Let it snow – soon (Virtual Report 42)

We don’t often get much snow in the DMV. And when it comes it often turns quickly to slush, and creates commuting nightmares or school closing confusion. But this weekend’s promise of the first honest-to-goodness snowfall in a couple of years brought clear excitement.

With most schools still closed and so many people working from home (or enjoying an easier commute while others work from home), we don’t face the normal travel worries. And it makes a nice change from focusing on a pandemic, the erosion of society, or the fact that a bunch of internet bros upended the financial markets this week.

Yes, a snow day is the innocent excitement that we can use right now!

The prospect of snow seemed to put many of you in an especially positive frame of mind this weekend. It was an unusually cold Saturday, but so many people told us, “You know, it really wasn’t so bad!” Many others were happy to get out for some exercise ahead of the snow. Others were looking forward with excitement to running or walking in the snow.

So read on for more of this week’s adventures. And also for news about coming attractions. Involving dinosaurs. And sled dogs. Have we got your attention yet?

FOR INFORMATION ON HOW CPVP WORKS SEE HERE

elizabeth-cooper-web

Elizabeth and Janel weren't going to let a little cold dampen their spirits

Facts and Figures

  • 169 virtual parkrunners
  • 750 miles covered
  • 1 first-timer
  • 1 new HIGH FIVE badge earned
  • 2 new TEN TIMER TURTLE badges earned
  • 3 new 25-TIMER badges earned
  • 9 barkrunners
  • 7 virtual volunteers

Stat(s) of the week: In January we have had SIX opportunities to do a CP Virtual parkrun. And a LOT of you made the most of those opportunities.

6-timers: 84
5-timers: 32
4-timers: 24
3-timers: 39
2-timers: 46
1-timers: 87

Altogether this amounted to 1,061 activities by 312 people, covering 7,000 km. That’s the first month ever that we have seen 1,000+ participants at CP parkrun. Great work, everybody!

Let’s do a reset, and see how many people (and pups) can get active on the 4 Saturdays in February.

RESULTS TABLE FOR CPVP 42

malik-al-jame-web

Malik is one of 83 who completed all 6 CPVps in January

Family Time

One of the ways that we collect your activities each week is via our online results form. The URL is easy to remember. https://bit.ly/cpvirtualparkrunresultsform Typically about 20-25% of weekly activities reach us via this route. When we checked the form mid-morning this week, we were surprised to see that it was almost all Rosenbergs! Spread across Maryland, Iowa, Pennsylvania, and Colorado, Team Rosenberg is irrepressible.

rosenbergs-web

Early birds

And although we don’t include wheeled activities in our weekly results, here’s a shout out to another Team Rosenberg member, Diane David (Duane’s sister), who this Saturday completed her first 100-mile bike ride in South Florida.

As usual, we were happy to see so many families getting active together in CPVp.

Some families were getting moving with young children. We were happy to see Ben and Katie Kaczmarski pushing a double stroller along the Paint Branch Trail. We were even happier to see that at the end the stroller was lighter, as one of the kids wanted to hop out and run with mom to the finish line.

kaczmarskis-web

Great to see Team Kaczmarski on the trail this week

Team Schneider was out early on the trails of Hyattsville, and it looks like young James is getting to be a proficient parktoddler.

erin-schneider-web

Samantha and Mary Clare supervise James' parktoddling

Luther Lemon went out for a run in Washington DC with his son. Impressive to see him running a 75-minute 10-miler while pushing a stroller.

Other families were getting active together while apart.

Diana Gough and her sister Shelley got out in different parts of Maryland. (Diana combined it with a bagel run.)

diana-shelley-gough-web

You might even think these two were related

Emma Keer and her dad Tim continue to have fun with the City Strides app, which tracks your progress as you cover every single street in your town. That’s how a route like this one gets to be somehow “fun”.

emma-keer-web

Interesting route choice - Tour de Ann Arbor

And sisters Adrien Harrison and Meridith Phillips were getting moving in Maryland and North Carolina. Meridith and husband Matthew were collecting treasures along the beach in Nag’s Head. Meanwhile, their aunt Mickey Langan was getting in a 5-mile walk in Central Florida.

meridith-phillips-web

Treasures from the beach in Nags Head, NC

The longest distance family ties this week were a close call. Robin Phillips made up a transatlantic Phillips-Zukowski team. Robin was running on his treadmill in Bristol, UK, wrapping up the last day of his COVID quarantine. But they were edged out by Louise Godley and her mum Marilyn Langley. Louise was a little further west than the P-Z clan, finishing up the RED January Challenge for mental health awareness in Takoma Park, MD. And Marilyn was about 150 miles further east than Robin, taking a walk near home in Chelmsford, UK.

Got more family members that can join you in future weeks? We’d love to hear from them.

Hunkering Down

Yes, we have had a bit of a “donut thing” going on in these reports recently. (And if you’ve been following along, Jen Matis ran 8.55 miles this week, her longest ever. Go Jen!)

But this week’s CPVp Facebook thread generated the most excitement about a rather attractive looking loaf of banana bread, which “magically appeared” in Trace Huard’s oven. Perfect comfort food for a snowy weekend.

trace-huard-web

Yum!

Meanwhile, Neha Joshi was celebrating her first time back to running after hurting her ankle, and she was making serious snow prep, involving hot chocolate and cat therapy. We approve!

neha-joshi-web

Snow day companions

Local Legends

Colin Phillips was feeling a bit dejected after an encouraging run turned into a re-injury at the mid point of the CPp course, and so he had to walk back to the park.

But after uploading his activity to Strava, he was surprised to get the following message. Seems reasonable.

colin-phillips-strava-web

… but then on Sunday morning Strava greeted him with another message. Stewart Mayhew had gone out and wrested the title. That’s actually great news, as Stewart is now able to run again, sans sling, for the first time since his fall on the ice in December. And he’s already talking about fall marathon plans.

local-legend-web

stewart-mayhew-web

He's baaack!

Milestones and More

We weren’t too surprised to see just one first-timer this week. But we were really happy to see who it was. One year ago perennial speedster Sam Phipps was celebrating a speedy 16:55 PB. This weekend he instead did his parkrun by taking a walk with his grandma in Annapolis. Welcome to Sam’s gran! Sam also stopped by the social-but-distanced coffee meetup this week, so it was great to see him for the first time in months.

sam-phipps-web

Great to see Sam at the coffee meetup this week

Cat Woodard was this week’s one new 5-timer. Or maybe there were two. She commented that her baby bump was announcing itself, so she backed off a little. How exciting, Cat! We see more parkstrollers and parktoddlers in the future!

TWO people earned their 10-timer turtle badges this weekend. Andrea Solan did this by completing her 6th CPVp of 2021 already, run-walking on the Trolley Trail in Ellicott City. Awesome! Uli Sauerland came out to run with his wife Kazuko Yatsushiro in the snow in Berlin. This was after Kazuko had already done a 5K walk in the snow with daughter Mika. Between Kazuko, Mika, and Uli they have completed 11 CPVps in 2021 already.

kazuko-yatsushiro-web

That's not Kazuko, or any of her family members. But it was seen on their run in Berlin

THREE earned their 25-timer cake badge this week: Dottie Jograj, Danny Walker, and Dave Menusan.

We got to know Dottie via her son Neil and daughter-in-law Julie. Dottie is an ever positive Jamaican woman who quickly got to know many others in our community. Neil and Julie recently decamped to Georgia, but we’re not surrendering Dottie so easily, and we can’t wait to again welcome her to Acredale Park on a Saturday morning.

Dave Menusan is part of the North Carolina wing of CPVp, where he regularly runs with CPVp regulars Steve and Cindy Feld. This week they ran and walked on the American Tobacco Trail, a 22-mile multi-use trail that passes through Cary, NC. The ATT is a part of the East Coast Greenway, a 3000 mile route aimed at bikes and pedestrians that extends from Florida to Maine. As it happens, the ECG also passes through College Park, via the Northeast Branch Trail and Lake Anacostia. (... this is giving us ideas for a future distance challenge).

Meanwhile, there are now 48 of you who have completed at least 40 CPVps. We’re counting down the weeks until we can start recognizing 50-timers. We’re hatching special plans for that.

Most of us are happy to just get moving at this time of year. But some of you are out there setting PBs.

10-year old Peter Rosenberg set another PB this week in Mechanicsburg, PA. It looks like he sprinted ahead of mom Jessica this week. With the running genes that Peter has inherited, we suspect that we’ll be hearing about more PBs in the not too distant future.

We were super happy this week to see that Jackie Hayes went and ran her fastest 5K ever, beating her best parkrun time from over a year ago. Jackie has a sub-30 clocking in her sights, and this year may be the year!

Virtual Volunteers

Thanks as ever to our team of virtual volunteers, who keep the community humming each week. On deck this week were:

Katie Hirsche: results (Strava)
Tara Mease: results czar
Colin Phillips: results, report, and propaganda
Carly Maas: results (Facebook)
Heather Sisan: photo management
Anna Tinnemore: results (form)
Andrea Zukowski: email and photos

Welcome this week to first-time results team member Carly Maas. It’s hard to believe that we first met Carly only in September, when she moved to College Park to start grad school. Now she’s joined us for 24 CPVps, and we’ve also got to know her family back in Greensboro, NC. We’re so glad that Carly sent us that Facebook message last August, asking about places to run in the area.

As always, we’re looking for new volunteers who can help out in the coming weeks. Read on below for an opportunity for something a little bit different a couple of weeks from now. Drop us a line at collegepark@parkrun.com if you can help.

carly-maas-web

Thanks for volunteering, Carly!

Barkrunners

Cold weather? No problem for our barkrunners! Snow? Even better!

teresa-perdomo-web

Teresa Perdomo completed 100 miles in January on the treadmill. With her fan club watching admiringly.

shackleton-web

Shackleton leads the way

scruffi-web

Tuffi and Scruffi are ready for their weekly 5K (they get to do 1, Gloria gets to do both)

pratyush-tiwary-web

Pakora is turning into quite the running dog. Pratyush is pretty happy about that.

eli-web

Eli found this Testudo at Riversdale Mansion. Looks like it needs a bit of a paint job.

heron-web

New piece of trail art for Eli to check out some week. Anybody know the story behind this heron on the new connector trail?

Looking Back

This week’s snow got us thinking back to the times when we’ve had snow days at CP parkrun in the past. One benefit of having a well organized set of photo albums is that it’s easy enough for us to jog our memories.

As far as we can recall, we have only ever needed to cancel twice for snow and ice. Oddly, both of those days were the same weekend in mid-December. Both times there was little snow, but the trail was too slippery to be safe. By December 2017 there were 3 other parkrun events in the DMV to choose from, and so some CP parkrunners were able to quickly change plans and head to other local events that had safer trails.

rooseveltisland_20171216_colinteddy-web

December 2017. CP parkrun had to cancel. So Colin and Andrea enjoyed a run around Roosevelt Island instead. It's a fantastic place to run in the snow.

The biggest snow that we ever saw was in January 2016, when we were just getting started. It was our second informal meetup when the Snowzilla storm hit. We had not yet settled on the Paint Branch Trail as our forever home, and the trail was inaccessible anyway. So we met up to run the streets of University Park instead.

snowzilla-web

Snowzilla parkrun, January 2016. Diana, Nick, and Lara all joined us this weekend, though Nick is now in Connecticut and Lara is in Germany.

They weren’t our biggest snowfalls, but our coldest ever snow days were at the start of 2018, when our New Year’s event saw temperatures in the teens and the following week we had temperatures in the single digits. (For those of you outside the US who are used to more sensible celsius scales, that translates to “just don’t ask”. For those of you in Michigan or other northern states it translates to “normal winter day”.)

clark-ridge-snow-web

January 2018. Despite temps in the single digits, Clark Ridge still wore shorts.

joan-heffernan-web

That was THIS week in Connecticut. Joan still got it done. And she did some chalking too.

We had a couple of days (March 2017, January 2019) when we almost had to cancel, due to some sections of trail that remained snow covered, including the bridges. On both of those occasions some Friday night shoveling by CPp volunteers ensured that we were able to go ahead.

clark-ridge-web

January 2019. Clark and Andrea shoveling the bridges.

shoveling-web

March 2017. Clearing a path through the icy snow.

(Fun fact: this is how we also discovered that the bridge under Route 193 is high enough for a minivan to drive through. We had parked our van by Hump’s Crossing to go prepare the trail. Then we were caught unawares when the gates were locked at dusk. The only way to get out was to try to drive down the trail to Acredale Park in the dark. Exciting!)

And one of our favorite snow days was this weekend two years ago when we were able to run and walk on a carpet of freshly fallen snow. That was the same day when the Ridge family pulled off the feat of reaching 4 parkrun milestones on the same day: 100 (Clark), 50 (Violet), 10 (Calvin), and 25-time volunteer (Clark). Lilly and Felix were there, too, and they all shared a wonderful cake with us. Wonderful memories!

violet-ridge-web

ridge-cake-web

This weekend in 2019. Frozen cake!

Looking Ahead

There’s no real news this week about plans for parkrun event re-openings or for restrictions on outdoor gatherings in Maryland to be changed. Basically, schools need to open first. Then we can start thinking more about fun outdoor gatherings.

We do see encouraging signs that point towards a return to normal. COVID hospitalizations are down around 25% relative to the early January peak (Maryland COVID dashboard). New infections are down by around a third. But this puts us back where we were around Thanksgiving. There’s still a way to go to get back to where things stood in early Fall.

On Friday there was a small step towards reopening of indoor dining in Prince George’s County. Our friends at The Board and Brew are now able to open at 25% capacity. They have a big space, and are able to spread people out. This is good news for their business, and we know that they have been super vigilant about COVID management in their team. Owner Ben Epstein told us that he’s optimistic. This time it feels like it could be the final push. We hope that’s true.

chalking-web

Vaccination rates are up in Maryland. Last week the state gave 150,000 shots, up from 117,000 the previous week. That’s a move in the right direction. But it’s not fast enough. The state needs to deliver around 10,000,000 shots in total. With around 500,000 already delivered, a rate of 150,000/week will get the job done 63 weeks from now, i.e., in April 2022. Clearly, there’s a need to accelerate further. One encouraging sign is that the federal government hopes to have secured 600 million doses of the two currently approved vaccines by the end of summer. If that happens, and if the doses are delivered, then things will be a lot better later in the year.

This all depends, though, on the impact of new and more contagious variants of the virus. Worryingly, a case of the South African variant was detected in Baltimore this weekend.

Special events!

With little prospect of imminent changes in our regular meetups, we’re focusing on steps that can help us to stay active through the winter. Mostly it’s your simple acts of getting out and encouraging others that makes all the difference. But we have a couple of fun challenges that we’re looking forward to.

Dinosaur hunt! We were excited to learn about the College Park Dinos event on February 13-14. It’s a great way to encourage folks to get moving around College Park in a family friendly way that also highlights local businesses.

This fits so well with what we have been doing throughout the pandemic that we would love to be a part of this event, and to incorporate the Dino Hunt into CPVp on Saturday 2/13. So we would LOVE to hear from you if you can help with things like dino chalking or signage on local trails. Or if you have other dino related skills or knowledge. The organizers are also keen to draw more visitors to North College Park, so that the whole city is represented. Proteus Bicycles and POSH fitness studio are already involved. If you know of other organizations from Berwyn northwards who might be interested in participating, do let us know.

renton-trex-web

Renton parkrun in Seattle, Halloween 2018. We don't expect to see any dinosaurs running the trails in College Park on February 13th. But you never know!

Virtual Iditarod! We enjoyed the distance challenges that we organized as part of CPVp last summer, and would like to try some more. We’re looking forward to trying a virtual Iditarod challenge as part of our CPVp on March 6th, to coincide with the start of the real Iditarod sled dog race in Alaska. Of course, this one is especially interesting for our barkrunners, who will get top billing. The real Iditarod is around 970 miles long, so that will be a serious challenge for a single day total. We have covered 900+ miles only 4 times since the start of CPVp last May.

pakora-web

Pakora is clearly training for the Virtual Iditarod

If you have more ideas for things that will help to keep us all moving, we’d love to hear from you.

Until next time!

Your CPVp Team

pgrc-web

All smiles among the PGRC crew on Saturday mornings

david-lai-web

As if running a long way isn't enough, David Lai's crew was also dragging tires this week!

elmer-hernandez-web

Elmer Hernandez was one of the first on the trail this Saturday

gail-sockwell-thompson-web

Looking good, Dave and Gail

paul-wester-web

See you next week!