Come Rain or Shine (Virtual Report 37-38)

With New Year’s Day falling on a Friday this year, we held two CP Virtual parkruns on consecutive days. So this is a report on both of them.

The last time that we held events on consecutive days was at the end of 2016. A lot has changed since then. Christmas Eve 2016 saw our smallest ever field, with just 24 joining us on a soggy morning in College Park. New Year’s Day 2017 was mild and dry and more than four times as many joined us. Big fluctuations were the norm.

Not so as we start 2021. January 1st was soggy and grey. January 2nd was glorious. You definitely noticed. But it didn’t make a whole lot of difference to how many got outside and got moving for CPVp #37 and #38. Why so? Partly because we’re not all in the same place these days, so somebody’s sure to have good weather. But mostly because at this point in the pandemic, we’re appreciating our outdoor time more than ever and are just getting out and getting it done, whatever the weather.

With close to 200 taking part both days, you shared a lot of good things with us this week. So let’s do this!



Andrea Solan was getting it done in very different weather on Friday and Saturday 

Facts and Figures

  • 367 virtual parkrunners (187 + 180)
  • 1350 miles covered (650 + 700)
  • 36 first-timers
  • 6 new HIGH FIVE badges earned
  • 7 new TEN TIMER TURTLE badges earned
  • 5 new 25-TIMER badges earned
  • 33 barkrunners (16 + 17)
  • 12 virtual volunteers (6 + 6)

Stat(s) of the week: Just as we were putting the finishing touches on this week’s results tables, we heard from Clark Ridge, who encouraged as many family members as possible to share their activities for our New Years Virtual parkrun. A total of 17 family members joined in all, covering around 30 miles in 4 states (MD, DE, FL, UT).

Clark said: “That was fun and gave another great excuse to catch up with my siblings.” He added that there are many more Ridges out there. “I hope to encourage all 34 of us to participate somehow this year.”

So, surely Team Ridge had more participants than any other family this week? Well, on New Year’s Day it was no contest. But if we combine across the two days, it was a dead heat with Team Rosenberg, who had 8 humans and 1 barkrunner both days, for a total of 18, in five different states.




The Berwyn Heights division of Team Ridge. 17 virtual parkrunners on January 1st.

Happy New Year

We start with this picture from parkrun Deutschland, the folks who coordinate events throughout Germany. This week they wanted to wish everybody a happy new year. So they reached for a picture that exemplifies happiness. And chose this picture of Kim Nickens ringing the PB bell at College Park parkrun. We agree. It makes us feel happy too!



And a bonus - more of Kim's infectious smile. In a New Year's campaign sent to millions of parkrunners in the UK.

Rain or Shine

We were treated to a beautiful Saturday in the DMV. One of those days when it feels just wrong to be stuck inside. We loved seeing your pictures and stories. But it was even more encouraging to hear from all of you who were getting out there and having fun in the less-than-perfect conditions on Friday.

We had lots of pictures of soggy parkrunners in the rain. In multiple states.


Michael and Dinah Cohen were well equipped for the rain


Andrea and Brian Maas found the rain in North Carolina, too


More wet for New Year's Day in Ann Arbor, MI. Tricia and Matthew Jones were among the many Lillie parkrunners who did 10K on Friday to claim a NYD "double virtual parkrun".


Looks like Jackie and Kayla managed to get out ahead of the downpour in DC

In South Bend, IN Megan and Ben Gieske managed to sneak out on Saturday during the brief window when the sheets of ice had melted.

Mary and Amy Hicks had a backdrop of ice on the Rock River in Rockford, IL.


Ice on the Rock River for Mary and Amy Hicks in Rockford, IL

The winter weather was more appealing in northern Idaho, where Cindy Cohen combined treadmill running with a spot of cross-country skiing. (Yes, we have a policy on this. Cross-country skiing and snowshoeing count for CPVp. But we want pictures! Or videos! Did you know that competitive snowshoe racing is A Thing? They’re fast!).


Meanwhile, Janet Grudzien John did her CPVp heading to and from a water aerobics session. That may sound like something for people who find a Polar Bear Plunge on NYD too easy. But Janet is in Hawaii, so this sounds quite lovely thank you.


Ok, we admit that we're just a little jealous

(Incidentally, we thought that virtual parkrunners are creative. But the Maryland Special Olympics is holding a “virtual polar bear plunge” right now, and the alternate PBPs that they show on their website are hilarious.)

Janet wasn’t the only one playing in the water. Meridith Phillips interrupted her CPVp along the beach in Nags Head, NC to watch dolphins dancing in the waves just a few yards from the shore.



Folks who headed out close to dusk on Saturday were treated to a spectacular sunset.


Many of you made the most of the holiday long weekend to enjoy wonderful parks and trails close to home.


#firstdayhike in Merkle Wildlife Refuge


Külli visited Big Pool on the C&O Canal

Urban Adventures

There are cool things to see in town, too.

David Lai and Malik Al-Jame combined their CPVp with DC Mayor Muriel Bowser’s annual Fresh Start 5K, running along the Metropolitan Branch Trail. (Malik was excited to run his first non-solo 5K time trial since before the pandemic. David pulled him to a PB, and to our fastest CPVp of New Year’s Day.)


Metropolitan Branch Trail for the FitDC Fresh Start 5K

Fun fact: back in 2017 when we held our first New Year’s parkrun in College Park, we started the day with the mayor’s Fresh Start 5K, which that year was held at Hain’s Point. It was fun to see how the equipment for the first event required a convoy of trucks, while our equipment for the second event fit into a few bags in the trunk of our minivan. (Not counting the cake, which was carefully guarded up front.)


Fresh Start 5K in 2017. Andrea warms up with parkrun tourist Norm Driskell from London, ahead of the first College Park NYD parkrun

Stefano Gazzano enjoyed a run around his home town of Civitavecchia, near Rome, Italy. Normally this port town would be buzzing, but Italy has imposed tight lockdown restrictions over the holidays, so it was more of a ghost town.


Hannah Russell took in some history for her New Year’s CPVp, enjoying a virtual tour of embassies along Massachusetts Avenue in Washington DC.


And every day is a school day for barkrunner Eli, who discovered a sign along the Trolley Trail in College Park about Reed Whittemore, a poet Laureate of the United States who made College Park his home, and who apparently was the college mentor of Garrison Keillor. We had no idea!


College Park's literary history

Coming of Age

A special welcome this week to young Nick Gerbig, who is barely one month old, and got outside in the stroller with mom Jessica for his first CP Virtual parkrun. Kudos to Jessica for getting moving again, and thanks also for keeping the fire burning for trying to start a (post-pandemic) sister event in Anne Arundel County.


Welcome Nick!

A little older, but also deserving of special kudos is Danny Walker, who ran the Paint Branch Trail for his CPVp on January 1st, which also happened to be his 50th birthday. Danny is a regular parkrunner and a regular volunteer. If it wasn’t for the pandemic, he would have easily earned his red 50 shirt and a purple V25 shirt by now. Danny even spent a few weeks as Hump’s stunt double during 2019, when Hump was sidelined. Danny even arranged the beard and the red truck, for authenticity.


Happy 50th birthday, Danny!


Milestones and More

Between Friday and Saturday we had many milestones to celebrate. (Really, we’re happy to see these when we pick through the results spreadsheets.)

FIVE people earned a cake badge for their 25th CPVp, taking us to a total of 107 25-timers: Nick Huang, Anna Weber, Dagny S., Gail S-T, Judy Mason.

Nick was part of the founding team of College Park parkrun back in 2016. It has been great that the virtual events have allowed him to join us regularly from his current home in Connecticut, often also as a volunteer.

Anna was part of a group of Roosevelt Island parkrunners who enjoyed a socially distanced stroll around the island and an outdoor coffee in Rosslyn. They’re looking to make this a first Saturday of the month thing. If you haven’t visited Roosevelt Island, it’s a great place to do your CPVp some time.



Judy is an Aussie who is one of the stalwarts of Kensington parkrun. We’re delighted that she has been able to ‘join’ us regularly since the early summer.

Dagny is making a comeback after recovering from all the miles he did leading up to his fall (virtual) marathon. And Gail can be found somewhere along the local trails every Saturday morning, generally leading a posse of smiling friends from Prince George’s Running Club.

SEVEN earned 10-timer turtle badges: Diana Claros, Gifford (barkrunner), Mary Hicks, Dustyn Kujawa, Maia Swisdak, Diane Rosenberg, and Violet Ridge.

Mary is Patrick Wojahn’s aunt, and joins us regularly from Illinois. Diane is Duane Rosenberg’s sister-in-law, and joins us regularly from Iowa. Gifford gets dragged out by his human, Dan Owen, who is event-director at Fletcher’s Cove parkrun. Diana only had one opportunity to do CP parkrun before the pandemic, but we hope she’ll be able to join us in person again once that’s possible. Dustyn is no longer on the College Park City Council, but we were appreciating her and other local officials on Saturday when the “water features” on the Paint Branch Trail led many to explore the new College Park Woods connector trail to make up extra distance.

We’re really happy to see Violet and Maia do their 10th CPVps, both as part of family adventures. But honestly, Violet and Maia are from a group that we’re failing to serve well during the pandemic. Violet has done 73 parkruns, and right before the pandemic she turned 11, earning the right to run with any of her CP parkrun friends, instead of needing a parental chaperone. Maia was a regular walker/runner and volunteer and earned her 50 shirt one year ago. We loved seeing them and cheering for them most weeks on the trail. We look forward to being back in a format where we can support these young folks better than we do now.

Another SIX earned 5-timer high five badges: Rose (barkrunner), Jenna David, Andrea Solan, Sarah Puro, Marilyn Langley, Nathan (barkrunner).

Jenna and Rose are part of the big Team Rosenberg crew, who between them accounted for 18 CPVps between Friday and Saturday.

Kudos to Marilyn, Louise Godley’s mum, for keeping walking in the face of a troublesome knee and a surging virus in Chelmsford, UK. Last year Louise was back visiting for the holidays, and she was part of a field of 1,000 for the NYD edition of Chelmsford Central parkrun. Hopefully next year again. But for this year it was good that Marilyn and Louise (and Anne) could all take part virtually.


Hopefully Louise and Anne can make it to England for the holidays next year

And over the two events we welcomed a total of THIRTY SIX first-time CP virtual parkrunners.

Tricia Jones, Lynn Boven, Matthew Jones, Sara Woodward, Robert Slack, Roscoe (barkrunner), Dinah Cohen, Michael Cohen, Charlie (barkrunner), Marie Reske Hamlin, Lucy (barkrunner), Paul Horrocks, Rajiv Kumar, Vanessa Clarke, Scott Maxwell, Susan Gunn, Joy Kind, Patrick Sheridan, Persis Thorndike, Persis' pup (barkrunner), Cooper (barkrunner), Claire Alolga, Suzanne Alolga, Curtis (w/ Janel), Grant (w/ Janel), Kelly (w/ Janel), Teri Ramsey, Roxie (barkrunner), Andrew Ahn, Judy Reynolds, Andrew Ridge, Sarah Ridge, Ben Ridge, Josh Ridge, Julianna Moyes, Jeff Moyes.


Welcome first-time virtual parkrunner Susan Gunn!

Virtual Volunteers

We couldn’t be sharing all this if it wasn’t for the support of our virtual volunteers. Since Thanksgiving weekend we’ve now held 8 virtual events in 37 days with nearly 1500 activities submitted, reported, and illustrated. It’s fun, but it takes some keeping up with.

Thanks to this week’s crew. A shout out to Judy Barnes, who joined the results processing crew for the first time and was *great* at ensuring all names were spelled correctly, and noting possible alternate spellings that might elude Tara’s spreadsheet wizardry.

Judy Barnes: results (Facebook, Friday)
Katie Hirsche: results (Strava, x2)
Nck Huang: results (Facebook, Saturday)
Tara Mease: results czar x2
Colin Phillips: propagandist and data analyst
Anna Tinnemore: results (form, x2)
Andrea Zukowski: email, photography

Can you help out with CPVp in the coming weeks? In addition to the roles above, it can be very useful to have photo collectors and online cheerleaders. Drop us a line at if you can help.


Thanks to Anna for being part of the regular CPVp volunteer crew


One important constituency that was extra happy about the back-to-back CPVps was our barkrunners. With 16 on Friday and 17 on Saturday, we were spoiled for choice on puppy pictures.

Sophie got to enjoy a run off leash through the woods in Lancaster, VA. (We’re curious how this picture was taken.)


Off leash - perfect!

Eli got to visit with friends at the Discovery District Park on Saturday. He made no secret of how happy he was to see everybody.


Pleased to meet you!

Belle, Tuffi, and Scruffi enjoyed the seabreeze in their fur in Rehoboth Beach, DE. And Tuffi also got to run the Paint Branch Trail on Friday.


Shackleton was a little down the coast in Bethany Beach, DE, where he felt the call of the waves.


Shackleton wanted to swim

In Michigan Cooper enjoyed a run in the snow with his parkrun friends. Cooper’s human Lynn Boven is co-Event Director at Livonia parkrun, and he was the first person in the US to earn a 250 shirt. Cooper was there for most of those runs.


Cooper would blend right into to the snow without that green jacket

Pakora got to do a little swimming in Rock Creek. Somehow Pratyush and Megan were not persuaded to join him.


Pakora did get to go for a swim

And we got to meet this lovely barkrunner enjoying the Paint Branch Trail, with Ada Lee and Christina Ferguson. Sorry, we didn’t catch the name, but we sure hope to meet again.



Lizzie was out with her regular posse


Virtual barkrun tourism is a thing. Charlie admiring the boardwalk in Lillie Park, Ann Arbor

Looking Ahead

New Years is when we like to make goals. Things that we’d like to do better, or differently in the coming year.

We generally focus on things that we can control. Like eating green vegetables or stretching more. But this is an odd year, because the change we most want is one that we have little control over. We want to be vaccinated, healthy, and living a more ‘normal’ life. We don’t want to feel guilty about meeting other humans.

We remain optimistic that we will be back to weekly in-person events this year. But as of right now we’re less optimistic that this will happen anytime soon. It wasn’t that long ago that we were wondering whether we’d reach 50 CPVps, but that’s no longer in doubt, as is our guess of a May-June return. The coming weeks will show whether the pace of vaccinations across the US picks up from its very slow start.


Lori is on track to be among the first crop of CPVp 50-timers

Maryland’s BEST day yet saw around 10,000 shots delivered. At that rate it would take 1,000 days to deliver the like 10 million doses that will need to cover around 80% of the state population. (At that rate, the Purple Line might even be open before we’re vaccinated!)

So the first half of 2021 will likely involve a lot of remote-everything, a lot more isolation, a lot more families dealing with remote learning, a lot more struggling businesses (especially with UMD less likely to get back to normal before the fall). And there will be a lot more people getting sick and/or losing loved ones.


Outdoor coffee at The Board and Brew. Support local businesses (and bring a blanket)

So it’s as important as ever that we keep supporting each other to be a little more active, a little less isolated.

We can do this by making it as easy and fun as possible to get moving and stay connected. All that you are sharing contributes to this. It doesn’t have to be inspiring or unusual. Simply getting outside, in whatever weather, and cracking a smile makes a difference. Offering any kind of encouragement to others makes a difference too, whether it’s through supporting a friend or family member, or offering online comments or kudos (e.g., via our Strava club). Or sharing smiles or chalk messages along the trail.

It also makes a difference when we show that it’s perfectly fine to go slow, or not very far, or to take a walk with your dog. It can be intimidating to join a group that has “-run” in the name. We wish that English had a good cover term for bipedal locomotion. We’ll celebrate with you if you meet a speed goal. But we’re just as happy if you’re a speedster who gets outside and takes your sweet time.


Scott Maxwell wondered whether his 5K was our slowest ever. The first 1.5 miles involved walking around his front yard removing Christmas decorations. Sorry, Scott. We think that distinction belongs to 102-year old James Wilson.

Our New Year’s Resolution for 2021 is to not lose sight of all the important things we learned during the pandemic once we’re able to go back to in-person events. Including all of the great people who we have met who are far from College Park but who are now very much a part of this community.

Here are some good things that we read or listened to recently. Thanks to the parkrunners who shared them with us.

Nurtured by Nature [Sadie Dingfelder, Washington Post, 12/28/20]. How the pandemic has intensified our connection to the outdoors. [h/t Rumi Matsuyama]

Creatures of habit [Shankar Vedantam, NPR’s Hidden Brain podcast, 12/30/19]. It’s about making things easy and fun, rather than depending on willpower. [h/t Becky Widman]

With each run, a city shaken by racism is finding the greater good [Anna Katherine Clemmons, New York Times, 12/27/20]. An inspiring story of a running club in Charlottesville, VA.[h/t Pete Monacelli]

She turned 2020 misery into a breakthrough [Lindsay Crouse, New York Times, 12/26/20]. 37-year old Sara Hall turned a rough start to the year into something special.

We have no specific special events planned for the coming weeks. But with 6 virtual parkruns in January, it’s a good opportunity to keep working towards those 25-timer or 50-timer badges.


Janel had out of town visitors. She wanted to show them the DC highlights. So of course they started off with CP Virtual parkrun.

A parting thought

Thank you for all of your lovely emails and other messages. We’ll end this New Year’s Resolution double report with a message we received from Heather Sisan, who always shares something interesting when she emails us about her virtual parkrun.

“What a soggy day for a run! I did my usual 4.5 miles on Beach Drive today. The rain picked up while I was out and I was completely soaked by the time I got back. But here's the magic thing about running that I've learned in the past year: it makes you feel better:

if you're sad
if you need a reset after a tough week
if you have a problem you need to think through
if you're anxious
if you're cold from sitting at a computer too long
if you're looking forward to something and need to make the time pass
if you're glum about the weather
if you're trying to stay fit in a pandemic
if you're just fine at the moment but want something to boost your spirits anyway

It really does fit the bill no matter what, and I'm always glad afterward that I did it. Here's wishing health and happy trails to all in 2021!”


Until next time!

Your CPVp Team


One of Saturday's "water features" on the Paint Branch Trail


Malik on his second 5K of the weekend


Jen did a Virtual Pop Tart 5K run on Saturday. That pop tart does not look virtual.


Snow and ice around the U of Michigan campus for Emma Keer's Saturday walk


We love these Maryland-themed gloves. You can get them at Franklin's Brewery and General Store in Hyattsville.


New Year's baby!


Bud was on the Paint Branch Trail Friday and Saturday mornings


See you next Saturday