 weeks old.


Violet, Lily, Calvin, and Felix delivered this delicious looking pie to friends as part of their virtual Turkey Trot. Baby Milo looks forward to some non-virtual parkrunning when he's old enough to walk.

Clark Ridge said: “It was great to call my family and ask them to do something fun and good for them. They were all happy to participate.”


The Martins checked in for Team Ridge from above Devil's Lake in Wisconsin


That's Iris, Claron (Clark's twin brother) and Gideon, doing their CPVp in Florida.  

Fortunately, a family can enjoy a fun turkey trot with fewer than 18 participants.

Some families were able to get together in the same place. Often this was at the Paint Branch Trail.

On Saturday Elmer Hernández brought along eight other family members to enjoy the trail with him. This included his 75-year old father-in-law who loved chasing his grandkids down the trail.


Team Hernández was out in force on Saturday


Team Kaczmarski took to the Paint Branch Trail on Thursday armed with chalk, Katie: “The kids and I stopped throughout to write what we were thankful for and decorate the trail. We absolutely loved it!" Meanwhile, they were joined at a distance by their Ohio relatives Holly, Joe, and Meg Nurre.


The Kaczmarski enjoyed spreading the gratitude along the trail

By Thursday afternoon the start/finish area at Acredale Park was just full of cool chalking, thanks to other families that visited during the day, including Team McElhenny and Team Lemon. (In case you’re wondering where we get the trail chalk from: Artist and Craftsman Supply in Hyattsville, directly behind Streetcar 82 Brewing, is an amazing place to explore.)


Theodore: "I am grateful for my family." 


Fiona left encouragement for mom

Hump left a chalk message too.


Other families were getting moving together in nearby towns. This included Team Sisan in Kensington, who sent us a copy of their Thanksgiving front yard trivia board; Team Rueter-Byrne in University Park; and Team Schneider in Hyattsville, who wrote messages for us.


The Sisan family trivia board is updated daily during the pandemic


Many families were connecting at a distance. Carly Maas was joined by family members in Greensboro, NC, including her mom, dad, brother, and dog Shannon. Andrea Maas reported that the turkey hats that they wore on their run attracted cheers and honks from passers by.


Andrea and Brian Maas did their virtual turkey trot in Greensboro, NC

Mayor Patrick Wojahn was joined by his parents Karen and Dennis in Wisconsin, and his aunt Mary Hicks in Rockford, IL. In fact, Mary earned her 5-timer badge on Saturday. Way to go, Mary!


Last year at Thanksgiving Paul Wester went out for a run around his neighborhood. The next day he did the same. And the next day. He kept on going, every single day. In all weathers. Often in the pre-dawn dark.

This Thanksgiving, Paul’s family was feeling super proud of him as he completed a whole year of running every day. 44 of those days were College Park (virtual) parkruns.

Paul was featured in RunWashington’s Monumental Runner column in July. Read about his running story.


Congratulations, Paul!

Tour de DMV

Among the chalking at Acredale Park we found the message: “Greetings from Fletcher’s Cove”, clearly referring to the parkrun event in DC that set our own journey in motion 5 years ago. Who could this have been from?


A visit to Strava revealed the answer. Sol and Terri Snedeker found a unique way to celebrate this unusual Thanksgiving, by running all five parkrun courses in the DMV in a single day. They set off at Roosevelt Island parkrun at 8:40am, then headed to Anacostia, Kensington, College Park, and ended at their home event, Fletcher’s Cove, finishing around 3pm.

To our knowledge this is the first time that anybody has completed all five in a day. Good idea to do it on a relatively low traffic day like Thanksgiving.


Impressive tour, Sol and Terri!

New Signs

Visitors to the Paint Branch Trail during the Thanksgiving long weekend were treated to a cool new set of signs, featuring drawings of members of our parkrun community, encouraging people to walk, jog, or run.


Lisa and Hump could be found in their regular spots. Colin and Andrea were holding court in Acredale Park (which is kind of their regular spot). And there were a few other regular parkrun or virtual parkrun volunteers, plus College Park mayor Patrick Wojahn, who has supported our events in many ways (as have many other local officials; we are very fortunate).


Some parkrunners even had the experience of “running into themselves” along the trail. Not the sort of thing that happens to you every day.


Tara and Xander ran into themselves on the trail!


Lori loves her picture. Thanks, Zoe!

Huge thanks to parkrunner Zoe Phillips for the drawings and to Andrea for the sign design. Between the signs and the trail chalking, the Paint Branch Trail was drawing visitors over the course of the weekend, as people wanted to come see the decorations for themselves.


Even this bald eagle wanted to come see what was happening along the trail this week

All around the world

When we awoke on Saturday we were thrilled to find a message in the CP parkrun email inbox from Hemant and Vidya Joshi, who were writing from India. “We did College Park parkrun last year along with Neha [daughter] and Yogarshi [son-in-law] who live in College Park. We loved it. Neha suggested that we can participate virtually from here in Pune (India).  We go on a small hike of 5 kms every Saturday.” Fantastic! We love meeting and welcoming family from far away, and also learning about where they are.


Welcome Hemant and Vidya!

Pune is located in the west of India around 90 miles from Mumbai. It is the 8th largest city in India with around 7 million inhabitants. So, slightly larger than the DC metro area. It is known as a major educational center, and rates as one of the most “livable” cities in India. In the 18th century it was the seat of the Peshwas, the prime ministers of the Maratha Empire, making it one of the most important political centers on the Indian subcontinent. Mahatma Gandhi and his wife were kept under house arrest at the Aga Khan Palace in Pune in 1942-44, and Gandhi’s ashes are kept at a memorial on the palace site today.

… and for good measure, Neha’s brother (?) Nitish also joined us on Saturday, from a little less far afield, in New York City.

Also on Saturday we received Thanksgiving greetings from even further away. Darren and Lucille Pead visited us from Sydney, Australia for our Thanksgiving parkrun last year. (Lucille has family in Northern Virginia.)


Happy Thanksgiving from Sydney, Australia

Eddie Matus checked in on Saturday from his hometown of Montevideo, Uruguay. He’ll be back home in College Park next week. Enjoy the warm weather for now, Eddie!


It's early summer in Uruguay

And to round out our collection of continents, our European participant ranks grew on Thursday as we welcomed 10 people from the Melton Mowbray parkrun community, They helped to inspire our virtual events, and we have been following their progress closely. So it was only reasonable to invite them over for Thanksgiving.

The one continent (aside from Antartica) not represented at our Thanksgiving weekend virtual parkruns was Africa.

Fun fact: as of this weekend, all 4 parkrun events in the African country of Namibia have reopened following the COVID-19 shutdown. Namibia has about 10 times the area of Maryland, but only 40% of the population. Namibia has fared rather better than Maryland in the pandemic.

Milestones and More

With the huge numbers of participants this weekend, it’s little surprise that we have lots of first-timers to welcome and lots of milestones to celebrate. Thursday was mostly about the first-timers, Saturday had far more milestones.

FIRST-TIMERS. In a normal week we would welcome a handful of newcomers. This weekend there were EIGHTY ONE first-timers.

Many of this week’s first timers joined as part of a family group. We don’t have the space (and you, dear reader, probably don’t have the patience) to introduce all of them individually. But we can give a shout out to a few. You can find them all in the results tables from Thursday and Saturday.

Helena Santos-Collins joined for a walk with the family on the Paint Branch Trail on Saturday. Helena earned her parkrun 50 shirt just a couple of weeks before we shut down in late winter, and we were thrilled to see her back on the trail.


Great to see Helena and Kalonji on the trail together. Their kids Hannah and Sam were running off into the distance at this point.

Tom Heffernan visited College Park once, this February, and walked the trail together with his wife Joan Heffernan. Tom and Joan live in Suffield, CT. Joan is now one of the 28 CPVp ever-presents, with 32 runs in 32 weeks. But for Thanksgiving she slowed it down a little and enjoyed a walk with Tom instead.


Caitlin Meyd is another first-timer who has heard all about us. Caitlin has been supporting Stewart Mayhew’s inspiring fitness journey over the past couple of years. In fact, she encouraged him to start running, and it wasn’t too long after this that he discovered CP parkrun. Caitlin ran 5K on the NCR Trail north of Baltimore on Thanksgiving, and she was so speedy that she even appears ahead of Katie Hirsche in the results table. Welcome Caitlin!


Welcome Caitlin!

This week ELEVEN parkrunners earned their 25-timer badge: John Maneval, Bud Verge, Eddie Matus, Joe Fox, Clark Ridge, Pratyush Tiwary, Tomas Marambio, Clare Imholtz, Jim Cantwell, Laurie Goodfriend, and Joyce Adams.

Bud, Eddie, Clark, Joyce, and Jim already have parkrun 50 or 100 shirts. We’re happy that they’re sticking with us through the pandemic. John, Tomas, and Clare all have done way more than 50 CPp + CPVp by now in total. It’s too bad that 2020 didn’t give us a chance to celebrate them in our normal style. Joe and Pratyush have joined us at CPp a few times, and we’re really glad that they have joined us regularly for CPVp. We are especially happy to celebrate Laurie’s 25th CPVp, as she is a local who has never been to CP parkrun before, but now takes part almost every week. Laurie, we hope that you’ll be able to join us sometimes once we’re back to our “normal” operations.


Jim Cantwell was among this week's MANY CPVp milestone earners

We have virtual turtle badges for our EIGHT new ten-timers: Dami Alao, Lisa Parsons, Adrien Harrison, Jeri Keer, Pakora, Rebekah Esmaili, Marianne Poon, and Frank Filteau.

We love that this group represents the diversity of this virtual community.

Lisa and Frank are long-time regulars at CP parkrun. Frank reached 100 parkruns faster than anybody else in the United States.

Dami, Marianne, and Rebekah are locals who have joined us more often during the pandemic. Dami’s first CPp was on Thanksgiving last year. This year on Thanksgiving Andrea encouraged him to jump so that she could take a picture. She forgot that Dami is a former pole vaulter. He can jump!


Dami can jump!

Adrien and Jeri have never been to CPp before. But they have joined us thanks to family members who are regulars. Adrien’s sister Meridith Phillips is a CPVp regular, and now we look forward to hearing from Adrien in Columbia, MD every week. This week she ran a (virtual?) half marathon, and she beat her previous best time by 15 minutes. Nice! Jeri joins us from Birmingham, MI. her husband Tim and daughter Emma join us practically every week, and have both visited College Park a couple of times in person. We love that Jeri and barkrunners Whistler and Jasper can team up with Tim (and sometimes Emma) to enjoy a gentle paced Saturday outing from home , with no need for them to set out at silly-o’clock to go visit parkrun locations throughout the Midwest.


Adrien (middle) and the rest of her crew enjoyed a run in Annapolis on Thursday. Then she ran a solo half marathon on Saturday in a huge PB. Nice!

And we are happy to see TEN parkrunners earn HIGH FIVE badges this weekend: Ben Gieske, Monique Richards, Gwyneth McElhenny, Jenny Kent, Pam Marcus, Susan Keller, Mary Hicks, Diane Rosenberg, Graham Foster, and Nina Snowling.

This group also reflects the breadth of CPVp. Half are local, half are far away. Some are seasoned parkrunners, others are not.

Pam is Event Director at Kensington parkrun, and she may be the only person to ever direct two US parkrun events in a single day when she led both Kensington and College Park on New Years Day 2020. As New Years doubles have been abolished henceforth (boo!) this is a distinction that she’ll likely hold forever. We’re glad that she’s now regularly joining us outdoors on Saturday mornings.


One of the silver linings of normal parkruns being suspended is that we more often see folks who would normally be busy leading other local parkrun events on a Saturday.

By rights, Gwyneth should have earned her parkrun 10 shirt for junior parkrunners by now. Just two more once we return to “normal”, Gwyneth!


Gwyneth and Mariella decorating the trail

Mary (Illinois) and Diane (Iowa) are both relatives of local dignitaries and experienced parkrunners Patrick Wojahn and Duane Rosenberg. We’re thrilled that they now join us regularly. Jenny, Nina, and Graham are regular UK parkrunners who seem to very much get how we roll at CPVp.

We are really happy to hear from Ben (and Meghan) Gieske. They now live in South Bend, IN, but they were regular CP parkrunners during their time in Maryland. One of the things that we love about CPVp is that we get to hear from friends who have moved away from the area.

Almost a record

Duane Rosenberg’s nephew Brian Rosenberg made a run at the CPVp record this week, running in Mechanicsburg, PA (near Harrisburg).

Brian’s time of 16:49 came really close to the CPVp record of 16:44 set by Chris McGough just 3 weeks ago. We suspect that it’s only a matter of time before Brian reaches that time.

(Note that the overall male course record for CP parkrun is 14:57, set by Paul Marteletti in 2017. Paul recently was the first 40+ year old finisher in the London Marathon, with a time of 2h20, which amounts to 16:35 pace for 5K, eight times in succession. Wow.)

Virtual Volunteers

We are always thankful for our virtual volunteers. But even more so this week, with two busy events in the space of three days. Kudos to all of these folks:

Katie Hirsche: Strava results (Th, Sa)
Nick Huang: Facebook results (Th)
Tara Mease: results czar (always)
Colin Phillips: propaganda
Kath Phillips: quality control
Zoe Phillips: trail art
Anna Tinnemore: form results (Th, Sa)
Andrea Zukowski: email, photography

Huge thanks to Zoe for the artwork along the trail this week. And to Mike from Next Day Sign in College Park who turned everything around super fast so that we would have the signs in time for Thanksgiving. Thanks to Kath (Colin’s mum) who checks these reports every week. Since she appears in the results table this week for the first time, we get to add a nice little volunteer emoji next to her name.


Our previous Hump sign went missing, so the new one came right on time

We have four events coming up in December. Can you help? Drop us a line if you can, and we’ll be glad to sign you up for a fun volunteer role. These reports are among the larger of the weekly undertakings. Including finding and saving the great pictures that we receive each week.


Thank you to Andrea for photos that make us feel a little less isolated in 2020


We are thankful for our barkrunners, too. We see more of them at CPVp than we ever did at CP parkrun. They help to remind us that not everybody is thinking about the pandemic or the state of the nation all the time, and that there are always some things to feel good about, even in 2020.

Barkrunner Roo left a Thanksgiving message on the trail on Thursday.


That's a good thing to be thankful for

Barkrunner Pakora reached a milestone on Saturday, by taking part for the 10th time.


Pakora earned his 10-timer badge

It looks like barkrunner Sophie made the most of the warmer weather on Thursday to do a little swim-run duathlon.


Swim-run virtual duathlon for Sophie!

And many of our barkrunners were enjoying getting together with friends. No social distancing required.


Eli and Murphy enjoyed getting together for the holiday.


Belle and Tuffi enjoyed a walk together in Rehoboth Beach, DE

Looking Ahead

Thanksgiving 2020 has been like no other. The current wave of the pandemic is harsh. But we are also reaching a point where we can start looking forward to a return to “normal” in 2021, including the return of our in-person weekly events.

As in other parts of life, we are asking not only when current restrictions will lift, we are also asking what we want the new normal to look like.


By our calculations, CP Virtual parkrun #50 would take place on March 27th, if virtual events are still a thing at that point. That seems very likely. But we would be surprised if we are still parkrunning virtually in July 2021. Our current best guess would be for an April-June restart.

A restart will require covid-19 risks to have declined enough that Prince George’s County again allows events of 200+ to take place. It will also require parkrun Global to give the green light for a restart. For either of these there might be a lag of a few weeks between the decision to go ahead and permission to actually hold events. We are unsure how this will unfold.


Kristie is one of the parkrunners who has only ever known us in virtual mode. We look forward to welcoming her to a face-to-face event in a few months.

We miss seeing everybody in person. We look forward to the buzz of a crowd and the barks of impatient barkrunners as we wait for the start. We will be happy to be able to again use a barcode scanning system that allows us to complete the weekly results auto-magically by late morning on a Saturday, rather than sifting through different records late on a Saturday night.

But there are some things that we have been especially thankful for during the pandemic, which we hope to (somehow) not lose afterwards.

  1. Not hurrying. We have always said that “it’s not a race”, but in the pandemic that has become so obvious that we haven’t even needed to say it. We see more walkers, and more people just taking their time to get outside with family or friends. That is super valuable.
  2. Creativity. You have amazed us with your creativity, resourcefulness, imagination, observation in your virtual parkruns. It has been so wonderful to read and share your pictures and stories during the pandemic. We love that more parkrunners are sharing their stories and pictures.
  3. Small world. We have strengthened friendships around the state, country, and world during the pandemic. And we have enjoyed staying in touch with locals even when they’re on the road. It’s hard to imagine walking away from all this goodness.
  4. Quality time. A face-to-face parkrun is efficient. Most folks arrive and leave within the same hour. That’s good, but we have appreciated the slower pace of the pandemic. When folks show up at the park or for coffee at different times, there’s more time to enjoy some great conversations.
  5. Outdoor dining. To be clear, we *love* our spacious, welcoming, creative hangout spot at The Board and Brew. But the outdoor hangouts have been a nice surprise. Sitting by the stream is pleasant. We have a choice of menus. Mingling is easier. And it’s definitely good for the barkrunners.
  6. Barkrunners. Speaking of barkrunners, we have enjoyed their greater visibility in the virtual parkruns. We figured it might be fun to include them in the results, expecting that it might just go for a few weeks. But they have played a much bigger role than that. They have kept us motivated, inspired, balanced, and entertained.

We’re sure that there are more things that belong on this list. Let’s make it a “things that we want to hold onto” list, rather than a “things that we will miss” list.


Silver lining: friends far away that we can check in with every week. Looks like it was unseasonably warm in Michigan this week for Emma and Tim.


Silver lining: we love seeing Lisa at the parkrun turnaround point. But enjoying a glass of mead at the midpoint of your CPVp is pretty nice, too. Ellen and Eli headed to Maryland Meadworks as part of Small Business Saturday.


Silver lining: coffee outside with friends is pretty nice. Our regular hangouts were closed for Thanksgiving, so we checked out the super cool outdoor hangout area next to The Hall CP, plus coffee and snacks from Bagels 'n Grinds. It was a hit!


Silver lining: barkrunners! This week we were happy to see Lizzie at the Paint Branch Trail


Silver lining: regular parkrunners can take part wherever they are. This is the view of Cindy Cohen's route in Idaho this week.

For better or for worse, it will be a few months before we have to address these challenges, as we will be parkrunning virtually through the winter. For now, we can feel thankful that the past few months has helped us to see these benefits.

Until next time!

Your CPVp Team


Happy Thanksgiving, Jackie!


Malik celebrated one year since his first CP parkrun by running a CPVp PB. Nice!


View from Meridith Phillips' CPVp on Saturday, in Nag's Head, NC. Nice change of scene.


More change of scenery. Sisters Carly and Erin ran together (with Dan as paparazzo) around the monuments downtown on Thanksgiving morning.


Team Poremba continues their exploration of the parks of eastern Ohio. And we get to enjoy the tour virtually.


View from Sam Phipps' walk on Saturday at Riviera Beach, MD



See you next week!