From our Swamp Correspondent (Run Report #144)

July 6, 2019

PAINT BRANCH TRAIL, COLLEGE PARK—Undaunted by sweltering heat, a swashbuckling Australian pirate, and reptilian invaders, 105 brave runners and walkers completed College Park parkrun Saturday morning.

College Park parkrun is a free, timed 5K run/walk, staffed entirely by volunteers, held each Saturday morning at 9:00 at Acredale Community Park, 4200 Metzerott Rd., College Park, Maryland. The event is one of 35 similar events organized by parkrun USA, the US branch of a global parkrun organization that coordinates some 1900 weekly events worldwide.

The 144th installment since College Park parkrun’s October 2016 launch, this week’s event was held in swamp-like conditions, staffed by 16 dedicated volunteers under the direction of Run Director Yancira Amaya.

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The guest of honor was Mike McClellan, 82, of College Park, who completed his 50th parkrun, an accomplishment regarded as a major milestone in the parkrun community, and an impressive feat at any age. Sources report McClellan is only the second octogenarian to accomplish this milestone within parkrun USA. McClellan’s press secretary claims the fact that his 50th event occurred on Octogenarian Celebration day [https://blog.parkrun.com/uk/2019/05/20/octogenarian-celebration-day-2019/] was pure coincidence. McClellan’s accomplishment earned him a red milestone t-shirt and the opportunity to run in the ceremonial beauty pageant 50 sash.

 

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Mike McClellan being congratulated on his 50th parkrun by our two mayors -- soon Mike will have a nice red 50 shirt like Duane and Patrick

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One local pundit, who declined to be named, suggested “the sash would look better on Bonnie,” presumably a reference to Bonnie McClellan, 79, who completed her 38th parkrun this week.

 

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The event also attracts a loyal crew of volunteers, such as Win Persina of Washington DC. Frequently seen in parkrun’s iconic yellow vest—when not staying up all night at a chess tournament—Win’s stint as timekeeper this week marked her 25th occasion as volunteer. This milestone earned Ms. Persina a coveted purple milestone t-shirt and the opportunity to wear the ceremonial purple superhero cape.

 

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McClellan and Persina are just two of many parkrun regulars who ran, walked, or volunteered at this week’s event. McClellan was one of twenty participants in this week’s event who have crossed the parkrun finish line 50 times or more, some of them over 100 times. College Park regular John Ramsey ran for his 100th time in College Park this week.

Also this week College Park parkrun regulars celebrated the reappearance of Susan H. A resident of Vancouver, Susan was in the area last summer and ran College Park parkrun each week with a friend. Sources say Susan is back in town for a spell, and may be running for the next month or so in College Park.

 

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Participants Sophie Oriani, Kim Nickens, Richard De Angelis, and Rebekah Esmaili each completed their fifth event this week. Apparently 5K in oppressive heat and humidity is not sufficiently challenging for Ms. Oriani, who brought along a few friends for a ride.

 

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Event co-director Andrea Zukowski made newcomers feel welcome and instructed them in the finer points of parkrun etiquette.

 

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This week’s newcomers came from far and near. First timers, Jorge, Jessica, and Sofia Martinez came all the way from Albuquerque, New Mexico. Formerly locals to this area, sources say they are considering moving back.

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First timer Zebi Brown, a graduate student at nearby University of Maryland, claims she intends to use parkrun as cross training for her newfound passion, Roller Derby. Others are betting before long she will be thinking of Roller Derby as cross training for parkrun.  One of this week’s volunteers reported thinking that Zebi was already part of the parkrun family, remarking that “Zebi rings a bell.”

 

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First timer Rick Cruz is another local. Intending for some time to try the parkrun, he finally made it out this week. Had he made it earlier, the weather might have been more inviting. Volunteers report that Rick admitted having a fun time despite the humidity.

 

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Veteran parkrunner Andrea Block has attended College Park parkrun every week without fail since June 29, 2019.  Today she was accompanied by a friend this roving reporter vaguely remembers might be named John. Editor’s note: In order to get a time, you must register in advance and remember to bring a printout of your barcode.

 

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College Park parkrun also wishes to extend a warm welcome to first-timers Folami Ford and Greestian Roque, hoping many happy returns.

Mark Henderson, first-timer at College Park, is no stranger to parkrun. Registered at Coburn parkrun in Melbourne, Australia, Henderson has shown a penchant for tourism, having completed 149 parkruns in 78 different locations. Unnamed sources say with the completion of this week’s event, Henderson has “traveled the seven C’s” and earned the right to call himself a “parkrun pirate.”

 

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On the surface, the College Park parkrun community appears to operate a bit like a big happy community, all cooperation, no dissent in the ranks. But this correspondent has detected elements of rebellion. A case in point, contrary to DIRECT ORDERS from the event director and run director to “take it easy” in the heat, delivered in two languages at the opening briefing, no fewer than EIGHT returning participants set new “Personal Best” times this week. Sources say this rebellion may have been fueled in part by visitors from a neighboring parkrun.

Notwithstanding this evidence of latent rebellion in the ranks, in this reporter’s humble view, College Park parkrun shows all the signs of a vibrant, thriving, event.

 

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Erin Schneider, just a few weeks after giving birth, left the rest of the family behind her on the trail and enjoyed a (hot) run

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Jackie & Kayla Hayes enjoyed a run together

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If even Xander and Tara can stop for a walk on a hot day, you know it's a good idea! (They also scored a 'groundhog' this week, for finishing in the same time two weeks in a row.)

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When your regular parkrun buddy is busy being run director -- Teresa teamed up with Külli this week. Like many others, they sensibly took things slower than usual in the heat

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Team Schneider helped with the trail chalk

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Tailwalker Barbara enjoyed a walk on the trail with turnaround marshal Lisa

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48th parkrun for Scout and her human Ken. Do we have a barkrunner-sized sash?

 

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William Scott visited us from Anacostia parkrun. Welcome! We are impressed that he came to College Park by bike.

Finally, at last week’s event (June 29), a single turtle was spotted by the side of the trail. According to College Park parkrun’s resident naturalist, this week’s first timers included a box turtle and an eastern king snake. The word is out. If parkrun continues to grow in popularity in reptilian circles it has in this community, Paint Branch Trail may soon be overrun.

-S. Mayhew (reporter at large)

 

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A 12-year Unbroken Streak (Run Report #143)

Stewart here. Thanks so much, Andrea, for inviting me to help out as run director this week. What a great opportunity to contribute to an amazing community of volunteers, walkers, and runners! Colin asked me to share my experience with running and volunteering at parkrun since I first connected with parkrun last November, and also to mention a few things I like about parkrun. So here goes! If you just want to know about CP parkrun event 143, please skip the next few paragraphs and move right on to the pictures.

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By way of background, I was never into running. I had been very inactive for several decades (!) with no kind of fitness activities in my life beyond an extremely rare bike ride or short hike. Last year, six weeks ahead of my 51st birthday, I finally bit the bullet and started functional strength training to avoid further deterioration. Shortly after that, at the suggestion of my trainer Caitlin, I downloaded the C25K (Couch-to-5K) app to my phone, and started with week one, session one.

Thus came to an end my unbroken streak of over 12 years of consecutive days of not running. In C25K, you build up endurance by alternating walking and running, with the episodes of running getting gradually longer. In week one, the running goes for 60 seconds at a time. I was able to make it for 60 seconds, but was so relieved each time when the 60 seconds was up! Following the advice of my strength trainer, who is also a runner, I did the C25K program slower than designed, two sessions per week instead of the recommended three. But I stuck with it.

I ran my first 5K on Labor Day, 2018 in Boyds, Maryland. It was hot (91F), very humid, and the course had rolling hills. Finishing felt like a big accomplishment but it was hard! I stuck with the routine a bit longer and did another 5K in October 2018 (with runners dressed in Halloween costumes) and shaved nearly a minute off my time. Now running was starting to get fun, and began to feel really good. Finally! I looked online for other 5K runs to do and that is how I stumbled across parkrun. I live closer to the other parkrun locations in the DC area, but picked College Park in honor of my daughter, a UMD grad. My first parkrun was College Park #108, on November 10, 2018.

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I found parkrun right at the critical moment when my new interest in running was at an inflection point, and easily could have fizzled out. CP parkrun was the essential key that helped complete my transformation to a whole new way of life as a runner. Thanks to the great community that Andrea, Colin, and the group of wonderful volunteers and runners at CP parkrun has built up, it was not only easy to keep running, it became something to cherish. Now I have completed 26 parkruns across nine locations, and have also done a few races. On April 7, 2019, the one year anniversary of when I first got off the couch and began functional training, I did my first 10-miler at the Cherry Blossom race.

I first started volunteering at parkrun on weeks when I was tapering for a Sunday race, or else in roles that still allowed me to run, such as helping with results processing. Andrea suggested I should think about trying my hand as run director. A minor injury from the Baltimore 10-miler gave me a few weeks off from running, which I used to learn about at the other volunteer roles. Tailwalking was the best!

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TEN THINGS TO LOVE ABOUT COLLEGE PARK PARKRUN

1. Hump and Lisa, ultra-volunteers

Hump and Lisa volunteer EVERY WEEK as course marshals. It doesn’t feel quite like parkrun without giving Hump an energetic “thank you!” every week at the golf course at mile 0.3, posing for Lisa’s camera at the turnaround cone, then giving Hump another weary wave on the way back at 2.8 before the final kick to the finish.

Hump has been sick and hospitalized—we have missed him so much last week and this week. We got together for a group shot to send Hump our love and warmest wishes.

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2. The volunteers

I love that parkrun is run by volunteers, and that it works so well because people always step up to help! Thanks to a deep bench of fantastic volunteers, and in no small part thanks to Andrea’s tireless work as coordinator, it works *really well* at College Park.

Thanks so much to this week’s volunteers Danny, Lisa, Joel, Pete, Ellen, Anna, Jackie, Külli, Adrian, Victor, Lori, Colin, and Andrea.

A special shout out to Külli Crespin, who was awarded the “parkrunner of the month” award for June. When not setting a PB, Külli often volunteers as tailwalker. Today she accompanied first-timer Ric ... who also happens to be her husband. Many thanks to our friends at The Board and Brew for the gift card that comes with this award!

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Danny stood in for Hump as crossing marshal.

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Joel and Pete at the finish line.

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Thanks to Victor for coming from Woodbridge to help with photography.

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3. New Faces

If you enjoy meeting new people every week, come to parkrun. Andrea gave the first-timer’s briefing.

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Welcome to parkrun first-timers Christopher, Paolo, Sophia, Yohan, Sam, Andrea B., Nate, Kaythi, Ryan, and Ric. Nate and Kaythi were doing their first parkrun, but they had first found us a few weeks ago at the Trolley Trail Day run.

Welcome to CP first timers Michelle, Patrick, Adiam, Renee, Marilyn, and Erin.

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4. Milestones and shirts

Special Kudos to Sofia Veshi, who finished her 10th parkrun today and qualifies for the white junior milestone shirt!

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It is so inspiring to me to see parkrunners running in milestone shirts. By my count, our finishers today included 6 who have earned black shirts for completing 100 or more events, 14 others who have earned red shirts for 50 or more, and 6 who have earned purple shirts for volunteering at least 25 times!  A few more years and I expect to see a few of you sporting 250-shirts! (Gus Campbell and Lisa Wilson are two regulars who are more than halfway there already.)

A few unofficial milestones: Congratulations to Janet Tate who finished her 25th parkrun—halfway to a red shirt!

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Congratulations to Chris Laskowski and Kathleen Gustafson for completing 10 parkruns, and congratulations to Alyssa Hu, Felicia Widmann, Brad Blower, and Tom Charles for completing five events.

The apricot shirt is not a milestone shirt. Anyone who wants one can purchase online from this website. This helps to fund the milestone shirts, which are provided for free to runners and volunteers as they reach the milestones. The apricot shirt allows us to dress up in Halloween colors in June.

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5. Heroes

I am inspired by all the runners and walkers at College Park parkrun. You are my heroes!  To call out a few...

Our first finisher today was a man very close to my own age, and I find this incredibly inspiring. He finished ahead of the rest of the pack by more than two minutes, even after clocking his  slowest time at College Park since January (due to the heat, no doubt). Even more inspiring to me is everything else he does for parkrun, his tireless work every single week supporting and promoting CP parkrun, and so much other work he does behind the scenes for the parkrun USA community. Thank you Colin!

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Another one of my parkrun heroes is a bit younger. Xander the Great has finished 83 parkruns and has set seven PBs so far this year. He set a great example for us all with his fundraiser for Cystic Fibrosis. Xander, you are my hero!

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6. The course

After Hump’s crossing, you turn right into this tree-lined alley, my favorite spot on the course. Nice to have a bit of shade on a hot day.

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Today we had a special guest near this section of the course.  She did not bring her barcode so did not get a time...

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7. Cake

If someone is completing a milestone, there is always a chance someone might bring cake to celebrate. Who brings this cake? It could be anyone with initials from A to Z.

I’m not much of a baker, but this week the kind folks at Bread and Chocolate were happy to help. Yum!

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8. Visitors from exotic lands

It is always great to meet parkrunners from exotic parts of the world.  Such as Gloucestershire, UK. Adrian is our regular tourist at CP. Here he is with CP regular JJ Su.

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9. parkrunners

Almost forgot to mention, I also like the part where we run…  (or walk!)

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10. The Board and Brew

Thanks again to our good friends at The Board and Brew. My own regular order is sausage, egg, and swiss cheese on everything bagel.

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Taking it all in our stride (Run Reports #141-#142)

Now that we’ve done this over 140 times, College Park parkrun has a deep and experienced volunteer community -- this week saw the *300th* different person volunteer -- and so the week’s volunteer crew can take more or less anything in their stride. The past two weeks Andrea and I were on the road, and we totally were not needed, but here are just a couple of things that happened as you were enjoying your free, weekly 5K.

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On 6/15 the event started without the stopwatches, scanners, and tokens. No problem! Cool-as-a-cucumber Run Director Anna Tinnemore ensured that the volunteers had the new parkrun app ready to go, and dispatched somebody to go fetch the tokens. By the time the first finishers arrived you wouldn’t know anything had happened.

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On 6/22 one of the barcode scanner apps in use turned out to not be the correct app. So a few finishers were not scanned. No problem! Run Director Jim Parsons and finish-line photographer Rebecca White had pictures of who finished when. For some finishers who they couldn’t identify they reached out to me and Andrea for help. That’s how I found myself stopped by the roadside in a windswept mountain pass in Iceland, naming parkrunners in pictures that Andrea was waving at me on her phone.

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On 6/22 we were missing our much loved course marshal Hump Plotts. Hump was in the hospital and having a rough time of it. We’re happy to hear that he’s now back home, and we wish him a full and speedy recovery. Our other much loved course marshal Lisa Wilson was still with us, though. Seeing you all on the trail to start the weekend was the pick-me-up that she needed after a difficult week. Thanks to Anna Tinnemore for stepping into Hump’s role this week, after already being Run Director twice in June.

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Between 6/15 and 6/22 there were 259 finishers and 29 volunteers at College Park parkrun. And that’s not counting the many barkrunners and under 4s who also joined in the fun. We never quite know who is going to show up every Saturday, but you can always be confident that there will be an enthusiastic crowd, and you won’t find yourself on your own, whatever your pace.

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Thanks to all of the past two weeks’ volunteers: Amy Duan, Stewart Mayhew, Judy Mulusa, Firehun Necha, Win Persina, Colin Phillips, Meridith Phillips, Abigail Phillips, Hump Plotts, John Ramsey, Valerie Silensky, Janet Tate, Anna Tinnemore, Larry Washington, Lisa Wilson, Andrea Zukowski, Joel Goldberg, Mike McClellan, Brian Murphy, Jen Murphy, Jim Parsons, Darrell Stanaford, JJ SU, and Rebecca White.

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One statistic of note: when parkrun USA Country Manager Darrell Stanaford joined us this week as timekeeper, he became the 300th different person to volunteer at CP parkrun. And 75 of those people have volunteered 5 or more times. That’s a rather broad, supportive community. Thanks, everybody!

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A lot of you have been working towards milestones, and so we needed to have a stack of sashes at the ready this week. It’s impressive to see how many CP parkrunners are earning those free parkrun milestone shirts.

John Ramsey and Marvin Russell both joined the 100 club on 6/22. Marvin was first with us in event #3 in late 2016 and has been there most weeks since then, together with wife Judy, who is two-thirds of the way to the 100 club herself. We’re delighted to see that Marvin is overcoming injuries and finding his running mojo again.

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In John’s case he was a 31:xx runner when he first joined us in April 2017 at event #27. And now he’s a 24:xx runner. That’s despite being a couple of years further into his 50s. Impressive! We love that John volunteered for a couple of weeks leading up to his 100th run, so that a parkrun friend could celebrate with him. We also love that John’s mayor, New Carrollton mayor Duane Rosenberg, was also there to congratulate him. Duane is on 81 parkruns himself, so a black 100-shirt is not too far in his future.

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Crystal Bergemann completed her 50th parkrun this week. Crystal is one of our pioneers who was with us for CP parkrun #1 in October 2016. She was also one of our first parkrunners of the month. We love how Crystal has been with us in all weathers, from the hottest to the coldest to the wettest days.

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Gloria Cottman also did her 50th parkrun and was a good sport wearing the red 50 sash. Gloria first joined us in summer 2017 on the day when the Wall St Journal was visiting to do a feature about us. 50 parkruns in less than two years means that she has been with us just about every other weekend, which is rather good going.

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We expect to see a lot more action for the milestone sashes in the coming weeks, as there are fourteen CP regulars who are currently on 45-49 parkruns.

It can take a while to reach the official parkrun milestones, so we also have some shout-outs for folks who are reaching unofficial milestones along the way.

Carolyn Kelley and Adam Kiely both did their 25th CP parkrun on 6/15.

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In the past two weeks Michael Laing, Dalila Jose, Noemi Mercado, Yogarshi Yvas, Firehun Necha, and Elena Bailoni all did their 10th CP parkrun. In Noemi’s case it was an official milestone, as she’s a junior parkrunner. Congrats Noemi! We look forward to seeing you on the trail in your nice new (and free!) white parkrun shirt.

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Meanwhile, the past two weeks have seen ELEVEN new members of our unofficial 5-timer club: Veronica Jones, Patty Hall, Dmitry Pankratov, Aaron Lee, Taylor Nickens, Megan Winsor-Lovely, Luther Lemon, Jorge Urruita, Frank Byskov, David Kaplan, and Brian Krznarich. We’re happy to see all of you with us!

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Both weeks we welcomed 15 first-timers to CP parkrun. We love meeting new people who come to check us out, and we’re grateful to all of you for helping to spread the word. Our advertising budget is the same as our entry fee, i.e., $0, so we are very grateful to your efforts in spreading the word and telling friends, family, and colleagues about CP parkrun.

On 6/22 Adoara and Jasper Saunders joined us for the first time. Adoara felt suitably proud to complete the 5K.

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Mimi Veshi brought along her friend Sarah Saleh. And first-timers all set PBs, so they get to ring the bell.

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On 6/15 the first-timers included Robyn Seabrook and Jolene Russell, who were back the next week and setting big PBs.

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Other first-timers on 6/15 included Vidya and Hemant Joshi, who we presume are parents of regular parkrunner Neha Joshi, visiting from very far away. Welcome to College Park!

And Janel Niska, who also got the memo about ringing the PB bell.

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As usual, we had a lot of PBs and speediness to celebrate.

Bonnie McClellan is approaching 80 years old and has done 37 parkruns, but that’s no barrier to setting a PB … all while smiling.

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Regular runner and volunteer Brian Murphy didn’t set a PB, but he did finish first for the first time. And in doing so he helped pull Tomas Marambio to yet another PB.

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Tara and Xander Mease set big new PBs on 6/15, of 25:26 and 25:22. Not to be outdone, Xander’s grandma Janet Tate was back on 6/22 to set a PB of her own … with 25:15. Anybody would think these folks were related!

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Cameron McPhee cracked 30 minutes for the first time. And did so by a long margin. And Jackie Hayes continued her march towards 30 minutes with a PB in her 45th parkrun.

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Both Matt Kaplan and Brian Koen scored PBs in their 20th parkrun. Both are now running waaaay faster than when they first joined us. Nice progress, gents!

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Carly Mills got a PB in her 34th run, and we suspect that she’s steadily gaining on her sister Erin.

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Kulli Crespin has clearly been doing something right, as she took almost a minute from her PB.

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Rashawna Alfred took more than three minutes from her PB, still pushing a stroller.

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… and there were so many more PBs, which you can find in the week’s results (June 15, June 22).

Since you were asking, what on earth were Andrea and I doing, *both* missing CP parkrun the past two weeks?

Well, on 6/15 we were in CT celebrating the wedding of Nick Huang, one of CP parkrun’s founding team. Congratulations to Nick! While we were there we managed to sneak in some parkrun tourism by checking out the new Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller parkrun in Woodstock, VT. What a beautiful little town and an amazing parkrun.

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The event starts by a horse barn on the M-B-R National Historic Park, then climbs a steep forest trail for about a mile, before circling a beautiful pond called The Pogue and then descending the steep mile that you climbed to start. Not a place to set records, but such a cool place to visit. parkrun USA recently published a blog story about the event: What goes up …

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On 6/22 we were further away, in Iceland. For a mix of work and vacation. There’s no parkrun in Iceland these days, but there briefly was one in Reykjavik from 2011-2012, and the signs for Ellidaardalur parkrun are still there, so we checked it out. Such a pretty route alongside a gushing stream!

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What’s coming up this week? CP parkrun #143, of course. It’s looking like the DC summer heat will finally be with us, so we’ll be encouraging everybody to hydrate well and to save the PB attempts for another week.

Colin

 

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Busy morning on the trails! (Run Report #140)

It was a busy, busy day at Acredale Park this Saturday. And not just because we welcomed a crowd of nearly 200 runners, walkers, volunteers, and supporters to College Park parkrun #140.

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Like every week lots of people volunteered so that College Park parkrun was a success: Lori Dominick, Nick Huang, Clare Imholtz, Neil Jograj, Chris McGranahan, Brian Murphy, Jen Murphy, Win Persina, Colin Phillips, Hump Plotts, Abdur-Rahman Quadri, John Ramsey, Yvette Tamukong, Rebecca White, Lisa Wilson, and Andrea Zukowski. CP-parkrun-140-54

 
Sheilah Kast is one of the regular parkrunners who volunteers to help coordinate the free weekly Yoga in the Parks program with Prince George’s Parks. This week saw the start of the summer season. Every Saturday 10am. Just show up. Bring a mat if you have one. CP-parkrun-140-146

 
And many parkrunners also helped out as volunteers with our first Trolley Trail Run. 6K from parkrun to Franklins Brewery, following the Paint Branch Trail and then the Trolley Trail through College Park, Riverdale Park, and Hyattsville. Thanks to Lori Dominick, Sam Phipps, Chris McGranahan, Debbie Levenson, Kathy Zentek, Janice Bernache, Valerie Silensky, Colin Phillips, and Andrea Zukowski. Plus the 30 intrepid souls who gave this new event a try. Most of them had already completed the parkrun. And in the case of Sam and Janice, they had just set a parkrun PB!

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Rebecca White also joined at finish line support and brought along a special barkrunner guest, Olivia to help sort tokens. Rebecca was also kind enough to bring along some muffin treats that were gobbled up by hungry parkrunners as they finished. Thanks Rebecca! It’s a treat having you a part of the community.

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This week we had a lot to celebrate! Joel Goldberg and Paul Wester celebrated their 50th parkrun, and wore the coveted red sashes during the parkrun – congrats! Joel, who ran four miles prior to the parkrun, is preparing for his first Olympic Distance Triathlon on June 15th in Cleveland. Good luck, Joel! Paul shared that this was his first time wearing a sash since Boy Scouts. You wear it well, Paul! CP-parkrun-140-23

 
Nick Huang, who has been an integral part of College Park parkrun since before it started, just finished his PhD this week, is getting married next weekend, and is moving away. Yes, he has been busy, but not too busy to join us this week as a parkrunner and volunteer. After finishing his run, he jumped in to help Jen with barcode scanning. We needed it this week with 174 finishers! Nick has always stepped up to the plate for our community, and he will be dearly missed. We wish him a great journey with many return visits! And we sent him on his way with a fancy College Park parkrun apricot shirt to remember us by. CP-parkrun-140-28CP-parkrun-140-138

 
We had several first timers this week, including Desiree and Andres, who came with their trainer, Vernon. Ken Mason joined us also for his first ever parkrun. It was a nice trip down memory lane for Ken, too, as he grew up not far from our starting line. CP-parkrun-140-66 Members from the Hope Lutheran Church joined us as well! They chose College Park parkrun as their June social -- great idea! And pastor Julie got to enjoy a run with college friend Joyce, who abandoned her own “congregation” -- she’s event director at Roosevelt Island parkrun -- to join us for the parkrun and the Trolley Trail Run. CP-parkrun-140-149 CP-parkrun-140-197

 
Susana and Jorge were visiting from Santiago, Chile, to watch their son, Tomas Marambio. Pete Monacelli brought his parents along too. As did Dale Morey, whose mom Gloria I had the pleasure of meeting. CP-parkrun-140-10 CP-parkrun-140-194

 
Rebecca White brought along her friends Reem and Cassie for the first time. And Reem also brought her kids Zyan and Zaina. And that’s not all: she also brought along her nephew Kareem, who had just arrived in town. … From Egypt. … At 5am that morning. Great job, Kareem, on getting it done! CP-parkrun-140-218 CP-parkrun-140-219 CP-parkrun-140-201

 
David Huen was the most seasoned parkrunner on the trail this week, completing his *236th* parkrun. Wow! But it was his first in the US. He is normally based in Cambridge, UK, and is vacationing in DC. He made the trip out to College Park because he had met Colin online a couple of years ago -- through the parkrun Statsgeek Group, apparently that's a thing -- and this was the first time that they had met in person. CP-parkrun-140-175 Welcome to all, and the many other first-timers this week! We hope to see you again! Kari, who has now joined us for the second week, will, I have a feeling, be a steady member of our community, especially as she appreciated my goofy humor or pretending my pen was a microphone as I “interviewed” her. I met several folks on the walk, including Gloria and Andrea. We had fun when Sharyn, who MUST be a competitive race walker, jetted past us. She was right on pace with us, and then the jets seemed to turn on and without effort, she was suddenly 50 meters in front of us! Andrea, Gloria and I were then on a hunt, trying to close the gap. Sharyn made it look effortless, and we were not making progress – but we had fun. CP-parkrun-140-185

 
A few more parkrunners reached unofficial milestones this week. Jim Sebastian completed #25. Jonathan Butacci, Keaton Ellis, and Laurie Fisher are now all 10-timers. Meanwhile, Minnie Wong, Chris Swain, and Steven Borunda all now have their 5th parkrun under their belt. CP-parkrun-140-70

 

Trolley Trail Day was a reminder that we are so very lucky to have such wonderful trails and advocates for the trails in our community. I think parkrun is a great example of how these can connect and strengthen communities.

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Because of the Trolley Trail Day, we missed our normal coffee/brunch at Board and Brew. However, many parkrunners found a fine alternative further down the road at Franklin’s as they processed results. We’ll be back at Board and Brew next week!

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It was a great day out there!

Win Persina

 

 

No Capes! (Run Report #139)

As you know, College Park parkrun is an all volunteer operation. We’re approaching our 140th event, and have seen over 13,000 finishes, thanks to the combined efforts of the 300 different community members who have volunteered somewhere between once and 100+ times. If you enjoy College Park parkrun but haven’t tried out the volunteer crew yet, then you’re missing out. It’s a whole new way to meet and appreciate the community.

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This week we had plenty of reason to feel warm and fuzzy about the volunteers.

First, Run Director Anna Tinnemore was wearing the purple volunteer superhero cape, as we were celebrating her 25th time volunteering at parkrun. Anna started joining us soon after moving to UMD for grad school, and soon discovered that walking the trail was more fun than chasing PBs while running. And she has been a friendly walking companion to so many people at College Park parkrun over the past two years. Anna completed her 50th parkrun finish back in January, and soon she’ll have a purple volunteer milestone shirt to go along with her red milestone shirt. Thank you, Anna!

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By the way, Anna’s going to be Run Director again on June 15th, on a day when a few of our most regular volunteers will be away. Can you join her crew on that day? Drop us a line at collegepark@parkrun.com.

Anna wasn’t the only person reaching the V25 milestone this week. Jenn Augsburger was also on the crew for the 25th time. When Jenn is on the crew, you just know that things will work out fine. Jenn came forward this week after it became clear that Anna was going to be doing her 25th volunteer stint. So, to Jenn’s relief, and in the immortal words of Edna from The Incredibles: No Capes!!

Thank you, Jenn!

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Meanwhile, Julie Russell brought a long a big chunk of this week’s volunteer crew. Julie teamed up with her mom Heather on giving out finisher tokens, and she teamed up with her niece and nephew on getting the tokens sorted again. No big deal -- except that Julie is blind. She took on these volunteer roles without hesitation. Julie’s unfailing can-do attitude is one of the things that helps us to get some perspective on life’s ups and downs.

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This week Abdur Rahman-Quadri and Michelle Brandy were our ace timekeeping crew. In Abdur’s case it was his 4th consecutive week of timekeeping AND taking ace photos at the same time. Abdur has been volunteering every week during the month of Ramadan. He has had fun, and we have all benefited.

Then there’s Hump and Lisa. Some parkruns have nice signs or chalk marking on the trail. We have Hump and Lisa. They’re out there at the golf course and the turnaround almost every week, in ALL weathers. Always happy to greet you as you go past. They’re not just standing out there. They are also a key part of our safety measures. Lisa does a trail check before others run or walk the trail. And they’re also able to relay messages up and down the trail. We needed that this week when one parkrunner was struggling in the heat, after recently giving blood. Hump messaged back to the finish line. We quickly dispatched a couple of parkrunners and some water. And by the time they reached the needy parkrunner, another couple of parkrunners, one of them a nurse, was already on the case. Wonderful community support!

What else was happening at CP parkrun this week.

A lot of people joined us! 151 finishers, plus lots of barkrunners, stroller riders, part-parkrunners, supporters, and volunteers. The community keeps on growing!

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We had a lot of first-timers this week, and more new registrants than we have seen in a long time. Many of those first timers came from Galway Elementary School in Calverton, who used parkrun as the culmination of their running program for the kids. We loved welcoming the kids, families, and teachers, and we’re glad to be an event that’s free, local, and serves all paces.

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Some of this week’s first-timers were visitors from other nearby parkruns. Anacostia parkrun was closed for another event, so Tonie, Judy, Marjorie, and Lajune joined us instead. We also had visitors from Leakin Park parkrun, and Steve King joined us from Kesgrave and Ipswich parkruns in the UK. Kriti Bhargava brought along her mom, and we suspect that she was visiting from far away, though we’re not certain. We hope she enjoyed the walk on our beautiful trail.

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One other special first-timer this week was young James Schneider, aged only 20 days. It seems like just a few weeks ago that Team Schneider, including a very pregnant Erin, was the tailwalking team. We didn’t expect to see them back so soon, but we were super happy to see them. James seemed unimpressed, though. He slept through most of it.

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We almost missed it but Paul Hargrave ran with us for the first time, and he smashed the course record for parkrunners aged 80+ in the process, with a speedy 27:01. Seems that Paul’s from Florida, and he’s not only fast. He’s also the person who, in the 1970s, figured out the chemical composition of rhodopsin, a key protein in the eye. You never know who you’re rubbing shoulders with on the start line on a Saturday morning!

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There were no official running or walking milestones reached this week, but we did see a few unofficial milestones.

Four people did their 25th CP parkrun: Dottie Jograj, Eric Pino, Frank Snyder, and Brian Murphy. Ellen Hamilton was our sole new 10-timer, and Sherell Fuller and Matt Dernoga (PB!) became 5-timers.

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With the temperatures heating up, there were fewer PBs this week.

Kim Nickens and Celeste Pere were back for a second time. PBs are great, but seeing them return, and have a good time, makes us really happy.

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Matt Dernoga seems to have his running mojo back, and he managed to beat the PB that he set on Memorial Day two years ago. Similar for Kayla Hayes, who took minutes from a PB that she set in summer 2017.

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John Maneval set a PB on his 15th parkrun. In fact, he seems to be setting a PB almost every week. In 15 parkruns he has set a PB 12 times, going from 32 minutes on the first outing last November to 24 minutes this week. Nice! Derek Symer seems to be on a similar streak, now having gone from 33 minutes to 27 minutes over the course of his 15 CP parkruns.

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And Ben Flamm is on fire right now, setting his second PB in two weeks, with a clocking of 18:51. Lisa even caught photographic evidence that Ben was following perennial first-finisher Sam Phipps all the way to the turnaround. Well, almost all of us follow Sam to the turnaround, but most of us do it from a safer distance.

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PBs are nice, but we’re always happy to welcome community members on the trail, to go at whatever pace works for you. So something that excited us more than the PBs this week was the number of walkers and walk-runners at CP parkrun. Around a third of participants. We love this growth in our community! Thank you for continuing to spread the word.

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COMING ATTRACTIONS

This week, Saturday June 8th, promises to be a busy day, and a fun one. We love our beautiful trails, so we’re excited to be involved in the first Trolley Trail Day, led by the College Park City-University Partnership, in conjunction with the cities of College Park, Riverdale Park, and Hyattsville. Here’s the lineup for the day …

9:00. College Park parkrun #140. Same time, same place, same awesome community.

10:00. Yoga in the Park. Start of the FREE weekly summer yoga sessions following parkrun.

10:30. Trolley Trail Fun Run. Want to get in some extra running or walking, or try out something else for a change of scenery? This run starts at Acredale Park, close to parkrun, and then follows a 6K route along the bike trails through College Park, Riverdale Park, and Hyattsville, to end by Franklins Brewery and General Store. Free entry, just show up. All finishers receive a free Trolley Trail t-shirt, plus specials at old and new favorites along the trail, including Franklins, Denizens Brewery, and Vigilante Coffee.

See you Saturday!

Colin Phillips
Co-Event Director

 

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Not in a month of Saturdays (Run Report #134-#138)

Ok, so we’ve fallen behind a little on our run reports. So we’re going to cheat by doing a whole month’s worth in one report. That covers event #134 (April 27th) to event #138 (May 25th).

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Some highlights from the past month …

-- 661 finishers

-- 79 first-timers

-- 67 volunteers

-- 88 PBs

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Milestones

We love celebrating your parkrun milestones, official and unofficial. Four people joined the 50 club (red shirt) in the past month, three of them on May 11th: Katie Hirsche, Kalonji Collins, and Diana Gough.

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For that day a big crowd of parkrunners made a guard of honor in their various colorful parkrun shirts.

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Just two weeks after Diana Gough joined the 50 club, it was the turn of her son Carlos. Who set a PB for good measure. We hear that may be because he knew of the cake waiting at the finish.

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By our count in the same period EIGHT parkrunners joined the unofficial 25-timer club, making them halfway to 50: Isaac Scott, Anna Damm, Michelle Brandy, Alexander Swisdak, Jackie Hayes, Abba Milkii, Dominique Lisiero, and Carly Mills.

CP-parkrun-137-39ELEVEN parkrunners joined the unofficial 10-timer club, now over 300 strong: Michael Osman, Lucy Younes, Josh Schneider, Cheryle Galloway, Richard Goemann, Ada Lee, Eliza Kempton, Noe Saavedra, David Gang, Christian James, and Alondra Saavedra. CP-parkrun-138-110 And at least TWENTY FOUR parkrunners joined the unofficial 5-timer club. Wow, that’s a lot. They were: West Coile, Terrye Verge, Sonja Hatten, Rashawna Alfred, Randy Ontiveros, Mimi Veshi, Megan Winsor-Lovely, Mark Landis, Kadija Kamus, Edwin Hernandez, Cecilia Morissette, Anne Roberts-Smith, Ankit Mondal, Laura Ramos, Ben McHugh, Sofia Veshi, Ted Poulos, Sally Stuchlik, Michael Navarette, Stuart Landis, Peter Dennis, Oscar Mercado, Amanda Pinkston, Milkii Dagne. … Whew! CP-parkrun-138-148 To go along with the milestones, there was also a non-trivial amount of cake. There are many more coming up this summer. If any of you would be able to help with baking, we’d love to hear from you. CP-parkrun-138-1

Families

We love seeing families getting active together to start the weekend, and we’re thrilled to see more and more families doing this. On May 4th Heather Sisan brought along her daughter Fiona for her first ever 5k. Fiona ran three times further than she had ever run before. AND she was dressed as a young Rey to mark Star Wars day. Fiona has now finished 3 times, so she’s turning into an old hand. CP-parkrun-135-71 Sometimes it’s good to run with your brother or sister. On May 4th Jonathan and Colette paced each other to his and hers PBs. CP-parkrun-135-35 Other times it can be great to run with your other half. Or to show up together and each run a pace that feels good. Even if that means leaving the kids at home. CP-parkrun-138-204 CP-parkrun-138-208 It can even be great to stay active while carrying a new family member. We are so impressed to see Dominique continue to run each week at parkrun, as her due date gets closer and closer. CP-parkrun-138-173

Walking at parkrun!

We love that more and more community members are joining us to walk the Paint Branch Trail. We wish that English had a simple word that covered bipedal locomotion, including both running and walking (German does!), but it doesn’t, alas. So we just have to make do with “parkrun” as our name. But we are at least as happy to see walkers on the trail as runners. Nobody should feel that they are making us wait for them. CP-parkrun-136-119 CP-parkrun-137-183 CP-parkrun-136-179

Volunteers

We feel SO fortunate to have such a strong community of volunteers at College Park parkrun. As you know, the events are free forever because a team of volunteers from the parkrun community helps to put on the event each week. Around 300 community members have volunteered so far to put on 138 events. And we welcome new volunteers every week. If you haven’t tried it out yet, we encourage you to give it a try. It really is a great way to feel more connected to the community, and it feels great to be part of a smoothly operating team. You get a whole new perspective on the event. CP-parkrun-137-4

Volunteering can be a great family activity. On April 27th Team Schneider were the tailwalking team. And they even brought along kid-sized volunteer vests for Samantha and Mary Claire. Team Schneider is expanding, and we wish them all the best with the new family member.

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On May 18th Judy Mulusa and her daughter Kacey Nyongesa were our scanning team.

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Stewart Mayhew has been trying out different volunteer roles, in between touring all the region’s parkruns. On May 11th he tried out the first-timers briefing role, and brought along props.

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Keaton Ellis is another parkrunner who has been stepping up in multiple roles. One week he helped with setup. Other weeks he has jumped in as a scanner after running. And on May 25th he offered to help with results processing, and got an impromptu master class from Andrea.

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And Abdur Rahman-Quadri deserves a special mention. At the start of May Adbur wrote to say, “Please sign me up as a volunteer for the next 5 weeks!” Like last year, Abdur is volunteering every week during Ramadan. And he has learned that he can be an ace timekeeper with one hand while also taking great photographs with his other hand. Very much appreciated!

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Other cool stuff

We learn about cool stories every single week at parkrun. Here are just a few of the cool things that caught our attention in the past month.

On May 18th Joel Goldberg showed up early at the park with some tools. To our surprise, he had built a device that serves as a hole for our parkrun flag. And conveniently marks the start/finish line. Now we don’t have to worry about what to do when the ground is too solid to get the flag in. Thanks Joel!

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On May 4th Barbara Gusack looked especially delighted at the finish line. We learned that it was the first time that she had run the full 5k in years. Fantastic!

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We enjoy seeing groups from local running clubs join us on the trail on a Saturday. At this point we have seen many hundreds of finishes at College Park parkrun by members of Prince George’s Running Club and Montgomery County Road Runners.

Check them out - a number of parkrunners have discovered the clubs via parkrun. Especially popular are PGRC’s Tuesday evening track night at the UMD track. You do NOT need to be fast like Usain Bolt to take part. And many parkrunners enjoy training groups like MCRRC’s marathon programs or their series of low-key races that are free to club members.

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One thing that we’re really excited to see: CP parkrun founder Andrea Zukowski is running again, after a long-time sidelined with knee injuries. Her recommendation: simple strength training, including barre classes, to build up many different muscle groups.

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And we’ve also enjoyed seeing your parkrun tourism. One week we found John Ramsey doing his first non-CP parkrun at Crissy Field parkrun in San Francisco. Another week we found Russ Dickerson doing his first non-CP parkrun at South Boulder Creek parkrun in Colorado. There he ran into former CPer and now Kensington parkrun team member Jeff Lunsford.

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And although I have been sorry that work travels have taken me away from College Park on too  many Saturdays lately, I have been thrilled to find myself within striking distances of more new parkrun events. On May 11th I greatly enjoyed my visit to the new Sippo Lake parkrun in Canton, OH. Highly recommended if you’re anywhere in the area.

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And this isn’t really news, but we can never go wrong by including a picture of Trini Molina’s smile.

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News etc.

A few newsy items of note.

First, new parkrun apricot shirts are (finally!) available. A few of our parkrunners got their hands on these before the old line of clothing was discontinued in 2017. The new t-shirts have a different fabric and higher quality. I have been testing mine out on hot and humid days, and I can confirm that they are good for DC summer weather.

Sales of the apricot shirts are one way that we’re able to keep parkrun free forever. Proceeds from the apricot shirts help to fund the cost of the free milestone shirts that our parkrunners are earning every week. At £33 (~$42, including shipping) they’re not the cheapest shirts you’ll find, and we don’t expect of anybody that they buy one. But if you are able to, then it’s supporting other parkrunners, at less than the cost of two typical 5ks.

You can order the shirts from Pro Direct Running. Some US purchasers have had credit card payment difficulties. It seems to work better if you choose the PayPal option.

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Second, we were both happy and sad to give the May parkrunner of the month award to Ben and Meghan Gieske. Ben and Meghan have been valuable members of our community since first joining us last summer. They run, they walk, they volunteer, and they smile. But now they’re moving to Indiana. We wish them well, and hope that they will visit us when they’re in town. The PoTM award is generously supported by The Board and Brew, and we were happy that Meghan and Ben were able to put their new B&B gift card to good use on May 25th before moving west.

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Next, we’re excited that our trail has gotten longer! The Paint Branch Trail used to come to an end just a few yards beyond Lisa’s turnaround spot. But as of a few weeks ago it now extends for a couple of miles to Beltsville Community Center and park. The new section of trail includes a nice new bridge that you can see just beyond Lisa’s spot. I have been enjoying using the trail extension for longer runs. It also means that we’re seeing some more bikers on the trail, so we need to be a little more vigilant about traffic on the trail, especially around the zigzag sections at the back of the golf course.

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Meanwhile, we’re excited to see parkrun USA continue to grow. More and more communities are getting in on the fun that we’ve been having in College Park since 2016. When we started there were 7 US parkrun events, with around 300 finishers per week in total. Over the next couple of weeks events #33-#35 will be starting in Kentucky, Vermont, and Washington State, and this Memorial Day weekend was the first time that parkrun USA saw over 2,000 run, walk, or volunteer on a single day. Word is spreading!

We are especially interested in helping new parkrun communities to grow in the DC-MD-VA area, and we have many resources to help new teams. If you know of anybody in the region who would love to have a parkrun in their community, do let us know.

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Finally, we’re looking forward to a special day on June 8th when local towns will be holding the first Trolley Trail Day, celebrating the trail that connects the cities of College Park, Riverdale Park, and Hyattsville. We are teaming up with TT Day to help put on an EXTRA fun run that starts right by the end of College Park parkrun and follows the trail down to end next to Franklins in Hyattsville, around 6k away. The event will start at 10:30 on 6/8, and we expect some swag for participants, including a free hot or cold drink at Vigilante Coffee in Hyattsville. Some of us may be tempted to also try out the new Denizens Brewery in Riverdale Park Station on that day. We are already a big fan of our local trails, and they now take us to more and more places!

If you made this this far, congratulations, and thanks for reading! (And apologies to my mum for any typos - she’s always the first to catch them. ... Newsflash -- she checked, and didn't find any. Bliss!)

See you next week for College Park parkrun #139.

Colin Phillips

Co-Event Director

 

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A pretty, normal day (Run Report #133)

With Spring in full force it was a pretty day on the Paint Branch Trail this week. It was also a pretty normal day. 120-something people came out to run and walk (some went part way down the trail -- we’re cool with that). We had a great crew of volunteers from the community. We met some new people, we welcomed back old friends. Some set PBs, some took their time. It all went off entirely smoothly.

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For Andrea and me, as co-Event Directors, perhaps the coolest piece of this is to see how different community members worked together to make the event happen, and simply knew what to do. Some of them had volunteered together before at parkrun. Some of them had not. Almost none of them knew each other a couple of years ago. All that Andrea and I needed to do was show up with the gear, take some pictures and do some cheering, and otherwise stand well back.

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Mike McClellan was part of this week’s volunteer crew, scanning barcodes with Jake Foley and then JJ Su. Mike is approaching his 50th parkrun, but he was feeling a bit creaky this week, so he opted to volunteer instead. The creakiness is ok, as Mike turned 82 last week.

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Brian Murphy, Larry Washington, and Clare Imholtz were the finish funnel crew: clicking buttons, handing out tokens, and giving high fives. Brian was regaling Larry with tales from the Boston Marathon 5 days earlier. In return, Larry regaled Brian with tales from the Boston Marathon before Brian was born.

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Hump and Lisa were again away from their usual marshaling roles, as Hump is still recovering from shoulder surgery. But he came over to join us at the start, and Lisa completed the course faster than she has in a long while … and got her favorite token, #100. Meanwhile, Yancira Amaya and Eduardo Valente easily slotted into the course marshal roles, and all went off without a hitch.

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Clark Ridge orchestrated the show as Run Director for the day, joined at some point by a one-armed Violet as assistant. Stewart Mayhew became Clark’s understudy for results processing at The Board and Brew afterwards. He’s working through the different roles, with a view to a future Run Director role (we like this!).

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Eden Gray and her pup Foxy were our tailwalker and tail-wagger this week, joining us from Roosevelt Island parkrun in DC. Impressively, Eden has now volunteered at 14 different parkrun USA events, making her (by far!) the most prolific parkrun voluntourist in the country. Those two certainly got into the Easter spirit.

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Just a few of the things that we noticed this week …

 

Dominique Lisiero is parkrunning for two these days. That’s impressive!

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As he rounded the final turn, we noticed that Carlos Chaverri-Morales was limping. He seemed to have hurt his knee. Lisa Parsons was rapidly catching him and about to pass him right at the finish chute. But instead of passing, she stopped, checked that Carlos was ok, and then walked in behind him. See, it’s not a race.

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Both of our mayors were looking spiffy in their red parkrun 50 shirts this week.

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In fact, we had a LOT of people sporting their red parkrun 50 shirts this week. That’s what comes of spring shorts and t-shirt weather. And this was just a few of them.

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Melanie Barzik was one of this week’s dozen PBs. She certainly earned her ring of the PB bell.

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Lucy Younes continued her streak of PBs as she recovers from illness. This week it was with the help of a young entourage. Lucy’s now 20 minutes faster than the first time out.

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Abba Milkii did his 25th parkrun this week. He seemed to be having fun.

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Sheilah and Judy were pace buddies this week.

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And it was a beautiful day for the walking crew.

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Hope to see you next week, for event #134. Consider staying around for Maryland Day, the huge free event on the UMD campus, with fun activities for the whole family.

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Park Plogging! (Run Report #132)

This week’s College Park parkrun #132 was all about our love for the trail that we enjoy every Saturday morning. For the third year we teamed up with the University of Maryland and Prince George’s County Dept of Parks & Recreation for a tree planting and clean-up event as part of Good Neighbor Day.

We planted 97 trees in the part of the trail just beyond the start/finish area. Well, with a big assist from a couple of UMD student groups, who did much of the heavy lifting.

We also did some clean-up work along the whole length of the trail that we ‘adopted’. Some parkrunners set off with trash bags and grabbers, and tried to find as much trash as they could along the trail. Apparently, the Swedes have a term for running and trash pick-up - plogging! Thanks especially to Misha Bernard, Külli Crespin, and Rebecca White for their efforts along the trail. And an extra shout out to Marc and Maia Swisdak and Team Schneider - Erin, Samantha, and Mary Claire, for pitching in with the cleanup effort close to the start/finish.

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We had a BIG volunteer crew this week. That was partly due to Good Neighbor Day. Many people helped with the tree planting -- Russ Dickerson, Ben and Meghan Gieske, Stewart Mayhew, Pete Monacelli, Catherine Spirito, Neil Jograj and Julie Russell. We’d like to give a special shout out to dad-daughter duo Dave and Alyssa Heintzelman, who between them managed to plant 10 trees. But it was also due to the rotating crew of helpers at the start/finish. Dale Morey, Maia Swisdak, and Marc Swisdak were the constants, in addition to Run Director Andrea Zukowski. But Chris McGranahan stepped in as timer for much of the event, then replaced by Sam Phipps. And Keaton Ellis happily jumped in as backup barcode scanner once Ben Gieske passed the torch.

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A couple of volunteer roles this week deserve special mention. We’re lucky to have Hump Plotts and Lisa Wilson as our course marshals almost every week. But Hump is recovering from surgery, so we have substitute Hump and Lisa for a couple of weeks. This week Yancira Amaya  and Kim Fisher filled their shoes admirably. … But Lisa was still with us. As she described it, she snuck out while Hump was sleeping, and we were treated to the sight of Lisa in the crowd at the start line, for the first time in a long, long while. It’s not for nothing that Lisa is our most prolific parkrunner, now with 119 parkruns to her name.

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Also, it doesn’t feel so long since Rebecca White was first completing the 5k course with us. So it was great to see her this week leading the first-timers’ briefing, welcoming newcomers to this community that she is now a part of. Wonderful!

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It’s a mark of how we’ve grown that this week’s 92 finishers felt like a pretty quiet week. April is a month of good weather in DC, so there are lots of other fun things to do on a Saturday morning, whether they are track meets, the PGRC Springburst 10k race, soccer leagues, or just getting far out of town. Enjoy! We know that you haven’t forgotten about us and will be back soon enough.

We celebrated a couple of notable achievements before the start. Cotter Rosenberg joined the 50 club, with his proud dad Duane modeling the red shirt that soon will be on its way to Cotter. Cotter assured us when he started that he was not a runner. Well, the cat is now out of the bag, and it turns out that he’s a fairly handy runner. At first he would be duking it out with dad, but nowadays Duane stands no chance. And Cotter somehow is signed up to do this year’s Marine Corps Marathon. Congratulations Cotter!

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We also awarded our occasional Great Leap Forward award to Lucy Younes, who was clearly surprised to receive the award. Lucy is a long-time runner, but has been dealing with some balance issues lately, which have made it difficult to run. We’re thrilled that she has started joining us, and she brings yet more joy to the 50-minute part of the parkrun community.  The GLF award comes with a gift card generously provided by Vigilante Coffee. Congratulations, Lucy!

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It was also a quiet-ish week for first-timers. Olivia Zhao and PJ Bennett enjoyed a run together on the trail. And Chelsea Samo-Lipman was on hand to cheer Eli Black after they both finished their first parkrun.

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We welcomed a parkrun tourist from far afield, too. That’s entirely normal at downtown events like Roosevelt Island parkrun, but only the most discerning make it to College Park. Mareike Schomerus joined us from Finsbury Park in London. She’s used to somewhat larger attendances (parkrun is just huge in London), but she was pleasantly surprised by our trail and our enthusiastic vibe. Great that you could join us, Mareike!

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It was a week of many PBs. 15 to be exact. Many of them have a bit of a story.

First, Judy Barnes, a PB on her 58th parkrun. She’s finishing in 40:xx, and as far as we know she never runs. That’s some fast walking. That said, we’re curious about a couple of pictures taken on the downhill slope at the 1 mile to go mark. That’s as close as we’ve ever seen to evidence of Judy breaking into a run. In any case, nice going, Judy!

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Matt Kaplan continues his impressive streak. He has completed 11 parkruns, and he has set a PB in 10 of them. Wow!

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Luther Lemon is on a bit of a streak of his own, now with 4 PBs in 4 finishes. Oscar Mercado is on a similar streak. And he has now done 4 PBs in 4 weeks.

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Meghan Gieske was a deserved ringer of the PB bell after she took a full minute from her PB on her 20th parkrun. When she first joined us last summer Meghan was a 35-minute runner. As of this week she’s a 27:xx runner. Nice!

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It was a case of another week, another PB, another age-group record for Laurie Fisher.

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Derek Symer and Michael Laing were justifiably pleased to set PBs in their 20th and 22nd parkruns.

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And Stewart Mayhew has been blazing a trail. He first joined us on November 10th, when he finished in around 28 minutes. Now he’s on his 19th parkrun, and he finished this week in 22:xx. That’s some quick progress!

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We’re also seeing new members of our totally unofficial n-timer clubs. 7 people this week joined us for the 5th time: Rex Ledesma (PB!), Lawrence Steele, Keaton Ellis, Michael Osman, Kathleen Gustavson, Noemi Mercado, and her mom Dalila Jose.

Sam Phipps was our one new 10-timer this week. Impressively, Sam has taken only 185 minutes to complete those 10 parkruns. No wonder he needs to run between CP and Silver Spring en route, to get some extra miles in.

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We’re looking forward to welcoming you on Saturday, 4/20, for our 133rd event. Clark Ridge will be at the helm.

Colin Phillips
Co-Event Director

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A spring in your step (Run Report #131)

Before we get to the week's run report, two announcements:

1. Do you get Andrea's weekly email with news about College Park parkrun?

Many of you don't, because you have not 'opted in' to receive it. Many people have told us that they love receiving this newsletter especially when they have to miss parkrun for a while, because it keeps them feeling connected.

*Make sure you are receiving our weekly newsletter by clicking the “Opt In” link in your Results Email!* Or go to https://www.parkrun.com/signin/ to update your preferences. (Don't worry if you've lost your password, it's easy to reset it.)

2. It's Tree-Planting Day next Saturday at Acredale Park on the trail. If you have a bit more time to spare after parkrun, please consider staying back to plant a few trees! Your efforts will provide more shade for the trail (well, eventually) and make the park a more beautiful place.

And the report:

It's April! The snow and the cold are gone. The leaves are starting to grow back, the cherry trees are blooming, and everyone is taking their favorite anti-allergy medication. But one thing remains constant: parkrun. Every Saturday at 9 am, whether the trees are bare or whether there is snow or not.

Ready, set ...
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There is now a tradition of guessing the turnout each week, and this week it turned out (pardon the pun) to be good to be more conservative. One year ago, 108 finishers would have been a bumper crop, as this was our largest April crowd ever, but compared to chilly March, it felt like a quieter day. We know there are so many fun things to do outside at this time of year. Congrats, Mark (Shroder) -- your prize is free parkruns for the rest of the year!

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This week's crowd included about a dozen first-timers. This community continues to grow because first-timers keep coming back for more, and because they encourage friends and family to join them. That's how now over 2,000 people have taken part over 12,000 times.

One great example: Sam Phipps is one of our regular speedsters, often finishing before many of us have reached Lisa's turnaround spot. Normally he stays around to cheer everybody else at the finish. But this week he ran back down the trail to meet up with his mom and grandma, who he had brought along for a stroll on the trail. Wonderful!

Sam, mom, and grandma

Another first timer this week was Daniel Waistell. He's not new to parkrun, as he has done most of his previous parkrunning in Cambridge, UK. Now based in DC, he knows where to find us any weekend.

Paul, visiting from the UK

And on that note, it was also really nice to see Steve and Cindy Feld again -- welcome back! Steve and Cindy were key team members at College Park parkrun before moving to North Carolina, but they were in town this weekend in part for the Cherry Blossom Ten-Miler race.

Hi Cindy (and Jen)!

Rather unusually, there were no official parkrun milestones set this week, although a few people are getting very close (such as Cotter Rosenberg, Diana Gough, who did their 49th and 48th parkrun this week, respectively). Among the unofficial milestones that we like to call out: Lori Dominick joined the ranks of people who have done 25 parkruns -- halfway to the coveted red T-shirt. John Sener, Ryan Kneapler, Matt Kaplan each completed their 10th parkrun, and Elena Bailoni is now a 5-timer.

We counted 25 PBs: one in four parkrunners. It's great to see so many parkrunners improving on their previous times. Hopefully it will be a sign of even faster times as the weather gets better (and before the summer hits). Congratulations to Pete Wergin, Santiago Morales, Brian Hutchins, Abba Milkii, John Kastner, Abdur-Rahman Quadri, Kathy Cea, John Ramsey, Tom Charles, Briggs Rolfsrud, Xander Mease, Tara Mease, Elena Bailoni, Matt Kaplan, Aileen Kroll, Ada Lee, Ashley Barnes, Jason Alexis, Stefanie Hutchins, Oscar Mercado, Ellen Hamilton, Jie Yue, Fudong Han, Romy Wang, and Rebecca White!

 

Matt Kaplan deserves a special mention. This week he did his 10th parkrun, and we noticed that he has set a PB (almost) every single time so far. One week he missed by about 6 seconds, Impressive stuff, Matt!

Special shout out to Xander, who managed to raise $2,895 at the Great Strides 5k for Cystic Fibrosis the following day, almost doubling his fundraising goal. Thanks to the many parkrun friends who helped out with that.

Abdur on his way to a PB
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Congrats, Xander

Finally, I'd like to acknowledge the volunteers. As usual, a fantastic crew made sure you were safe on the trail and got your results on quickly. Hump and Lisa took up their usual positions along the trail, and Barbara Gusack made sure no one got left behind, while taking lots of great photos.

At the finish line were yours truly and people preparing for the Cherry Blossom race -- Ben and Meghan Gieske, who were your timekeepers, Steve Feld, who handed out tokens, and Catherine Spirito and Paul Monacelli, who scanned your barcodes and tokens. There were no timing or barcode issues when we processed results, all thanks to their great work.

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That's it for this run report. See you all again, and don't forget your barcode!

 

Our volunteers are awesome! (Run Report #130)

Wowie! Did we have some absolutely stunning spring weather for our 130th event! This winter has seemed to drag on a bit with the cold (and especially damp) weather, but Spring was out in full force with some beautiful weather. We took full advantage of it, too. 148 smiling finishers taking a bit of extra time hanging out with their extended family at the finish line and really enjoying themselves. Plus a strong showing at the Board and Brew for post-parkrun coffee, too!

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When planning for this event started on early Saturday morning, we had a crew of 6 volunteers lined up - course marshall extraordinaires Hump Plotts and Lisa Wilson, first timer briefing from Andrea Zukowski, Danny Walker and Sam McGranahan as our timing crew, and myself as run director. A stellar crew, for sure, but a few shy of what we needed. Now that we have done this 130 times, I have learned to not stress if the volunteer roster is a bit short. The community proved me right again. Jen Murphy was happy to jump in to give out finish tokens. Then we had Sharlene Deskins come up and ask if we had anyone as tailwalker. She was wonderful and took great photos of everyone along the way. Janet Tate asked me a little before we started if we needed more volunteers and gladly took on the job of barcode scanner. We still needed a couple more. That’s where JJ Su and Ben Gieske jumped in. And they still got to run! JJ took some excellent finish line photos and Ben filled the role of second barcode scanner. With the big attendance and one of the scanners acting up, we needed that second scanner!

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The PB bell rang a lot on Saturday! Some rang it reluctantly, unsure if their time was a PB, but were pleasantly surprised as results were processed. A few notable rings were from JJ and Ben who must have been so excited to get back to volunteer that they achieved a PB in the process. Sam Phipps also came through with a new PB, then waited at the finish line and cheered every single finisher. We love the support, Sam! Right behind Sam was Rex Ledesma with a shiny new PB and a ring of the bell. John Ramsey was among the uncertain bell ringers, and he was happy to see at breakfast that he had tied his PB! Great job, John! A few additional PBs from Saturday, did I mention the bell rang a lot, Oscar Mercado returned and set a PB on his second time out with us, Genevieve Coen, Anne-Marie Gorman, Ellen Oberholtzer, Amy Rice, and Sawyer Rice also set PBs. In total we had 24 PBs. I like to think it was the weather and the bright smile of all the volunteers.

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Well deserved recognition with some awards to start. Juan Saavedra earned his 10 milestone shirt a few weeks ago, and we were happy to finally recognize this accomplishment! Enjoy your new shirt, Juan! Lori Dominick was awarded this month’s parkrunner of the Month award. Lori is an amazing member of the community in her encouragement and welcoming nature. She is one of the reasons why this community has grown and is as strong as it is.

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It was great to welcome a bunch of first-timers this week. A couple of regular runners brought along a friend and walked the trail with them. Thank you for helping to welcome newcomers to our community! And we were happy to be joined for the first time by Sarah Byrne, the brains behind the Route 1 Fun newsletter that keeps us abreast of all kinds of cool things happening in the Route 1 corridor. Sarah - we hope you'll join us again some time.

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A special shout out to first-timer Vincent, who recently turned 4, making him old enough to get his own parkrun barcode. He walked the 5k with proud mom Teresa. Great job, Vincent!

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I’m already looking forward to our next parkrun! Don’t forget that from April 6th we will have FREE Yoga in the Parks, every Saturday at 10am after parkrun, a partnership with our friends at Prince George’s Parks. And on April 13th we will be teaming up with PG Parks and the University of Maryland again for post-parkrun trail and stream maintenance and tree planting, as a part of the University of Maryland’s Good Neighbor Day. Last year we had a huge crew of volunteers for this event, and we hope that you’ll be able to join us for it this year.

Brian Murphy
Run Director

 

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