Baby it’s cold outside! (Virtual Report 35)

“Cold today! I don’t usually run below 40 degrees, but I’m trying to keep up with the virtual parkrun crowd! You are motivating!”

Mary Anderson captures this week’s vibe perfectly. The cold was a bit daunting, and the blankets (or the warm car) were pretty hard to leave. But you were motivated to get outside. And we heard from so many of you that it felt great once you got moving.

That’s how it’s going to be, folks. For the next 10-12 weeks the name of the game is keeping warm, keeping moving, keeping safe, and keeping our spirits up.

So, without further ado, let’s see what everybody got up to this week at College Park Virtual parkrun #35.

FOR INFORMATION ON HOW CPVP WORKS SEE HERE

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Janel celebrated her birthday (Friday) with a pandemic-PB. Those Beforetimes runs are just a distant memory.

Facts and Figures

  • 151 virtual parkrunners
  • 645 miles covered
  • 1 first-timer
  • 7 new HIGH FIVE badges earned
  • 0 new TEN TIMER TURTLE badges earned (!)
  • 3 new 25-TIMER badges earned
  • 8 barkrunners
  • 7 virtual volunteers

Stat(s) of the week: After just 7.5 months the combined distance of your runs and walks totals 25,300 miles, that’s more than the circumference of the Earth.

In the old style CP parkruns it took us 97 events to circle the globe, and then another 63 events to do it a second time. During the pandemic we have done it in just 35 events. That’s partly because there are more of us taking part each week, and partly because we are recording whatever distance you cover each Saturday, which is an average of 6.9 km per activity.

THIS WEEK’S RESULTS TABLE IS HERE

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Elmer is always happy to see friends along the trail

Baby, It’s Cold Outside

So you wanted a White Christmas? Well, we came close. It was definitely cold outside in College Park, with snow and ice on the bridges. Marylanders to the north or west of College Park were more likely to have actual snow after the big midweek storm. Folks further north or west had a lot more snow.

Cindy Cohen is still virtually parkrunning in the mountains of northern Idaho. But instead of careening down steep downhill routes, this week she was snowshoeing in a winter wonderland.

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College Park Virtual snowshoe in Idaho

In Connecticut, Joan Heffernan reported morning temps in the single digits. Not that this was going to stand in the way of her completing her 35th CPVp.

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Joan celebrated her new age category with a coooold run

Jen Matis was apprehensive about getting up on such a chilly morning, but once she hit the trails she found that it was perfect running weather.

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Jen declared the weather perfect for running ... once you warmed up

Snow talk

Heather Sisan was appreciating the snowy woods along her route in Kensington, and that got her thinking about words for snow, inspired by a claim in a BBC story that Scots have 421 words for snow. Knowing that we have a few language nerds on the CPVp team (an understatement!), she asked for our thoughts.

… Well, it’s a bit of a contentious point among linguists. The proliferation of snow terms has long captured public imagination. You can find rankings of the languages with the most snow terms. Linguists often bristle at the exoticization of people who live in different environments, and also like to point out that it’s not so easy to say what counts as a “different word” in some languages. We recommend a fun essay on this topic: The great Eskimo vocabulary hoax (by linguist Geoff Pullum). And the Wikipedia article on Eskimo words for snow.

For most of us English speakers, we have few words for the icy precipitation that fall to the ground in winter: snow, sleet, freezing rain, and so on. Other languages sometimes make finer distinctions. One example is Éljagangur (Icelandic for intermittent snowstorms) that parkrun report assistant writer Hannah experienced when visiting Reykjavik in late 2015. She and a friend had hoped to drive the Golden Circle and then see the Northern Lights, but instead found themselves on a bus tour concerned about how the driver knew where to go when the only thing they could see out of the front windshield was a field of white. Luckily the snow slowed when they got to the tour destinations and they were able to see Þingvellir, Gullfoss Waterfall, and Geysir, the geyser after which all other geysers are named.

Of course, for those of us in the Washington DC area the only term needed in a typical winter is the “wintry mix” that causes 2-hour school delays. At least, in non pandemic times it did.

Thanks for the prompt, Heather!

Blue Christmas

This year’s holidays are not at all normal. Much less travel, much less gathering (thank you!). But there was circumstantial evidence of the season all around.

Team Schneider again set out after dark to check out the local holiday decorations. It looks like they found some!

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Elves on a shelf

Stewart Mayhew was sporting a running-themed holiday sweater.

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Emma Keer’s Hanukkah sweater is rumored to include jingle bells. Classy! Anyway, big congratulations to CPVp regular Emma on graduating from the U of Michigan this week … in addition to being the creative genius behind Ann Arbor’s virtual parkrun (see below for news about their special Solstice event), as well as the mastermind of the parkrun USA Instagram account -- it’s worth following!

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Congrats to new grad Emma

Carly Maas headed home for the holidays to Greensboro, NC, as did her brother Daniel. So this week they got to run their CPVp together, and mom, dad, and barkrunner Shannon got in on the fun, too.

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Carly and her brother Daniel were both back home after a strange semester

Ellen Oberholtzer and barkrunner Eli visited a Yule Goat in their neighborhood. “But what is a Yule Goat?” we hear you ask. Good question!

A Scandinavian tradition that may have been inspired by Thor’s chariot-pulling goats Tanngrisnir (“Gap-tooth”) and Tanngnjóstr (“Tooth-grinder”), the Yule Goat is today mostly celebrated by people placing small straw goats in their tree or hiding them in the houses of friends during the holidays. Along with giving his goat companions rather rude names, Thor also slaughtered and ate them at night, with the understanding that they would be reborn the next morning. It was pagan tradition to re-enact this ritual with a human clothed in goat skins- although the human was only “symbolically” killed and allowed to return to life with the sunrise. Christians did not appreciate the tradition, declaring the Yule Goat a demon. Over the years the Goat became a more benevolent being and today towns in Scandinavia build large straw goats each year. The largest of these is in Gävle, Sweden, where stories of the annual shenanigans surrounding the goat usually fall under the category of “this is why we can’t have nice things.”

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Eli with the Yule Goat

Meanwhile, somebody else who is home for the holidays is Tomas Marambio, who ran this week’s fastest CPVp time of 19:47 … in Santiago, Chile, where it’s probably a little warmer than in College Park.

Tomas was just a few seconds ahead of Katie Hirsche, who did her CPVp as part of a 4.2 mile time trial on Beach Drive as part of the RunWashington DMV Distance Derby, a virtual competition for the pandemic in which runners compete on local Strava segments.

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Katie speeding down Beach Drive

Santa was out and about this weekend; he was spotted by Rach and John Cousen on their run around the village of Asfordby, UK. We looked up the Strava trace of their route, and couldn’t help noticing that the next village over is called Frisby on the Wreake. Where do the Brits come up with these names! It turns out that the name is unrelated to disc-throwing. It comes from old Germanic, from times when Vikings settled the eastern part of England, creating lots of place names ending in -by. It means Frisian settlement on the winding river. And of course it shouldn’t be confused with another town called Frisby, 8 miles away near Billesdon. You’re welcome!

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We're not sure if this Santa, seen by Shane Sharkey in Melton Mowbray, is the same one seen by Rach and John Cousen in the nearby village of Asfordby

Milestones and More

This week there were zero first-timers at CPVp. Not so surprising, given the cold.

But we did have a first-time visitor to the Paint Branch Trail. Derek Symer knows the trail like the back of his hand. His daughter Lilly is an increasingly seasoned campaigner. (We’re looking forward to seeing her earn a parkrun 10 shirt once that’s a thing again.) This week they persuaded mom to come check out the trail with them. Welcome Allison Aubrey!

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Looking good, Lilly!

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Welcome Allison!

This week we awarded SEVEN new High Five badges for 5-timers: Kristin Poinar, Elizabeth Sheridan, Rach and John Cousen, Brian Maas, barkrunner Shannon, Amanda Photenhauer.

This week’s 5-timers stand out for being all from our community of distributed College Park parkrunners. Kristen Poinar was local for a while and would run with us on Saturdays, but nowadays she’s a professor in Buffalo, NY. Check out her TED Talk about what’s hidden below the Greenland Ice Sheet (4.5 million views!!!!). Elizabeth Sheridan is a Roosevelt Island parkrunner who is the most seasoned US parkrun tourist. Rach and John Cousen are regulars at our virtual sister event, Melton Mowbray parkrun. Brian Maas and barkrunner Shannon are part of Team Maas, who joined us via Carly Maas. And Amanda is part of the Lillie parkrun, Ann Arbor community, who often gets to enjoy her Saturday mornings with Emma Keer (see picture above for proof!).

We had no new 10-timers this week. Hard to believe!

We had THREE new 25-timers: Joanne Smith, Michael Phipps, and Cory Kind.

Joanne is a local runner, Prince George’s Running Club regular, and mom of barkrunner Lizzie. Joanne is yet to join us for one of our old-style events, but we’re looking forward to welcoming her (and Lizzie, of course) when we’re able to do that again.

Michael is a regular at Mansfield, OH parkrun, where he was close to earning a 50 shirt before the pandemic struck. Let’s hope that he can reach that well-deserved milestone in 2021. Mansfield, OH parkrun is a truly wonderful community event. It was the next US parkrun event to start after College Park, in January 2017. They have built a wonderful community in a small town in north central Ohio, especially welcoming to walkers and beginning runners. It is a model of grassroots public health efforts, and it has inspired other events in Ohio, in Canton and Cleveland.

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Michael is the 99th CPVper to earn a 25-timer badge

Cory was a regular at Roosevelt Island parkrun in DC before the pandemic. She is probably the only person to have ever run to College Park parkrun from another state, visiting us from Arlington, VA on foot one week. Nowadays she (and her husband and her barkrunner) are based in Detroit, MI. We love hearing from them most Saturdays.

In honor of our having run the circumference of the earth, Josh Weiss ran a circle-centric distance this week. Josh: “Since it was around the world day I made my workout in an equation. Workout was 2PiR with R=2km hard and Pi km recovery 2x. Then added 2.25km as a Warmup and Cooldown to make the total distance PiR^2.” That’s 12.57 km. Apologies for the geometry class flashbacks!

Virtual Volunteers

We are grateful to our virtual volunteers, who consist of a small core of regulars who keep things humming along almost every week, and a rotating cast of folks who pitch in for one week at a time. This week’s crew:

Katie Hirsche: results (Strava)
Tara Mease: results czar
Ellen Oberholtzer: results and cheerleading (Facebook)
Colin Phillips: propagandist and data analyst
Hannah Russell: report researcher
Anna Tinnemore: results (form)
Andrea Zukowski: email, photography

Can you help out with CPVp in the coming weeks? We’ll have 3 events in the space of 8 days from Dec 26th to Jan 2nd, so all help is welcome. In addition to the roles above, it can be very useful to have photo collectors and online cheerleaders. Drop us a line at collegepark@parkrun.com if you can help.

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Back on the injured list. Colin had to walk most of the route this week -- more time to enjoy saying hello to friends that he passed along the trail.

Barkrunners

It was a quieter week for the barkrunners this week. It’s probably related to the cold, but maybe the humans were more reluctant than the pups.

Shackleton loved his run on the snow in his dashing Christmas sweater.

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We love Shackleton's sweater. He loves running on the snow.

Eli was off exploring, as ever. In addition to the Yule Goat (see above), he stopped by to visit friends at the CPVp coffee meetup at the Discovery District Park.

Pakora went for a walk with Pratyush and Megan, and was thrilled to make a new friend at the College Park dog park. Oh to be a creature that isn’t susceptible to COVID-19!

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Pakora made a new friend

Looking Ahead

There’s an interesting piece by Timothy Egan in the NYTimes this weekend: The next 3 months are going to be pure hell. Ok, so the title is a little bit scary. Egan compares the coming winter to the winter of 1805-6 for Meriwether Lewis and William Clark. They had completed their epic journey of discovery across the US and reached the Pacific Ocean in November 1805. But before they could make the journey back east they had to hunker down through a dark wet Oregon winter, with no guarantee that they or their crew would survive.

We’re in a similar position as a nation at the end of 2020. With two vaccines now approved, and many other causes for optimism in the Washington DC region, we can look forward to a better 2021. But it’s going to be a little while before that actually happens. It will be months before enough people are vaccinated to seriously slow the spread of the virus. Many will continue to get sick or worse. Many more will continue to struggle with isolation.

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Free outdoor concert in College Park Woods on Meridith Phillips' CPVp. Things like this are going to help us through the next couple of months.

For many of our local businesses the winter is going to be even harder. Restaurants and cafes are not only closed to indoor dining at a time when outdoor dining is less popular. The local population normally thins in December-January in between semesters, but it has thinned even further this year due to the pandemic.

So, if you get a chance, do consider ordering out from a local eatery that you’d like to see thriving after the pandemic. And order through their in-house service rather than the big commercial apps that charge big fees. Here are the places that we have depended on for CP parkrun coffee over the past 5 years.

The Board and Brew has been our mainstay for much of the past 5 years. They take pickup orders and they have a number of COVID specials for 2 or 4 people that include a bonus game rental - call them on 240-542-4613 to order.

Vigilante Coffee has been a supporter of CP parkrun for a few years, regularly contributing gift cards for our volunteers. They have been very popular for our pandemic picnics. Their College Park location is open for pickup for drinks or snacks.

The Hall CP is adjacent to our current winter-friendly(-ish) meetup spot at the Discovery District Park They are open only afternoons/evenings in the coming weeks, but they have online ordering, and they have heaters on their outdoor patio.

The Bagel Place is a College Park institution that has been around for 30+ years. They are struggling to keep their team afloat right now, and started a GoFundMe that is approaching half of its target with an amazing 800 contributors so far.

Bagels ‘n Grinds is located close to the Discovery District Park, in The Hotel at UMD. We loved sitting by their fireplace after our Thanksgiving CP parkrun last year, and look forward to being able to do that again when indoor cafes are A Thing once more.

It’s going to be a hard few months for so many people, businesses, and organizations that are just trying to survive right now.

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Seen along Robin Phillips' run in Bristol, UK. A city-wide advent calendar, with new seasonal song lyrics appearing on streets or on buildings every day.

Fortunately, one thing that is not struggling to survive is our CPVp community. This far into the pandemic, we are not worried about making it through the next few months. We’re not expecting much change in how we operate before next summer. So we’re going to do our best to have fun and stay active in the meantime.

With that in mind, here are the virtual parkrunning opportunities for the holiday season. Note the extra dates.

Monday December 21st. Our friends at Lillie parkrun, Ann Arbor are holding an extra virtual parkrun to mark the winter solstice, which somehow seems extra meaningful in 2020. Nothing special going on for CPVp, but head on over to their Facebook page if you’d like to join their community on the darkest day of the year.

Friday December 25th. Our friends at Melton Mowbray parkrun in the UK -- they have kind of become our pandemic pals -- are holding a Christmas Day virtual parkrun. It’s standard in the UK for events to hold an extra parkrun on Dec 25th. This is their equivalent of our Thanksgiving special event. The action takes place on their Facebook page. Note that in order to report your activity by 8pm UK time you need to report by 3pm US Eastern.

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More from the Bristol city-wide advent calendar

December 26th: Meanwhile, back in College Park we’ll be holding CPVp #36 on Saturday 12/26, “Boxing Day”. It is still very much appropriate to wear Santa hats, ugly sweaters, elf suits, or whatever else takes your fancy.

On Dec 26th we will also be marking a milestone of sorts for this community, as it will be our 250th event in College Park, completing 5 years of meeting up every Saturday on the Paint Branch Trail. This includes the 33 meetups that we held before the official launch under the parkrun umbrella, the 181 regular CP parkrun events, and 36 pandemic events. We’re looking forward to sharing some of our favorite memories from the past 5 years, and we’re looking forward to hearing about your favorite memories.

January 1st & 2nd: Our New Year’s Day parkrun is traditionally our largest of the year. We have no intention of letting the pandemic stand in the way of celebrating the start of 2021. Safely, of course. Also, January 2nd is a Saturday. So we’ll have consecutive CPVp days, to give you an extra opportunity to work towards 50 CPVps. As we did at Thanksgiving, we’ll compile separate sets of results for the two days, but a single super-sized report.

So we have much to look forward to in the next 2 weeks, even if the holidays are far from normal in 2020.

Until next time!

Your CPVp Team

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Barkrunner Nathan sends his regards from Civitavecchia, Italy to his friends in College Park

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David and Malik ended up running an unplanned half marathon around District Heights

 

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John M and John M enjoying the Paint Branch Trail

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Gloria first got in a run with Tuffi, then went for a walk with Scruffi

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Arctic Foxy in Canton, OH

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Ich bin ein Berliner (Virtual Report 34)

Back in the beforetimes, when we used to meet up en masse at 9am on Saturdays, we would start the morning at CP parkrun Towers with an early coffee and a check on some parkrun results from Europe or further east, to see what faraway friends had already been up to that morning. We would combine that with fixing any missing finisher tokens and writing to the day’s volunteer crew.

Nowadays it’s a bit different. Some of the locals have been out for their CPVp while most of us are still sleeping. We can check the CP parkrun club feed on Strava for some inspiration. And often there’s an email waiting for us with reports on folks in faraway places who are doing CPVp.

This week we were thrilled to receive an early morning message from Germany, from Lara Ehrenhofer, one of the CPp pioneers who ran with us way back in January 2016 when we were first making plans, and who was also one of our earliest volunteers. She managed her first run in a year, and she wanted to tell us about it. Wonderful!

The nice surprises continued throughout the day, as updates arrived from CPVpers near and far, through email, Facebook, Strava, our online form, or word of mouth. Whether it’s a course record, or a family hike through Christmas lights, or a new family member, or a happy barkruner, we love hearing all of the stories. It makes it so much fun to share them in these reports.

FOR INFORMATION ON HOW CPVP WORKS SEE HERE

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Shackleton was wearing his Christmas sweater. Angela's shirt speaks for itself.

 

Facts and Figures

  • 176 virtual parkrunners
  • 710 miles covered
  • 8 first-timers
  • 6 new HIGH FIVE badges earned
  • 5 new TEN TIMER TURTLE badges earned
  • 4 new 25-TIMER badges earned
  • 17 barkrunners
  • 7 virtual volunteers

Stat(s) of the week: Diana Gough gave a stat this week that captured our imagination. Diana is one of our ever-presents at CPVp, never missing a week. She noted that she had completed 34 virtual parkruns in a little over 7 months, after completing 73 “classic” parkruns in more than 3 years.

Diana is not an outlier. A lot of parkrunners are taking part more regularly during the pandemic. We have already awarded nearly 100 25-timer badges. It took more than 2 years to reach that point in the old style parkruns. What’s different now? We find questions like that irresistible. So we did a little digging into data. Some answers below!

THIS WEEK’S RESULTS TABLE IS HERE

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When you run into a familiar face along the trail

Fog

For those of us in Maryland, it was an unusually foggy start to the day, leading to some cool scenes along the trails, as captured by Andrea’s photography.

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Ich bin ein Berliner

Lara Ehrenhofer returned to running this week in Berlin, Germany after taking a year off running from a knee injury. Lara said it’s the first time that she has run without pain since before 2016. At least there are a couple of things that have been resolved in 2020!

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Lara's PG Running Club hat is a nice touch

Lara was with us from the very start. In our 5 years there has been only one time that we ever met anywhere other than at Acredale Park. On January 23rd, 2016, our 2nd ever informal meetup, the Snowzilla storm made the local trails inaccessible. So a hardy group met up to run around the streets of University Park. Lara was among them. She was also one of our very early regular volunteers. She holds the rare distinction of marshalling at the crossing that wasn’t yet Hump’s Crossing.

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1/23/16 - the Snowzilla run. Participants: 8

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11/19/16 - At the crossing, before we had even met Hump!

Speaking of Berliners, Bud Verge had some delicious-looking donuts waiting for him after his foggy morning run. While Berliner is a name for a type of jelly doughnut in Germany, the story that German citizens in West Berlin laughed at John F Kennedy’s famous speech “Ich bin ein Berliner,” is a popular urban legend in non-German speaking countries. In reality, the audience was laughing at Kennedy joking about the interpreter translating his Boston-accented German into Berlin German. The misconception seems to have been popularized by the New York Times’ reporting on a novel set in Berlin during that time and a later op-ed criticizing the president. While the indefinite article “ein” is not grammatically necessary in the sentence, nor is it incorrect. Plus, the use of the word Berliner to describe a jelly donut wasn’t used in that part of Germany at the time. Confusingly to Americans, people in Berlin at the time would have called donuts Pfannkuchen (literally “pancakes”).

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Bud working up an appetite for pfannkuchen

Still in Berlin, this week Kazuko Yatsushiro was able to drag husband Uli along for a run around the Schlachtensee while their daughter was busy in dryland training.

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Two more Berliners. When do we get to visit again?

#2020Goals

How are those goals for 2020 that you made back in January coming along? Yeah, we’ve totally forgotten what they were, too.

But there are a few #2020Goals that were still being celebrated this week.

Zak Mellen wanted to reach the 50 parkrun milestone this year. He had 28 parkruns to his name by the time the pandemic hit. And now he has completed 22 CPVps. That counts as 50 in our book, Zak! He was also happy to pace Chris Van Vlack to his first sub-24 minute clocking. (They tell us that the pumpkin did not join for the run.)

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Nice touch with the red shirt for your 50th run, Zak

Brian Rosenberg (Duane’s nephew) has been joining us regularly from the Harrisburg, PA area, as part of the Team Rosenberg powerhouse. Brian has a pretty good history as a runner. One year he won the Baltimore Marathon. But in the pandemic he has been running every week with his son Peter, and now also his wife Jessica. And we hear that Peter wanted dad to get the course record. (Which was recently taken by a guy from a team with a turnaround marshal in a kangaroo onesie.) Brian is an accountant, so we hear that his training takes a hit when tax season starts. So this was the perfect week. And he did it! His 16:33 time took about 10 seconds from the previous CPVp record.

We are also thrilled that Joan Heffernan knocked one of her 2020 goals out of the park. Joan is one of our CPVp ever-presents, joining us every week from Suffield, CT. We got to know Joan via her amazing daughter Cathryn Burby, who was involved in the earliest plans for parkruns in the DMV and who is now event director at Renton parkrun in the Seattle area. Joan visited us just once in College Park, back in February. She came to running later than most, but she has made great strides. In the spring she shared with us that one of her goals was to run a full 5K without stopping before turning 70. Well, she turned 70 this week, on December 15th. And she has met her goal many times over. To celebrate her birthday she ran 8 miles! And she sent us this picture of a birthday gift from Cathryn: a CP Virtual parkrun apricot shirt. Joan: happy birthday, and a big virtual high five. We just love what you’ve achieved!

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70 is the new 34. Happy birthday, Joan!

Supporting Local Businesses

With COVID-19 hospitalizations at record levels in Maryland, state and local leaders have placed new restrictions on businesses. We understand the need, and we also feel the pain of the wonderful local businesses that pay the price for these restrictions.

December and January are difficult months for local businesses, even in a normal year. It’s cold and dark. The student population has thinned out. In 2020 it’s a whole lot more difficult. Fewer students, More distancing. Now no more indoor dining.

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We encourage everybody to support the local businesses that they want to still be with us when the pandemic recedes next summer. We will be beating a drum for them, especially over the next 6 weeks between the semesters.

Our social-but-distanced meetup this week tried out the Discovery District Park next to The Hall CP. We have met up for 4 months in the pocket park behind The Board and Brew and Vigilante. It’s a lovely spot by the Paint Branch Stream, but it’s also becoming a bit of a wind tunnel in the winter. The Discovery District Park is a new public gathering spot, opened early in the year, thanks to UMD and the Terrapin Development Corp. Free parking. Tables and benches, with covid-friendly spacing. Sunlight. It’s nice!

We’ll probably try this spot in the coming weeks. But please continue to support your favorite local coffee spots and brunch places. They need us more than ever.

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The Discovery District Park. This spot could grow on us.

Venues

Steve Feld ran at Mt Trashmore in Virginia Beach. The hill is part of the country’s first landfill-to-park experiment. Featuring a 60 ft high mountain, along with a smaller mound and two lakes, the park was created in the early 1970s by compacting garbage with layers of soil to repurpose the area that had been a landfill previously. Today the park has landscaping that requires little water and serves as a reminder of the damage we have done, and continue to do, to the environment, but also of the fact that we can try to fix some of the harm already inflicted.

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Stefano Gazzano’s travels this week took him to Capodimonte, a town on the volcanic Lake Bolsena. It looks like a spectacular spot for a run. (And don't worry, the last volcanic eruption was in 104 AD.) [Note that in an earlier version of this report we talked about the attractions of a different Capodimonte, near Naples. So now we know that there are two!]

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Lakeside trail at Capodimonte

Meridith Phillips’ run in Nags Head, NC revealed a crowd that reminded her of the parkrun starting lines on Saturday mornings. At least the birds still get to all hang out together!

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Just like Acredale Park on a Saturday morning, but noisier

Frank Snyder managed another 5K in his home’s hallway in Gaithersburg, MD. We hope you’ll be released from quarantine soon, Frank!

Team Schneider decided to wait until after sunset and do a night walk to look at Christmas lights. They walked 2.5 miles, the longest distance for mom Erin since her foot surgery in October.

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Rebecca, Joe, and Olivia (barkrunner) White, went for a photography walk in College Park.

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Barkrunner Eli’s discovery of the week was Garden Movement I, a Traffic Box Art Wrap in Riverdale Park. The public art project prints local artists’ designs on vinyl and adds them to the traffic boxes at intersections to add some joy and color to the neighborhood.

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Milestones and More

This week we welcomed EIGHT first-timers: Joan Richards-Gordon, Lara Ehrenhofer, Robin Marshall-Walukonis, Laura Kaegebein, Abby Abass, Leo (barkrunner), Theresa Sims, and Nemo (barkrunner).

Laura is the sister of CP mayor Patrick Wojahn, who joined us from Maple Grove, MN, where she enjoyed a walk with her mom and CPVp regular Karen Wojahn.

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Welcome Laura!

Abby and Theresa were part of a happy band of Prince George’s Running Club members who were enjoying the trails on Saturday morning.

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Robin was navigating the beach with foggy glasses in Ocean Pines, MD.

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And Joan was putting down a speedy 5K on the CP parkrun course.

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We have SIX new high-five badges to award for 5-timers: Greg Ervin, Dolly (barkrunner), Andrea Maas, Deb Tinnemore, Keirston Woods, and Zebi Brown.

This is a geographically distributed bunch. Greg is based in Ohio, but visits us in College Park whenever he is in town. He’s a super speedy septuagenarian who always has a big smile on his face.

Barkrunner Dolly was enjoying a leisurely walk with Rory Murphy in New Jersey. Dolly used to be a regular in College Park when she lived in Maryland. Deb Tinnemore (Anna’s mom) was joining from Shelton, WA.

Andrea Maas (Carly’s mom) went out on her regular Saturday run with Michelle Caffee Phillips in Greensboro, NC, where they met a mechanical Santa. No social distancing required there. We’re thrilled to hear from Team Maas in NC, and they’re probably excited to have Carly back for the holidays this week, after completing a first semester in grad school in College Park.

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What's even better than meeting a mechanical Santa along your route?

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Having your daughter back home to run with you next week! Happy holidays, Carly, and we'll see you back in College Park in January.

FIVE earned a ten-timer turtle badge this week: Rachel Lukens, Ginny Fromel, Eileen Sullivan, Scruffi (barkrunner), and Tucker (barkrunner). The humans in this group are all locals who were out enjoying the trails in and around College Park on this spectacular weekend. (Yes, it seems like a distant memory now.)

And we added FOUR more people to the distinguished group of 25-timers, all earning birthday cake badges in our results tables. (The birthday cake is because CPVp #25 came on our anniversary.) Drumroll for: Matt Kaplan, Robert Bernhard, Catherine Spirito, Pete Monacelli.

If you’re looking for Matt on a Saturday morning, you can probably find him at the Paint Branch Trail. We say “probably” because he’s generally taking extra spurs or loops to get in a couple more miles, so you might miss him. If you’re looking for Robert, you should look in Catonsville, close to the UMBC campus. Robert started joining us regularly in College Park in February, and then the pandemic hit. We hope that it won’t be too long before he can get to join us in person again.

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25-timer cake badge for Matt

Catherine and Pete hold the distinction of being the last people to earn 50 shirts at an in-person CP parkrun. On a chilly day at the start of March, when we were taking anti-covid countermeasures that seem quaint at this point.

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March 7th 2020. Our last in person CPp.

It’s beginning to look a lot like …

If you are on Facebook, we highly recommend the virtual parkrun briefing from our friends at Melton Mowbray Virtual parkrun this week.

One of the charming features of MMVp is their weekly mystery run director, who gives a live video message at 9am on Facebook Live. In recent weeks they have featured sporting legends and local heroes, as well as prominent members of their parkrun community. Our own Colin Phillips did the briefing in the dark on Halloween. This week Debbie Longley upstaged everyone who had gone before.

Check it out ...

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Debbie Longley is a hard act to follow

Virtual Volunteers

Please give a socially distanced high five to this week’s virtual volunteer crew. CPVp is a lot of fun, but it’s much less automated than classic CPp, so we are super happy to have a team of volunteers every week, pulling together all of the great material that you send us.

Angela Gentile: results (Facebook)
Katie Hirsche: results (Strava)
Tara Mease: results guru
Colin Phillips: social media, reporting
Hannah Russell: reporting and research
Anna Tinnemore: results (form)
Andrea Zukowski: email, photography

Can you help out with CPVp in the coming weeks? We’ll have 4 events in the space of 15 days from Dec 19th to Jan 2nd, so all help is welcome. In addition to the roles above, it can be very useful to have photo collectors and online cheerleaders. Drop us a line at collegepark@parkrun.com if you can help.

Barkrunners

The beautiful weather brought the barkrunners out in force this week, accounting for nearly 10% of participants this week.

First-timer Leo kept Kristie on her toes.

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First-timer Nemo took Hump for a walk along the trail. Nemo has little legs, so it probably felt like longer.

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Tuffi and Scruffi were in the mood for a bit of bird watching.

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Eli was soaking up the attention from his fans at the Discovery District Park.

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Roo was posing for atmospheric shots in the cool lighting.

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Looking Ahead

There’s no real news on the return-to-classic-parkrun front this week. Yes, there are continued returns of events in some parts of the world, such as some of the more remote events in Russia. But that has little bearing on what will happen here.

It is now clear that our path in 2021 will be shaped by the rollout of the various coronavirus vaccines, and how quickly that allows society to reopen. It’s likely that COVID-19 fatalities will begin to fall over the next couple of months as vaccines reach the most vulnerable people. But this could easily be accompanied by an increase in cases if this leads to less caution. Stopping the spread of the virus will require a large portion of the population to be vaccinated. That will put us well into 2021.

Recognizing this time horizon, some Maryland parks departments have already canceled event permits through Spring 2021. It is looking likely that we will get to celebrate the first anniversary of CPVp on May 1st. By that time maybe we’ll at least have enough people vaccinated that we can share some cake.

We’re going to be parkrunning virtually for a while yet.

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We hope that nurse Janet will be among the earliest to get vaccinated. And maybe it's not too far off that she'll be able to run again with her daughter and grandson (Tara & Xander).

So this takes us to the question that Diana Gough inspired. Why do we see so many more regulars now than in our face-to-face events? And who are we serving and not serving in these unusual times with our unusual format?

This is of more than passing interest, as clearly something is working well. It’s hard to come up with other running/walking events that have actually grown in the pandemic. It’s also just as clear that we’re not supporting everybody who we were serving with our face-to-face events.

A couple of rough data points on regular participation.

After 34 virtual parkruns, just shy of 100 have earned a 25-timer badge.

After 181 in person College Park parkruns, there were 170 25-timers. The 100 most regular participants all had completed at least 40 CPps by the time we transitioned to virtual events in the spring.

That’s a big difference. We’re seeing far more regulars far more quickly in CPVp. Why is that? Is it just that it’s a more established community, or has something else changed? By our *rough* estimates, among the CPVp 25-timers:

41% are pre-existing regulars
32% benefit from greater flexibility
16% are remote participants
8% find the virtual events more accessible
3% are barkrunners

The pre-existing regulars are folks who were coming along to CPp most weeks already. They’re continuing their routine, more or less, during the pandemic. There are many of these, but they’re a minority of the CPVp regulars. Around a third of CPVp regulars are people who likely benefit from the greater flexibility of the virtual format. They can choose different times of day, fitting around family or work commitments. They don’t need to choose between parkrun and a long run or a family walk or another race. In the virtual format, it all counts! A sixth of the CPVp regulars are folks who are far away and could not join us in person. These are a wonderful addition to the community.

8% of regulars are people who we suspect welcome the greater accessibility of the virtual format, either because 5K is further than they want, or because they prefer not to walk or run in something that looks rather like a race. This is likely an underestimate of the overall number of people in this category. So far, just a couple of the 25-timers are barkrunners, whose participation wasn’t recorded in the beforetimes. This is also likely an underestimate, as more barkrunners have joined regularly as the year has progressed.

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Great to see Michelle back on the trail after injury

So, the virtual format has clearly allowed us to regularly reach a lot of people who we couldn’t support so well before.

But what of the regulars at CP parkrun? How many from that community are we serving in the virtual format?

Based on a very rough categorization of the 100 most regular CP parkrunners, i.e., the 40-timers, we estimate the following:

45% are CPVp regulars
20% are CPVp occasionals
35% do not participate in CPVp

It’s no surprise that we’re not reaching everyone. We were pretty skeptical of virtual events ourselves at the start of the pandemic. The virtual events are just different, and there are some things that they just can’t replace.

There are some patterns in the folks who we are less likely to see in the virtual events: children and teens; people for whom English is not their primary language; and people who are more reserved or are not following our online communications.

Thanks to Diana for inspiring us to look into this. The bottom line: the shift to a virtual format has altered the community. Many people are in some ways better served than before. Or, at least, better able to participate regularly. At the same time, many are served less well, as they find the features of the in person events non-negotiable. There are surely lessons in all this that we can carry forward beyond the pandemic.

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Eddie embracing the misty morning

So much for the data geekery, what’s happening the next few weeks?

December 19th: We know that you like to dress up. So let’s see your Santa hats, holiday lights, ugly sweaters, or whatever else gets you in the right mood. Also, we will complete a full circumnavigation of the earth, i.e., 40,075 km. That’s not bad for 34 Saturdays (and one Thursday).

December 26th: The day after Christmas will be our 250th event since we started meeting at Acredale Park in January 2016. We plan to make a fuss about this. (And the seasonal garb is still very much in vogue on 12/26.)

January 1st & 2nd: Our New Year’s Day parkrun is traditionally our largest of the year. We have no intention of letting the pandemic stand in the way of celebrating the start of 2021. Safely, of course. And January 2nd is a Saturday. So we’ll have consecutive CPVp days, to give you an extra opportunity to work towards 50 CPVps.

So yeah, it’s going to be colder for a while. But that’s not going to slow us down.

Until next time!

Your CPVp Team

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Can't argue with that

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Anne's new kicks are pretty spectacular

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... maybe ideal for dusk run/walks with Louise

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Jenny Kent captured this rainbow on her virtual parkrun in Melton Mowbray

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We're cheering for you all the way

 

Glass Half Full (Virtual Report 33)

“We got our feet wet at Tornado Alley, turned around at the small pond around the bend, went back the other direction, misjudged the distance, and ended up with a nice long walk on a beautiful morning!”

Anna Tinnemore’s summary of her walk with Bonnie and Mike McClellan pretty much captures the mood of CP Virtual parkrun #33.

Our favorite trail was flooded, leading to some cold, wet feet. A chilly wind had us reaching for hats, coats, and blankets. Some were dealing with ice and early winter storms. And the past 2 days saw as many new COVID-19 cases in Maryland as we would see in a typical 2-week period in late summer and early fall. Not so great.

But we basically never hear, “I wish I hadn’t gone out for a walk/run today,” whatever the weather. You only regret it if it gets you injured. And so many people were out there embracing the elements, finding the positives in the things or the people they saw. It was a glass half full kind of day.

And we have plenty else related to hydration in this week’s report. So read on and see what happened at CPVp #33.

FOR INFORMATION ON HOW CPVP WORKS SEE HERE

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Wet feet? No problem. Returning from injury, and looking forward to donuts - perfect!

Facts and Figures

Back to more manageable numbers this week, after last week’s Thanksgiving double.

  • 175 virtual parkrunners
  • 700 miles covered
  • 3 first-timers
  • 2 new HIGH FIVE badges earned
  • 1 new TEN TIMER TURTLE badges earned
  • 6 new 25-TIMER badges earned
  • 11 barkrunners
  • 8 virtual volunteers

Stat(s) of the week: With 33 CP Virtual parkruns under our belts, we have now held the same number of events during the pandemic as we held back in 2016 when we were getting this community started.

As we worked through the various logistical steps needed to make College Park parkrun an approved, insured, and supported event we gathered every Saturday at 9am for a super low-key 5-ish run. Average weekly attendance: 8.

We’ll have more to say in the coming weeks about those earliest days, as we’ll have some milestones to celebrate. But suffice to say that those early experiences helped to prepare us for keeping things going during this pandemic.

THIS WEEK’S RESULTS TABLE IS HERE

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in honor of our 33rd CP Virtual parkrun ... and Lori's favorite Orioles player, we think

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May 2016, one of our 33 proto-parkruns, with an unusually large turnout of 10

Glass Half Full

Heavy rains fell overnight in College Park, but cleared up by dawn, leaving flooding in predictable places on the Paint Branch Trail.

Some chose to splash through the Rather Large Puddles.

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This was the smaller and shallower "water features" on the Paint Branch Trail

Many others took advantage of the new connector trail to the College Park Woods neighborhood. This week confirmed our suspicion that the new trail has excellent drainage. We look forward to using it in the future on days when the main Paint Branch Trail is inaccessible due to flooding or snow.

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No problem. Try the new College Park Woods Connector Trail instead!

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The new trail is in great shape, and well drained

We love the many improvements that have been made to our trails in the past year. We’d also love to see a couple of fixes that would remedy these frequent flooding spots.

Meridith Phillips was also enjoying her CPVp with a lot of water for company. Meridith has decamped to Nags Head, NC for a while, where she has the windswept beaches to herself.

Cindy Cohen is navigating icy roads in Idaho.

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Cindy Cohen encountered another kind of precipitation in Idaho

And Joan Heffernan was dodging an early season nor’easter in Connecticut.

Stefano Gazzano continued his Etruscan tour, this time visiting the old town of Tarquinia. Legend has it the town was founded towards the end of the Bronze Age and became part of the Roman Empire in 204 BCE. It boasts a UNESCO-listed necropolis, and the best Etruscan museum outside of Rome (according to Lonely Planet). Stefano sent us some lovely pictures, including this one of Porta Castello (Castle Gate).

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More Water Fun

Many of our running routes in the DC area follow the creeks that drain into the Potomac- CP parkrun’s Paint Branch flows into the Anacostia before joining the Potomac, and Roosevelt Island is right in the middle of the Potomac. Those creeks were raging torrents after the heavy rains. While runners were getting in their virtual parkruns along Rock Creek, kayakers were enjoying a little white water. Known for its winding route and fast-flowing waters, Rock Creek is a favorite for those looking for a bit more adventure. This weekend certainly delivered on that!

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This was normally quiet Rock Creek on Saturday morning, as captured by Evan Hirsche

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Some of you enjoy the puddles even more than others

And keeping on the theme of water, barkrunner Eli continued our education on local sights by checking out the mural dedicated to the Edmonston “Archimedes screw”. The first one used on the East Coast of the US, Edmonston’s Archimedes Screw was installed after a series of floods between 2003-2006. The ancient technology developed by Archimedes carries water up from low lying areas, allowing Edmonston to move water from the NE branch of the Anacostia into a reservoir as part of its levy system. The NE branch levy system is being raised as a result of increased flooding due to climate change, but the Archimedes Screws are still holding strong!

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Eli keeps on educating us!

Some surprises

As happens in many weeks, co-event director Andrea left a chalk message and a box of chalk at the start line in Acredale Park and then set off with her camera in search of parkrunners and nature. She was surprised to find a new chalk message when she returned, pointing to a package left by the trail. What could it be?

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Somebody must know where to find Andrea on a Saturday morning.

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Perfect! A pandemic's supply of sidewalk chalk. (Thanks Lisa!)

Andrea isn’t the only CPVp regular with a birthday this week. John Ramsey turns 60 and enters a new age group on Tuesday. Congratulations, John!

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New age category coming up for John Ramsey

Speaking of birthdays, we had an actual birth to celebrate this week. CP parkrun regular and member of the Anne Arundel parkrun development crew Jessica Gerbig gave birth to a son this week. Welcome to the world Nicholas, and congratulations to the whole family! This includes congratulations to Gus Campbell on a new grandchild and to Brian and Jen Murphy on a new nephew. Fabulous!

For a different kind of surprise, tune into the Washington Post’s "Post Reports" podcast for Tuesday December 1st (“Why was Iran’s top nuclear scientist killed?”). We were pleasantly surprised to hear a feature interview with CP parkrun regular Steve Hendrix, who is currently WaPo Jerusalem bureau chief.

Milestones and More

This week two people earned a HIGH FIVE badge for their 5th time with us. Mariángel Villalobos is a UMD grad student who this week did her CPVp while exploring the Capital Crescent Trail in Bethesda. Dennis Wojahn is honorary “first dad” of College Park. We’re delighted to see that he’s now joining us regularly from Green Bay, WI, where he joins his wife Karen for her weekly CPVp.

Kris Sooklal was this week’s one new 10-timer, exploring trails in Alexandria, VA.

And we had a strong crop of SIX new 25-timers: Luther Lemon, Brian Rosenberg, Neha Joshi, Anne L’Ecuyer, Carly Mills, and barkrunner Shackleton.

We love that this group brings all kinds of family connections to the community.

Carly had done a lot of CP parkruns before the pandemic, having found us via her sister Erin Munsell, who in turn found us via her aunt Cindy Conant. Shackleton has been to many CP parkruns in the beforetimes, but we’re not sure how many, because poor barkrunners were not independently counted. What we do know is that Shackleton’s human Angela was super close to earning a 50 shirt before the shutdown.

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Shackleton is halfway to earning his CPVp 50 badge

Neha and Luther joined us a few times for the in person events, but they have become super regulars in 2020. Luther is typically getting out on a Saturday with a few family members. Neha is a UMD grad student who regularly does CPVp with husband Yogarshi Vyas, not infrequently with Vigilante Coffee as a well chosen turnaround point. And now her parents Hemant and Vidya have started joining us from Pune, India. Fabulous!

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How to celebrate your 25th CPVp on a cold, windy day? Trip to Vigilante, of course!

Anne and Brian fall squarely in the “silver lining” category of people who we now look forward to hearing from every week but who we had never met before the pandemic. Anne started joining us regularly in the early summer when we were doing our virtual civil rights history tour. She has been out there almost every Saturday since then. Brian is part of the branch of Team Rosenberg in Pennsylvania. Brian is Duane Rosenberg’s nephew. HIs son Peter and wife Jessica are now regular CPVpers too, so we’ll have more cake badges to send to Mechanicsburg in the coming weeks.

Congratulations to all! With a few more months of the pandemic to go, we’re hoping to see many of these earning he next level of badge … including the as-yet mythical CPVp 50 badge.

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If virtual parkruns always end at a playground, Daschiell is all in favor of the parents taking part every week.

Virtual Volunteers

As always, we could not do these events without a weekly crew of virtual volunteers. This week’s crew was:

Katie Hirsche: results
Tim Keer: results and cheerleading
Tara Mease: results guru
Colin Phillips: report and propaganda
Hannah Russell: report
Lisa Shiota: results
Anna Tinnemore: results
Andrea Zukowski: email

Thanks to Lisa and Tim for joining our team of regulars. Lisa is a local, who gathered activities recorded via Strava. Tim joined us from Michigan, and gathered Facebook activities. Tim is a regular at Livonia parkrun and Lillie parkrun, Ann Arbor, where his daughter Emma is the brains and the energy behind Lillie Virtual parkrun. Tim has visited College Park just a couple of times before, but he has made huge contributions behind the scenes to our understanding of how to build a healthy community.

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Discover thyself!

Barkrunners

Our barkrunners are full of wisdom on how to live a healthy, happy life, even during a pandemic. Lots of walks and runs are important. As are plentiful snacks. And don’t forget the naps. Rest and recovery is a key part of any successful training plan.

Shackleton was looking dapper in his Christmas bowtie this week. After running through puddles on the flooded trail, he enjoyed some well deserved rest on the sofa!

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Shackleton wore a bow tie for the occasion. Not everybody dresses up so well when they earn a CPVp 25-timer badge. We approve!

Pakora also understands the necessity of naps after a 3 mile run.

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Jasper and Whistler (whose humans are Tim Keer and Jeri Gallant Keer), skipped the run altogether and went straight to the comfort of a good sofa.

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Shannon walked 2 miles with her human Brian Maas, a good distance for the 11 year old barkrunner!

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Looking Ahead

CP parkrun will be back to something more like “normal”. Eventually. But that’s going to take a while yet. We’ll be happy if on Memorial Day weekend 2021 we are all gathering at Acredale Park, instead of holding what will otherwise be CP Virtual parkrun #59. We’re not counting on that happening.

In broader parkrun world there is gradual return of events. This weekend saw around 25,000 take part in 250 events, almost all in Australia and New Zealand. Our friend Mary Botto, a Marylander and Terp alum who is event director at Mosman parkrun in Sydney, can now look forward to a return to parkrunning in January. There are rumors of the return of junior parkrun in the UK early in 2021. But no changes are imminent in the US or Prince George’s County any time soon. And for good reason.

It is 100% certain that we will be parkrunning virtually through the next 3+ months of winter. So our top priority is to keep moving, to stay safe and healthy, and to stay sane over these tough few months, to take us to CPVp #50, which you can mark in your diaries for March 27th, 2021.

The single biggest factor in keeping this community active is you. Your encouragement of family, friends and neighbors makes a huge difference. And when you share your stories and support others, that keeps everybody going.

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Here are some coming attractions over the next month.

December 12th: We’ll be holding a semi-virtual send-off for Neil Jograj and Julie Russell, who are relocating to Georgia. Few people embody the glass half full attitude as much as these two. Read their story here: Nobody left behind (parkrun USA blog).

December 12th or 19th: When we combine the distances covered in CPVp we are just 1500 km short of a complete circumnavigation of the earth, i.e., 40,075 km. 1500 km is a stretch for one week, but an easy ask for 2 weeks.

December 26th: The day after Christmas will be our 250th event since we started meeting at Acredale Park in January 2016. We plan to make a fuss about this.

January 1st & 2nd: Our New Year’s Day parkrun is traditionally our largest of the year. We have no intention of letting the pandemic stand in the way of celebrating the start of 2021. Safely, of course. And January 2nd is a Saturday. So we’ll have consecutive CPVp days, to give you an extra opportunity to work towards 50 CPVps.

So yeah, it’s going to be colder for a while. But that’s not going to slow us down.

Until next time!

Your CPVp Team

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The days are short in December. Mood lighting for Louise Godley's CPVp.

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If December brings dark days, then fight back with bright clothing! Good idea, Melanie!

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Heather jingled all the way this week

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Katie putting down this week's fastest CPVp in Rock Creek Park

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Dave is pretty happy that his daughter and running buddy Alyssa is back from college

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Dami and Andres ran a half marathon around BWI Airport. It was supposed to be around the perimeter, but a wrong turn took them to the terminal building. No problem!

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When you can stalk deer on your virtual parkrun, life is good, according to Foxy.

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When you pose a question, and the response comes in the form of song lyrics.

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Ok, so Janet's weather for her CPVp in Honolulu was pretty darn tolerable

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Keep on smiling, everybody. See you next week!

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

FOR INFORMATION ON HOW CPVP WORKS SEE HERE
FOR OUR WEEKLY RESULTS FORM CLICK HERE

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

Facts and Figures

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

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

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

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

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

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

RESULTS FOR CP VIRTUAL TURKEY TROT (CPVp 31)
RESULTS FOR CP VIRTUAL PARKRUN 32

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

Family Affair

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Team Hernández was out in force on Saturday

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

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The Kaczmarski enjoyed spreading the gratitude along the trail

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

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Theodore: "I am grateful for my family." 

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Fiona left encouragement for mom

Hump left a chalk message too.

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

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The Sisan family trivia board is updated daily during the pandemic

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

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

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

#JustKeepRunning

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

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

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

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Congratulations, Paul!

Tour de DMV

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

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

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

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Impressive tour, Sol and Terri!

New Signs

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

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

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

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Tara and Xander ran into themselves on the trail!

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Lori loves her picture. Thanks, Zoe!

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

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

All around the world

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

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Welcome Hemant and Vidya!

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

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

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

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Happy Thanksgiving from Sydney, Australia

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

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It's early summer in Uruguay

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

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

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

Milestones and More

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Welcome Caitlin!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Dami can jump!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Gwyneth and Mariella decorating the trail

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

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

Almost a record

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

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

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

Virtual Volunteers

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

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

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

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

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

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

Barkrunners

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

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

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That's a good thing to be thankful for

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

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Pakora earned his 10-timer badge

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

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Swim-run virtual duathlon for Sophie!

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

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Eli and Murphy enjoyed getting together for the holiday.

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

Looking Ahead

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Until next time!

Your CPVp Team

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Happy Thanksgiving, Jackie!

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

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

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

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

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

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See you next week!

 

Return of the Jedi (Virtual Report 30)

Light may be starting to appear at the end of this dark tunnel. But there’s still plenty of darkness left to navigate. We’ll have much more thanking to do in the coming week. But we are glad that CP Virtual parkrun has been one of the lanterns that has helped us through this year.

This week was a case in point. The pandemic is hitting Maryland hard as fall turns towards winter. More parts of life are closing down again. One parkrunner learned of the passing of a family member due to COVID during their run this week. Things are rough right now.

But at the same time you inspired us with your smiles, with your creative pictures and observations, with your support for friends and family, and with your funny hats. Some of you ran further or faster than ever. Others reached milestones or joined us for the first time. A few people were returning after injury. We had many reasons to look on the brighter side. Not to mention that the timeline for the retreat of the pandemic is starting to look clearer.

So what went down at CP Virtual parkrun #30? Yes, it’s thirty weeks already.

FOR INFORMATION ON HOW CPVP WORKS SEE HERE

FOR INFORMATION ON OUR TURKEY TROT SEE HERE

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Great to see Gus Campbell back on the trail this week

Facts and Figures

  • 163 virtual parkrunners
  • 630 miles covered
  • 3 first-timers
  • 5 new HIGH FIVE badges earned
  • 7 new TEN TIMER TURTLE badges earned
  • 5 new 25-TIMER badges earned
  • 12 barkrunners
  • 5 virtual volunteers

Stat of the week: On Thanksgiving 2019, College Park parkrun saw a record number of finishers -- 249 in total -- with visitors from other states and even other corners of the world, including Australia and Europe. It seemed rather exotic.

Who would have thought that welcoming regulars from around the country and around the world would be a rather normal thing in 2020!

THIS WEEK’S RESULTS TABLE IS HERE

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Wait, that's not the virtual Lisa. It's the REAL Lisa!

Return of the Jedi

There were a few familiar faces who haven’t been seen at Acredale Park in a while. Barkrunner Sophie was excited to see some old friends.

Sam Phipps was also back at the trail. Though he might not have been entirely sure of that, as his glasses were fogged up behind his mask.

They were there for a reason, to support Katie Hirsche in another successful tilt at a new female course record for CP parkrun. Sam’s role: pacer, together with Brian Murphy and Tomas Marambio.

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Katie's pace crew. All in black, with masks. Welcome to 2020, folks!

Sophie’s role: look sad when she couldn’t sprint off down the trail with the runners. Then perk right up when she got to chase frisbees after the run.

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Welcome back, Sophie!

It worked! Katie and Sam finished together in 18:34, taking just one second from Katie’s course record set just a month ago. Congratulations, Katie! For Sam it was a welcome return to speedy running after injury. And for Tomas it was his fastest 5K since February. He has been a regular CPVPer throughout the pandemic, but it’s easier to go faster when there are folks to chase.

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New female course record for Katie (18:34). Return to fast running for Sam.

Other returners this week included Ann Robinson in Mansfield, OH, who is back in action after ankle surgery, and was able to walk a couple of miles. And in Washington DC Michelle Brandy got in her first run with us since a fall on the Wilson Bridge on Labor Day put her out of commission.

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Welcome back from surgery, Ann

We’re not quite sure what the opposite of a comeback is, but Simon Wraight and Paul Wester’s running streaks might count. Simon’s Saturday run completed a 2-year streak of uninterrupted running every day. Paul is just a couple of days away from completing a whole year of getting outside every day. In all weathers. Often in the dark.

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Paul's 1-year run streak is almost complete. He has the BEST collection of UMD masks.

Joe Fox got out to the track to lay down his first ever sub 30-minute 5K.

And Neha Josh completed her first ever 10km run.

Congratulations to all!

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First sub 30 for Joe!

Travelers

Because we can’t travel to new places right now, we always enjoy stories (and pictures) from our parkrun community all over the world. It’s a good way to live vicariously while we’re stuck at home!

Meridith Phillips was in Nags Head, NC, running along the beach, with only a few stops along the way to pick up shells.

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No need to hurry with views like this

Eddie Matus ran along the coast in Montevideo, Uruguay, managing to run under 25 minutes even against the wind.

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Or like this

Stefano Gazzano took some lovely pictures while on a night time run in Civitavecchia, Italy.

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Or like this. In fact, how about a little something to eat?

Külli Crespin ran on her treadmill to practice social distancing, but was missing the parkrun community. Her solution? Run while watching a video of parkrun! This particular one is from Rickmansworth, England.

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Whoa. Looks a little crowded at the start of Külli's CPVp this week. Watching a parkrun video while running on your treadmill in a virtual parkrun is like double-virtual parkrun.

Mike and Bonnie McClellan and Anna Tinnemore were out on the Paint Branch Trail as usual for an early 5K before most other parkrunners arrived. But this week they tested out a new route. With the new connector trail that links to their neighborhood, they no longer need to drive to the park. They can simply head out of the front door. Nice!

Jenny Kent is a strong contender for “most civilized virtual parkrun” of the week. She went for a 5 mile walk with a friend, followed by tea and ice cream. The walk went by the Stapleford Park estate in Melton Mowbray, UK, complete with an idyllic thatched cottage.

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Looks like the set for a Miss Marple murder. But it's the route for Jenny Kent's virtual parkrun this week. Not forgetting the tea and ice cream. We approve!

Watkins Regional Park has their annual Festival of Lights display starting the Friday after Thanksgiving. This year they held a socially distanced version of their popular annual Trot for a Turkey 5K, which is a unique event running in the dark under the light displays. We heard from a few parkrunners who were there. They included Joanne Smith and Ginny Fromel, plus barkrunner Lizzie, and Team Aguilera Kelley, who were looking especially dashing in their light-up turkey hats. (We look forward to seeing those hats at a CP parkrun on the regular trail one day in the future.)

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The award for best headgear of the week goes to Team Aguilera Kelley.

Meanwhile, Team Lemon was again feeling very appreciative of Grandma. Fiona and Daschiell got to enjoy the playground, while mom and dad got to enjoy runs sans stroller along Rock Creek.

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Starting your virtual parkrun at a playground is a GREAT idea!

Losses and in memoriam

Anne L’Ecuyer would normally be in Tucson, AZ this time of year, cheering on family as they bike the Tour de Tucson in memory of her brother, Paul. This year since she couldn’t be there in person, she ran Sligo Creek and had The Cars on rotation.

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Anne ran in memory of her brother Paul

Our Melton Mowbray parkrun friends were holding their annual “purple day”, virtually of course. This a celebration of ever-present volunteer Ray Walker who passed away a couple of years ago after a short bout with pancreatic cancer. This Saturday is the first one after World Pancreatic Cancer Day, and purple is the anointed color. Melton parkrunner (and also uber-volunteer) Nina Snowling ran their course dressed in purple, and also passed by the park bench that the parkrunners erected overlooking the end of their course. Lovely.

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Nina wore her purple shirt ... actually, it's her "Nina's Hill" shirt. We think it's the Melton Mowbray equivalent of Hump's Crossing. With less beard.

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Melton Mowbray parkrunners erected this bench in memory of a much loved volunteer

We also know that losses are happening all around us right now. One parkrunner received the news during their run this week that a grandparent had died from COVID. We know that many others are struggling, or have relatives who are sick or afraid. It’s hard right now. Let’s hope that we can make it through these next few months.

Milestones and More

This week saw THREE first-time CPVpers. Welcome to Andrea Maas, a.k.a. Carly’s mom, who joined from Greensboro, NC. Andrea shared that she and some buddies do regular Saturday morning runs then gather outdoors around a fire pit in the evening to trade stories. Sounds perfect!

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We don't have a picture of Andrea Maas. But we figured she'd be happy to see a picture of daughter Carly zooming along the trail. Welcome, Andrea!

Thomas Symer must have been inspired by dad Derek and sister Lilian’s appearance on our Thanksgiving flyer, as he joined them on the Paint Branch Trail this week for their first CPVp.

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Team Symer enjoying the Paint Branch Trail

And last but not least, we were joined by new barkrunner Belle, who enjoyed a walk with her barkrunner pal Tuffi in Rehoboth, DE.

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Ten-timer Tuffi got to do a virtual parkrun with new barkrunner Belle.

Welcome, and we hope to see all of you again!

FIVE parkrunners earned high-five badges for their 5th CPVp. We already mentioned that Michelle Brandy was returning from injury. Becky Widman was out enjoying the awesome running weather. Megan Newcombe took a stroll with barkrunner Pakora. And Patty Hall took a stroll with barkrunner Jude.

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Patty and barkrunner Jude enjoying the trail

SEVEN earned their 10-timer turtle badges: Mika Sauerland, Janel Niska, Jim Linn, Paolo Giulio Gazzano, Sam Phipps, barkrunner Tuffi, and Jessica Rosenberg.

Mika joined her mom Kazuko Yatushiro for a lap around the Schlachtensee lake in western Berlin, which looks rather pretty.

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Schlachtensee in Berlin. 5K per loop. Great place for Mika to earn her turtle badge.

We’re thrilled to see that Jessica has now reached her 10th CPVp. She now runs regularly with her son Peter, occasionally with husband Brian along for the ride, around their neighborhood in Mechanicsburg, PA. We hope that they will all come visit uncle Duane in DC some time. Especially if it is on a Saturday, when we’re able to come together again.

This week we conferred FIVE new 25-timer badges. Alyssa Heintzelman is back in College Park after an unusual semester at college in St Mary’s City, where she has continued to fly the CPVp flag. Külli Crespin has continued flying the CPVp flag throughout the pandemic, even during a few weeks back home in Estonia. And Lucy Younes has been a regular smiling presence on the trail, usually with sidekick Laurie Fisher.

Special kudos to Samantha and Mary Clare Schneider, who were this week’s “virutal tailwalkers” on their 25th CPVp, completing the 5K in 1h52. We gather that they may have been held up by little brother James, who fell while practicing his walking skills and had to go to Urgent Care. The poor boy may have his first running injury at the age of only 18 months! Anyway, it is very impressive for Samantha and Mary Clare to have already completed 25 5Ks in CPVp. Samantha already had 23 “classic” parkruns to her name before COVID. That’s nearly 50. Meanwhile, Mary Clare has no official parkruns to her name, despite completing the course a few times. This is because she turned 4 years old early in the pandemic. At this rate, Mary Clare is on track to being the first person ever, in the history of the planet, to be a 50-timer before completing her first official parkrun.

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Looking good, Team Schneider. 25th CPVp for Mary Clare and Samantha. And a 1.5 mile hobble for Erin as she recovers from surgery. (And: nice MCM mask, Erin!)

Virtual Volunteers

We are grateful to this week’s virtual volunteer crew:

Katie Hirsche: results (Strava)
Tara Mease: results czar
Colin Phillips: communications and report
Hannah Russell: report
Andrea Zukowski: email and photography

We’d love to hear from you if you’d like to spend a little time on a chilly future weekend helping out with a future CPVp. It’s uplifting and fun. Most of the action is in collecting the activities, stories and pictures that come in via our various channels on Saturday, sorting them, and organizing them into the results table and report that you see here. Drop us a line!

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Thanks to virtual volunteer Hannah for much help with these reports. And we're learning that the pocket park behind The Board and Brew is a pretty nice spot.

Looking Ahead

At the start of the pandemic we had little idea of what to expect. We had little clue of how bad the effects of the virus would be. We were either naive or in denial about how long it would take to get back to normal.

As we enter the winter, many things are becoming clearer about the coronavirus. We know that the coming months will be hard. We know that some of us are more vulnerable than others. We also know that even younger folks can suffer dire long-term effects, though we don’t know why. We know a lot about how to be careful and reduce transmission. We also know that some are actively working against effective public health measures.

Locally, in Maryland and the DMV, we are “lucky” to be doing better than much of the country, thanks to sensible actions by the population and by state and local leaders. But things are still bad and getting worse.

We would like to give a shout out to our friends at The Board and Brew, who announced on Thursday that they will be closed for a few days in response to an employee who tested positive for COVID-19. The caution and transparency is important and it is appreciated. It makes us feel all the better about continuing to support this independent local business once they are open again.

After 30 CPVps, a remarkable 75 of you have already earned 25-timer badges. We have been wondering whether to make plans to recognize 50-timers, starting in April. Our current guess is that we will, but that prospects for a return to face-to-face events might be better by late spring. This assumes that the vaccines are as promising as current results indicate, and that strong early uptake sharply reduces community transmission, leading states and counties to open up in the spring.

We are probably most of the way through our virtual phase. Though maybe not by a lot. And we have SO MUCH enjoyed the new community members that we have welcomed from far away that we won’t be eager to give those up.

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Rebecca and Joe White enjoying the trail (after showing Trace how to use a leaf blower)

So, what’s happening at CPVp in the near term? Business as usual. With cooler weather. And with holidays to celebrate safely.

This week we have TWO CPVps to look forward to.

On Thursday November 26th we’ll have our first and onlyCollege Park Virtual Turkey Trot. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity. We hope. It’s just like CPVp, but on a Thursday.

We encourage you to team up with family or friends to take part, however far away you might be. Walk or run as much as seems right. It doesn’t need to be 5K. And tell us about it. Better yet, send us a selfie from wherever you are. See how many family members you can get to join you.

Some of you can muster a sizable team from the same household, between kids and barkrunners. Some of you have team members in faraway places. Team Rosenberg and Team Phillips-Zukowski are both taking on the challenge to join with family members from across the country or across the ocean.

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Colin speed-walked his CPVp this week. Or is it sped-walk? He's hoping to recruit family members for Team Zukowski-Phillips for our Thanksgiving Day event. But other families will be formidable competition.

If you are in the College Park area, you are welcome to do your virtual Turkey Trot on the Paint Branch Trail. Come along at any time that suits you. The trail will not be crowded. There will be some Thanksgiving chalking on the trail. And there might be some other surprises along the trail, too.

For details see: https://bit.ly/cpvirtualturkeytrot

For those of you keeping track of your participation, we will have TWO CPVps, one on Thursday and one on Saturday. But we’ll bundle up the news into a single report, so that our report writers have a chance to breathe.

Looking further ahead to the end of December, we are starting to think about plans for those holidays. It’s unlikely that regular travel and family gatherings will be advisable at that time.

December 26th falls on a Saturday this year. It will also mark a milestone for College Park parkrun, as it will be our 250th event since we started tiny informal gatherings at the start of 2016. Watch this space for news about how we will be celebrating that.

We will have something (or other) special in store for New Years. Normally our January 1st CP parkrun would be our biggest of the year

Until next time!

Your CPVp Team

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Win demonstrates good post-run stretching form

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Tomas joined Katie's pacing crew, and ran his fastest 5K since February.stewart-mayhew-web

Stewart en route to his second fastest 5K ever.

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Angela said that Shackleton was full of energy on their run this week

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But he still had time to stop and check out the local wildlife

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Looking good, Sharlene!

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Pratyush discovered the Greenbelt National Park Perimeter Trail. He'll be back.nina-snowling-sun-web

This picture from Nina Snowling shows the sun does sometimes shine in England.louise-godley-web

Louise Godley baked this impressive looking loaf, which served as excellent recovery food.john-ramsey-web

John Ramsey ran into Cindy Conant at a 5K at Hains Point in DC.
John ran one of his fastest 5Ks in a while, around 23:30.
Cindy ran right around 20 minutes. Like John, she turns 60 in a few months. Wow.jen-murphy-web

Hi Jen!janel-niska-web

Janel earned her 10-timer turtle badge this week. heather-sisan-web

Heather hopping the curbs in Kensingtongail-sockwell-thompson-2-web

Lighting up the trail with their smilesellen-oberholtzer-blues-web

Ellen and Eli have the MOST cultured virtual parkruns. This week they took in a little jazz performance along the way. Like you do.bud-verge-web

Kudos to Bud Verge for getting in a walk as he recovers from injury. brian-murphy-web

Brian Murphy crosses the bridge with one mile to go, his pacing duties done.andrea-zukowski-web

This is the reason why we have such awesome photos from the Paint Branch Trail most weeks. Thank you to Andrea for being there with your camera. Thank you to everybody else for looking so good!

trace-huard-webSee you THURSDAY for our first -- and only -- CP Virtual Turkey Trot.
(If we're still shut down by next Thanksgiving, we're moving to New Zealand.)

 

 

College Park Virtual Turkey Trot

All are invited to College Park's first -- and hopefully only -- Virtual Turkey Trot, on Thursday November 26th.

The popularity of Turkey Trots has made a chilly Thursday in late November the biggest day for running events in the world. Normally, one million Americans would take part in hundreds of events throughout the country. The focus is on doing something fun and healthy outdoors with family and friends ahead of big indoor gatherings. Racing, personal bests? Meh.

College Park parkrun, which offers free, weekly, community-focused 5K events year round normally holds a special Thanksgiving event on the beautiful Paint Branch Trail in College Park.

2020 is not normal. These things are not happening.

But getting active outdoors and connecting with friends and family, safely, is more important than ever.

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Last year's Thanksgiving parkrun crowd of 250 was awesome! In 2020 we're looking for the same warm vibe, but with a bit less crowding.

College Park Virtual parkrun can help. Since early in the pandemic, this community has come together -- at safe distances, from six feet to six thousand miles -- to provide support and encouragement. Unlike other virtual events there are no fees, no swag, and no prizes. The focus is on sharing stories, pictures, kudos, and motivation.

The community-first approach of CP Virtual parkrun has been so well received that participation is even higher than in the regular face-to-face events. Since May, 600 individuals have recorded 5,000 activities covering over 20,000 miles. Most participants are in the College Park area and the DC metro region, but some regulars join from as far away as Hawaii or Rome, Italy. Some locals join when they are traveling.

College Park Virtual Turkey Trot is a special Thursday edition of CP Virtual parkrun (the 31st CPVp to be precise). With the focus on a safe Thanksgiving this year, we are especially looking forward to welcoming community members and family members who might not be able to physically meet up this year.

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Derek Symer and his daughter Lilian enjoying the Paint Branch Trail in CP Virtual parkrun

Participation is super simple.

Run or walk. Go as far as you want, as fast as you want, wherever you want, any time on Thanksgiving through 8pm. If you want to share a time for 5K (or more), that's great. But it's also great if you don't want to. "I walked 2 miles with my dad," or "My dog and I jogged 5 miles in the woods" are also perfect. You definitely do not need to run. CP Virtual parkrun welcomes almost as many walkers as runners every week.

Tell us about it. We want to hear about what you got up to, maybe see pictures that you took along the way. There are many ways to do this: comment on the thread on the College Park parkrun Facebook page, fill out our online results form, email us at collegepark@parkrun.com, or join the College Park parkrun "club" on Strava and tag your run as CPVp or CPVTT or similar. (Note, activities recorded as walks might not appear in the Strava club feed, so we recommend to report through another channel.)

Read about what went down. We collect activities, pictures, and stories and share them  through our social media and website. Check out our weekly reports to see how we roll.

Encourage family and friends to take part. Got relatives in another state? They can take part too. See how many family members can "join" you this Thanksgiving! Maybe send us a selfie, and we can make a family collage.

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College Park's speedy Mayor Patrick Wojahn does his virtual parkruns in College Park, while his parents Dennis and Karen join regularly by taking walks in Green Bay, WI.

Four legged family members, too! We love our "barkrunners", and we know that their support helps us to stay active. At College Park Virtual parkrun the pups have equal rights, and we include their activities alongside the humans in our weekly results.

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"Barkrunners" are very much a part of this community

Looking for a quiet and beautiful 5K route? The Paint Branch Trail in College Park is a great place for a run or walk at any time of year. The College Park parkrun 5K route is flat, pretty, and accurately marked and measured. There is no official meetup, but the trail is available at all times, it's never crowded, and if you show up at some time during the morning there's a good chance of passing friendly parkrunners along the trail.

If you visit the Paint Branch Trail, you might also find encouraging chalk messages. Or you might pick up a stick of chalk and leave encouraging messages of your own. Or you might see some cool new signs that will be making their debut along the trail for Thanksgiving.

The fine print. There's more information on College Park Virtual parkrun in our blog post from May: Introducing College Park Virtual parkrun.

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Piano Man (Virtual Report 29)

Frank Snyder does not like to miss his weekly 5k for College Park Virtual parkrun. 77-year old Frank earned his red 50-timer shirt at the start of 2020. Since the spring he has been mostly confined to running the paths around the assisted living facility where he lives in Gaithersburg, MD. He has joined us every single week since CPVp started in May.

This week presented an additional challenge. Here’s what Frank shared with us:

“On Monday, I was trace quarantined for one week. Not wanting to miss my Saturday 5k run, I measured the longest straightaway in my house, from the living room piano to the bedroom dresser. Then I used that distance (2x84ft) to calculate laps for 5k. I did 98 laps in a time of 43:17. There were 196 turns.”

Hats off to Frank on this accomplishment. And we hope that he is able to safely exit quarantine soon.

Fortunately, most of you did not face such obstacles, and were able to enjoy a fine fall day if you were in the DMV area. Or were able to make the most of whatever kind of day was thrown at you, wherever you were, from Honolulu to Rome.

So, what happened out there this weekend?

FOR INFORMATION ON HOW CPVP WORKS SEE HERE

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Facts and Figures

  • 174 virtual parkrunners
  • 770 miles covered
  • 7 first-timers
  • 7 new HIGH FIVE badges earned
  • 5 new TEN TIMER TURTLE badges earned
  • 7 new 25-TIMER badges earned
  • 13 barkrunners
  • 6 virtual volunteers

Stat of the week: Over 600 different individuals have now taken part in College Park Virtual parkrun since we started in May. Over 250 of those have earned a (coveted!) high five badge.

THIS WEEK’S RESULTS TABLE IS HERE

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One advantage of CPVp - you can run at dusk instead. This picture of Lake Artemesia is from second-timer MarIángel Villalobos

We are family

This week’s chalk message says it all …

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There were lots of family feels this week at CP Virtual parkrun.

Team McElhenny -- that’s Kate, John, Mariella, Gwyneth, and Theodore -- were out in force this week on the Paint Branch Trail. (And Kate and Mariella earned their high five badges for CPVp.)

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Team McElhenny was out in force this week

Elmer Hernandez has started to bring the family along, and they are enjoying the trail together, whether on foot or by scooter.

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Team Hernandez enjoyed the trail, running, walking, and scooting

No group pics this week for Team Schneider, but Erin reports that she is now able to (gingerly) walk a mile after her foot surgery. And young James also “toddled a lot” while dad and big sisters did another 5K together.

Team Lemon had extra hands this week, as Grandma came along to the trail and pushed baby Dashiell in his stroller. 3-year old Fiona wanted to take a picture of mom Michelle running, which is how we got this picture from an unusual vantage point.

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Watch out Andrea, there's a new paparazzi on the trail

Team Rosenberg managed SEVEN virtual parkrunners again this week, spread across Maryland (Duane), Pennsylvania (Peter, Jessica, and Brian), and Iowa (Dave, Diane, and barkrunner Tank).

Team Wojahn had participants in College Park (Patrick) and Green Bay, WI (Karen, Dennis), where it was not quite as mild and sunny as in College Park this weekend.

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Dennis, Karen, and Patrick Wojahn joined from Green Bay, WI and College Park

There’s another line in that Sister Sledge song that we had always mis-parsed until today. It’s kind of relevant to pandemic parkrunning:

All of the people around us they say
Can we be that close?

Well, right now we probably can’t. And, in fact, we’re not. This week’s CPVp participants were spread across 11 time zones, from Rome, Italy to Honolulu, Hawaii. Normally many of us would be gearing up right now for some big family travel plans for Thanksgiving. But there will be rather less of that this year. See below for more on our Thanksgiving plans.

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Janet Grudzien John's 10K race was supposed to be in March, in Rhode Island. She has since moved to Honolulu. No problem taking part in the delayed virtual event in November.

In the Media

Last week we heard that after her regular CPVp with Shackleton Angela Gentile set out with TJ Hool to drive north towards Wilmington, DE. There were rumors of a big party that evening. You may have heard about it.

It seems that Angela and TJ overshot their destination, as they surfaced in a story in Slate Magazine, eating cheesesteaks in Philly and taking selfies at Four Seasons Total Landscaping.

The other Four Seasons has become a Philly hot spot. [Slate]

We’re not sure whether TJ snuck in a walk that could count for a CPVp, but FSTL would rank up with Luray Caverns and the Cape May - Lewes ferry among the best venues ever for a virtual parkrun.

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Shackleton is a four seasons barkrunner

 

Meanwhile, in more local media, there is a story about trails and parkrunners in the November edition of College Park Here and Now, the new local newspaper. The story is mostly about our wonderful local trails. But it also features the story of how parkrunner Pratyush Tiwary found a pacer for his virtual marathon in a very College Park kind of way.

The CPH&N story is a little hard to read online via issuu. So we put a copy here on our blog, with extra pictures.

College Park’s trails are a regional hub. [College Park Here and Now]

We like the story. … But we’re biased, as we wrote it.

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Check out our new story in College Park Here and Now

Milestones and More

This week we welcomed SIX first-timers to CPVp: John MacLean, Mychal Sterling, Rube Ahmed, Greg Ervin, Hal Gann, Susan Matchett.

John MacLean met up with CPVp and CPp regular John Maneval, and they checked out the Paint Branch Trail and the new College Park Woods connector.

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John M introduced John M to the Paint Branch Trail

Mychal joined up with David Lai and Malik Al-Jame to get in a cool 10 miler around College Park.

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Welcome Mychal!

Greg is based in Ohio, but he was a regular visitor to CPp in the Beforetimes, always joining us if he was in town on Saturday.

And Hal and Susan enjoyed a walk in Detroit with CPVp regulars Cory, Adam, and barkrunner Walker.

We had SEVEN new high-five badges to celebrate: Sharyn Gordon, Mariella McElhenny, Kate McElhenny, Eileen Sullivan, Dustyn Kujawa, and barkrunners Tank and Scruffi.

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Dustyn and Eileen earned their high-five badges

And we conferred SIX new ten-timer turtle badges this week: Nina McGranahan, Elizabeth Cooper, Dan Owen, Stella Dover, Kristen Maneval, and Melanie Barzik.

We’re thrilled to see Stella Dover join the 10-timer club, taking a walk with Adrian in the woods near Ross-on-Wye, in the English-Welsh borderlands. When they are back in the US, we look forward to welcoming both Adrian AND Stella to College Park, so that Stella need not be a CP parkrun widow on Saturdays.

We’re just as happy to see Kristen Maneval in the 10-timer list. Husband John is a regular at CPp. Kristen has taken up more regular running during the pandemic, and has been making great progress.

We’re not sure if it was the great running weather or the thrill of earning a turtle badge, but Melanie was jumping for joy this week.

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Jump!

And we had another SEVEN 25-timer badges to award (cake, anybody?): Dominique Lisiero, Derek Symer, Chris Anderson, Joel Goldberg, Jen Murphy, Erin Saddler, Yogarshi Vyas.

We are thrilled that so many of you make CPVp a regular part of your weekend activity.

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Derek is among this week's new 25-timers

Miscellaneous Kudos

Some of you took advantage of the weather to lay down some faster miles this week.

Lori Dominick was feeling pumped that her 48:xx 5K is her fastest since early 2019. Which is, roughly, 27 years ago, if our math is correct.

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Paul Wester was feeling pretty good about running a couple of sub-11 minute miles for the first time in eons. He celebrated by covering another 4.5 miles at a more comfortable pace. We are also counting down the days until Paul’s running streak reaches 365 days. Just a few more days to go.

Michael Phipps celebrated Veterans Day by running his fastest ever 5K on the Mansfield, OH parkrun course.

Mike and Bonnie McClellan reached a milestone that they probably weren’t aware of. They have 163 years between them. And now they also have 163 parkruns between them (combining virtual and “classic”). Last week we thought they might have skipped a week when we didn’t see them out on the Paint Branch Trail in the early shift. But they checked in later in the day to let us know that they got in a strenuous 5K hike in the woods in West Virginia. Be like Mike! And Bonnie!

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163 years, 163 parkruns

Cindy Cohen probably wins the award for the most squiggly CPVp this week, as well as the longest. She took part in the Rosaryville 50K in Upper Marlboro.

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Definitely this week's squiggliest route. Anybody care to count whether there were more turns than in Frank Snyder's quarantine 5K?

Eddie Matus deserves an extra shout out for adding one more country to our list of CPVp venues.  His run in Montevideo, Uruguay, means that we now have seen CPVps completed in every continent aside from Antarctica.

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Greetings from Uruguay!

Smelling the Roses

It’s not all about going as far or as fast as you can. Sometimes slowing it down helps you to enjoy things that you wouldn’t otherwise notice.

We’re accustomed to seeing Sam Phipps zooming into the distance ahead of us. But he’s taking a sensible approach to return from injury, running alternate days. This week he checked in with a 4-mile nostalgia walk, checking out some of the routes near his childhood home in Severna Park where he first started running with his dad in 2007.

Colin Phillips wasn’t cautious enough in his return to running, so this week he walked a 5K on the Paint Branch Trail with Andrea … and her camera. Strava ‘generously’ recorded his time as 57 minutes, but it seems to have cut out a lot of time spent stopping to take photos and cheer passing parkrunners.

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You meet all kinds of people along the trail

Anne L’Ecuyer tried switching off the headphones and enjoyed the sound of the rushing water on Sligo Creek instead.

Jenny Kent, joining us from Melton Mowbray, UK, definitely scores points in the “glass half full” category. The day was drizzly and the trail was muddy. But she enjoyed checking out the wildlife and taking photos. And she described the weather as “atmospheric”. Wonderful!

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Atmospheric

Barkrunners

We know that some of you come here mostly for the barkrunners. You will not be disappointed this week.

Meet Mindy. She came along for coffee, together with her human John Ramsey. She knows that everyone’s welcome to join, even if you didn’t get to do a run or a walk. Mindy packs a LOT of attitude into a small body.

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Welcome, Mindy!

Eli was visiting family on the Eastern Shore of Maryland this weekend. He enjoyed a change of scene for his walk with Ellen. And he got to chill with his cousin Murphy. Nice!

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Eli got to visit with his cousin Murphy

Scruffi and Tuffi were also enjoying a change of scene on the other side of the bay, checking out the sights in Rehoboth, DE.

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Nothing like the feeling of sea breeze in your fur

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Did somebody mention ducks?

Gifford enjoyed a 5-mile run in DC with Dan Owen.

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Pakora took a walk at a civilized pace through Greenbelt National Park, together with Megan and Pratyush, before leaving Pratyush to head off for one of his crazy fast runs.

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Pakora is neatly camouflaged by the fall leaves

Not forgetting the cats

We confess that our attention to barkrunners in these weekly reports could leave the impression that we do not appreciate the important role that cats play in keeping us all happy and healthy in this pandemic.

As a first step towards redressing this clear bias, here is Neha Joshi with Shadow after her CPVp. Neha got in a longer-than-usual run, in anticipation of enjoying a lot of carbs for this weekend’s Diwali celebration. We’re not sure whether Shadow will get extra treats, but we approve.

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Shadow congratulates Neha on her run 

We also heard from Pebbles, who took a very short walk with Trace Huard. We’ll be honest, we’re not expecting to see many cats doing a 5K. Or even a 0.5K. We recognize that the felines are more focused on the social aspect of virtual parkrunning. Especially the rest and recovery, and possibly the regular stretching, too. All very important!

Do send more cat photos. We’re definitely not above that!

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Pebbles is enjoying the new digs

Virtual Volunteers

This week’s virtual volunteer crew were:

Katie Hirsche: results (Strava)
Jen Matis; results (Facebook)
Tara Mease: results czar
Colin Phillips: communications and report
Anna Tinnemore: results
Andrea Zukowski: email and photography

It is a team effort to bring you CPVp every week. Join us some week if you can. It’s fun, and it can be done from the comfort of your couch.

We’d like to give a special shout out this week to virtual volunteer Jen Matis. Jen joined us for the first time one year ago this week. She completed 10 “classic” parkruns before the shutdown, and has been a regular runner, walker, volunteer, and all around cheerleader throughout the pandemic. Thank you, Jen!

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Jen's first CPp, one year ago!

Looking Ahead

There may be light at the end of the tunnel. But there is a stretch of dark tunnel to navigate before we get to that point.

The start of the week brought encouraging news about a COVID vaccine. We may be months away from broader availability of one or more effective vaccines. That brings hope.

But the rest of the week saw the US COVID situation spiral downwards into a third wave that dwarfs the spring and summer waves. Maryland is seeing record numbers of infections, yet it is, at the time of writing, 39th in the nation in terms of infections per capita over the past week. That doesn’t mean that we’re doing well. It means that the country as a whole is doing really, really badly.

Locally, Prince George’s County and Montgomery County are tightening restrictions. Good! UMD is shifting course as of this weekend, announcing urgent COVID measures. Not because of a campus outbreak, but because of the level of risk in the community. Businesses that were starting to return will again see heightened risk. Families continue to struggle with home schooling.

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So our normal discussion of when we’ll return to normal parkruns seems moot this week.

Instead, our focus is on staying active and connected while avoiding risky behaviors. Local officials report that a primary source of infections currently is small family and social gatherings. Thanksgiving is around the corner, and with it a risk of a massive super-spreader event. We love Thanksgiving … but let’s just not go there.

Normally we would be looking forward to hosting a big, crowded Thanksgiving morning parkrun at Acredale Park. Last year we saw a record crowd of 250 join us. That’s just not happening this year.

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Thanksgiving CPVp - Thursday November 26th. Don't miss it!

But one of our favorite things about Thanksgiving is that it’s a massive day for running and walking. Around 1 million take part in Turkey Trots and similar events around the country, making a Thursday in late November the single biggest running day in the whole world. What we love even more is that the focus is not on racing to be fastest, or even on swag and medals, but on families getting active together.

Does that remind you of anything?

Here’s a piece that Colin wrote for the parkrun USA blog a couple of years ago.

The year-round turkey trot. [parkrun USA blog, 11/27/18]

So for Thanksgiving 2020, we’ll hold a special Thursday edition of CPVp, and we encourage you to team up with family or friends to take part, however far away you might be. Walk or run as much as seems right. It doesn’t need to be 5K. And tell us about it. Better yet, send us a selfie from wherever you are. See how many family members you can get to join you.

(We’ll also have our regular Saturday CPVps on November 21st and November 28th. We’ll collect separate sets of activities and results, but we’ll combine the two sets of Thanksgiving weekend activities into a single weekly report.)

Meanwhile, don’t forget that our friends at Kensington parkrun are moving ahead with their Sunday virtual Definitely Not A Kensington parkrun, including social-but-distanced coffee at La Gelatteria. If you want to join their fun, you can add your activity via their Google form.

Until next time!

Your CPVp Team

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Our lead photographer plying her trade

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Hannah enjoyed exploring the trails near her new pad in DC

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Sound advice. Also - floss. And wear a mask.

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Social but distanced coffee. We found a sunnier spot this week.

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In last week's report we wondered aloud how Stefano Gazzano found us. This week he explained: "I found you by internet. During the 1st lockdown in Italy I was looking for some virtual races and I found your web site (internet and Facebook). I liked it very much and you were so kind to accept me, my son and Nathan in your wonderful community: thank you again very much." You're welcome, Stefano! Here's Stefano's virtual tourism picture for this week. His run took him past the Roman ruins of La Frasca.

tunnel-webStay safe out there, everybody. See you again soon.

 

 

College Park’s trails are a regional hub

This story appeared in the November 2020 edition of College Park Here and Now, the new newspaper serving the College Park community.

By Colin Phillips

When Pratyush Tiwary’s plans to run a marathon in September fell through due to the pandemic, his alternative plans unfolded in a very College Park kind of way.

Pratyush and his wife, Megan Newcombe, recently moved here with help from the College Park City-University Partnership’s homebuyer program, and they both looked forward to the convenience of living close to their work at the University of Maryland (UMD). Their home in the Berwyn neighborhood also provided great access to the local network of walking, biking and running trails.

For his marathon, Pratyush devised a virtual race, on trails close to home, with easy access to supplies and refreshments, and including a mid-point water top-off from Megan. And instead of toughing out the last miles alone, he had pacing support from UMD student Matt Laskowski. Pratyush found Matt by connecting the dots between a name he recognized from his fitness tracker app, Strava, and a student’s name in the physical chemistry class he was teaching at UMD.

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Pratyush Tiwary taking part in the College Park parkrun in Summer 2019

Strava is a popular social app for fitness activities like biking, running, walking and kayaking. Friends share activities, give kudos to support each other’s progress, and sometimes compete for speed or frequency on segments that users create. Popular Strava segments in College Park include the loop around Lake Artemesia and Shady Straight, the wooded stretch of the Paint Branch Trail north of Route 193.

Pratyush logs his activities on Strava. Sometimes he runs with his dog Pakora. He recognized Matt Laskowski as one of the faster runners in the area. Matt’s name appears near the top of the leaderboard on a lot of local Strava segments.

College Park has an enviable selection of trails that connect local neighborhoods and link the city to the broader region through a larger trail network.

Some of these trails, including the Northwest and Northeast Branch trails, the Paint Branch Trail and the Indian Creek Trail, are part of the Anacostia Tributary Trail System. The trolley trail follows an old streetcar line. The Lake Artemesia trails are a byproduct of building Metro’s Green Line.

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Recent improvements have increased connectivity among trails. The Northeast Branch now continues to the Anacostia Riverwalk Trail, which runs through Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens and on to the District. The Paint Branch Trail now extends to Beltsville, and beyond to the Intercounty Connector Trail. The Rhode Island Avenue Trolley Trail now connects College Park to Riverdale Park and Hyattsville. A soon-to-open connector trail will link the College Park Woods neighborhood to the rest of the network. And more improvements are in the works to  give North College Park residents more direct access to the network of the trails.

College Park has arguably some of the best and most-used trails in the area, based on data in the Strava Global Heat Map. This app allows users to record where they are, and then it produces a cool — or, really, hot — visualization of where people are concentrated. The app shows College Park shining brightly.

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The city’s trails are one of the attractions that brings visitors to College Park, including bicyclists and runners. Popular events like the Washington Area Bicycling Association’s November Cider Ride see hundreds of riders on our trails. The weekly Saturday College Park parkrun has introduced thousands to the Paint Branch Trail, and many of these runners return to the city’s trails at other times of the week, as well.

Prince George’s Running Club (PGRC) members hail from across the county, but many of their group runs take place on College Park’s trails and the UMD running track.

Recently, parkrun regular Stewart Mayhew ran 10 miles from his home in Chevy Chase to College Park, stopped to enjoy a mug at Vigilante Coffee, and then ran the 10 miles back home.

The College Park trails are what sociologist Ray Oldenburg called a third place — a place where people in a community come together, separate from home and work. It’s where we encounter familiar faces and start to recognize people we might not meet otherwise. With the pandemic forcing limits on indoor gatherings, having third places, outdoors, has become even more important.

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When Pratyush Tiwary approached Matt Laskowski about helping with his marathon, Matt quickly agreed. “I am a part of Club Running at UMD. We think of ourselves as a part of the College Park running community. If somebody else in the community has some goal, then we are all for helping them reach their goals.”

A poll of PGRC runners found that the most popular elements of the local trails are shady stretches, wildlife and water fountains (when they are turned on). The trolley trail scored extra points for having waste stations for dog walkers. People would love to see more benches, even more shade and year-round bathrooms.

Riders would welcome improved lighting; this would potentially make the trails usable for year-round commuting. The proposed Paint Branch Riverwalk project could help integrate trails with other community activities and businesses.

And there are many who just don’t know about the great trail resources in our midst. Runner Matt Laskowski guesses that most UMD students are familiar with the stretch of the Paint Branch Trail right next to campus, but suspects that few are aware of the wonders that lie beyond.

For Pratyush Tiwary, his virtual marathon was a resounding success. He set out at 5:30 a.m., starting on the trolley trail, where the lighting made it possible to run before sunrise. Then he meandered around familiar trails until it was time to refuel and meet up with Matt Laskowski, who joined him for the last 10 miles. Matt’s pacing clearly helped, as Pratyush beat his best marathon time by nearly 30 minutes.

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Happy! (Virtual Report 28)

There were lots of smiles at this week’s CP Virtual parkrun #28.

Maybe it was the beautiful fall foliage, which was close to its peak in our region.

Maybe it was the unseasonably mild weather, which extended even to our virtual parkrunners in the upper midwest.

Maybe it was the pleasure of choosing a new direction. Yes, many of you explored the new College Park Woods Connector Trail that branches off from the Paint Branch Trail.

Maybe it was the satisfaction of getting rid of invasive species. Many of you took part in the socially-distanced Good Neighbor Day, which focused on clearing out unwanted undergrowth from the woods along our favorite trail.

Maybe it was something else. It’s hard to tell. But there was definitely a hint of optimism in the air this Saturday. We’ll take it.

FOR INFORMATION ON HOW CPVP WORKS SEE HERE

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Fiona scooted while mom and dad ran

Facts and Figures

  • 167 virtual parkrunners
  • 680 miles covered
  • 7 first-timers
  • 4 new TEN TIMER TURTLE badges earned
  • 1 new HIGH FIVE badges earned
  • 8 new 25-TIMER badges earned
  • 13 barkrunners
  • **18** virtual volunteers (see below)

Stat of the week: A handful of states drew outsized attention this past week. This got us thinking about our various sister parkrun communities in those states, and how they are faring in the pandemic. It’s notable that ALL of the swing states have a young parkrun that this fall has either missed a birthday or has a delayed birth.

Arizona: Himmel parkrun in Tucson, 2nd birthday on Nov 21
Georgia: Northside Beltline parkrun in Atlanta, 1st birthday in October
Michigan: Lillie parkrun in Ann Arbor, 2nd birthday THIS WEEK
North Carolina: Creekside parkrun in Archdale, nr Greensboro, delayed launch
Pennsylvania: Peace Valley parkrun in Bucks County, delayed launch
Wisconsin: Howard Temin Lakeshort Path parkrun in Madison, 1st birthday in August

We hope they will all be able to come together again soon. Lillie parkrun is holding weekly virtual events very similar to ours, and they even have a monthly Lillie parkrun Bingo contest, in which participants score points for different activities, such as "going for a run in the rain".

THIS WEEK’S RESULTS TABLE IS HERE

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Tara would normally be on the road for work this weekend, the one time in the year when she and Xander aren't running buddies. This year travel isn't happening, so they got to enjoy the foliage together.

The times they are a-changing

Daylight savings ended last weekend. So it was a little bit lighter for our early bird CPVpers. And you needed to get out a little earlier to beat the dark if you’re more of an afternoon CPVper.

The fall colors were looking fantastic, too.

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Trail therapy

But there were other signs of changing times on this Saturday, after a long and tense week for many.

Samantha and Mary Clare Schneider were checking out the action downtown. It’s not every day that the first woman is elected to the vice presidency.

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Witnesses to history

Many people wrote us that they just wanted to get out for a walk or a run because they were feeling really good. We hear you!

Some of our far away virtual parkrunners are looking forward to a time when they are able to travel again. That is going to take a few months, at least, but wouldn’t it be fun to have a big celebration for the near-and-far virtual parkrun community?

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Nice surprise to see Cindy Cohen in College Park rather than in Idaho this week

Invasive Species

It was great to see friendly parkrunners taking part in the 2020 Good Neighbor Day activities along the trail. GND is an annual event co-organized by UMD, Prince George’s Parks, and the City of College Park that brings together students and community members to work on outdoor projects. The CP parkrun community has been an enthusiastic supporter since 2017, and it has helped to strengthen our partnership with PG Parks. GND was scaled back this year due to the pandemic, but we still were able to make a difference.

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Not a parkrun briefing. Getting instructions for Good Neighbor Day

This year’s focus: invasive species removal along the trail. Primarily bush honeysuckle.

Ok, we admit it. We had no idea that bush honeysuckle counts as invasive, or that it is a big deal. And we couldn’t have identified it in the woods along the trail before this week. Here’s a useful piece on exotic bush honeysuckles from the U of Maryland Extension.

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Andrea shows the bush honeysuckle who's the boss

Now we know that there’s a lot of it along the trail. It’s not clear how much of a dent we made in the problem. But after a morning spent brandishing loppers, dragging branches to the side of the trail, and picking thorns from our clothes, we have a much better understanding of the issue.

And it was also great to catch up with Anthony Nolan and Antonia Bookbinder. We are really fortunate have such great partners in PG Parks.

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Ok, more than just bush honeysuckle needed to be removed - Thank You Teresa!

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New Trail Smell

It was right around this time last year that we saw the first signs of a path being cleared through the woods shortly before the Dead Marshes section of our trail. This week the new trail was opened to the public, and lots of you took a detour on your run or walk this week to check it out.

The new trail is about 1km long, connecting the College Park Woods neighborhood to the rest of the Anacostia Tributary Trails network. So, now you can bike from CPW all the way to Nationals Park downtown, 100% on paved trails. Pretty nice!

Thank you to all of the community members, and especially current and former elected officials who helped to make this new trail a reality.

The trail could come in useful in the future on days when sections of our regular trail are impassable due to ice or flooding. A short segment along the new boardwalk could make it easier for us to fit in a well-drained 2-lap course. It’s good to see that the new trail has good drainage as part of its design.

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Milestones and More

We’re always happy to welcome new virtual parkrunners, and excited to celebrate your mini milestones.

This week we welcomed EIGHT first-timers: Kristin Poinar, Minette Mbouh, Mariángel Villalobos, Nina Snowling, Ian Phillips, Matthew Phillips, Diane Rosenberg, and barkrunner Prescott.

Ian and Matthew are part of the Team Phillips group that did a virtual 5K for gastrointestinal health this week. It looks like they made good use of the new trail that connects to their neighborhood.

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Diane Rosenberg is the latest addition to Team Rosenberg, which this week had 7 CPVpers. Diane did her run with husband Dave and barkrunner Tank in Bettendorf, IA.

We were super happy to meet Minette Mbouh at the Paint Branch Trail. Her son Andres is a regular CPVper, who needs just 19 minutes for his 5K on a good day. But we just love it when the speedsters slow it down to support family members in staying active. Welcome, Minette!

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Kristin Poinar is an old friend of CPp, so we were happy to see her name appear in the (not)parkrun results listing this week. If anybody knows how to reach Kristin, we hope that she’s aware of the virtual parkruns that we organize entirely through our local channels (FB, Strava, local email list, website, etc.).

And we were also happy to welcome Nina Snowling from Melton Mowbray parkrun in the UK, one of our sister virtual events across the ocean. Nina is a local legend at MM parkrun, where she is such a regular course marshal that they named a hill on their course after her. She’s also their community’s most active virtual cheerleader during the pause of in-person parkruns.

Colin learned about this first-hand last week when he was guest run director for MM parkrun. For this role, he was briefly handed the keys to the MM parkrun Facebook account, meaning that he got notifications whenever somebody commented on a post. Late in the evening on Friday his phone started lighting up with notifications. It was Nina, adding cheers and encouragement for lots of MM parkrunners in the middle of the night. … So, the best local comparison of Nina’s role in the MM community is a blend of Lisa Wilson and Jen Matis. Great that you could join us, Nina!

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We had THIRTEEN parkrunners earn a new virtual milestone badge this week.

Barkrunner Olivia gets a high five badge for her excursion with humans Rebecca and Joe in Bowie. It’s fitting, then, that Olivia was the featured barkrunner on this week’s parkrun USA Instagram feed.

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She's a star!

Our new ten-timers were Karen Wojahn, Elmer Hernandez, Carly Maas, and barkrunner Lizzie. Lizzie gets a shout out in the barkrunner section (below). We have extra virtual high fives for Karen, Carly, and Elmer.

Karen joins us every week from Wisconsin, either in Green Bay or on the shore in Fish Creek. She has joined us a couple of times in College Park before, when visiting her son Patrick. We look forward to our weekly email update from Karen. And now we’re happy that Karen has enticed her sister Mary into joining us. Last week Mary joined while visiting Karen. This week she joined us virtually from home in Rockford, IL. Fantastic!

Elmer was joined by a posse for his 10th CPVp this week. He brought along Kevin, Brandon, and Jacob. Great that all could come to enjoy the trail this week. We’re a little unsure who was running vs. scooting, so we can update the results table as needed.

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Elmer's team

And it’s hard to believe that Carly is a 10-timer already. Nowadays it wouldn't be Saturday without seeing her smiling face on the trail or at the social-but-distanced coffee meetup.

And we had EIGHT new 25-timers, each now with a cake badge against their name in the results table: Kelsey Mannix, Stefano Gazzano, Joshua Schneider, Ellen Oberholtzer, Laurie Fisher, Eli (barkrunner), Erin Schneider, Foxy (barkrunner).

We’re not quite sure how Stefano found us, but we enjoy his weekly updates from Civitavecchia, near Rome in Italy.

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Sun over the empty cruise ships in Civitavecchia

Kelsey is a UMD grad student who found us when she moved to the area last fall. We’ve been following her runs around town via Strava, and it was a nice treat to run into her along the Paint Branch Trail this week.

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Joshua and Erin Schneider sneak in to earn their 25-timer badges just ahead of their daughters. This week again Erin managed a half mile walk in her surgical boot. Good luck on the recovery, Erin!

Barkrunners

We know that the barkrunners are an especially important part of the CPVp community. For one thing, they are not vectors for coronavirus, so they get extra rubs and hugs while we humans are taking rain checks on the high fives.

So we were happy this week to see some barkrunner-themed chalking on the trail, thanks to Shackleton and his human Angela.

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We were also happy to welcome Prescott, a barkrunner who is being fostered by Anna Weber. Lucky dog!

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Barkrunner Lizzie got to do her 10th CPVp in the company of Joanne and Ginny. Fun times!

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Barkrunner Eli wasn’t in the mood for a full 5K this week, so he joined for half of Ellen’s run, ensuring that they would both earn their 25-timer cake badges this week.

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And speaking of cake, barkrunner Pakora got to do a celebratory run for his 2nd birthday. Which included a social-and-not-at-all-distanced meetup for cake with his friend Dr Karizma.

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Did somebody mention cake?

This was also a week with important dog news, as we learned that Major is about to become the first rescue dog to move to the White House. We know that Major’s humans like to run. So we can hope for some barkrunning in his future. We can hope, right?

Virtual and Not-so-virtual Volunteers

As usual, we couldn’t do this without a team of volunteers who help to pull together all of the activities that you share with us on a Saturday. This week we had a skeleton team of seasoned regulars keeping the wheels turning:

Katie Hirsche: results (Strava)
Tara Mease: results guru
Colin Phillips: communications and results
Anna Tinnemore: results (form)
Andrea Zukowski: email and photography

But we’ll also include in the volunteer list all those who helped out as part of the CP parkrun crew at Good Neighbor Day: Judy Barnes, Külli Crespin, Lori Dominick, Carly Maas, Pam Marcus, Pete Monacelli, Teresa Perdomo, Colin Phillips, Marvin Russell, Catherine Spirito, Lisa Wilson, Patrick Wojahn, and Andrea Zukowski. (Let us know if we forgot to include anybody.)

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Looking Ahead

Many reasons to look ahead to the future right now.

But there’s not much imminent change in terms of traditional in person parkrun events.

In global terms, the return of parkrun in Asia and Oceania is continuing, but there is little prospect of any change in Europe, where the new coronavirus wave has led to strict new restrictions in many countries. For example, our friends in the UK could not legally go for a run as a group of 3 during November.

In local terms, we have seen very little change in safe behaviors in Maryland and the DMV in months. But infection counts are surging nonetheless. So we need to be extra vigilant. And there is little prospect of further opening of activities in the near future.

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Chris and Mary made their annual pilgrimage to the Jug Bay 10K

It is encouraging, though, to see that in Prince George’s County, which unlike some parts of the state never exited Level 2 restrictions, the growth in infections and hospitalizations is slower than in the state as a whole. You can see this by comparing the PGC COVID-19 Dashboard with the State of Maryland Coronavirus Dashboard. (And for completeness, here’s the University of Maryland COVID Dashboard.)

Across the state, hospitalizations are now at double the number from the low point in late summer. But in Prince George’s County the count of hospitalizations is not (yet) higher. Across the state, the rates of infection appear to have been climbing faster than in Prince George’s County. Early in the pandemic, PGC was the coronavirus hotspot for the state. Currently the number of cases is very slightly below the state average.

Stay safe and vigilant out there, everybody!

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You can be safe and happy at the same time. Especially with friends to help.

Meanwhile, we’re edging closer to our virtual holiday parkruns. Mark the following dates in your diary.

Thanksgiving: same as in 2018 and 2019 we plan to hold CPVp on Thursday November 26th (CPVp #31) and on Saturday November 28th (CPVp #32). We’ll collect two sets of activities and results, but we’ll combine them into a single weekly report.

Christmas falls on a Friday this year, so we’ll have a special holiday CPVp on Saturday December 26th. This one will be doubly special. In addition to being our last virtual gathering of 2020, it will be our 250th event. We held 33 tiny, low-key gatherings in 2016 before our official launch, then 181 face-to-face events, and 12/26 will be the 36th CPVp. We’ll figure out something special to mark that 5-year milestone.

Meanwhile, our friends at Kensington parkrun are moving ahead with their Sunday virtual Definitely Not A Kensington parkrun, including social-but-distanced coffee at La Gelatteria. A few of them came out last week despite the miserable rain, and we expect there were more smiling faces this week. If you want to join their fun, you can add your activity via their Google form.

Until next time!

Your CPVp Team

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Barkrunner Nathan recovers from his virtual barkrun

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We love the Paint Branch Trail. New virtual parkrunner Mariángel Villalobos reminds us that Lake Artemesia is beautiful at this time of year, too.

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Your weekly report writer was pretty excited to be able to run the trail this week after a couple of weeks of injury induced rest.

 

Watch out for kangaroos! (Virtual Report 27)

“You know, there’s a kangaroo on the trail.”

We know that climate change is affecting wildlife across the world. But College Park is not generally known for its marsupials.

Later in the day, we received an email in the collegeparkparkrun inbox from parkrunner Jacob Englander, who told us about his (super speedy) time. And then just mentioned as an aside: “My wife stood at the turnaround dressed as a kangaroo.”

Nothing surprises us in 2020.

One of the pleasant surprises about 2020 is the creativity that it has unleashed. So, while Halloween didn’t unfold as usual, there was innovation all around, from ingenious socially distanced candy distribution strategies, to small outdoor gatherings around bonfires, to the best dressed set of CP parkrunners and barkrunners that we have ever seen.

We worried that the cooler weather would drive more folks inside. Winter is coming. But we were heartened to see more people (and pups) than we have seen in months. Many of them in person (safely, outdoors, distanced -- you know the drill).

FOR INFORMATION ON HOW CPVP WORKS SEE HERE

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Lisa has competition for the turnaround marshal spot. Virtual high fives to Tiffany Englander for the awesome kangaroo outfit!

Facts and Figures

  • 177 virtual parkrunners
  • 765 miles covered
  • 22 first-timers
  • 4 new TEN TIMER TURTLE badges earned
  • 5 new HIGH FIVE badges earned
  • 10 new 25-TIMER badges earned
  • 17 barkrunners
  • 8 virtual volunteers

Stat of the week: In the month of October we saw 832 participants at CPVp, covering 3,930 miles in total. that’s a lot!

This was certainly our busiest month of virtual parkrunning yet, edging out other months that had 5 Saturdays. We thought it might be an all-time monthly record for CP parkrun, but we were wrong. November 2019 had SIX parkrun days, thanks to 5 Saturdays plus Thanksgiving, when we had a record crowd of 250 on the trail. In that month we saw 860 finishers. … But for a month with fewer parkrun days and zero face-to-face events, that’s not bad.

THIS WEEK’S RESULTS TABLE IS HERE

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We swear we had nothing to do with this. (And it rained today. Phew.)

Halloween Costumes

You all certainly stepped up your Halloween outfit game this year. Along with the kangaroo, parkrun friends also dressed up as various fictional characters, art supplies, and some classic Halloween costumes.

The Schneider family dressed as crayons, with the girls “drawing” on mom Erin’s shirt. Bonus points to Erin, who recently had foot surgery, so she covered 0.8 miles on a knee scooter in order to capture pictures.

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Team Schneider does NOT miss an opportunity to dress up

Josh Weiss was popular running around the neighborhood dressed as superhero The Flash. According to Wikipedia, “Nicknamed the "Scarlet Speedster", all incarnations of the Flash possess "super speed", which includes the ability to run, move, and think extremely fast, use superhuman reflexes, and seemingly violate certain laws of physics.” Sounds like a pretty good description of Josh, actually. (He’s a weather guru with the National Weather Service, so he’s at least in touch with the laws of physics.)

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The Flash

Kris Sooklal as Jon Snow from Game of Thrones.

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Winter is almost upon us

Kristine Rogers dressed as the dumpster fire that is 2020, complete with fiery hair and a dumpster fire mask.

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Yup. That's 2020.

Duane Rosenberg was a pumpkin. With a crown.

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Lisa Wilson wore a prancing sorting hat.

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A Gryffindor, we suspect

Lori Dominick walked the Paint Branch trail as a pirate. Nobody was forced to walk the plank. Though the boardwalks that branch off from the trail are looking rather inviting right now.

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We'd gladly walk that plank

Rebecca White dressed as a scary librarian (shhhh!).

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Laurie Fisher and Lucy Younes had halloween themed shirts.

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"I'm a nightmare before a run." Amen to that, Lucy.

Milestones and More

This week we had FIVE new five-timers who earned a high-five badge in the results table: Frank Filteau, Meghan Gieske, Adrien Harrison, Pakora (barkrunner), and Zoe Phillips.

When we have face-to-face events, Frank is one of the most consistent parkrunners there is. If it’s Saturday, Frank is on the trail. So we’re delighted that he’s a regular again, even while we’re virtual. We were sorry to say goodbye to Meghan and Ben Gieske in Spring 2019 when they moved to Indiana. So a lovely feature of CPVp is that we get to stay connected with them. Both Meghan and Ben set “post-baby PBs” this week in South Bend, IN. Adrien is a new recruit to CPVp, thanks to her sister Meridith Phillips. We look forward to meeting her in person in College Park some day. Pakora is a barkrunner heartthrob. (Keep sending the pictures, Pratyush!). And Zoe lives at CPVp HQ, but was completing the regular CPp course for the first time since the start of the pandemic this week, and loved it!

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Turtle badges were earned by FOUR new ten-timers: Chris Van Vlack, Kristie Atwood, Michael Iati, and Joe White. All of these can blame spouses, friends, or neighbors for being dragged into CPVP, and we are so happy that they are now part of the fun on Saturdays.

Cake badges are in order for this week’s TEN new members of the 25-timer club: Simon Wraight, Robin Phillips, Dale Morey, Dave Heintzelman, Jeremy Rueter, Marvin Russell, Louise Godley, Cindy Feld, Eden Gray, and Judy Barnes.

A shout out this week for Jeremy Rueter, whose 8 mile run, including the parkrun course, was his longest run ever. Fantastic progress, Jeremy!

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New longest run for Jeremy!

Best of all we welcomed TWENTY TWO first-timers this week. Welcome to: Chris McGough, Jacob Englander, Carolyn Yang, Kate Morcom, Doug Ridge, Clive Kent, Jenny Kent, Lilian Symer, Mary Hicks, Apollo (barkrunner), Edward Luzhansky, Stephanie Luzhansky, Temmy Sasore, Alex X, June Flamm, Kelly X, Leo Flamm, and Shelley Gough Lauffer’s daughter (sorry, we didn't get her name).

Plus four unnamed barkrunners (two beagles, two border collies).

Jacob, Carolyn, Kate, and Chris were all connected to the kangaroo. They were a group of four speedsters who set out early for a time trial on the CPp course. The kangaroo was there to indicate the turnaround spot. (Lisa, you have competition!) Chris’s time is, we think, also the fastest time yet recorded at CPVp. Carolyn’s time *would* have been a CPVp female record, until last week’s CR by Katie Hirsche, that is. Welcome to all!

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Kate, Carolyn, Chris, and Jacob -- run to the kangaroo and back

We’re excited to see more family members from far away joining us, thanks to your recommendations. This week we heard from Mary Hicks, Patrick Wojahn’s aunt, who took a walk with CPVp regular Karen Wojahn in Fish Creek, WI (this looks like a beautiful spot on the shores of upper Lake Michigan -- we want to visit!). We also heard from Doug Ridge, father of Clark Ridge, who ran 5K on the course that he mapped out for a possible future parkrun event in Newark, DE.

Jenny and Clive Kent were first-timers this week from Melton Mowbray parkrun, UK, where it looks like it was a little bit wet.

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Welcome to Jenny and Clive from Melton Mowbray park-swim

Andres Mbouh introduced his friend Temmy Sasore to our favorite trail. And Zoe Phillips was thrilled to welcome good friend Stephanie to the trail. Looks like they had a grand time.

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Andres introduced Temmy to our favorite trail

When one marathon isn’t enough

Jackie Hayes ran the New York City virtual marathon on the CP parkrun course. That’s a little more than 8 laps of the course. Before this month Jackie had never run a marathon. Now she has done two in the space of 3 weeks! Jackie’s goal was to run the whole thing without stopping. Having accomplished that goal, she is now getting some well deserved rest … and avoiding stairs.

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Not the Verrazano Narrows Bridge, but definitely the virtual NYC Marathon

Duane Rosenberg and Patrick Wojahn ran the virtual Marine Corps Marathon, joining David Lai and Malik Al-Jame on their morning runs. Having already run his virtual MCM earlier a couple of weeks ago, David took it up a notch this weekend, running 50K in total.

Congratulations to everybody who has been getting in long runs in recent weeks. You’ve all earned a little bit of a rest.

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Not only does our mayor run marathons ...

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... this is how he recovers

#healthycommunity

Barkrunners

The barkrunners were not to be outdone in the Halloween celebrations. Whether they liked it or not. And we saw our largest ever turnout from our four-legged friends, with 17 virtual barkrunners this week.

Tuffi and Scruffi were fashion forward this week.

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Tuffi was an Ewok

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Scruffi was a dragon

Foxy dressed up as an alebrije (inspired by the Pixar movie Coco)..

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This Alebrije looks pretty contented on the couch

The prize for the most parkrun-appropriate Halloween costume goes to Shackleton, who donned a fluorescent vest to run as a parkrun volunteer. Perfect!

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Shackleton's costume - parkrun volunteer!

Eli made a friend.

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Don't wait for parkrun to resume - CPVp will help to keep you going

And there was this gem from our Facebook thread. Diana Gough ran for bagels, while her sister Shelley ran with beagles. Both great ideas.

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Virtual Volunteers

This week’s virtual volunteers crew made everything work like clockwork:

  • Angela Gentile: results
  • Katie Hirsche: results
  • Tara Mease: results czar
  • Colin Phillips: report and communications
  • Hannah Russell: report
  • Anna Tinnemore: results
  • Lisa Wilson: results
  • Andrea Zukowski: email, photography, and chalking

Care to try your hand as a virtual volunteer? Drop us a line at collegepark@parkrun.com, and we can figure out a role and a date that works for you. We’d love to broaden the volunteer crew during the winter months.

Colin also got to do a spot of virtual volunteering for another event this week. Our general approach to CPVp was inspired by Melton Mowbray parkrun in Leicestershire, UK, which is now in week 33.

One distinctive feature of MMVp is that they have a guest “run director” every week, who gives a 9am pep talk via Facebook Live. It is generally a closely guarded secret who the week’s RD will be. They have had some local notables, as well as some guests from further afield. Two weeks ago they had South African running legend (and parkrun SA honcho) Bruce Fordyce join them from his back yard. This week it was Colin’s turn.

With the UK ending daylight savings one week earlier than the US, 9am in the UK was “only” 5am in Maryland this week. Perfect opportunity for Colin to do a spooky Halloween briefing from his patio in the dark. As far as we can tell, this may be a global first. We’re not sure that anybody has given a parkrun briefing in the dark before. (We cannot rule out that the short-lived parkrun event in Reykjavik, Iceland that was held for a while in 2011 might have started in the dark at some point. This depends on how far into the winter months it continued. We weren’t able to figure that out.)

Colin’s spooky briefing can be found on the Melton Mowbray parkrun Facebook page. We were happy to see that a few MM parkrunners joined us this week for CPVp. Welcome!

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World's first parkrun briefing in the dark? 

Looking Ahead

There’s not a lot to report this week on updates in parkrun world more broadly. So we are focusing our attention on how we can stay active, connected, and positive through the coming months.

A few more parkrun events returned this week in places with low levels of COVID-19. More of Australia is reopening. And two remote UK islands got their parkruns back this week, marking the first parkrun events held in Europe since March. This week the worldwide count of events topped 100 for the first time since the world closed down in March.

Prospects for the rest of Europe are not great right now, as levels of infection are currently much higher now across much of the continent than in Maryland. A number of countries are entering new lockdowns.

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Take a break from reading the news. Enjoy the great outdoors.

Here in Maryland we’re seeing a clear increase in case counts. It’s not as pronounced as in some states. But it’s real. About 33% over the past week. So it’s unsurprising that Prince George’s County announced this week that the county would remain under Level 2 restrictions.

PG County Executive Angela Alsobrooks emphasized in her briefing this week that tracers are finding that a high proportion of new cases in the county are linked to family gatherings. (We understand this to mean indoor family gatherings.) This part is hard. Especially as we approach the season for indoor family holidays, it’s politically difficult for the county to crack down on families getting together. It’s similarly hard to even attempt to regulate travel in and out of a state like Maryland. But these things make a difference. Be careful out there, everybody!

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Team Flamm helped with chalking. June wrote messages in French!

We have some fun (and safe!) outdoor activities to look forward to in November.

First, next Saturday, November 7th, is Good Neighbor Day. This is an annual partnership event between UMD, Prince George’s County Parks, and The City of College Park that aims to bring people together around volunteering and neighborhood conservation projects. The CP parkrun community has been a great supporter of this event for the past few years, and we’d love to do the same again this year, as part of our commitment to the community and to the upkeep of our favorite trail. This year’s projects on the Paint Branch Trail will involve invasive species removal. They are designed to ensure suitable distancing. And with no need for tool sharing. Please drop us a line at collegepark@parkrun.com if you can help out, and we can help connect you to the relevant folks.

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Good Neighbor Day 2019

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Good Neighbor Day 2018

Meanwhile, our friends at Kensington parkrun are trialing virtual parkruns on Sundays in the month of November. It’s similar to CPVp, but one day later. There’s no formal meetup for a run or walk. But Beach Drive in Kensington remains closed on weekends, and so if you’re out there on a Sunday morning the chances of coming across friendly parkrunners are good. And they also plan on a social-but-distanced outdoor coffee hangout at their “local”, La Gelatteria, in Kensington late mornings. Sipping hot drinks while catching up with friends outdoors is a great way to get through the late fall.

Finally, looking ahead to the end of November, we’re looking to hold a special Thanksgiving edition of CPVp on Thursday November 26th. Thanksgiving is normally the busiest running day of the year, and we love that it is focused on getting active together as a family. That’s what we are all about at CPVp. We hope that many family members, near and far, will be able to join you this year.

Until next time!

Your CPVp Team

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Paul and Mary enjoyed a run-walk to start the day

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This week's chalk inspiration courtesy of JRR Tolkien

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OK, that last part wasn't Tolkien. But do it!

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Seen on Colin's spooky parkrun-before-dawn

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Olivia was one of SEVENTEEN barkrunners this week, a CP parkrun record

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Chris and Nina biked to Acredale Park to run the PB Trail this week

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Michelle, Luther, and Fiona brought relatives along this week to enjoy the trail

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"Effectively peer pressured into this 5K" - Jen's hoodie designed by husband Travis Miller

 

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Enough with the barkrunners. Cats can enjoy virtual parkrunning, too.

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Great to see Eileen, Meridith, and Tom on the trail this week

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If you're happy and you know it ...

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Dan was in Richmond for his daughter's swim meet. So he stopped by for a run around the Deep Run parkrun course.

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Grab a hat and a mug of hot coffee. Cooler temps can't stop our social-but-distanced hangouts. Stop by to catch up. And support independent local businesses.

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See you next week