One Step at a Time (Virtual Report 21)

"Real change, enduring change, happens one step at a time." (Ruth Bader Ginsburg)

CP Virtual parkrun #21 had a little bit of everything.

We enjoyed the best weather for running and walking in months. A truly beautiful day.

We did a one day challenge, to try to cover the length of the perimeter of Maryland. Virtually, of course. At 842 miles, that was going to require more than we had covered since Week #14.

And we were thinking a lot about the struggle for equality and opportunity, following the news just hours earlier of the death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. We had RBG quotes to inspire us on the trail this week.

And yeah, there’s still that pandemic thing going on.

2020 is an emotional whirlwind already. This weekend was like 2020 after drinking a little too much coffee. Of course, we have plenty to share. And it was a bit of a whirlwind week in parkrun world, too. More on that at the end of the report.



Teresa and Külli completed a half marathon distance on local trails this weekend

Facts and Figures

  • 174 virtual parkrunners
  • 840 miles covered (so ... that's about as close as we could get, right!)
  • 10 first-timers
  • 5 new TEN TIMER TURTLE badges earned
  • 15 new HIGH FIVE badges earned
  • 12 barkrunners (a record!)
  • 7 virtual volunteers

Stat of the week: the boundary length of Maryland is 842 miles. But the total tidal shoreline of the state is 3,190 miles



Bonnie McClellan and Anna Tinnemore with one of the RBG quotes on the trail

Remembering RBG

After hearing the news Friday evening about the passing of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the second ever woman on the US Supreme Court, many parkrunners set out to honor her memory on Saturday. Andrea wrote some inspiring RBG quotes on the trail, including "You will get satisfaction out of doing something to give back to the community that you never get in any other way."


We can relate to this

Louise Godley & Anne L’Ecuyer’s walk in Takoma Park brought them to a neighborhood shrine to both RBG and John Lewis. (C’mon 2020, why are you doing this to us?)


Seen in Takoma Park

Hannah Russell discovered it was almost exactly a 5K round trip to the Supreme Court building, so there was no other option for where to run. By 8am, there were already tons of flowers, signs, and messages at the steps of the building, and many people walking up to pay their respects.


Supreme Court flag at half mast

Local Routes

There were more people than we have seen since March on the Paint Branch Trail on Saturday morning. Never crowded, but lots of smiling faces.

Win Persina was out picking up trash while running, to make sure the trail was as beautiful as the day’s weather.

It wasn’t only parkrunners who were enjoying the trail. Prince George’s Running Club and Mocha Lee’s fitness group were taking advantage of the lovely day to do some (responsibly social distanced) group running. The DeMatha HS cross country team often do a pre-season time trial at CP parkrun. This year they did the same thing, but without parkrunners (well, aside from team member Ian Parsons, a regular parkrunner). Plus lots of other runners and cyclists.


So many enjoying the great running weather on the Paint Branch Trail

Some folks at the Paint Branch Trail must have thought they were seeing double, or triple, as Andrea and Colin kept passing them. They’re both training for the Virtual London Marathon in 2 weeks, and so were doing multiple laps. Andrea covered around 10 miles before her knee told her to stop. … And then Zoe Phillips said, “I’ll help you to finish your marathon, Mom!”, and proceeded to recruit friends to make up the remaining 16 miles. Colin ran the parkrun course 6 times this week. Meridith Phillips reports that he passed her 7 times on the trail.


Colin approaches the end of his 6th lap of the CP parkrun course. He's planning an 8-lap version for the Virtual London Marathon on Sunday Oct 4th.

On another local trail, the gaping hole in the NE Branch trail we mentioned last week has already been fixed! Two thumbs up to our friends at PG Parks for that!

David Lai and Malik Al Jame were excited to explore more of the great trails and parks in the DC area with a couple other friends. They ran the Capital Crescent Trail; starting in Adams Morgan, passing through Fletcher’s Cove to visit the parkrun route there, onto downtown Bethesda, and back via the National Zoo on the way back.


David and Malik did an epic DC tour this week. Then Malik came over to College Park to run 5K with his nephew Isaiah. Perfect!

Also in DC, Dottie Jograj took a walk on Roosevelt Island with Julie Russell and Neil Jograj. And Külli Crespin & Teresa Perdomo each covered a half marathon distance in College Park (see picture at the top).


Dottie, Julie and Neil pretty much covered all of the alternate courses for Roosevelt Island parkrun.

Enjoying good weather and good company

So many parkrunners commented on the great weather - it feels like Fall, which is such a relief after months of blistering humidity. Our picnic this week behind The Board and Brew even moved to a sunny spot on the other side of the bridge because our usual spot was too chilly!


We found a warmer spot for the outdoor meetup this week, right across the stream bridge, next to the Paint Branch Trail and UMD Lot 11b.

Anne L’Ecuyer & Louise Godley went for a long walk on the Sligo Creek Trail. Both were loving the great fall weather, with Anne throwing in some funky dance moves along the way. Louise, on the other hand, was having a harder time getting out the door and is grateful to CPVp, and the prospect of a beer later, for the motivation.

Ellen Oberholtzer and barkrunner Eli continued their local artwork tour.


Eli's contribution this week in his local art tour

Tour de Maryland

This week we set a 1-day challenge to cover the length of the perimeter of the State of Maryland, which is listed at 842 miles. Our final count for the day is 840 miles. So we’ll treat that as well within the margin of error, and declare victory!

We passed (virtually) many familiar and less familiar landmarks along the way.

We first headed west along the C&O Canal towpath, which parallels the Potomac River and marks the southern border of the state. One of the first landmarks we reached was the small town of Harper’s Ferry, famous for John Brown’s unsuccessful 1859 raid that aimed to end slavery. It’s a good reminder that setbacks in the fight for freedom are sometimes followed by victories.


After following the tributaries of the Potomac beyond Cumberland, MD into the Alleghenies we reached Backbone Mountain, at 3,360 ft. the highest point in the state.


We traversed the northern border of the state, otherwise known as the Mason-Dixon Line. This led us past Hancock, MD, where the state is just 1.8 miles wide north-to-south, and eventually to the top of the Chesapeake Bay at Elkton, MD. The small seat of Cecil County turns out to have a more colorful history than we could have imagined. For many years it was known as the “Gretna Green” or “elopement capital” of the east. Both baseball legend Willie Mays and televangelist Pat Robertson tied the knot in Elkton, MD. Who knew that this small town was once the Las Vegas of its time!



Heading south into the Delmarva Peninsula we eventually reached the Atlantic Ocean. We skipped the bustle of Ocean City to instead visit the wild ponies that can be found at Assateague Island National Seashore.


At this point the border of Maryland requires a crossing of the Chesapeake Bay, close to Smith Island, a fishing community that is known for the official state dessert, and a distinctive local dialect.


Smith Island cake: did you know that we have a "state dessert"? Us neither.

For our final leg we returned to College Park from Point Lookout State Park, soon passing through St Mary’s City, the first European settlement in Maryland, and the one time state capital. The main activity in SMC these days is St Mary’s College of Maryland, part of the University System of Maryland (and current home of regular CPVper Alyssa Heintzelman).

Got some ideas for future community challenges? We’d love to hear them!

Milestones and other achievements

Our fastest runners this week were Robin Phillips (M) who ran a 19:11 in Bristol, UK, and Carly Maas (F) who ran 23:19 on the Paint Branch Trail and was pleased with running her fastest 5K time in a while. [Uh oh, sorry bro -- a late arriving result nabbed the top slot.] And our virtual tailwalkers this week were Lisa & James Wilson. Lisa broke her father James out from his assisted living facility because it was such a pretty day. James deserves a special (virtual) high five, because it was his fifth CPVp 5K. Impressive for 102 years old. We think this makes him the oldest person in the world to complete 5 parkruns. (Unfortunately, they're virtual, but we're not going to be picky.)

The longest distance this week was run by Dagny S, who has been training for the Marine Corps Marathon. He completed his longest run ever at 22.22 miles, on an out and back route along the B&A Trail in Anne Arundel County. Dagny wrote that he’s having fun running in the footsteps of his fellow Oromo athletes, which includes many of the world’s fastest distance runners. (

Other runners also had personal milestones this week, with Jen Matis and Jeremy Rueter both running 10Ks, and Mike McClellan going sub 50 for his 5K for the first time since surgery over a year ago. Colin was at Acredale Park as Mike ran towards the finish and then dropped to the floor, after pushing himself a little too hard. But 82-year old Mike was up and smiling again very soon afterwards, waiting to cheer Bonnie McClellan and Anna Tinnemore to the finish. Later in the morning, Trace Huard also ran an all-time PB of 22:13!



We welcomed 10 first-timers this week: Jessica Rosenberg, Adrien Harrison, Mocha Lee, Stephanie Brown, Darlene Dyer, Anne Byrnes, Richard DeAngelis, Sevi X, Sevi X's mom, and Vicki Stevens.

We had our highest count of new HIGH FIVE badge earners since, well, CPVp #5, with 15 new 5-timers: Ben Flamm, Emily Flamm, Sarah Wimmer, Diana Claros, Jim Linn, Jasper (barkrunner), Whistler (barkrunner), James Wilson, Kiki Ivanovsky, Kurama (barkrunner), Lizzie (barkrunner), Michelle Brane, Sasha Ivanovsky, Yoko (barkrunner), and Jules Adamo.

And 5 parkrunners earned a 10-timer Turtle badge: Terri Snedeker, Danny Walker, Jeff Rosenberg, Sophie (barkrunner), and Judy Mason.

Congratulations to all, but here are just a few special shout-outs.

Welcome to Mocha Lee and her fitness group, including Stephanie Brown and Darlene Dyer, who did our regular 5K course as part of their weekly group workout. Also a member of the group: regular CP parkrunner Jim Cantwell. Plus some photobomber in a yellow parkrun shirt.


Mocha Lee and her crew

First-timer Jessica Rosenberg joins husband Brian and son Peter as the latest addition to Team Rosenberg, who had 6 participants this week. They were the Pennsylvania arm of Team Rosenberg, while Jeff Rosenberg earned his 10-timer badge running in Colorado.

Welcome also to Adrien Harrison, from Columbia, MD, sister of regular CPVper (and chalking helper) Meridith Phillips. And Anne Byrnes, wife of regular CPVper Amanda Mercer. They enjoyed the outdoors at Gravelly Point on the Mount Vernon Trail, one of our favorite spots for people and airplane watching in the region.

It was great to see Vicki Stevens and Richard DeAngelis back on the PB Trail on a Saturday morning. Both were regular CP parkrunners in the Before Times. We hope they can continue to join us (semi-)virtually.

Good to see Ben Flamm and Emily Flamm both earning their High Five badges on the same day. We’re pretty sure that wasn’t planned.

Impressively, five barkrunners were among this week’s new 5-timers. The pups probably don’t mind the cooler weather.

And we were thrilled to see barkrunner Sophie earn a turtle badge this week. Sophie is our most enthusiastic barkrunner at regular CP parkrun, and we know she must be missing leading the pack on a Saturday morning.


Sophie can't wait to rejoin her parkrun friends

Congrats to Judy Mason of Kensington parkrun and Terri Snedeker of Fletcher’s Cove parkrun on their 10-timer badges. To mix things up a bit more, Terri completed his 10th CPVp while running a 5K PB on the course of Anacostia parkrun. Clearly the best way to celebrate that achievement would be to go to the coffee shop for Roosevelt Island or Kensington parkruns.

Virtual Volunteers

This week’s CPVp was brought to you by 7 virtual volunteers.

Hannah Russell (report), Tara Mease (results wizardry), Anna Tinnemore (more results wizardry), Colin Phillips (propaganda), and Andrea Zukowski (email and chalk-based comms) are the core crew who have been keeping things humming along week after week.

This week they were joined by Katie Hirsche, who did Strava results collecting while resting up ahead of her first ever half marathon on Sunday - the Virtual Parks Half Marathon. Congrats Katie! (And Evan.)

And Lisa Shiota was a first time virtual volunteer, also monitoring results as they rolled in on Saturday. Lisa was feeling under the weather, so she handled this role adeptly from her couch while recovering. Thanks for your help, Lisa!

An additional shout out to the past virtual volunteers who helped out as online cheerleaders, reading and responding to activities posted on our Facebook feed. All very much appreciated!

As usual, we always welcome offers of help to keep CPVp going. It’s fun. And it earns you a cute volunteer badge in your CPVp results that stays even in weeks when you’re not volunteering.



Congrats to Katie on her first ever half marathon, and to pacemaker Evan

Looking Ahead

This report would not be complete without our weekly update on prospects for a return to “normal”. If we can remember what that even means. It's a bit long this week, so feel free to just skip to the bonus photos at the end.

In global parkrun world, the week was a bit of a whirlwind. Barely 24 hours after parkrun UK announced their carefully crafted plan to bring back hundreds of events in England by late October, the UK government announced new restrictions. Coronavirus cases are surging again in the UK. At the time of writing, per capita rates are similar to what we have seen in Maryland over the past couple of months.

In the current situation in the UK, it looks like a number of landowners will be reluctant to allow events to restart. Increasing numbers of parkrunners are reluctant to restart. And there’s a heightened risk of reputational damage in local communities. These issues are all discussed in a (long!) online Q&A hosted by parkrun global leaders this past Friday. We give full credit to them for recognizing that this likely will delay plans to return in the UK.

In other places, there are glimmers of a restart. This weekend 4 events started in very COVID-safe locations. 3 in the remote northern Australian city of Darwin. And one on a disputed British island in the South Atlantic. There are currently plans for most New Zealand events to restart next week, Sept 26th. And for events in Western Australia to return not long afterwards. The experience in these safer locations will surely be helpful.


Sharlene and some of our RBG graffiti

In College Park and surrounding areas the COVID situation is becoming clearer.

Infection rates in Maryland and Prince George’s County have been holding steady for weeks now. At the time of writing, hospitalizations in Maryland are below 300 for the first time since March, around one sixth of the peak total in the Spring.

The COVID-19 situation at UMD is clearer now than one week ago. From Sept 13-19 UMD reported 177 positive cases in their dashboard (61 from campus testing, 116 from self-reported cases). Results from the latest round of mass screening on campus are showing around 1% positives. That is much higher prevalence than in PG County as a whole. But not at the levels of some of the more alarming campus outbreaks around the country. UMD reports that it is working closely with the county health department on coronavirus control measures. One dorm building is currently in quarantine. It will be a few more weeks before we can see more clearly how the rest of the year will unfold for the College Park community.

This week saw the announcement that Big10 football will return in October. Albeit in empty stadiums. Meanwhile, there is no news on changes in event restrictions in PG County.


Congratulations to Angela Gentile on the (virtual, of course) National Women's Half Marathon. She reports that barkrunner Shackleton ran with her for the first 3 miles.

It’s clear that things aren’t likely to change dramatically for months. So there is increasing discussion of: “Is the medicine worse than the cure?”. A blog post shared with parkrunners worldwide this week (The time to act is now) directly claims that the health benefits of bringing parkrun events back outweigh the health risks. This is similar to discussions that have unfolded over opening of schools and colleges, and other parts of the economy.

We do not take a position on whether the benefits of our local event outweigh the risks. But in the case of College Park, we can at least be specific about the relevant considerations. Also, CPVp has given us a clearer picture of what community members have been up to during the pandemic.

CP parkrun is probably the largest running and walking event in Prince George’s County, with around 7,000 participations per year, and growing. It is probably the largest regular fitness activity in the College Park area. And, of course, it’s free. So there are no major economic issues associated with our pause.

The health benefits of CP parkrun to the community include physical health, mental health, and what we might call “community health”, the benefit of positive interaction between different segments of the local community. A healthy community is a connected community. What matters is whether the event is improving these health indicators over what would happen otherwise. If CP parkrun is just creating a free version of activities that would happen anyway, then there is no net benefit.

Currently, the health risks of CP parkrun involve increasing the risk of spread of COVID-19, not only to participants but to those individuals who participants come into contact with.

The following are ballpark figures, but they give a sense of the numbers involved.

In Prince George’s County currently around 1 in 1000 of the population gets a positive COVID-19 diagnosis each week. Assuming that individuals remain positive and infectious for 14 days, this suggests that 1 in 500 in the county is positive right now. It’s hard to know how many asymptomatic cases are out there, but recent CDC estimates are that as many as 50% of cases are asymptomatic. So, maybe around 1 in 1000 in the county are positive-but-asymptomatic currently.

If we assume that those with COVID-19 symptoms would avoid coming to CP parkrun, but that asymptomatic carriers would still attend, this means that around 1 in 1,000 participants would be an asymptomatic carrier. (Of course, some asymptomatic people would stay away if they are quarantining for a family member or close contact. And some mild symptomatic people might still come along. These are only rough figures.)

Over the next 6 months, assuming regular turnout of ~150/week, this would amount to about 4 or 5 instances of an asymptomatic carrier coming along to CP parkrun on a Saturday, or 1 every 4-6 weeks.

Risks of transmission are said to be low outdoors (see the parkrun commissioned review of the relevant science). Asymptomatic individuals are thought to have low risks of transmission. Pre-symptomatics might be a different story. There are widely shared stories that raised fears about the risks of heavy breathing runners. But the science has been strongly disputed. Nowadays we know much more than we did a few months ago about the critical role of prolonged exposure.

Again, we take no position on whether this level of risk is acceptable, for individuals, or for the city or county. But this is a first-pass estimate of the risk level at CP parkrun, if it were to return imminently. (To be clear, there has been no discussion of that.)

As for the health benefits of CP parkrun -- to physical, mental, or community health -- and the impact of events being paused, those are harder to calculate. In the case of COVID-19 you either have it or you don't have it. But these health measures are far more complex.

We can use CPVp as a point of comparison to regular CP parkrun. It’s useful because it’s an indicator of activity during the pandemic. Of course, we have only partial information. But we do know who is reporting activities for CPVp on Saturdays. And the growth of our College Park parkrun Strava Club has given us more information about what folks get up to on other days of the week.

Overall participation in terms of numbers of runs or walks is barely different between Spring/Summer 2019 and Spring/Summer 2020. If anything, we see slightly increased counts of activities in 2020. This has surprised us. It is not what other parkrun communities around the US or around the world are seeing, with a couple of exceptions.

But we see many fewer new participants in 2020. In March - Sept 2019 we welcomed around 500 first-timers to CP parkrun. Some kept coming back, many did not. In the same period in 2020 we have seen many fewer local first-timers. So, the community is strong. That's wonderful. But it is not currently growing in the way that it normally would.

The diversity of participation has been different in 2020 than in 2019. We now see more walkers, and more women. But we see less racial and socioeconomic diversity. We see fewer students, too. So we're making less progress on our aim of bringing together different parts of the community.

We cannot pretend to quantify mental health impacts on the community, especially when 2020 is already so stressful. But we are confident that there are many community members that would see real benefits from being able to come together with a positive group of people on a regular basis. With CPVp and with our (safe, limited) meetups we’re doing what we can to address that need. But it only goes so far.

Volunteering at CP parkrun certainly contributes to the mental health benefits. It doesn’t make you fitter, but it does make you feel good about your role in your community. And volunteers tend to come back more often as runners and walkers. Volunteering at CP parkrun has shrunk dramatically during the pandemic.

As for community health, that is even harder to measure, as it’s a feature of groups rather than individuals. But there is clearly a difference between 2019 and 2020. CPp was one of the largest regular local gatherings that brought people together from different backgrounds. CPVp may, in fact, be one of the largest local “gatherings” during the pandemic. But it is less diverse, and the opportunities for people to support and to talk with people who they wouldn’t see otherwise has narrowed. At a time when town-gown relations are fragile due to concerns about the spread of the virus, the benefits of different parts of the community coming together are even greater than usual.

We leave it for you, dear reader, to weigh these benefits and risks. And they mean different things for each individual. But this is our very local version of what the parkrun HQ folks are working through on an international scale.

One thing that we can say for sure, however, is that the success of CPVp has made a difference to physical, mental, and community health. The vast majority of communities that have lost their local parkrun event do not have the benefit of something like CPVp. And, channeling Ruth Bader Ginsburg once more, we are proud to be a part of this change, one step at a time.

Until next time!

Your CPVp Team



Congrats to Eden Gray for completing a virtual 10k race. After 2 years of injuries and unsuccessful comebacks, this is a real achievement. andres-mbouh-web

Great to meet regular CPVper Andres Mbouh at the post-parkrun picnic


Keaton and Alyssa are back from Pennsylvania for some low altitude training


Ha! Seen on Strava. That's kind of how we roll in College Park.


Twenty Already (Virtual Report 20)

Two years ago on this weekend most local running events were canceled due to an expected hurricane. It didn’t materialize, and College Park parkrun went ahead, welcoming a record crowd of 210 finishers for our 100th event. Looking back at our photo album from that day, the thing that looks most remarkable now is something that seemed entirely normal then - crowds of people running, walking, or standing around in close quarters, enjoying each other’s company, without masks, and not feeling remotely guilty about it.


Look at all those people! College Park parkrun #100, 2 years ago this week.


So many smiles on the trail - and we were even allowed to give high fives! College Park parkrun #100, 2 years ago this week

This week an unexpected weather event on Thursday brought record rainfall amounts, causing damage to trails, trees, bridges, and basements. For the first time that we can remember, Prince George’s Parks put out an alert on Friday morning that ALL of their trails in our area were temporarily closed for safety inspections. We’re not sure what will seem surprising when we look back in 2022, but for now what is striking is just how much we all value simple acts of being able to get outside, and finding small ways to connect to others.

This week was our TWENTIETH CP Virtual parkrun. And as always we were amazed and amused to learn about your adventures, and touched by your acts of kindness.


Lori's 20th CPVp was more challenging than expected - read on to find out why


Facts and Figures

  • 159 virtual parkrunners
  • 775 miles covered
  • 6 first-timers
  • 2 new TEN TIMER TURTLE badges earned
  • 4 new HIGH FIVE badges earned
  • 7 barkrunners
  • 7 virtual volunteers

Stat of the week: maybe it was the milder weather, maybe the stress of the week, but this week you wanted to walk or run further. After 20 CPVps, you have logged over 14,000 miles in around 3,300 activities. The average length of a CPVp is 6.8km, but this week the average was 7.8km. You fit right in at CPVp, whatever your pace or distance. But sometimes you just want to keep on moving.



Team Aguilera Kelley - 5 virtual parkrunners this week! At Calvert Cliffs beach

Thursday’s Storm

The storm that hit the DC area on Thursday dumped 4-6 inches of rain in under 2 hours in our immediate area. The resulting flooding even made international news as multiple major roads were shut down for hours on Thursday afternoon. The Paint Branch Trail was largely ok, but other trails in the area weren’t as lucky. On Saturday, Jen Matis and Angela Gentile both took pictures of this dramatically washed out section of the Northeast Branch Trail near the airport.


Steeplechase anybody?

David Lai followed his virtual parkrun by going out on a kayak to clean up trash from Four Mile Run in Alexandria.


Thank you for helping to clean up local waterways, David!

Meanwhile, spare a thought for our friends in Ann Arbor, MI, where Lillie Virtual parkrun was on its 19th event this week. While we can still enjoy our regular trail every week, there’s no such luck for the Lillie parkrunners. Emma Keer & Adam Hockley ran around Lillie Park, and checked out the boardwalk across a pond that is the centerpiece of their parkrun course. It has been submerged for months, and so it may need to be entirely rebuilt.


We hope the beautiful Lillie parkrun bridge in Ann Arbor can be saved (or replaced)

Appreciation and Supporting each other

We love hearing your messages of appreciation. And just as much we love seeing virtual parkrunners supporting each other.

The rain this week washed away last week’s chalk from the trail, leaving a clean slate for new chalkers. If you head down the Paint Branch Trail between now and the next rainfall, you’ll see greetings all along the trail. Barkrunner Ranger took a run on the trail with his human, Cameron McPhee, who sent us this picture of Ranger’s message.


Nice handwriting, Ranger

Joan Heffernan enjoyed a beautiful day in Connecticut while running her 20th CP Virtual parkrun. Joan says she never would have done 20 5Ks in 20 weeks if it wasn’t for this community. Joan also ran exactly the same time as last week, for which she earns herself a gratuitous groundhog.


We don't yet have a way to do automatic checks for repeat times, so if you think you earned one of these, let us know!

Lori Dominick was also among this week’s crop of 20-timers. She made it around despite an unusual injury from dropping a blender on her foot - she reported that both the foot and the blender are doing well!

New graduate student Carly Maas wrote: "Another beautiful day! Thank you for having this program. I feel very welcomed to College Park!"

We received a lovely message from Alyssa Heintzelman, who has continued to take part in CPVp now that she’s back in college in St Mary’s City, MD: “I missed running at College Park so much I have started to run here at school! I have made my own little 5k course and have even run with some friends a couple of times. I am currently training for a virtual 5k that the Bronx Zoo is putting on called Run for the Wild to support the rhinos. It is Sept. 26 and some of my friends are even going to wake up early to cheer me on! Thank you for doing virtual parkruns. Maybe after the pandemic is over you can still hold them so college students like me can still participate? It is really motivating.”

Külli Crespin & Teresa Perdomo were reunited after 2 months and went for a nearly 6.5 mile walk to celebrate.




It was a week for many-lap courses. Some more than others.

Jackie Hayes went 14 miles on a local running track. That’s 56 laps! Wow.


56 laps for Jackie. Hard to keep count!

Derek Symer did 9.5 laps of a local baseball field to make his 5K in Kensington, MD. Derek normally finds more varied routes, so maybe this was related to the flooding on Beach Drive that left the Kensington parkrun course under water.

In College Park, Colin Phillips, Andrea Zukowsi and Joyce Adams could be found running laps on the parkrun 5K route. They were testing out the course for the virtual London Marathon on October 4th. It passed with flying colors! Andrea and Joyce run-walked 4 laps, and Colin ran 5 laps or 25K. So between them they got to see a lot of friendly parkrunners along the trail, some of them multiple times. (Come join the fun on Oct 4th if you’d like to do a lap, or a few laps.)


Virtual London Marathon training crew. Multi-lap parkruns planned for the next couple of weeks ahead of the Oct 4th big day. Join them!

And while some of their fellow parkrunners ran laps in familiar areas, others decided to try something new. Yogarshi Vyas and Neha & Nitish Joshi went hiking in Cold Spring, NY. On the other side of the country, Janet Grudzien John went for a nearly 5 mile solo walk on the beach in Honolulu. Current restrictions in Hawaii are so tight that you can’t even walk on the beach with a family member.


Not bad views over the Hudson River Valley

In Sandpoint, ID, Cindy Cohen had to take it easy and swap out her usual mountain route for a route on lower ground, as the smoke from the West Coast fires covered the mountains. Closer to home, Team Aguilera Kelley - Jorge, Nico, Diego, Lucas, and Carolyn - walked 3.6 mi on Calvert Cliffs beach after Carolyn had already done her 5k run earlier in the day. This week was Nico’s “first official unofficial” parkrun! (Photo above)

Ellen Oberholtzer and barkrunner Eli continued their tour of public art this week with a visit to the blue bear at Riverdale Park Station. The bear was installed in 2017 and named Sir Rulean by a social media contest. (And what does that name mean? It took (one of) us a while to figure it out. See here.)


No social distancing rules for glittery bears and barkrunners

Milestones and other achievements

The cooler weather on Saturday must have helped lots of people to achieve new milestones for CPVp.

Meghan Gieske ran the full 5k for the first time running since the birth of baby Blaise.

Frank Snyder has been running a 5K every week during the shutdown around his retirement community in Gaithersburg, MD. Frank’s in his late 70s, but is still motivated to bring his times down, and this week made good progress on his goals.

At the speedy end of the (virtual) field, there was a bevvy of PBs. Clark Ridge scored a narrow CPVp PB. Andres Mbouh dipped under 19 minutes for the first time. Tomas Marambio ran what may be his fastest CPVp yet. And we think that Patrick Wojahn’s 21:04 is ahead of his all-time parkrun PB … which may well also make it an all-time US parkrun record in the mayoral category.


Patrick followed his CPVp PB on Saturday by running the Virtual Parks Half Marathon on Sunday, together with Duane Rosenberg. They made good use of the Paint Branch Trail

A few of our parkrunners this week also completed virtual marathons. Brian Murphy and Luther Lemon both ran the virtual Boston Marathon. These two 3-hour marathoners should have been lining up with 30-40,000 others, with hundreds of thousands cheering them along the route of one of the oldest and most famous marathons in the world. Both ran impressive solo efforts in under 3:30.


That's not Copley Square. But it's a marathon well done. Congrats, Brian!

In contrast, Pratyush Tiwary had been training all summer for the Abebe Bikila Marathon, a far smaller affair that was being held as a full marathon for the first time (it had been a half marathon in previous years) and that anticipated a field around 1% of the size of the Boston Marathon. This event commemorates the 184 who lost their lives in the 9/11 attack on The Pentagon, and also remembers Abebe Bikila, the Ethiopian runner who was Africa’s first Olympic champion. The race was due to take place on the C&O Canal towpath, starting at Fletcher’s Cove in Washington DC. Pratyush did his virtual race around the trails of College Park, starting at 5:30am together with UMD graduate student Luke Evans. And he was joined for the last 10 miles by a couple more students as pacers. So he probably had more company on his virtual run than he would have had in the non-virtual race. And he went and ran a 28-minute personal best for the marathon of 3:40. Impressive!

Barkrunner Pakora was there to congratulate Pratyush at the finish, and is looking forward to joining his human on some shorter and cooler runs in the weeks and months ahead.


Pratyush with his pacers

34 people ran their 20th CPVp this week. That’s a perfect “attendance” record. No new badges for that -- we’re holding off until week #25, October 17th, which coincides with the 4th birthday of College Park parkrun.

Andres Mbouh and Isaiah Dycks both earned ten-timer turtle badges. 7-year old Isaiah deserves a special shout out, as in normal times his 10 5Ks would have earned him an official parkrun milestone shirt.


Isaiah sets out for his 10th CPVp

Amy Rice, Kristie Atwood, Sally Newman, and Faith Hays all earned high five badges for completing their fifth CPVp. Amy managed an interesting combo this week, first running a couple of miles outdoors with her sons, and then hopping on the treadmill to add a few more miles. Sally is a regular at Kensington parkrun, and Faith is a regular at Durham, NC parkrun.

We welcomed six newcomers this week: Jeff Bowser, Nitish Joshi, Nico Aguilera Kelley, Deborah Gayle, Daniele Forno, and Magdalena Duhagon! Deborah was taking part in a non-virtual race and celebrated her fastest 5K in years. Daniele Forno is the latest addition to our pool of CPVpers in Civitavecchia, Italy. And we were thrilled to see Magdalena back running on the Paint Branch Trail on a Saturday.


Welcome Daniele (and Paolo Giulio). Now we have THREE CPVPers in Italy

If you need some calming, locally-sourced music to help you through the pandemic, we can recommend Magdalena’s YouTube channel, where you can hear some of her wonderful classical guitar music.

An Even Bigger Milestone

Luther and Michelle Lemon were out on the Paint Branch Trail this week, and sent their regrets for not joining the coffee meetup this week (no worries!). But Michelle shared a very important update for the day. 9-month old Dashiell walked his first steps this Saturday.

Now THAT is a big achievement. Congratulations Dashiell! We’re counting down to late 2023, when you can get your own barcode. For now, riding in the stroller while mom runs is a pretty good gig, too.


Fiona skips along while Dashiell rests on his laurels after taking his first ever steps!

Virtual Volunteers

A big Thank You, as always, to our team of virtual volunteers. The regular weekly crew of Colin Phillips, Andrea Zukowski, Tara Mease, Anna Tinnemore, and Hannah Russell were joined this week by Katie Hirsche and Meridith Phillips.

For Meridith it was her first time as a CPVp virtual volunteer, and she filled the joint role of results wrangler and online cheerleader like a natural. Thank you!

We’d like to give an extra shout out to Tara for a super handy addition to our results tracking system, which makes it easy for us to check whether we have overlooked any regulars.

If you can help out as a virtual volunteer in future weeks, we’d LOVE to hear from you. There are many roles. They’re fun and easy. And they all help us to keep supporting this community during the pandemic.


New virtual volunteer -- thank you, Meridith!

Looking Ahead

This section is our weekly update on where things stand in parkrun world and in our local area, and how this affects our community in the months ahead.

Responses to the COVID-19 pandemic create a dilemma that we’re all familiar with by now. We need to keep people apart, to limit the spread of the virus and protect health and lives. But keeping people apart brings untold costs. It damages lives, it damages livelihoods, it further erodes society, and it can also undermine physical and mental health.

This is the backdrop to the big news in parkrun world this week: the planned return of parkrun in England in late October.

This took us by surprise. The UK has made huge progress in controlling COVID-19, but it’s definitely not the most virus-safe parkrun country. Especially since it’s also the biggest, with 500+ events every Saturday and around 150,000 participants per week. Many events draw 500+ per week, often on narrow multi-lap courses. UK parkruns are crowded.

The return of parkrun in England (not all of the UK) was announced one day before the UK government changed their “Rule of Six” from guidance to a legal requirement. Groups of more than 6 people cannot gather, even outside, unless it’s part of a specifically approved activity. So this creates a situation where, at some point in October, it will be illegal for a group of 7 friends to gather in a park, but it will be ok for 700 to gather in that same park if it’s for a parkrun.

This sounds like a bit of a contradiction. It surely won’t pass without controversy. The justification is that the benefits of parkrun outweigh the risks, because parkrun brings huge benefits to physical and mental health, and the recently published parkrun COVID-19 framework mitigates the risks of virus transmission. We don’t know what’s right, but it’s clearly a brainer (i.e., not a no-brainer). In England, parkrun was able to get this exception, together with schools, workplaces, and other organized sporting events, thanks to their close connections with national government bodies.

We are curious to see how the re-start of parkrun in England proceeds. We certainly hope that it is a success. But this has minimal bearing on how parkrun events will restart in the US. There is no way that we will get the kind of special status given to events in the UK.

You don’t need us to tell you that the US lacks a coherent national approach to the pandemic. Regulations on events and activities in the US are currently set primarily at the level of states, counties, and even municipalities. So central planning of event re-starts is almost impossible. Also, the US is a place where influence happens mostly on a local basis. So the successful restart of hundreds of parkrun events in the UK would have roughly zero influence on decisions made by local authorities here. The decisions of a US county will be influenced by what happens in the next county over, but not by what happens in London.

Bottom line: it’s going to be a while.


We do miss Hump, but there's one way to find him ...


... at the weekly CPVp socially distanced outdoor picnic


And for a bonus, you can practice yoga moves with Lisa

Meanwhile, the trajectory of the pandemic is becoming clearer in Maryland and the DMV, but we’re still in the “fog of uncertainty” stage in College Park.

At the state and county level, we’re in a relatively steady state. There are gradual steps towards reopening, and gradual increases and decreases in the spread of the virus. But there’s little reason to expect things to get dramatically better or dramatically worse in the foreseeable future. Any significant drops in the spread of the virus are likely to be met with further reopening measures. And it's more important that schools reopen than that sporting events restart.

At the local level, on the other hand, things are much less clear, due to the ramp up of activity at UMD. Some say that things are going well. Others see alarming signs. Tensions and suspicions are unusually high.

Maryland high school sports announced a plan for restarting, with the year’s three ‘seasons’ squeezed into February - June 2021. That’s encouraging. But February is still a long way away.

So, there’s a whole lot that we don’t know. And uncertainty is hard for all of us. But it is clear that the dilemma facing parkrun in the UK is less acute for us here in College Park. It is certainly hard to be apart, and there are real negative consequences of that. We are not able to serve the local community as broadly as we did in the past. But with CPVp now fairly well established, and relatively sustainable, we can continue supporting one another for as long as it takes, until we are able to come back together.

Until next time!

Your CPVp Team







Chalk Talks (Virtual Report 19)

Here at CPVp HQ we generally have mixed feelings about the arrival of September. The end of summer brings better weather for running outdoors, but tighter schedules and more deadlines with the start of the school year. In 2020 we are SO HAPPY to welcome September. The summer was, well, 2020, so it’s not like it will be missed. And the advent of milder weather is JUST AWESOME, as so many of us experienced this weekend.

When lives are turned upside down by the pandemic, and many are homeschooling, or tele-working, or doing all we can to keep a business afloat, or take care of loved ones, or just trying to stay sane -- it is SO good to be able to get outdoors to do simple things like walk or run. And better yet if we happen to see other humans. Like, in person.

As usual, you have given us plenty to share for CPVp Report #19. Thank you to everybody who contributes material regularly. We love hearing from you. And your stories and pictures help everyone to feel that little bit less isolated in these strange times.



Great to see Elmer Hernandez running on the Paint Branch Trail this week

Facts and Figures

  • 170 virtual parkrunners
  • 750 miles covered
  • 4 first-timers
  • 6 new TEN TIMER TURTLE badges earned
  • 11 barkrunners
  • 6 virtual volunteers

Fun fact: to date 84 people have completed CPVp at least 15 times. 80 of them took part on this beautiful weekend.



Amanda got to give her 100 shirt a spin. And she came across Win on the trail!

Chalk Talk

In the before times we would gather at Acredale Park and actually talk to one another and cheer for each other. What a thought! In case that’s hard to remember, here’s a picture of us doing just that one year ago.


Remember when this was a normal thing? We barely can!

This week we found a new low-tech way to interact, without electronic devices … but with chalk! Andrea left a message by the start line at Acredale Park, and then left a box of chalk for parkrunners to leave messages along the trail. And the result was fabulous. If you follow “our” stretch of trail, you’ll find so many different messages of encouragement. Thanks to everyone who contributed to this team effort.

The chalk is out there until the next rain comes along. And then we can start again.


Andrea got things started -- you can take a girl out of Detroit, but you can't take Detroit out of a girl


Lisa Shiota's greeting


Lisa Wilson's contribution


Good advice


We have so many talented artists in our community

Scenes from the Trail

If you visit the Paint Branch Trail on a Saturday, any time from 7:00 - 10:30 or so, there’s a good chance of seeing parkrunners. And you might see paparazza Andrea roving with her camera, too. (Fancy giving this role a try some week? Let us know!)


Meridith found the roving paparazza

Farrah Darbouze, Jessica Heard and barkrunner Idgy struck out southwards for a change of scenery, to visit new sections of the trail -- great idea!

And a few parkrunners included the PB Trail into longer runs. Kristie Atwood got in a 10-miler that took her down the Trolley Trail to Hyattsville. Somewhere along the trail she found a crayfish with rather impressive claws!



Don't stand so close to me!

Lisa Shiota and Matt Kaplan explored some side trails.

Zak Mellen and Chris van Vlack headed up the big hill on the PB Trail extension that leads to Beltsville, and somehow Chris managed to score a big PB for his 5K. Nice!


Looking good, Neha!

Further Afield

As always, we had a lot of virtual parkrunners share their stories with us from places other than the Paint Branch Trail this week.

Janet Grudzien John is a CPVp stalwart who has been sharing great pictures throughout the summer. First from the ocean in Newport, RI, then walks with her dad in Michigan. But she has been missing from the CPVp results the past couple of weeks. Why? Because she moved to Hawaii and has been in 2-week quarantine. This week she celebrated her first morning of freedom with a beautiful sunrise walk in Honolulu.


Congratulations on your freedom, Janet!

Joan Heffernan ran 5K from home in Suffield, Connecticut, and contributed this week’s CPVp history lesson. Joan sent us a picture of this sign commemorating Suffield native Sylvester Graham, the guy who graham crackers are named after. And she had a graham cracker after her run. Nice! But this sent our report writers down an interesting rabbit hole about Graham and his influence.

It turns out that Reverend Graham didn’t actually invent the eponymous cracker. But he was a leader in the temperance movement and a proponent of healthy living in the early 19th century. He is regarded by some as the father of the American vegetarian movement. And he rose to fame during a period of widespread panic around a cholera pandemic, when it appeared that Graham’s followers were avoiding infection better than most.

Graham is also credited as one of the first to recognize that stress contributes to disease, something we’re all more aware of right now.

Graham also had a strong influence on another figure who would come to be a household name, John Harvey Kellogg. We mostly know the name from breakfast cereal, but there’s a lot more to the story than that (some of it good, some not so much).


Moving from history class to art class, Ellen Oberholtzer and Eli ran 5K with a brief photo stop to capture another part of the Decatur Street bridge in Edmonston.


Eli's art tour continues

Anna Weber completed about 4 miles on Roosevelt Island, with lots to look at, including a skink, butterflies, mushrooms and a friendly arachnid.


Erin Fields Saddler completed over 5 miles and got a great selfie with the new ‘M’ circle at the University of Maryland.


Erin checked out the new "M" circle at UMD. The new landmark has been built to make space for the route of the Purple Line light rail

Sarah Cunanan’s run generated run art that looks like lobster claws!


Malik Al-Jame, David Lai, and another friend ran 15 miles along the Northeast Branch Trail, from Lake Artemesia to Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens in DC, and back.  Malik then honored a promise to his nephew, Isaiah, for another 3 miles.



Malik did a 15-mile warm up for his 5K with Isaiah. That's probably enough.


Brian Rosenberg set a CPVp record, with a time of 17:04, running in Mechanicsburg, PA. Brian’s message to Sam Phipps (or any other challenger): please run faster, as that will help push me (virtually) to a sub-17 time. Game on!

Clark Ridge checked in with a speedy 17:36 clocking, and Andres Mbouh put down a 19:07 PB. So we had a good contingent of speedsters taking part this week.

Külli Crespin combined her parkrun 5K with the Virginia Beach Rock n Roll Half Marathon, with her husband encouraging her by biking alongside. She plans to do another half marathon in 2 weeks and hopes to get her time down to 2.5 hours.

Jen Matis is not only back from injury. She also combined her virtual parkrun with a virtual race and got a cool, wooden medal for her efforts.

In Idaho, Cindy Cohen continued her gravity aided assault on her PBs, this week coming close to cracking 23 minutes for her (very) downhill 5K.


Jen's race number says "Salute your shorts". We're not sure whether to ask.


In last week’s bad weather, the barkrunners were happy to stay indoors. This week they were even more happy to get outside. Our 11 barkrunners may be a CPVp record.

Angela Gentile’s pup Shackleton ran a mile in Ocean View, Delaware. It’s a big achievement since he’s been afraid to run or walk recently. His humans managed some slightly longer distances, with Angela adding on another 2.1 miles and TJ Hool doing 4 miles.


Shack is back!

Shelly Gough Lauffer and barkrunner, Tucker the beagle, completed a walk in the evening in Mt Airy, MD. And Cameron McPhee and Ranger did just over 4 miles, conveniently finishing up at Vigilante Coffee.

Eden Gray and Foxy got in a zig-zagging, tail-wagging mile. Foxy may look all sweet and innocent in the picture, but Eden says this is her 'Foxy isn't going anywhere until Foxy decides where Foxy wants to walk' stance.


Tim Keer was joined by barkrunners Whistler and Jasper. Whistler did a whole 5K with Tim, but Jasper decided 2.5 miles was plenty, especially since they were passing by his house at that point!


Maybe Tim heard the rumor about our CPVp virtual Iditarod in the winter


Not a barkrunner. But seen on Stefano Gazzano's run this week in central Italy


6 more virtual parkrunners completed their 10th CPVp this week, earning their turtle badges: barkrunner Roo, Jason Yarwood, Joanne Smith, Lisa Shiota, Matt Kaplan, and Gail Sockwell-Thompson. Congrats to all!

And we had at least one actual turtle joining in the action, as spotted by Michelle Lemon.


Don't fear this turtle

And we welcomed a lot of first-time CPVpers. We’re thrilled to have new folks joining us as the seasons shift.

Karen Wojahn is “first mom” of College Park, as her son is mayor Patrick Wojahn. Karen has visited us at our regular events when she’s in town. This week she got in a walk in the beautiful surroundings of Door County, WI. That sounds like an amazing place to be at this time of year! Karen walked 4.4 miles, while in College Park her son Patrick enjoyed the cooler weather with a speedy 3.6 miles.

Hannah Collins is a regular CP parkrunner, but this week she joined dad Kalonji on the Paint Branch Trail for her first CPVp, and they visited the Lisa sign at the turnaround together.


Welcome Hannah!

UMD grad students Janel Niska and Elizabeth Cooper have encountered the parkrun meetup behind The Board and Brew a couple of times, and so this week they got in on the fun by running the Paint Branch Trail, bringing more good vibes to the trail.


We were happy to welcome new UMD grad student Carly Maas to the community. It’s hard to move to a new town in the middle of a pandemic. Welcome!


Welcome to College Park, Carly (... and Elizabeth is still looking for pregnant sows, BTW)

And it was great to see regular parkrunner Patty Hall join CPVp for the first time, together with barkrunner Jude.


Welcome Patty and Jude

Virtual Volunteers

This week’s veteran crew consisted of: Ellen Oberholtzer, Anna Tinnemore, Tara Mease, Hannah Russell, plus Colin Phillips and Andrea Zukowski.

Thank you to those who have dropped us a message to offer to help in a future week. That’s always very much appreciated. The virtual volunteer jobs are interesting -- you get to gather and organize the pictures and stories that 150+ people send us every week. And they can be done from wherever you happen to be right now.

Speaking of far away volunteers, we owe an extra shout out to Kath Phillips -- Colin’s mum -- who does quality control on these reports every week. If there are errors, Colin gets to hear about them! Sometimes it’s, “Is this a mistake, or is that how Americans say that?” At least half the time it’s a mistake. Thanks!


This week Colin ran the actual parkrun course on a Saturday for the first time since March. Great to be back!

Looking Ahead

This is the part where we give a mix of local and global updates on prospects for getting back to normal.

As regular readers probably know, our events work because of a partnership between local volunteers and the centralized infrastructure of parkrun Global. Locals do all the things on the ground in College Park, but the tech and the insurance and lots of other stuff on the back end depends on parkrun Global. And they control when we return. Two developments of note this week.

First, a very few events worldwide will be returning in mid-September: the 3 events in the Northern Territories of Australia and Cape Pembroke Lighthouse parkrun, on a remote South Atlantic island that bizarrely remains under UK control. Two take-aways from this. parkrun events can return on a regional basis, without the need for an entire country to restart. But the bar for these re-starts is set pretty high so far. These events are really, really remote, and they are in locations that are very safe from the pandemic. The moral for College Park: nothing in here that speeds our return, alas. But we'd love to see Marsh, Billings, Rockefeller parkrun in Vermont get a chance to re-start ahead of us.

Second, parkrun Global released a report that they commissioned from a UK-based team of scientists, assessing evidence on the spread of COVID-19 in outdoor settings. You can read it here. It’s interesting. We see two main take-aways: (i) as we already knew, the risk of transmission is much lower in outdoor settings, due to a mix of air circulation and more space; (ii) we know remarkably little after 25M+ cases worldwide, because it’s so hard to confidently trace the source of infections. The moral for College Park: our regular parkruns aren’t coming back imminently, but our brief outdoor encounters on the trail are low risk, as are socially distanced meetups.

UPDATE [9/7/20, 2pm] Ok, so this comes as a surprise. parkrun Global has just now announced that parkrun events in England (not the UK as a whole) will re-start late October. No plans yet announced for other parts of the world.


Luther tapers for the virtual Boston Marathon with a speedy stroller run

As for local updates, the big change in College Park is the influx of new residents with the start of the UMD fall semester last week.

Classes are very much underway at UMD. (At CPVp HQ, two of us are teaching classes and one is taking classes, all via Zoom, from different rooms of the same house. It’s going surprisingly well!) There are certainly more people and more traffic around town. But it’s still very quiet compared to a normal beginning of September in College Park.

It’s too early to know the impact of the new semester on the city, on physical, mental, and economic health. But it’s worth highlighting a couple of things.

Most students are being admirably careful. We hear stories about the exceptions, of course. But we need to remember that most people are acting in the interest of those around them most of the time. And thank them for this.

Local businesses are still struggling. We have been excited to see the return of businesses like The Board and Brew. But with local density still way down, relative to a normal semester, it’s hard for those places to stay afloat. They really appreciate your support!

And we need to be cautious ourselves. The outdoor, socially distanced meetups have been great, and they help to support local businesses. But we also need to be aware that students are watching us, and won’t hesitate to notice any evidence of a double standard being applied to younger vs. older community members. (Thanks to UMD freshman Zoe Phillips for bringing this to our attention.)

Meanwhile take a look below for pictures from the new College Park Woods connector trail  that links to the Paint Branch Trail. It looks so close to being ready to open. We can't wait to check it out!

Until next time!

Your CPVp Team


9-month old Dashiell enjoyed the trail so much that he didn't fall asleep on this week's run!


3-year old Fiona didn't want to be left out of the running action


Socially-distanced picnic behind The Board & Brew


Great to see Win back to running, and back on the trail


Virtual Utica Boilermaker shirts for Mary Clare and Samantha


Lisa keeping tabs on herself


Catherine and Pete biked up to CP for the socially-distanced picnic


The new trail is looking SO close to ready


Looks good for a future alternate route on days when flooding blocks the upper part of the main trail.


Hello Laura! (Virtual Report 18)

Exercising in the DC summer weather, you’ve probably thought to yourself, “I’m so wet, it might as well have been raining!” Well, this week it was raining, as we had a visit from the remnants of Hurricane Laura, which had left a trail of destruction in Western Louisiana a couple of days earlier.

But after all that 2020 has thrown at us, a little bit of rain wasn’t going to throw us off balance! We’re stronger than that. So, as always there was plenty to share and plenty to feel good about at CP Virtual parkrun #18.

And, for THIS WEEK ONLY we made up for the storm by extending our activity window through noon on Sunday, by which time we had some of the best running and walking weather we’ve seen in months. By next week, we shouldn’t need the extra time -- the Saturday forecast is looking awesome.



Driest place to be on Saturday morning was in a well-covered stroller

Facts and Figures

  • 152 virtual parkrunners
  • 660 miles covered
  • 4 first-timers
  • 7 new TEN TIMER TURTLE badges earned
  • 4 new HIGH FIVES earned
  • 9 barkrunners
  • 6 virtual volunteers



David Lai and his crew were not going to be held back by the rain

Mother Nature

It was tempting to stay home in the dry, but lots of you got outside anyway. Not so many pictures of you in the rain, because you had your devices safely tucked away. And some of you waited out the rain and enjoyed the sauna later in the day instead.

Team Schneider interrupted their run-walk to enjoy splashing in some puddles.


When life gives you puddles, splash!

We may have set a record for the number of virtual parkrunners who completed their run on a treadmill this week (6). Extra kudos to Eddie Matus, who managed an 11-mile treadmill run. We’re not sure that we could go that far without falling off.


Record number of treadmill runs this week. Jen had perfect weather for her CPVp

We weren’t going to let our socially-distanced outdoor meetup be rained out. So Andrea sleuthed out a quiet-if-not-bucolic corner of the parking structure at The Varsity and posted a sign to direct parkrunners from the park out back. It worked surprisingly well!


We meet in the fanciest places

Team Lemon -- that’s Michelle, Luther, Fiona, and Daschle -- joined us after their soggy CPVp.


And barkrunner Shackleton came along in his raincoat, and was so excited to say hello to everybody that he needed to be carried away.


Well hello Shackleton!


Sometimes you just have to be dragged away from the friends

Running in Bowie, Mary Anderson saw a pretty awesome terrapin.


Go Terps!

Ellen Oberholtzer and barkrunner Eli continued their tour of beautiful things in our midst. This week they visited the flowers at Dupont Circle … the one in Riverdale Park.


Eli's latest entry for his art tour

And parkrunners who were outside later in the day were treated to some cool skies.


Goodnight lake


While many parents are dropping off their offspring in College Park at the start of a new school year (welcome new students!), many local parents are taking their sons and daughters elsewhere. For Dan Owen this meant a trip to Madison, WI, and an opportunity to check out the route of Howard Temin Lakeshore Path parkrun on the campus of the University of Wisconsin.


Go Badgers!

HTLP parkrun would have been celebrating its first birthday this week. It is well worth a visit if you get a chance. It starts right in front of the UWM Student Union, and follows a pretty trail along the shore of Lake Mendota. In the summer the post-parkrun coffee is in a spectacular spot overlooking the lake. In the winter the event has the distinction of being the only parkrun (to our knowledge) where the pre-event briefing is held inside the student pub, and the finish line is directly in front of the pub door. Colin Phillips got to visit on a snowy day this past January, when he was one of only 6 finishers, and it was excellent!

Better yet, if you choose your timing right, you might get to enjoy a parkrun on the day of the Madison Winter Carnival, where the lake views are even better!


Ok, now THAT is a cool parkrun start

Even further afield, this week we found Robin Phillips running along part of the route of Keswick parkrun in the Lake District National Park in the UK. 6 years ago this week he took Andrea, Colin, and Zoe to Keswick parkrun a couple of days after his wedding. For new runner Andrea this followed her first parkrun the week before, and it may have been what got her to say, “Wouldn’t it be good if we had this in College Park!”


Keswick parkrun, August 2014. Andrea's 2nd ever parkrun

Speaking of new parkrun communities, the Glen Burnie crew met up for a run along their planned route on the B&A Trail. For Jessica Gerbig it was more of a run-waddle with dad Gus Campbell, as she’s looking forward to a new family member on the way!


The Glen Burnie crew was out in force this week


New parkrunner on the way!

Undaunted by the rain, Stewart Mayhew set out from home in Chevy Chase and ran all the way to Vigilante in College Park, ordered a coffee, and then ran home again. We’ll take that as an endorsement for College Park’s coffee scene.

And in Detroit, MI regular CPVper Cory Kind celebrated completing 1000 miles of running since we started in May, as part of the Great Virtual Race Across Tennessee challenge that has captured the imagination of many this summer. Maybe she has earned a little bit of a rest now?


In University Park on Sunday morning a handful of runners and walkers gathered to take on the Virtual Dreaded Druid Hills 10K. This virtualized version of a Baltimore running staple operates on the principle of “run anywhere, as long as it’s hilly!” So Andrea Zukowski devised a route that went up the stiffest hill in her ‘hood 8 times. Ouch!





Smiles ahead of the first of the hills

But our favorite route choice of the week was one of the simplest. Dom Blom, Michael Iati and barkrunner Roo headed south on the Trolley Trail and walked to the new Tiki Bar at Franklin’s Brewery. And then walked home. The question of whether they paused at their CPVp turnaround is an interesting one which we will not dwell upon here.


Nice route, Roo


The start of the school year would normally be a big week for first-timers at CPp. But between the storm and the pandemic, that wasn’t happening this week. So we had our most ‘exclusive’ crew of first-timers yet. Welcome to Kristin Maneval, part of the Glen Burnie crew. And to Elizabeth Corona, who found us online and hopes to keep joining us to help stay active. Welcome Elizabeth! And welcome to experienced CP parkrunners Susan Keller and Chris Nichols.

As usual, we conferred a bunch of new badges this week for regular CPVpers.

HIGH FIVES: Peter Rosenberg, Adam Hockley, Rod Green, Tom Gentile

TEN TIMER TURTLES: Brian Rosenberg, Heather Sisan, Michelle Lemon, Janice Bernache, Debbie Levenson, Anne L’Ecuyer, and Carolyn Kelley.

A special shout out to Brian Rosenberg and his son Peter, who both earned badges this week. Brian is a former winner of the Baltimore Marathon, and may hold the distinction of the fastest CPVp yet. But these days he’s happy to try to match uncle Duane’s time each week, while running in Mechanicsburg, PA. Meanwhile, Peter has gone from strength to strength, and we suspect that his 26:xx time this week is a clear PB. Nice!

Adam Hockley earned his High Five badge in Michigan, getting in an easy walk after a 100km bike race.


Adam warmed up by doing a 100km bike race

And Michelle Lemon enjoyed her 10th CPVp on a rather wet Paint Branch Trail, with 9-month old Daschle as a well-waterproofed companion (see picture above).

Debbie Levenson and Rod Green were among the folks earning their badges in the glorious Sunday morning weather.



Virtual Volunteers

CPVp #18 was brought to you by an elite team of virtual volunteers. Special thanks to regular volunteers Joyce Adams, Tara Mease, Anna Tinnemore, Andrea Zukowski, and Colin Phillips. Between them this crew have volunteered at 80 virtual CP parkruns.

And an extra shout out this week to Gloria Cottman, who picked up litter along the Paint Branch Trail in the rain.

Can you help one Saturday in September? We’d love to hear from you:


Thanks to Gloria for plogging this week

Looking Ahead

So, what do we have to look forward to in the weeks and months ahead?

Old school CP parkrun? Nice try, but it’s probably going to be a while yet. In this week’s update from the mothership, a hint was dropped that parkrun Global hopes to bring back a number of countries by the end of October. If this happens, will the US be among them? We have no inside information on this. So place your bets! If we were the betting type, we’d say the most likely candidates are the Scandinavian countries and Western Australia. Watch this space!

New challenges? Our distance challenges in May (Run Across America), June (Civil Rights Tour) and July (Appalachian Trail) were popular additions to CPVp. We’re looking to do more. Got ideas? Let us know. One that is definitely on our list -- but we’re saving it for colder months -- is to do a virtual Iditarod.

Indoor Board & Brew. Starting Monday 8/31 our friends at The Board and Brew will be opening for indoor dining and gaming, for the first time since mid-March. We don’t expect to move our CPVp meetups indoors anytime soon. Outdoors is safer and better for mingling. And we’re looking forward to some of our favorite weather of the year. But who knows, maybe by the time it gets colder outside we’ll be able to meet indoors.

New trail! Visitors to the Paint Branch Trail will have noticed that the College Park Woods Connector trail is close to completion. We’re looking forward to exploring this new stretch of trail soon. It might even come in handy as a backup on those days when flooding or snow/ice blocks the trail at the Tornado Forest area, allowing us to make a simpler double out-and-back, without the detour at Hump’s Crossing.


We can't wait to try out the new connector trail

Good luck to everybody who is starting a new school year right now. Stay healthy, stay active, stay strong!

Until next time!

Your CPVp Team


In Mansfield, OH, Ann and Samantha dedicated their virtual parkrun to local parkrunner Lyle Beveridge who is recovering from a recent stroke. They look forward to running with him again soon.



Tutu Day (Virtual Report 17)

Each week we love learning about the new people who are getting involved in CP Virtual parkrun or are coming back for more. In the beforetimes, people would often find us because they would be looking online for local races. That rarely happens now. Since March, almost all first timers are family members or friends who an existing parkrunner inspired to get involved. This week was no exception.

Stefano Gazzano has been joining us from near Rome since we started, at which time Stefano was just emerging from Italy’s strict lockdown. This week Stefano’s son Paulo Giulio joined us for the first time. In Mansfield, OH, Ann Robinson’s 3 grandsons Adam, Bradley, and Darren joined us. And Derek Symer shared that his daughter is working up to running with us, inspired by Dad. Duane Rosenberg family members around the country are now regulars, as is Louise Godley’s wife Ann L’Ecuyer. And we were happy this week to meet Lori Dominick’s neighbor Kristie.

We have always said that our advertising budget is YOU, and that has never been truer than now.

This week was our 17th CPVp already, and we were greeted with a return of steamy weather. But it was also August 22nd, meaning it was tutu day at parkrun. And for our friends at Roosevelt Island parkrun it was -- or it should have been -- their 4th birthday. So, virtual cake was called for.



A little inspiration at the start line this week

Facts and Figures

  • 156 virtual parkrunners
  • 680 miles covered
  • 11 first-timers
  • 11 new TEN TIMER TURTLE badges earned
  • 3 new HIGH FIVES earned
  • 8 barkrunners
  • 8 virtual volunteers


Tutu Day

A parkrun tradition that is rumored to have started in New Zealand is to don tutus when Saturday falls on the 22nd of the month. Now that’s a tradition that the pandemic can’t stand in the way of. A bunch of our parkrunners celebrated tutu day and sent us pictures to prove it!

The Schneider girls were decked out with headbands, wands, and dragon shoes to go along with their tutus!


There was no way the Schneider girls were going to miss out on tutu day!

Lori Dominick and Rebecca White wore matching Ravens themed tutus!


Go Ravens!

Duane Rosenberg wore a red tutu to match his red parkrun shirt.


Duane was perfectly color coordinated. (Fortunately he's no longer an elected official, otherwise we might need to treat this as kompromat)

The Czech crew from RI wore their tutus to their track session.


The Czech crew celebrated the 4th birthday of Roosevelt Island parkrun in style

Angela Gentile forgot her tutu at the beginning of her run, but remembered when she saw Meridith Phillips in a blue tutu when she got to the trail. Angela had her tutu, and some water, delivered in the middle of her run. Now THAT is service.


Angela, with her tutu safely delivered mid-run


Andres Mbouh was our first finisher this week, with a time of 19:44! Stewart Mayhew ran another all-time PB this week at 21:24. And Isaiah Dycks chipped another minute off of his time at his 7th consecutive CPVp.


Stewart practically flew to a PB of 21:24 this week. Nice!


Isaiah's time this week was HALF of what it was in his first outing 6 weeks ago. Wow.

We’re not sure if Robin Phillips was the first parkrunner to finish this week, but he was almost certainly the first parkrunner to start, as he set out at 2am from home in Bristol, UK, on a 46-mile ultramarathon that circled the entire city. It took him about 9.5 hours, so he was finishing as many parkrunners in Maryland were waking up.


Everyone's a winner at CP virtual parkrun. But Robin was certainly this week's first starter. Looks like he was at Privet Drive at 2am, starting his 46-mile journey.

Along the route, Robin passed close to at least 3 parkrun venues. This included Ashton Court parkrun, where he did the first of his 319 parkruns back in 2011. And Little Stoke parkrun, where Robin first introduced sister-in-law and new runner Andrea Zukowski to parkrun in 2014. And Somerdale Pavilion parkrun, which Robin introduced brother Colin to in 2019. This event is held on the sports ground of a former chocolate factory, and it has the absolute wildest course you could imagine.


One of the challenges of running Somerdale Pavilion parkrun is to stop laughing. You follow this "route" twice to cover 5K.

Brian & Duane Rosenberg met their goal of finishing adjacent this week; they were 10 seconds apart even though they ran in different states -- Brian in Mechanicsburg, PA and uncle Duane in New Carrollton, MD. A last minute entry from Patrick Wojahn threatened to separate them, but fortunately Patrick was just a few seconds behind Duane this week.


This weekend Andrea ramped up her trail chalking another notch. At the start line she left a Venus Williams quote, complete with a drawing. And she also took a break in the middle of her run to add more quotes at the turnaround spot. One more reason to visit the Paint Branch Trail on a Saturday morning.goodall2-web goodall1-web

 Fancy yourself as a Chalker in future weeks? Drop us a line!

As always, we had parkrunners join us from all over the world this week. We had parkrunners from the UK, Italy, Germany, and all over the US.

Cindy Cohen was glad to be back at her mountainside downhill runs in Idaho after a few weeks enduring the humidity of DC. And Paul Wester ran on Assateague Island this week!


Ooh - we LIKE that view, Cindy!

The trail at Durham, NC where Steve and Cindy Feld ran was flooded on Saturday.


Steve and Cindy. Also with a lake. This one in Durham, NC

Alyssa Heintzelman has been doing CPVp with dad Dave for the past few months after colleges closed down in March. But this week she was back in St Mary’s, MD. Alyssa: “It was my first time running on my campus again, so I thought I would share a photo. I made two friends that are interested in doing a running club which starts tomorrow!”


Alyssa's back in college. But she can still do CPVp

And Gloria Cottman wins the award for best solution to the hot-and-sticky weather this week. She did a 2-hour walk inside a pool. Nice!

Haiku Interlude

Heather Sisan composed a haiku while running in Kensington, MD, close to Rock Creek.

I run alongside.
Without effort or goals, still
The creek slips ahead.

That is impressive multi-tasking, Heather!


This week’s field included 11 first timers. Yay, and welcome! They were:

Paolo Giulio Gazzano, Kadija Kamus, Sonja Hatten, Adam Robinson, Bradley Robinson, Darren Robinson, Danielle Dycks, Sarah Wimmer, Alden Jay Gibbs, Dexter Guillaume, Jane Handelsman

Paolo Guilio is the son of regular CPVper Stefano Gazzano, who joined us from Civitavecchia, Italy, immediately doubling the size of our Italian contingent.


Welcome Paulo Giulio!

Adam, Bradley, and Darren are all grandsons of Ann Robinson, a regular CPVper who joins us most weeks from Mansfield, OH, where she typically runs the Mansfield parkrun route along the B&O Railroad trail.

Danielle is mom of Isaiah, whose weekly PBs we have been following in awe this summer. Danielle this week “tail walked” while pushing Isaiah’s little sister. Excellent!

Kadija and Sonja are no strangers to CP parkrun, as they have joined us for a number of our face-to-face events before. As has first-time virtual parkrunner Dexter.


Sonja and Kadija last spring at Cpp


Dexter at CPp last fall

Sarah, Jane, and Alden Jay are newer parkrunners who we look forward to meeting when we are able to.

Three more parkrunners now earned the honor of a High Five badge in the results table: Cindy Conant, Rebekah Esmaili, and Steve Beresford.

Cindy was the National Runner of the Year in her age category a couple of years ago, and her 20:03 clocking this week is off-the-charts fast (Cindy’s next birthday is her 60th). But we’re sure that her virtual High Five badge will rank right up there in her list of accolades.

And we congratulate 11 more virtual parkrunners who have earned 10-timer turtle badges this week: Luther Lemon, Cameron McPhee, Dave Menusan, Jim Cantwell, Amanda Mercer, Luke Rueter, Mary Langan, Michael Bevers, Captain Jack (barkrunner), Carly Mills, and Hannah Russell.

Amanda completed her 100th regular parkrun shortly before we closed down, at which point she was injured and unable to run. So it was GREAT to see her running along the trail again this week.

Mary Langan and barkrunner Captain Jack added to our contingent of proud owners of turtle badges in New Jersey.

And a special shout out to Luke Rueter. When we started CPVp he was working his way up towards 5K with dad Jeremy. Now it’s more or less routine for Luke, and he has 10 CPVps under his belt. This week they walked the Paint Branch Trail together with barkrunner Rocky. Luke joins the ranks of kids who should have earned an official parkrun 10 shirt by now, if it wasn’t for the pandemic. Parents: let’s see if we can find a solution to this. Drop us a line if you’re interested.


Turtle badge earned for 9-year old Luke!

Virtual Volunteers

This week’s crew of virtual volunteers was a seasoned crew. THANK YOU to Joyce Adams, Angela Gentile, Katie Hirsche, Tara Mease, Colin Phillips, Hannah Russell, Anna Tinnemore, and Andrea Zukowski. This would not be possible without a team of willing helpers each week.

We would LOVE to see some broadening of the volunteer pool in the coming weeks and months. Most roles are fairly easy, and there’s time flexibility over the course of Saturday.

We always need a couple of results collectors each Saturday. Help in putting together this report would be greatly appreciated (timing: mostly Saturday night or Sunday morning). For these roles, you don’t even need to be anywhere near College Park.

We have increasing opportunities for trail angels who contribute to the welcome for folks who visit our regular trail at different times on a Saturday morning. Maybe you fancy yourself as a chalker. Or you could take pictures. Or just hang out and be a friendly face in the park. Let us know if you can help some time:


Looking Ahead

Survey: In the coming weeks some of you might start to receive emails from parkrun Global inviting you to fill out a survey about the return of face-to-face parkruns. We encourage you to fill this out.

What is this all about?

The key criteria for the return of face-to-face parkruns are (i) following all local regulations, (ii) low risk of infection, (iii) participant buy-in, and (iv) community buy-in. It’s not feasible to restart events if parkrunners and parkrun volunteers do not feel ready, or if the local community will be hostile to the return of parkrun, then it’s not feasible to go ahead. These surveys form part of the effort to gauge community opinion.

Our understanding is that random subsets of US parkrunners will receive these surveys over the coming weeks and months, and the answers will be used as part of the process of figuring out when to restart. But don’t get too excited that a return is imminent. As we discussed in this section in last week’s report, many things will likely need to happen before we can get back to the “old normal”.

Trail use: We’re seeing gradually more people going for a run or walk on the Paint Branch Trail on a Saturday morning. Not gathering at 9am, but showing up whenever seems right. It’s a great way to see friendly faces along the trail.


Post-parkrun outdoor distanced meetup. Elizabeth updates us on her search for pregnant sows. Now she needs more of them!

New arrivals: If you’re in the College Park area you may have noticed widespread anxiety over what will happen with the start of the UMD fall semester and the return of more students to the area. You may also have noticed the many recent media stories about upheaval in college towns, with student gatherings leading to surges in COVID-19 cases. We are as curious as everybody else to see what happens in College Park in the coming weeks. UMD is planning a “slow opening”, gradually ramping up over the course of a few weeks. But that’s not what we are here to tell you about.

What we want to say is that one of our hopes for CP parkrun has always been to help create bridges between different parts of our local community, including students and long-term residents. That has never been more important than now, when people are more worried and less connected than usual.

Most students are responsible. Most will take seriously the many warnings about how to limit health risks.

Many students, especially graduate students, have made valuable contributions to the CP parkrun community over the past 4 years.


Nick Huang and Abdur Quadri. Two of our many grad student parkrunners and volunteers

Many students move here from across the country or across the world. Getting to know people from the local community can make a big difference to their sense of belonging while here. And in some cases those positive experiences can have life-long benefits.

While we remain in virtual parkrun mode, it’s going to be more difficult to build those bridges. But we very much hope that we can find ways. Right now, our most effective ambassadors are you. So if you find opportunities to make those connections and invitations to join us, it will make a big difference.

Until next time!

Your CPVp Team


Kristie visited the trail for the first time, and met veteran parkrunner Derek


Eli's art tour continues. This is on a bridge along the Northeast Branch


Barkrunners can wear tutus, too. Thanks Foxy!


Meridith also scores extra points for her color-coordinated tutu


If you missed out on tutu day this time, next chance is May 2021. Just sayin'


Happy birthday to parkrunning mayor, Patrick Wojahn



Niko Niko! (Virtual Report 16)

This week’s title, “niko niko” comes from the Japanese word for “smile”. It’s inspired by all the smiles that we saw from virtual parkrunners this week in CP Virtual parkrun #16. Thank you, we needed that!



“Niko niko” is also the name of an approach to run training that highlights the value of slow jogging, i.e., a pace where it’s easy to smile. We learned about this via parkrunner Rebecca White, who this week jogged the whole 5K route on the Paint Branch Trail for the first time. If you know about Rebecca’s story over the past two years, you’ll know what an achievement this is.

You gave us lots of good things to share this week, as always. But we know that it’s a tough time right now, on so many dimensions. Whether it’s health, job security, distance learning, societal breakdown, or climate change, there’s a lot to be worried about these days. And if you’re a runner or walker -- quite likely if you’re reading this -- then the hot and humid summer weather is likely adding to the stress.

We focus on the bright side, not because that’s all we see, but because that’s one way that we can help each other.

This week we also share more thoughts on what the future holds for our event, and how we can continue to support each other.




Niko niko pace - thanks to Rebecca for telling us about this. And thanks to Joe for being an outstanding roadie (trailie?)

Facts and Figures

  • 155 virtual parkrunners
  • 700 miles covered
  • 5 first-timers
  • 9 new TEN TIMER TURTLE badges earned
  • 8 new HIGH FIVES earned
  • 6 barkrunners
  • 9 virtual volunteers


After 16 weeks, around 500 different individuals have completed 2,650 activities totalling over 11,000 miles at College Park Virtual parkrun. Around 200 have participated five or more times. We are deeply impressed by the dedication of this community.


Gloria Cottman approaching the finish of her 16th CPVp - perfect attendance!

Not so fast

On Friday, Joshua Cheptegei of Uganda set a new world record for 5K, running on a track in Monaco. His time of 12:35 beat a record that had stood for 16 years,

How fast is that? Crazy fast. It’s basically 4-minute mile pace, for 3 consecutive miles.

How fast would that be on our course? It would mean getting from Hump’s Crossing to Lisa’s turnaround in 5 minutes. It would mean finishing about a mile ahead of Sam Phipps or Clark Ridge. The fastest ever time on our course, 14:57 by Paul Marteletti in 2017, is the fastest parkrun ever in the US. Cheptegei’s run would put him a half mile ahead of Marteletti. Incredible!


Don't try this at home, folks!


David Lai captured the mood pretty well, describing his run at the “SeaWheeze Half Marathon”. “My attempt to finally take a virtual race seriously turned into a casual run with friends. Catching up was worth more than a PR today.” We agree!



Similar feelings from Malik Al Jame: “Hello Beautiful CPVp'ers I'm starting to appreciate/miss the beauty of our big group and all the speedy runners that push me. Great opportunity nonetheless to meet and socialize in different ways.”

We hear you! We’re lucky to be able to connect with people in so many different ways in 2020. But there’s still nothing quite like being with real people face to face. So we are really enjoying the opportunities that we have for that.

If you head to the Paint Branch Trail some time on a Saturday morning, there’s a good chance that you’ll come across familiar faces, at whatever time you go there. This week a few people were back on the PB Trail for the first time in a while, including Dan Pearlstein, Michelle Brandy, and Louise Godley, who was joined by Anne L’Ecuyer visiting for the first time.


Welcome (back) to the trail, Anne and Louise

For some parkrunners once along the trail was not enough.

Andrea Zukowski set out early for her run, but not before leaving an inspirational message at the start line. And then after running the parkrun course for the first time in a while she headed back out with her camera to capture some of the action.


She even spotted a great blue heron, trying to mind his own business in the marshy area. And then proceeded to point it out to many passing parkrunners. (Trace Huard was so focused on his run that he thought Andrea was telling him to look out for a parrot. Close, but ....)


Lori Dominick did her fastest 5K in a year and a half, and then headed back out to support Rebecca White in her own 5K.


Lori's fastest 5K since March 2019

Malik Al Jame did a speedy 5K of his own, and then joined nephew Isaiah for his 6th successive week of 5Ks. Isaiah’s PB streak ended this week. But uncle Malik is super proud of the progress that he has made so far.


Go Isaiah!

And many of you again joined for our socially distanced coffee meetup in the pocket park behind The Board and Brew and Vigilante Coffee.


Join us next week for coffee. There's plenty of space to spread out.

Not only in College Park

It wasn’t only on the Paint Branch Trail where CP virtual parkrunners were having reunions. Many other parkrun venues hosted some CPVp action this week.

Various CPp regulars ran into each other along Beach Drive in Kensington, near the Kensington parkrun course. Erin Munsell and Brian Murphy were making the most of the cooler conditions to run 15 and 18 milers, respectively, which also gave them more opportunity to run into Evan and Katie Hirsche.


In Durham, NC, Steve Feld led a group of socially distanced parkrunners on the Durham, NC parkrun course.


Steve Feld and his posse on the course of Durham, NC parkrun

In Livonia, MI Tim Keer made a return to Bicentennial Park, home of Livonia parkrun, where he ran into a number of friends.

Michael Phipps and Maleta Ann Robinson ran the Virtual Shawshank Hustle race in Mansfield, OH, using their local parkrun course for their virtual route.

Meanwhile, Kazuko Yatsushiro did her 16th CPVp by running part of a Mauerweg relay with the Hasenheide parkrun team in Berlin, Germany. The Mauerweg (literally “wall path” in English) is a ~100 mile walking and cycling path through the city that follows the so-called “death strip” that used to exist between the inner and outer parts of the Berlin wall. (


Kazuko on her 16th CPVp, 11 of the 100 miles of the former Berlin Wall

Even more venues

You can run or walk wherever you want for CPVp, and as usual you did!

Catherine Spirito & Pete Monacelli went running on the beach in Narragansett, RI. Just a couple of miles away -- as the crow flies or the dolphin swims -- Valerie Silensky and Chris Lowe were exploring historical sites in Newport, RI.


Narragansett Bay -- Catherine and Pete did their CPVp on the other side of that bay

Erin & Joshua Schneider ran in Williamsburg, sans kids, for their anniversary!


Team(let) Schneider in Williamsburg, VA this week

Külli Crespin ran on a treadmill while in quarantine after returning from Estonia. Maybe out of solidarity, Teresa Perdomo also did her CPVp on a treadmill this week.

Continuing our virtual summer tour of Italy, Stefano Gazzano ran through the narrow streets and countryside in the ancient village of Onano ( He and his wife Daniela were there celebrating the Feast of the Assumption. Onano is famous for its lentils, with an annual (except for this year) Lentil Festival full of music, outdoor markets, street food, and celebration.


Town on a cliff

Cindy Cohen was running in Fargo, ND. We suspect that this is a stopover on a drive back to Idaho.

Angela Gentile and TJ Hool raced in Dewey Beach, Delaware this week for Breast Fest, the town’s breast cancer awareness 5K run. They both placed second in their age groups!


Matching shades. And medals.

And much closer to home, Ellen Oberholtzer and barkrunner Eli continued their local art tour, finding another piece of artwork in Riverdale Park, MD. The title of the piece is 'Fork, Knife and Spoon Sun', and if you zoom in on the picture, you can see that it's made up of those utensils!


Eli's art tour continues


We had 5 first-timers this week. Welcome to all!

Kristie Atwood ran and walked 8 miles in Greenbelt, MD. We love Kristie’s story: “The only positive I’ve found from the Covid pandemic is I started to run. I started at 1.5 miles in March and hated every step. I persisted, since the gyms were closed, and with each week I increased the miles. Little by little, step by step, I’ve fallen in love with the sport again.” Fantastic!

We also love this message from first-timer Jon Wilson: “This is my first parkrun or virtual parkrun ever. John Ramsey convinced me to do it. I lost my car key somewhere on the trail. John and I retraced the entire trail and eventually found the key near the start and finish line. This minor mishap won’t discourage me. I will be back … virtually.” We’re looking forward to that, Jon.


Welcome Jon. And we're glad you found your keys!

Anna Weber has been fostering pups, and this week she found that she was fostering a barkrunner: “I finally got a foster dog who likes to exercise!! Odin and I did about four miles (each) of leisurely jogging with some walking/sniffing mixed in. Now he is tired (for once).”


Post-barkrun recovery for Odin

Monique Richards is no stranger to the local trails, and this week she joined CPVp for the first time after running with her friends from Prince George’s Running Club. We’re quite sure that running into Andrea on the trail had nothing to do with this.


PGRC crew on the Tunnel of Trees

8 virtual parkrunners earned a High Five badge in the results table this week.

Jeff Rosenberg, Bob Johnson, Ranger (barkrunner), Jorge Aguilera, Mark Grudzien, Judy Mason, Mary Menendez, Shelley Gough Lauffer

And 9 virtual parkrunners earned a 10-timer turtle badge.

Cotter Rosenberg, TJ Hool, Josh Weiss, Maleta Ann Robinson, Michael Phipps, Neha Joshi, Dominique Blom, Eve Fingerett, Laurie Goodfriend, Walker (barkrunner)

A shout out to Jeff and Cotter Rosenberg who earned badges on the same day. Jeff R is running at altitude in Denver, CO.

Mark Grudzien has become a regular thanks to taking walks in Michigan while his parkrunning daughter Janet is visiting for the summer.


A highlight of Janet's summer has been regular walks with dad Mark

Shelley Gough Lauffer first joined us thanks to encouragement from Diana Gough, and now she regularly joins us from Mt Airy, MD.

Eve Fingerett is the first of our West Virginian CPVpers to reach 10 runs.

Neha Joshi did her CPVp this week while exploring downtown DC with Yogarshi Vyas.


Exploring the sights

Virtual Volunteers

As always, we could not do this without a great team of volunteers. This week’s CPVp was brought to you by: Joyce Adams, Diana Gough, Katie Hirsche, Nick Huang, Trace Huard, Tara Mease, Colin Phillips, Hannah Russell, Anna Tinnemore, and Andrea Zukowski.

In addition to the core roles of collecting, organizing, and sharing results and stories, there some additional fun roles -- could this be you in a future week?

CHALKER: Write inspiring or entertaining messages on the trail to be seen by visiting parkrunners. (This week: Andrea)

PAPARAZZO/A: Roam the trail capturing pictures of nature, and parkrunners in their natural habitat. (This week: Andrea)

CHEERLEADER: Roam Facebook or Strava, offering encouragement. (This week: Trace Huard)


Cheerleader Trace set an all-time 5K PB this week!


We owe a special shout out this week for our virtual tailwalkers, Lisa Wilson and her dad James Wilson. They walked 5K in 2 hours 53 mins along the Matthew Henson Trail in Silver Spring. As regular readers know, James is the world’s oldest virtual parkrunner, at 102 years.

This week Lisa reports that it might have been James’ last 5K, as he is awaiting results of a COVID test, after which he will be moving to an assisted living facility. We wish James the very best, and we are inspired by his determination.

Looking Ahead

This is the part where we step back from the week’s happenings to update you on prospects for returning to ‘normal’, and on plans for the coming weeks and months. This week: no major changes, but a few things are becoming clearer.

In last week’s report we discussed the new COVID-19 framework from parkrun Global. This is the draft model for how a parkrun event could operate in a world where safety precautions remain in a community due to ongoing community spread of the coronavirus. This week parkrun Global published a useful FAQ document in response to questions about the framework, accompanied by another useful discussion in their “official podcast”, Free, Weekly, Timed. As we discussed last week, the new model is one that would work just fine for us in College Park.

A key question in people’s minds, though, is *when* we might be able to hold non-virtual events again. Our answer remains: we really don’t know, but we don’t expect any change in 2020.

The FAQ document highlights some key criteria for being able to restart parkrun events. (i) Government regulations: events will not violate local or national rules. (ii) Risk: there must be a low risk of infection at the event. (iii) Interest from parkrunners: if substantial numbers of parkrunners don’t feel ready to resume, then events are less likely to go ahead. (iv) Community acceptance: events won’t go ahead if this would lead to widespread resistance from the local community.

The last of these points is key. We suspect that this means that parkrun events won’t be the first mid-sized sporting events to return. The first running events to return will attract a high level of scrutiny. If that goes well, then parkrun events can maybe return soon after with limited fanfare. But parkrun events likely won’t be the first to return.


Bonnie, Anna and Mike on the trail. First time covering the full 5K since surgery for Mike.

One piece of the parkrun COVID-19 framework that might be very relevant to us in College Park is the possibility of re-opening on different dates within a country. Previously parkrun Global declared that countries would either be all open or all closed. They have now backed off from that position. So, in principle, it could be that parkrun events in the DMV might re-open ahead of events in California. This is possible, but we still regard it as a fairly remote possibility. There are differences across the US, but they pale in comparison to the differences between states in Australia, where Northern Territory is virus-free while Victoria (= home of Melbourne) is in a severe lockdown. In Australia right now, interstate travel might require you to pay to spend 14 days in a designated quarantine hotel. At your own expense. This is FAR more state-to-state contrast than we see in the US.

Meanwhile, College Park is the largest parkrun event in N America, and the DMV has the greatest density of events in the continent, with 16,000 registered parkrunners. Some US parkrun events fly largely under the radar. That’s not the case in College Park. College Park parkrun is the largest running event in Prince George's County, in terms of annual participation.

So, our best guess right now is that the triggers for a return to normal-ish will be: (i) widespread removal of restrictions across the US on events of up to 500+, including in Prince George’s County. (ii) Successful relaunch of parkrun events in the UK, some of Australia, and Canada. (iii) Widespread operation of mid-sized running events in the US and Canada, without substantial community or media pushback. We think it very unlikely that those criteria will be met in 2020.

So, this all means that we’re in this for the long(ish) haul. There are 20 more parkrun days in 2020. So what can we do?


Michelle Lemon had good company on her CPVp this week

It’s clear that our virtual events have been a success. Participation and return rate are FAR higher than expected. And we have been able to reach a wider community than we could have imagined, in geographic terms. But it’s also clear that people are craving face-to-face human interaction more and more. And the virtual format goes only so far as a replacement.

So we need solutions that are compatible with local government regulations, that present very low risk, that parkrunners are comfortable with, and that have good community acceptance. (Yes, that’s the same list from above.)

We are fortunate to have some wonderful trails for running and walking. This includes our regular Paint Branch Trail course. But it also includes other local routes such as the closed section of Beach Drive in Kensington, which includes some of the Kensington parkrun course. We cannot have people congregating at 9am in these locations for organized events. But if people just show up at a time that works for them on a Saturday morning, then there’s a good chance that they will encounter a handful of fellow parkrunners. The Paint Branch Trail is never crowded. It’s always easy to avoid prolonged proximity. And it’s also a great venue to see familiar and supportive faces. Stopping for suitably distanced conversations along the trail or at Acredale Park is no problem at all. All entirely consistent with county regulations, risk reduction, and community acceptance.


We're fortunate to have such a pretty trail to run or walk on. And much of it was resurfaced in recent weeks. Thank you PG Parks!

We are also fortunate to have a pocket park where we can hold socially distanced outdoor meetups, while supporting local businesses like The Board and Brew and Vigilante Coffee. Free parking, ample space, shade, and amazing coffee. What’s not to like. We have really enjoyed the first 3 weeks of meetups and we’re looking forward to continuing them, maybe bringing extra layers as the weather cools.

So, for the next few months, we’re looking forward to connecting with you and helping to support you in staying active, either in person or through electronic tools. And we are ALWAYS happy to hear your suggestions on how we could do this better.

Important final note

Next Saturday is August 22nd. Yes, two-two day, or tutu day. Back on Feb 22nd many of you donned a tutu to celebrate this auspicious date. All are invited to do the same next Saturday. And remember: pictures or it didn’t happen.

Until next time!

Your CPVp Team


 First legit sub-20 on Keaton's home 5K course in Highland, MD


Colin was happy to run his fastest CPVp yet this week. And even happier to see friends along the trail.


Niko niko!


Good things all around us (Virtual Report 15)

Things aren’t normal right now. But this weekend we had a few more encouraging signs.

  • The Saturday morning weather was milder. Some even described it as ‘pleasant’. It was certainly nice for sitting still outside with friends.
  • Our friends at The Board and Brew report that their reopening has gone well enough that they will now be open 7 days a week. We’re certainly glad to have them back.
  • parkrun Global published a revised operational model for how they can hold events in places where limited social distancing measures remain in place. This doesn’t mean that we’re about to return, but it provides more clarity. More on what this means below.

And the other great news, of course, is that so many people in this community got active and supported each other from near or far. Here are just a few of the highlights.



Socially-distanced meet up behind The Board & Brew / Vigilante Coffee. Plenty of space to catch up with friends and support local businesses without getting too close.

Facts and Figures

  • 152 virtual parkrunners
  • 720 miles covered
  • 9 first-timers
  • 9 new TEN TIMER TURTLE badges earned
  • 7 new HIGH FIVES earned
  • 6 barkrunners
  • 8 virtual volunteers



We are fortunate to have such nice shaded trails to run and walk on


Heather Sisan shared a picture of the trivia board that she has placed outside her house. Heather: “My dad made the frame and we've been having fun posting a new question every day - mostly science and nature topics, sometimes history or art. Lately I've been doing fun facts about running - fastest time for a mile, how far an ultramarathon is, etc. I've heard from several neighbors that they enjoy it. Anything to pass the time in a pandemic!”

Well, we happen to know the length of the Appalachian Trail, as we ran it virtually the past 3 weekends. But you’ll have to look up the length of the PCT to answer Heather’s question. (Note that the precise distance of a 5K in miles is ~3.107 miles. But for CPVp we're pretty chill, so we adjust 'close enough' distances to a 5K.)


Heather's trivia board. Can we get partial credit for knowing the length of the AT?

Külli Crespin found a rather stunning backdrop for her CPVp in Estonia, where it was unusually hot as she and her friend Mehis Mega geocached around Castle Alatskivi.


Castle Alatskivi, Estonia. Pretty!

Our virtual parkrunners in Connecticut were harder hit by Tropical Storm Isaias than we were in Maryland, with huge numbers of homes losing power. Joan Heffernan has been out of power all week, but she somehow still managed a 5K PB. Nice going, Joan!

Nick Huang, also in CT, got power back just in time for the weekend. So he and his wife Jessica celebrated by going for a hike to a local farm. Nick: “The Tulmeadow Farm has a long history: it's apparently been in continuous operation since 1768. But the main attraction for us was the award-winning ice cream they sell at the farm store. Sadly, I completely misread the opening hours and we got there too early!” It sounds like this is a hike that will need to be repeated.


Don't they know that it's never too early for ice-cream!

Cork Kind, Adam Gann and barkrunner Walker got in a long run around the University of Michigan Arboretum in Ann Arbor, MI. This was their wedding anniversary, and the arboretum was where they got married. Awww. (Cory pointed out that they were more casually dressed this time around.)


Happy anniversary, Cory and Adam!

Pratyush Tiwary did a run around St Inigoes, MD, a small village on the far southern tip of Maryland, near the mouth of the Patuxent River. Wikipedia says: “It is a part of the site of the first colonial settlement in Maryland (along with neighboring St. Mary's City) and is also therefore part of the fourth colonial settlement in North America.” We had no idea!


Thanks for the history lesson, Pratyush!


We had three generations of Rosenbergs run with us virtually from Iowa! Brian, Dave, and Peter all ran in 27:17, with Dave earning his ten timer turtle badge this week. And these three were just half of the SIX Rosenbergs who took part in CPVp this week, across four locations.


Three generations of Rosenbergs among this week's 6 Rosenbergs in CPVp

Malik Al-Jame and nephew Isaiah Dycks both hit PB’s this week! Isaiah has been making great progress, setting PBs the last five weeks in a row. They ran into a bunch of regulars including Bud, Colin, Trace Huard, and many more... Malik’s brother in law Jeremiah Dycks and sister Danielle Dycks along with his niece biked down the trail to join them.


Isaiah's 5th consecutive PB. From 52 minutes to 27 minutes in a month. Wow!

Team Schneider: Joshua, Erin, Mary Clare and Samantha clocked 1:13:23 on the Trolley Trail, while being super stylish.


Did you know that it's tutu day on Aug 22nd? Samantha is ready. Are you?


Lots of fun nature pictures and stories this week.

Louise Godley has been enjoying running down the middle of Sligo Creek Parkway now that the road is closed to vehicles every weekend. On the walk back, she and Anne L’Ecuyer also found some delightful sunflowers in Takoma Park and spotted an adult deer and three fawns munching their way through someone’s garden.


Louise stopped to smell the roses, er, sunflowers on her run

The wildlife always seems to find its way to Dave and Alyssa Heintzelman’s virtual parkruns. This week it was all about the turtles.

Lisa Wilson scoped out the beaver dam built near College Park Woods that pushes the water behind the dam up into her backyard.

Tara & Xander Mease slowed down their run through woods to take in the symphony of birdsong that they could hear.

Stefano Gazzano found a baby blackbird with a broken wing at the end of his run. He took the bird to a veterinary center and it is now being treated thanks to the LIPU - Italian League for the Protection of the Birds. He sent us a picture of the bird that he rescued, but we’ll instead show you a picture of the view as he ran along the water near home in Civitavecchia, Italy. (In the background you can see a line of cruise ships. Civitavecchia is the main cruise port for Rome.)


Civitavecchia shoreline. Nice place for a morning run.


We start this week’s milestones with a shout out to our 9 first-timers, as starting is the biggest step of all.

Luke Evans, Diana Claros, Sophia Kasdan, Chevy (barkrunner), Will Makowski, Chris Lowe, Kristen Limarzi, Steven Borunda, Mehis Mega

A big virtual high five to Sophia Kasdan who is joining us to help get active again. Welcome Sophia! She was joined by Lorelai, who we think may be a very young person, maybe a parkstroller.

Will Makowski also joined us with a very young human for company, as he joined his friends Rachel Unger and Jeff Brown and baby Felix for their first full 5K walk on the Paint Branch Trail since Felix was born a couple of months ago.

Kristen Limarzi and Steven Borunda are regular parkrunners who we spotted on the trail Saturday morning. It’s always great to see familiar faces out there!


Great to see Steven on the trail this week

Luke Evans may have contributed more miles than anybody this week with his 22 miler. Luke is a UMD grad student and he and his mentor Pratyush Tiwary are training for a marathon this summer. We heard that a few other parkrunners have similar plans. The basic routine is that you struggle through a lot of miles during the DC summer, and then when it cools down you feel like a superhero.

Welcome also to Mehis Mega, Chris Lowe, and barkrunner Chevy, all of whom joined us by way of joining with regular parkrunners, whether in Estonia, or Rhode Island, or sniffing around near Hump’s Crossing for beavers.


Valerie and Chris did their longest run or walk in months while visiting Newport, RI

This week 9 more people earned turtle badges in their CPVp results.

Evan Hirsche, Zak Mellen, Eddie Matus, Dave Rosenberg, Janet Grudzien John, Adam Gann, Anna Weber, Frithjov Iversen, Samantha Ager

Andrea captured Eddie in the middle of his 10th CPVp on the Paint Branch Trail.


Turtle badge for Eddie!

Anna Weber, Firthjov Iversen, and Adam Gann are all from the Roosevelt Island parkrun community, and we love hearing about their adventures, local and far away. This week Anna sent a picture of this cool red-legged buprestis beetle seen on Roosevelt Island. We are mighty impressed that Anna was able to identify this species!


Can you see those red legs?

And we congratulate 7 more people with High Five badges in the results sheet.

Andres Mbouh, Isaiah Dycks, Jason Barthelemy, Scooter (barkrunner), Tony San, Jon Mease, Marianne Poon

Andres Mbouh has been putting down some speedy times in his evening runs in Bowie. We imagine that he’ll be flying once the weather cools down a bit.

We’re happy to hear regularly from Marianne Poon, who was talked into joining us last year by her piano student, Stewart Mayhew.

Virtual Volunteers

We had a veteran crew of virtual volunteers this week. In addition to the week-to-week team that keeps the systems humming along (Colin Phillips, Andrea Zukowski, Tara Mease, Joyce Adams, Anna Tinnemore), and Hannah Russell, who has become a key contributor to these weekly reports, we had a great group of rotating volunteers this week.

Trace Huard and Katie Hirsche did a lot of the results curation, monitoring different channels and keeping track of who did what.


Trace en route to equaling his all time parkrun PB. In this humidity!

And Lisa Wilson had the unplanned role of beaver coordinator. After the rains from Tropical Storm Isaias at the start of the week, various sections of trail were flooded, including a section by Hump’s Crossing that we will refer to as “Hump’s Lake”. The pond was overflowing, and not draining as it should. Lisa, who is a handy engineer herself, took on the role of coordinating with MNCPPC to find out what was going on and how it could be fixed. It turns out that it comes down to a decades long battle of engineering wits between humans and beavers. And guess which species has the upper hand.


Hump's Lake

Looking Ahead

Locally, the COVID-19 situation in Prince George’s County and in Maryland has been similar for the past few weeks. In College Park, the big change will come later this month when the population swells with the return of many UMD students, though in much smaller numbers than in the usual late August surge. Campus dorms are currently projected to be at roughly 40-50% capacity.

The most significant development for parkrun plans this week is the release of parkrun Global’s COVID-19 framework, together with an accompanying discussion on parkrun’s official podcast, Free, Weekly, Timed. This week's podcast is worth a listen, as it adds useful context. Together, these give us a clearer idea of what lies ahead. But it’s useful to clarify what these do and do not mean.

If we are to return to our regular face-to-face events, then we need buy-in from a few key groups. (i) Local authorities and landowners. We offer free events thanks to the Prince George’s County Parks & Recreation Department. They are great partners. Without their approval, we can’t go ahead. (ii) Global parkrun authorities. The infrastructure that allows us to put on simple, free, safe events every week is shared among 2,000 events worldwide. They manage the IT and the insurance and the registration and more. Without their approval, we can’t go ahead. (iii) Local community participants, volunteers, and event leaders. If the community is not ready, if volunteers won’t feel safe, if too many people feel excluded, then we have a problem. Without community buy-in, we can’t go ahead. Each of these pieces must align.

The new parkrun “framework” is just one piece of the puzzle. It is a set of modified guidelines for how parkrun events could operate in a setting where social distancing measures and a low-level of community spread of COVID-19 remain. This is a significant shift, as back in April parkrun had said that there could be no return while any social distancing measures remain. Recall that back in April many of us assumed that we’d be locked down for a while and then normal life would resume. How innocent we were! Even ignoring how badly the virus has been handled in the US, most of the world is in a “new normal”, and we have no idea how long this will last. Countless other events and institutions are creating new models for how to balance normal operations with mitigation of risk. This is what parkrun is also doing now.

But it is important to be clear that the new framework answers the “how” question, not the “when” question. It says how events could adjust in order to reduce risk. It doesn’t say when all of the different pieces will be in place for them to get the green light.

The adjustments are almost all focused on reducing physical contact and close physical proximity to a minimum. They increase the use of apps to reduce physical sharing of equipment. We already do most of that at College Park parkrun. They recommend spreading people out before the start to reduce crowding. We have ample space for that at Acredale Park (and we can find a better megaphone). They recommend a ratio of barcode scanners to finishers (about 1 to 50) that is roughly what we do already.

Some of the proposed changes may appear to remove some of the warm, community aspect of parkrun. There’s a request to suspend high fives for now (and presumably hugs -- this is less of a worry for the Brits, we presume). There are notes about curtailing celebrations, post-event gatherings in the park, and token sorting and results processing at post-event meetups. These are all things that we love. So we were initially disappointed. But two things made us feel better about this.

First, we have to understand all of these guidelines in context. If the alternative to mitigating risk is simply canceling, then the choice is clear. And we are sure that we can all find ways to preserve the warm vibe of our community event. Also, we have the ability to spread ourselves out safely before and after an event, in a way that an 800-person event in a small English park might not be able to.

Second, the success of CPVp over the past 3 months has helped us to learn a huge amount about how virtual vs. in person events support a healthy community. College Park parkrun may be one of the only parkrun events worldwide (out of 2,000) that has seen higher participation since going virtual than before. That is a testament to the strength of this community. But we have also seen that there has been a shift in participation. We have a strong following of regulars, and we love the diversity in age, gender, speed, and location. But we see fewer newcomers, fewer people who do not already have a personal connection to the community, and less ethnic and socioeconomic diversity than in our in person events. We will be able to serve more people in our community if we are able to bring people together in person, even with modified operations.

Ok, but when is any of this going to happen? The simple answer is that we just don’t know. But it is unlikely to be anytime soon. We anticipate that the COVID-19 parkrun framework will be used only in countries where the remaining community spread of the virus is low, and many other aspects of society, such as schools, are operating more-or-less normally. It is highly unlikely that US parkruns would return before parkruns in mainland Europe, the UK, or Canada. So we do not expect to see any practical changes in our week-to-week activities in the remainder of 2020.

So for the time being we forge ahead with CPVp, looking to help people stay active and connected, and looking forward to welcoming new people to the community. And we are SO grateful to all of you for the things that you do to help us keep going.

Until next time!

Your CPVp Team


Kalonji got in an early run on the regular course


Whistler was pretty happy that Tim opted for a 5K walk this week


Eli continued his art tour around Hyattsville and Riverdale Park with Ellen. It's almost like this one was designed to frame him.


10th CPVp for Janet this week, again enjoying a long walk with dad Mark in Michigan


Jen's foot has recovered enough for her to walk 5k again. Husband Travis snuck in his CPVp at 4:30am, so Jen found this Testudo to pose with instead.


Look who we found roaming the trail with her camera this week!


High water on the Potomac, but the Roosevelt Island boardwalk is still looking inviting. This was from Rosemary Schwartzbard's run to the Lincoln Memorial and Reflecting Pool.


Michelle got in some extra miles this week, enjoying the short respite from the heat


Matt K. at Hump's Crossing


Malik set a parkrun PB of his own (21:50) before joining nephew Isaiah for his PB


Laurie and Lucy on their run. This week they ran 6.6 miles on Lucy's 66th birthday.



The connector trail to College Park Woods is nearly finished


Fun talking with parkrunners at the socially distanced meetup. Ellen biked up from Riverdale Park to join us, and parkrunners Elizabeth and Janel stumbled across our gathering while en route to the UMD pool, which reopened just days ago.


End of the Trail (Virtual Report 14)

Every week we are surprised and warmed by the stories that you share with us. Sometimes they’re in the “Wait, what?” category of things we would never have guessed. Sometimes they’re simple things that help to keep us going.

In the first category: one of our virtual parkrunners this week was running around the mountains above Kathmandu, Nepal. Nilima Raut was a regular parkrunner at Roosevelt Island parkrun during 2019, and appreciates the chance to stay connected while far away.


We did not expect to be recording virtual parkruns in Nepal. Welcome Nilima!

In the second category: Janet Tate headed out for a walk near her home, and along the way she met Connie. They got to talking, and Janet told her about this friendly local community that she’s a part of, encouraging her to join us. Connie - we hope we’ll see you again!

As usual, we have so many more cool things to share with you about CP Virtual parkrun #14.




Janet met Connie on her walk. Perfect!

Facts and Figures

  • 194 virtual parkrunners
  • 900 miles covered
  • 22 first-timers
  • 9 new TEN TIMER TURTLE badges earned
  • 5 new HIGH FIVES earned
  • 8 barkrunners
  • 8 (mostly) virtual volunteers


This week saw our second highest turnout to date. And people keep coming back. Here's a crazy statistic: as of now, 100 humans or pups have done CPVp 10 or more times. And 95 of them took part this week. Maybe that means you enjoy these virtual gatherings. Maybe it means that weekends just aren't very normal these days.


Louise and Anne are getting it done every week through the summer heat 

Live Coffee Returns!

The Board & Brew reopened on Friday evening after being closed since March. So of course we wanted to be there on Saturday morning!

Our experiment with a socially distanced meetup in the pocket park behind The Board and Brew and Vigilante Coffee was a success. Around 20 people came along. There was plenty of space. And good shade. And great conversation. And we were able to support local businesses.

If there’s interest, we can continue doing this through the month of August, then re-evaluate once the occupancy of The Varsity and The View swell at the start of UMD’s semester. Let us know what you think!


Great to see old friends on a Saturday morning


Andrea swears by the Vigilante açaí bowl. With our outdoor meetup, you can mix and match your favorites from The Board and Brew and Vigilante Coffee. Perfect!



Outdoor meetups are great for barkrunners, too. Trista is normally the only barkrunner allowed into TB&B, as she's a service dog. But now others can join. 


... such as Baxter, who was pretty excited to meet some new friends



Danny Walker joined us in the middle of a long bike ride


Great to see Team Barnes-Russell in person rather than via Zoom

Our Favorite Trail

If you go to the Paint Branch Trail on a Saturday morning you are sure to see other parkrunners enjoying the trail: running, walking, alone or with friends. This week we found more people out there than we can remember since, we were doing regular parkruns.

Back in March we made a point of avoiding the trail, especially around 9am on a Saturday, as we didn’t want to be seen to be organizing rogue events that could undermine the public health effort. Nowadays we encourage you to use the trail. It’s a great place to walk or run, especially in the summer heat. And if you just come along at a time that suits you, there’s no risk of being caught in a crowd.


Phillips x 2 (unrelated)

And if you want to do an accurate 5K, there’s no better place. No traffic. Pretty much flat. Mostly shaded. And accurately marked and measured. They even train course measurers (yes, that’s a thing) on our course.

One challenge that comes along with frequent trail repairs is that it can be hard to know where the start/finish and turnaround are. So this weekend Lisa Wilson took care of that. Hump dropped her off at the park with a can of green paint, and Lisa refreshed the key markers, visiting “herself” along the way.


Lisa visited herself on the trail

Appalachian Trail Tour

After averaging 700 miles the past couple of weeks, it was going to be a stretch to cover the 800 miles remaining in our virtual Appalachian Trail tour. We started the day near the Hudson River in NY, and needed to traverse CT, MA, VT, and NH before a long stretch across Maine to the endpoint at Mt Katahdin.


Our target for the day. End of the 2180 mile Appalachian Trail

Thanks to Tara Mease’s spreadsheet wizardry, together with our dedicated results crew, it’s easy to track our total distance through the day. We got out to a strong start, quickly covering 400+ miles, but then things slowed and we thought we might wind up around 100 miles short of the target. Not even close! In the final reckoning, we together covered 900 miles, which would be enough to continue on from Katahdin to the Canadian border.

Valerie Silensky sent us pictures of Mt Katahdin, the northern end of the Appalachian Trail, from when she was nearby in December. Katahdin is close to the small town of Millinocket (pop. 4,500), and it’s the home of Valerie’s all-time favorite running event, the Millinocket Marathon and Half, held every December. We learned about it from Valerie’s stories at The Board and Brew, and it really does sound like an awesome event. The event was created to help support the local economy in this struggling mill town. It’s entirely free, and the organizers instead request that participants spend to help support local businesses. We love the event slogan: “Don’t run Millinocket for what you get; run Millinocket for what you give”.

Valerie reports that the vibe around the event is totally unlike other big races. It sounds awesome, and we’re putting it on our bucket list. Plus, right now the December temps in Maine sound pretty appealing.


Mt Katahdin in winter, courtesy of Valerie Silensky

Meanwhile, while most of us were covering the Appalachian Trail virtually, Dave and Alyssa Heintzelman were covering it actually. In fact, they covered the entire West Virginia section of the AT. Impressive! You might think that involved a lot of miles. It turns out it does not. The part of the AT inside WV is less than 5 miles long, heading south from Harper’s Ferry. But it’s not easy terrain, and that’s why Dave and Alyssa are this week’s virtual tailwalkers, with a 5k-adjusted time of 1h41.


Dave and Alyssa covered the entire WV section of the AT


In addition to Nilima Raut’s 12 miles in the mountains near Kathmandu, Nepal (Nilima even brought her parkrun barcode along), we were grateful to some parkrunners who were getting in some big miles towards our distance target far away from College Park … and hopefully in gentler weather.

Robin Phillips put in a big pull in Bristol, UK, covering 27 miles in total. Robin is still in training (kind of) for the London Marathon, which was postponed from April to October, and is the one big marathon of the year that has yet to be canceled.

Cory Kind, Adam Gann, and barkrunner Walker visited the Birwood Wall in Detroit, MI. It was “constructed in 1941 as a physical barrier between a new white subdivision and neighboring Black neighborhoods. It has since been reclaimed as a public art project highlighting equality and community.” They covered over 30 miles between them.


Birwood Wall in Detroit, MI. Good repurposing of a painful piece of history.

Adrian & Stella Dover put in a combined 20 miles on a walk between Grasmere and Ambleside in the Lake District of northern England. These trails were well known to the poet William Wordworth (see The Guardian’s piece on the Wordsworth walk), who said that the area was “the loveliest spot that man hath ever found.”


Ok, Adrian and Stella, we are super jealous of your CPVp route this week!


Wordsworth had a point


We wouldn’t normally make much of the fastest 5K at CPVp, but we’ll make an exception this week. Keaton Ellis went down to his old high school track and ran his first ever sub-20 5K. Nice!


Everyone's a winner at parkrun, but this week Keaton was the fastest winner

It turns out there was a bit of a lead pack this week, as Colin Phillips and Tomas Marambio were hot on Keaton’s heels. But Colin confirms that his time deserves a big fat asterisk next to it. “It was more of an interval session, really. I saw SO MANY parkrunners out on the trail today, and it was a great excuse to stop and say hi and take pictures.”

One of the nice surprises on Colin’s run was seeing Steve Hendrix and Jim Sebastian. You may recall that in Week 1 of CPVp Steve joined us from Jerusalem, Israel, where he is currently based for the Washington Post. (You can see some of his reporting here.) So it was quite a surprise to see him on the trail in College Park.


Not quite as surprising, but just as delightful an encounter: Team McElhenny, all 5 of them, went for a run together on the regular parkrun course. The “together” part is noteworthy here, as the 37-minute time for this crew amounts to a TEN MINUTE PB for Theodore and dad John, both times set on our last day of regular parkrunning on March 7th, a day when we celebrated Mariella McElhenny’s 10-parkrun milestone.


Team McElhenny, with the ladies pacing John and Theodore to huge PBs

Isaiah Dycks ran a PB *again*; now he’s at 28:26. Malik keeps expecting him to plateau, but Isaiah just keeps getting faster!


Isaiah and his support crew, ready for yet another PB!

Brian Rosenberg tried a new challenge this week, joining from Mechanicsburg, PA. He had noticed that his uncle Duane generally finished his 5K in about the same time. So he tried to match Duane’s time, so that they would appear next to each other in the results table. They came so close! But Malik Al-Jame snuck in between them, inadvertently. That sounds like a fun challenge to try with a friend or family member. Run apart, but try to finish in the same time. No peeking at the watch along the way, of course.

In Michigan, Janet Grudzien John and her dad Mark Grudzien got the weekend off to a good start by doing their longest walk together, 8.5 miles. The pandemic has prevented us from doing many things, but we love how it is also helping some families to spend good time together.


Janet and Mark enjoyed their longest walk together


This week we get to celebrate a healthy mix of new badges for regular virtual parkrunners and first-timers.

9 more people now have a turtle next to their name in the weekly results. Clearly a good reward for getting out to exercise 10 times in this swampy summer weather.

Tomas Marambio, Pratyush Tiwary, Chris Anderson, Catherine Spirito, Clare Imholtz, Derek Symer, Pete Monacelli, Pete Poremba, Julie Russell

Clare Imholtz did her 10th CPVp taking a walk with first-timer August on the beach at Corolla, NC, just a few short miles from Kill Devil Hills, which we ‘visited’ in last week’s report.



Clare and August enjoyed a walk on the beach in Corolla, NC

Pete Poremba is another new 10-timer who brought along a new recruit this week, too. Pete and his daughter Caitlin continued their exploration of the canal towpaths near their home in Canton, OH. So Ginny Poremba took a walk while the rest of the family was running, and added a couple of miles to our weekly total. We enjoy reading Pete’s reports on his weekly explorations, and we’re learning about lots of places in eastern Ohio where it would be cool to run in the future.

We have 5 new earners of High Five badges: Darrell Stanaford, Aaliyah El-Amin, Michael Iati, Kristin Sturgill, Joe White

Darrell is the founder of both Roosevelt Island parkrun and Anacostia parkrun, and more recently he is a regular at Leakin Park parkrun. But right now he’s doing his virtual parkrunning on the opposite side of the country.

Michael Iati is another parkrun widow(er) who has been dragged into the fray during the pandemic. This week he and Dominique Blom got in their exercise while traveling near Akron, OH. We *so* hope that we’ll be able to welcome some of these new parkrunners to the trail once we’re back to normal.


Michael and Dom did their CPVp in Akron, OH

And especially exciting for us this week was the 22 first-timers, the largest group of newcomers since May. Welcome!

Dami Alao, Cameron Bernhardt, John McElhenny, Theodore McElhenny, Ginny Fromel, Michelle Brandy, Leanna Bernard, Ontiveros (barkrunner), Randy Ontiveros, Sally N, August Imholtz, Jim Sebastian, Nilima Raut, Randy Ski, Connie, Ginny Poremba, Mike Zukowski, Romana Rychlikova, Helena Taylor, Pavlina Ittelson, Iva Weinstein, Katarina Gabaniova

Michelle Brandy is a familiar face on the Paint Branch Trail on regular parkrun Saturdays, so we were delighted to see her smile show up in this week’s Facebook thread.


Welcome to CPVp, Michelle!

Sally N is a regular at Kensington parkrun who we are delighted to see in this week’s results. We know that our Kensington friends are missing their Saturday morning meetups as much as we are, and we’re happy to see more Kensingtonians taking part in CPVp.

Jen Matis recruited her husband Travis Miller to join us this week. He’s currently working up to full 5K, and we imagine that he’ll be there in no time.


No picture from Travis's CPVp, but Jen sent us this lovely picture from her walk in Greenbelt National Park

A few of the names of the first timers are incomplete. Please help us to correct them if you know the right name.

And we’d like to give a special shout out to Mike Zukowski, Andrea’s brother. He joined us by getting in a walk around the hospital where he works in Detroit, MI. Mike has been following our community online, and he wanted to join our celebration of the reopening of The Board and Brew, so he called them to arrange for a generous gift card, which we look forward to sharing with parkrunners in the coming weeks.

Virtual Volunteers

This week we had a seasoned crew of 8 (mostly) virtual volunteers. CPVp simply would not be possible if it wasn’t for the volunteer support every week.

Tara Mease and Anna Tinnemore have continued to ensure that we have the back end tools in place to collect and share information about thousands of virtual parkruns. It’s invisible on the surface, but this week Tara made a big upgrade to our results system, which should make it easier for us to keep going and keep growing.

Angela Gentile stepped forward again to join the results collection team. Typically Angela would also be getting out for a run around town with barkrunner Shackleton. But Shack was still on strike this week, so Angela had to strike out alone. At least she had the virtual companionship of her dad Tom, though Tom was doing his walk on the Eastern Shore this weekend.


One tired parkrunner, one striking barkrunner

Hannah Russell and Andrea Zukowski helped gather the pictures and stories that Colin Phillips edited into this report.

And for anything related to the Roosevelt Island parkrun community, we have Joyce Adams to thank. This week was already Joyce’s tenth as a CPVp volunteer, and we think the RI community may have had a record turnout, so that is wonderful to see. Thank you, Joyce!

The non-virtual part of this week’s volunteering was Lisa Wilson, scouting the trail with her can of green paint. This will be increasingly valuable as more people use the Paint Branch Trail.

Can you join us as a virtual volunteer some time in August? Most of the roles involve some part of organizing the information that pours in every Saturday, and turning it into something that we can share with everyone by Sunday. Timing is flexible, and no special skills are needed.


Don't fear this turtle, seen on Rebecca, Joe, and Olivia's CPVp

Looking Ahead

When will we be back to “normal”? Frankly, we have no idea, but it’s not likely to be any time soon. We’re likely to be virtual for the rest of 2020.

This week’s update from parkrun Global hinted that there are plans afoot to restart parkruns in the UK in a way that would meet current public health guidelines there. That set off some salivating among parkrunners on the other side of the pond. But this might already be moot, since the UK is seeing an uptick in coronavirus cases and is already pressing the brakes on its reopening. In any case, the US is way behind the UK in terms of pandemic control.

Over the next couple of months, the main thing we’ll be looking out for in the CPVp community is the same thing that will face College Park as a whole: how to continue to stay active and support each other while in that middle space between lockdown and normal life. College Park has seen a dramatic thinning of its population and human movement for 5 months. In a couple of weeks the population will again swell as people return to UMD, albeit in a far-from-normal mode, with a mix of in person and online life. And a need to work a bit harder to make newcomers feel at home. With CPVp we’re in a similar situation: we can see each other on the trails, and we can meet up for socially distanced outdoor coffee, but we’re still mostly relying on electronic communication to learn about what everybody is up to. And it’s harder to connect with newcomers. So, we’ll be working on that. And we don’t want to ignore the many friends who we’ve been able to connect with in far away places during the pandemic.

Thanks as always for all that you do to keep supporting each other and helping to make this a healthy, connected community.

Until next time!

Your CPVp Team


Team Schneider were enjoying the cooler conditions in the Adirondacks this week. Long sleeves, sweatshirts - wow!


Captain Jack was showing off his stylish new bandanna this week, running with Mary in NJ


Barkrunner Eli continued his cultural tour of Riverdale Park and area. This week: a picture of the Ercoupe airplane featured in last week's report.


Eddie Matus had to stop his run to admire this bird


Make Lemonade (Virtual Report 13)

The saying goes that when life gives you lemons, you should make lemonade. 2020 is like a cart full of lemons. So let’s think of College Park Virtual parkrun as a refreshing glass of lemonade.

Ok, so maybe we’re projecting here. Maybe it’s the heat. Or maybe we were inspired by the lemonade stand that Joe Fox visited on his virtual parkrun this week. Anyway, on a steamy summer day where Maryland saw its highest number of new coronavirus cases in months (ugh!) and with no prospect of normalcy anytime soon, there was plenty of lemonade making to be seen around the CPVp community.

But before we get into this week’s stories, here are the numbers, the honor roll of everybody who got out there this Saturday, and an important announcement about a new experiment for next week (Aug 1st).



Joe Fox chose this lemonade stand run by a couple of rising 5th graders as the turnaround point for his virtual parkrun this week.


Facts and Figures

  • 150 virtual parkrunners
  • 655 miles covered
  • 3 first-timers
  • 15 new TEN TIMER TURTLE badges earned
  • 2 new HIGH FIVES earned
  • 8 barkrunners
  • 8 virtual volunteers


Live Coffee Returns!

We were excited to learn that The Board & Brew will reopen for outdoor service, carryout and delivery starting on Friday July 31st. We have really missed our weekly meetups, and TB&B has missed us, too.

So next Saturday (August 1st) we’re going to experiment with a socially-distanced meetup, in the pocket park directly behind The Board and Brew. There’s grass, trees, and a lot of morning shade. There are a couple of benches, but we’d recommend to bring a chair or a mat. You can order drinks or snacks from The Board & Brew or Vigilante Coffee (choices, choices!) via phone apps, or bring along your own choice of refreshments. Also, please bring a mask for when distancing is not feasible or if you need to step indoors. We can meet outside in full compliance with current state and county rules on gatherings. The pocket park is just across the footbridge from UMD Lot 11b, where parking is free.


Next week's non-virtual coffee meetup - in the pocket park right behind Vigilante and The Board & Brew. (This was also the turnaround point for Neha Joshi's CPVp this week. Smart choice.)

You could walk or run on the Paint Branch Trail, or you could head out from home and then stop by afterwards. We’re not going to be holding scheduled events on the regular parkrun course anytime soon, it’s still one of the best places in the area to get active: pretty trail, great shade, and a strong chance of running into other parkrunners. And the trail is never crowded.

What time? We’ll play this by ear for the first week. Andrea and Colin will try to roll in between 9:30 and 10:00 and then hang out for a while. Some like to get their activities in early these days. And the weather forecast for next Saturday is the best we’ve seen in weeks!

We have really enjoyed the weekly online coffee chats these past 3 months, especially the opportunity for folks to join us from far away. But we’re looking forward to seeing some folks in person while supporting local businesses that really need our help. If you're thinking of joining, we'd love to hear from you at Not required, but we'd like to give TB&B fair warning if there will be a big group.


We love seeing everybody online. Especially folks from far away. But we're looking forward to seeing a few people in person soon.

Making Lemonade

You “made lemonade” in lots of different ways this week, creatively compensating for the lack of our regular meetups.

Jen Matis is nursing her foot back to good health. So she and husband Travis took a walk on the Trolley Trail and picked up trash, a pastime known to Swedes as “plogging”.


Nice plogging, Jen and Travis

Neha Joshi and Yogarshi Yvas realized that one benefit of the virtual parkrun format is that you can design a course that has a Vigilante Coffee at the turnaround, and that has a finish line right next to your cat.


Malik Al-Jame has been making the most of being able to run a speedy 5K by himself AND run with his 7-year old nephew Isaiah. On his 3rd consecutive CPVp Isaiah took an incredible 12 minutes from his PB, from 42 minutes to 30 minutes. Looks like this is becoming less of an easy recovery run for Malik.


Keep up, Malik!

Lisa Wilson has been missing seeing you all at the turnaround point. But that allowed her to instead take a 5K walk with her dad, James Wilson. James is 102 years old, so doing a 2h38m 5K is perfectly good. Lisa said: “I carried 6 bottles of ice cold water I put them in the freezer when I first woke up this morning.  He was awake about 6 this morning, so I fixed him a nice breakfast, and then he wanted to go for a walk …”


Lisa and James, 102 years young

Cindy Cohen took advantage of her last CPVp in cooler and mountainous Idaho before a return to DC, so she did another downhill 5K, again beating her all-time parkrun PB with a 23:12 clocking.

And Rebecca White used a 150+ lap course around her house to cover the full 5K distance, coming within a hair of her parkrun PB of around 70 minutes.


We're confident that Cindy Cohen picked these huckleberries *after* careening down a mountain for her virtual parkrun


As an interlude in this report, here is a virtual parkrun haiku contributed by Diana Gough.

runs through Hyattsville
wears purple parkrun t-shirt
dreams of popsicles

Appalachian Trail Tour

We continued our virtual Appalachian Trail tour this week, setting out from the 735 mile marker on the 2,190 mile trail, somewhere near Roanoke, VA. Our goal: to make it across VA, WV, MD, PA, NJ, and NY to close to the New England border by nightfall.


This week's route - Virginia to New York

Around the 1,000 mile marker we crossed the Potomac at Harper’s Ferry to enter the Maryland section of the trail.


Harper's Ferry - entering Maryland at the midpoint of the Appalachian Trail

By the end of the day we had made it to around mile 1,390, about to cross the Hudson River in New York. This leaves us with a target of around 800 miles for next weekend to complete the trek to Katahdin, Maine.

Impressively, this week’s CPVp included non-virtual runs or walks in almost all of the states that our virtual AT tour covered.

We had plenty of virtual parkrunners from VA, thanks to our friends from Roosevelt Island parkrun, who could mostly be found in the somewhat less bucolic surroundings of Arlington and Fairfax Counties.


Michael Bevers and Eve Fingerett represented West Virginia, running in Charleston, WV. Ironically, they were much further from the WV section of the AT than those of us in College Park.

We had no shortage of parkrunners getting active in Maryland, of course. As for who was the closest to the Maryland section of the AT, that’s probably a tie between Frank Snyder in Gaithersburg and Shelley Gough Lauffer in Mt Airy.

Representing PA was Keaton Ellis, who wisely headed to State College to visit Alyssa and enjoy some cooler weather.


Keaton did his run in State College, PA, which looked a lot cooler than College Park

We had a few representatives in NJ, including Mary Langan and her barkrunner Captain Jack.

And Derek Symer represented NY, though his run along Keuka Lake in the western corner of the state may have been further from the NY section of the AT than we were in Maryland. Derek has been busy covering the miles for a virtual crossing of NY State, and since starting on May 15th he has reached the final 50 miles. Way to go, Derek!

And for good measure, let’s throw in two more states on the AT. We traversed the far western edge of NC in last week’s tour. This week Meridith Phillips did her CPVp on the far eastern edge of NC, along the beach at Kill Devil Hills, NC.

And we had representatives in CT where we’ll be touring virtually next week. Nick Huang ran in Windsor, near Hartford, and Joan Heffernan was setting a 5K PB near the CT-MA line in Suffield, CT.


 It has rained a lot recently, but that is not the Paint Branch. It's the Atlantic Ocean at Kill Devil Hills, NC

Speaking of Kill Devil Hills …

There’s a connection between Kill Devil Hills, NC and College Park, and a link to one of our regular parkrunners, mayor Patrick Wojahn.

Followers of our weekly CPVp Facebook thread may have noticed that Patrick generally does his Saturday run in the late afternoon, even in the heat of July. What is this son of Green Bay, WI doing in such harsh conditions? Generally squeezing in another activity in another busy day as mayor.

Many Saturdays Patrick starts off at the community food bank, where a few other parkrunners have been helping out. This week he also took in a visit to College Park Airport and Aviation Museum, where he got to meet Jessica Cox, the world’s first armless aviator. Jessica was marking the 30th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, and also the 80th anniversary of the Ercoupe airplane, which was built right here in College Park. (Have you noticed the small airplane in front of the Whole Foods in Riverdale Park Station -- that’s an Ercoupe.)

But what of Kill Devil Hills? That’s where the Wright Brothers did their first powered flight in 1903. A few years later they were in College Park training some of the earliest mail pilots at the College Park Airport, which has been in continuous operation ever since.

And is Patrick done for the day after his late afternoon run? Not at all. Next he transforms into College Park's leading takeout food journalist. See this new article about how Patrick and his husband Dave have been supporting local restaurants during the pandemic.


Patrick with Jessica Cox, the world's first armless aviator, and an original made-in-College-Park Ercoupe airplane

Courses & Nature

Pete Poremba’s 7 mile run helped both with our Appalachian Trail goal, and also his personal goal of running “the entire Canal Towpath between his home and Lake Erie, 90 miles to the North.” Pete now only has “a few more segments to cover!” As a plus, he was happy to be running in weather in the mid 60s. Pete encourages everyone to visit the Ohio & Erie Canal Reservation where there has been a lot of recreation development lately, making the corridor a “real gem.”

Pete wasn’t the only person to avoid the late July heat; Külli Crespin completed her parkrun in Tartu, the second largest city in Estonia, where the high temperature for the day was 68°F. We think it’s safe to say everyone in College Park is jealous!


Külli did her CPVp in Tartu, Estonia. Looks nice and cool!

Stefano Gazzano took the term parkrun tourist to the heart this week! He and his wife Daniela visited the ancient hamlet of Pitigliano in Tuscany, the so-called "town of the tuff,"  literally built into the Tufo rock. They arrived in the early morning so he could get in a couple runs before the tourists arrived. Then it was time for ‘cappuccino and cornetto’ (Italian milk coffee and cake -- not to be confused with the ice cream cones!). Most of us are staying closer to home this summer, but we’re vicariously enjoying some of Stefano’s travels.


Pitigliano, Tuscany, Italy. Want. To. Visit.

Joan Heffernan stopped to enjoy sunflowers growing at Halladay’s Farm on the way back to her home in Connecticut. Joan doesn’t have a parkrun in her area so she has been “highly motivated by long distance friends that have graciously included [her], as well as others from afar, to join in on [our] virtual 5Ks.” She said it has been “just the push she needed to get back running especially in this hot, rainless, and humid summer!”

Dom Blom went for a walk on the Paint Branch Trail with husband Michael and barkrunner Roo, and they saw a big snake!


Barkrunner Shackleton was on strike this week. After the trauma of this week’s many thunderstorms, Shack made it clear that he was not going out for a run this week. So he left it to Angela and TJ to get in a combined 15K between them to make up for his absence.


Shackleton: "I'm staying right here. You go run!"


We have a lot of new-and-very-unofficial milestones to recognize this week. 15 new members of our ten-timer turtle club, all of whom have a cute turtle next to their name in the results table.

Dominique Lisiero, John Maneval, Kurt Wilson, Stefano Gazzano, Yogarshi Vyas, Robert Bernhard, Yancira Amaya, Misha Bernard, Erin Saddler, Enrique Jograj Jr., Rebecca White, Cory Kind, Eli (barkrunner), Ellen Oberholtzer, Foxy (barkrunner)

Dominique headed over to the Paint Branch Trail this week and put in an impressive 21:33 clocking. This is close to her parkrun PB set 2 years ago. And Dominique has been busy in the intervening time. A year ago she was finishing the 5K in around 31 minutes, because she was “running for two”.


One year ago Dominique's 5Ks took 31 minutes. This week: 21 minutes. She's back!

Cory Kind recently moved back to Michigan, but she was still able to join us for her 10th CPVp. It was cool to hear how she’s enjoying her new life in downtown Detroit. At the online coffee hour she told us about the work that husband (and fellow CPVper) Adam is now doing equipping needy kids in Detroit public schools with technology for remote learning in the fall.

Virtual paw bumps to Eli and Foxy, who now join Shackleton as our most seasoned virtual barkrunners. And they’re now tied with Shackleton on 10 CPVps.

Two new high five club members this week: Brian Rosenberg and Phil Wadsworth.

Brian was back to running in Mechanicsburg, PA, where he again laid down the fastest time of the week. This was not the most notable performance of Team Rosenberg this week, though. In Bettendorf, IA, Dave Rosenberg (Duane’s brother) this week edged a few seconds ahead of his (virtual, and possibly unaware) rival Larry Washington, who was innocently running laps of his local track in Rockville, MD.

Phill Wadsworth did his 5th CPVp on a treadmill. But at least the treadmill was in Burlington, VT, on the shores of Lake Champlain. Phil sent in this picture of the view, though we’re not sure if that’s the view from the treadmill.


Burlington, VT. Looks lovely.

And this week’s 3 first-timers were all family members of regular virtual parkrunners. Anna Weber is back home somewhere in the midwest, and she took a nice walk with her dad Dan. Their route was great for social distancing.

Tom Gentile, Angela’s dad, got in a walk near the Delaware shore. And Travis Miller joined his wife Jen Matis on the plogging expedition.


Somewhere in the midwest. Easy to socially distance.

Virtual Volunteers

This week’s CPVp was brought to you by 8 lovely virtual volunteers:

Joyce Adams: Roosevelt Island coordinator
Angela Gentile: results collection
Katie Hirsche: results collection
Tara Mease: results guru
Colin Phillips: scheming and propaganda
Hannah Russell: report writing
Anna Tinnemore: results guru
Andrea Zukowski: email, writing, proselytizing

This week we bestow a “perfect timing” award on Anna Tinnemore. A few days ago she sent us a mock-up of the new Google Form that we have added as one more way to share your activities with us. We thought, “Nice idea! Might be useful some time.” Then on Thursday runners across the globe were aghast to learn of the Great Garmin Meltdown. Garmin’s computers were the victim of a ransomware attack. And many parkrunners have been using Garmin sync to Strava to report their activities each week. So now we were like, “No problem! We have this great new Google Form that Anna made!”

If you can help as a virtual volunteer in future weeks, we’d love to hear from you. Two of the areas where we most need help are in writing and in coordinating sub-communities of parkrunners, in the way that Joyce does for Roosevelt Island parkrun.

Looking Ahead

The prospects for old-style in person parkruns in the US are pretty dim until we have a widespread vaccine for the novel coronavirus. This is not a statement of official policy, merely an observation on how poorly the US as a whole is managing the pandemic. So, if you want to know when we’ll be back to ‘normal’, we can do little better than pointing you to the Guardian’s handy Coronavirus vaccine tracker, which tracks the progress of the 177 (!) different vaccines at various stages of development and testing.

But we’re looking forward to two developments much closer to home in the coming weeks.

Next week, August 1st, we hope you can join us for our experimental outdoor coffee meetup/picnic. Email us at if you’re interested. This is not required, but it will help Andrea give The Board & Brew a sense of how many we’re expecting.

And then later in August we’re looking forward to the swelling of the local population as UMD comes back to life. Ok, not everybody is so sure that this is a great thing. But we’d like to be one small part of the solution. We always like to welcome newcomers to our community each fall, and this year it is going to be more important than ever to do so.

Until next time!

Your CPVp Team


Team Schneider is back! (And they're looking forward to the August 22nd tutu day.)



We love this picture from Kristine Rogers run in Greenbeltvalerie-silensky_web

Also matching a flower. From Valerie Silensky's CPVp in Mt Rainier


The Appalachian Trail in Pennsylvania, courtesy of Lori Dominick. Yes, it's cooler, but not that cool right now. This is from February.


Emma Keer's virtual parkrun in Ann Arbor, MI. No comment needed.


Elizabeth Sheridan's birthday message left by co-workers


David Lai and crew got out early ... and fast


Colin arrived at Acredale Park as John Ramsey was setting off on his CPVp, so Colin joined John for the first mile. Despite the heat and humidity, John was mere seconds away from his parkrun PB. Colin was mostly excited to run with another human for the first time since March.


The American Tobacco Trail in Cary, NC (we think), courtesy of Cindy Feld. Looks like a lovely place for a shaded run


Beat the Heat (Virtual Report 12)

History is happening all around us right now. It’s hard not to be weighed down by heavy thoughts. And if that’s not enough, the heat and humidity in the mid-Atlantic make us all feel a little less light on our feet. But despite all this you came through with so many things to feel good about this week, as always.

This week we set out on our third virtual tour, now exploring the 2,180 mile Appalachian Trail, and we made great progress on Week 1.

And we heard great stories about how you dealt with the heat, how you reached personal milestones despite the heat, how you helped inspire others, and how you discovered cool things around you. So here goes with our roundup of just some of the cool things that happened in College Park Virtual parkrun #12.



Cameron and Ranger were back on the trail this week. It has been so long since we last held a regular parkrun that Ranger has doubled in size!

Facts and Figures

  • 160 virtual parkrunners
  • 730 miles covered
  • 13 first-timers
  • 11 new TEN TIMER TURTLE badges earned
  • 9 new HIGH FIVES earned
  • 8 barkrunners
  • 9 virtual volunteers



Scene from Dale Morey's run along the C&O Canal

Beat the Heat

We’re hitting the hottest part of the year, when it’s hard to keep moving outdoors. Not only did you get it done, many of you found creative ways of dealing with the heat. Our barkrunners led the, um, pack in this category.

Eden Gray reported that barkrunner Foxy took lots of rest breaks to roll in wet grass this morning. Barkrunner Walker had the same idea. (Cory Kind assures us that he’s fine, just tired.)


Foxy rolled in the grass to cool off


Walker collapsed on the grass to cool off. We can sympathize

Barkrunner Lizzie employed a more high tech option--she has a cooling vest that fits on her Ruffwear harness. Kudos to Lizzie’s human Joanne Smith for helping with this solution.


Joanne and barkrunner Lizzie with her special cooling vest. We want one!

Many of you made the most of the cooling effects of water.

Andrea Zukowski planted a thermos of iced mint tea along her route circuit, and visited that spot repeatedly. “Not only was the cold drink indispensable,” she reported, “but if you blow down into the thermos over the ice cubes, you get a little blast of air conditioning in your face.”


For some, a cold drink just isn’t enough.

Rosemary Schwartzbard did some more pool running. This does bring the risk of interruptions. But when it’s your 2-year old grandson, that’s really not too bad. Misha Bernard and her daughter Maia Swisdak tried out pool-walking this week. You’re not easily going to complete a 5K that way, but one of the perks of the virtual parkrun format is that we really don’t care!


Now THAT is an appealing parkrun course

It’s hard not to be jealous of Stefano Gazzano’s approach. After running more than 10K to the beach near his home in Civitavecchia, Italy, he cooled down with a swim in the sea with his three grandsons.


Plunge in the Mediterranean after your virtual parkrun. Nice!

Some of you dealt with the heat by running or walking indoors. Teresa Perdomo and Külli Crespin will no doubt soon be back to exploring the local trails, but this weekend the treadmill was just the ticket.

For others, the key was setting out early. Heather Sisan set out on (closed) Beach Drive in Kensington, MD before the rest of her family was awake. She may have passed Erin Munsell, who got in a long run and felt great for starting out so early. Diana Gough was forced to head out super early because her son Carlos’ swim meet started at 7am, but she probably benefited from the early start.


The early bird beats the heat ... well, only partly

When all else fails, we can use our imaginations. Chris Anderson channeled memories of his very first parkrun in 30 degree weather in January, 2018, to run the exact same time: 28:12. We count that as a moral PB, given the debilitating heat.

And last but not least, many of you followed our advice to celebrate National Ice Cream Day one day early.

In Berlin, Germany, Kazuko Yatsushiro first ran 5 miles with husband Uli, and then followed it up with an ice cream run with daughters Lina and Mika. It wasn’t a particularly leisurely ice cream run either: 5 km in 46 minutes. Their choice of flavors was pretty standard: peanut brownies, rocky road, and strawberry.


Mid-parkrun refueling stop

Others were a little more adventurous. Eden Gray saw this ad for a pickle flavor smoothie, and was curious. But not THAT curious. But Xander Mease certainly has a taste for adventure, so he took the plunge with a Pickle-Ice pop!


Eden: Thanks, but no thanks!


Xander: Sign me up!


We’ve already mentioned the creative water-based courses that some of you used this week, but that was just the start.

When conditions on the Paint Branch Trail get bad we sometimes switch from our single out-and-back route to a double out-and-back. In one variant we get to visit course marshal Hump Plotts 6 times. Our friends at Lillie parkrun in Ann Arbor have a backup route for their harshest winter days when they use a 6-lap circuit. But that’s nothing compared to Rebecca White’s route this weekend. She jogged laps inside her house. Around 100 laps for 1.75 miles. If that’s not impressive enough, on most of those laps she had to run past the pancakes that husband Joe had made for her. That is some dedication.


Rebecca's cheering section. And recovery snack.

Valerie Silensky ran laps around a school yard in Mt Rainier. We're not sure of the lap count, but there were probably a lot.

Many of you visited the Paint Branch Trail for a run or a walk. Mark Kaplan and Bud Verge both appreciated the recent resurfacing work. And everybody appreciated the shade that covers most of the route..

Angela Gentile, TJ Hool, and barkrunner Shackleton also ran a route that included our regular parkrun course, but starting from home. Shackleton recognized the regular finish line and put in a sprint. Then was a little confused when it turned out he wasn’t yet done.


Shackleton thought he knew where to put in his finish sprint

Emma Keer and Adam Hockley ran 5K with other parkrunners from Lillie parkrun in Ann Arbor, MI. Their goal was to hit 5 different parks in one day as part of Lillie parkrun Bingo. (Whatever that is, it sounds fun!) They managed to do it in a little over an hour, including a stop at a bridge for a quick game of Pooh Sticks. Emma reports that her stick won the sprint division but failed “spectacularly” in the distance event. [ in case anyone else didn’t know what it is.


This is basically how Pooh Sticks works


Emma and Adam on their tour of five parks. Including Pooh Sticks.

Appalachian Trail Tour

The next best thing to getting to higher, cooler ground is to at least imagine that we’re there. So this week we embarked on a virtual tour of the Appalachian Trail, one of the best known long distance trails in the world, and one that passes less than an hour from College Park.

The AT traverses 14 states in its 2,180 miles, from Georgia to Maine. If you hike it by yourself, you’ll need a few months. The fastest known solo traverse was by Belgian dentist Karel Sabbe, who in 2018 completed the route in 41 days, a distance of about 2 (rugged) marathons every single day. As for our goal: we’re hoping to cover the distance in about 3 Saturdays, aiming to reach Baxter Peak in Maine on August 1st.

This week’s route set out from Springer Mountain in Georgia, and passed through North Carolina and Tennessee’s Great Smoky Mountains National Park before reaching Virginia, ending near Roanoke, VA. Our 730 miles is 33% of the AT, so we’d say we’re pretty much on track for our 3-Saturday target.

Along the way our virtual tour took us past the highest point on the trail, Clingman’s Dome in Tennessee, at 6,643’, where there’s a flying saucer style viewing platform that reminds us of our local (currently being rebuilt) Hyattsville Public Library. We also visited Mt Rogers, the highest point in Virginia. And passed the Nantahala Gorge in NC, where a spot of white water rafting would be quite appealing in the current heat.


Looks like Hyattsville. But with even more hills.


Nantahala Gorge: not the Paint Branch Stream

To our surprise, when we announced the AT challenge, we heard from Alyssa Heintzelman that she and her dad Dave had just returned from hiking Maryland’s 44-mile section of AT. And then on Saturday we were even more surprised to hear from Stewart Mayhew that he had gone and done his CPVp on part of the AT, at Gathland State Park.

Maybe more of us will be inspired to give it a try next week, when our virtual tour will take us through Maryland.


Dave and Alyssa hiked the 44 miles of the Maryland AT section this week


Stewart headed out early to run on the AT on Saturday

Achievements (just a few)

Team Rosenberg has a new virtual parkrunner! Duane’s nephew Brian is nursing an injury, so this week he settled for riding a bike alongside his 10-year old son Peter, who has recently worked his way up to the full 5K distance. Dad was very proud of the pacing. And uncle Duane is now scheming for a week when they can get 6 Rosenbergs in CPVp on the same day.

Speaking of proud uncles, 7-year old Isaiah Dycks was out on the Paint Branch Trail again this week with uncle Malik Al-Jame. And he was on fire. Last week he ran about a quarter of the 5K, and this week he ran almost all of it, setting a 9-minute PB in the process. Nice going, Isaiah!


9-minute PB for Isaiah!

And speaking of 7-year olds, Xander Mease was out on the local trails near his house at dawn, as usual, for a 5-6 mile meander through the woods with mom Tara. As many of you know, that’s what they do every day (except when it’s face-to-face parkrun day, of course). What we didn’t realize is that they really get out EVERY day. This was Day 1,000 of their run streak. Wow.

Meanwhile, we recently shared that Joan Heffernan was pursuing the goal of running the full 5K distance before reaching her 70th birthday at the end of the year. And this week she did it! With months to spare. Let’s just say that cheers were heard at CPVp HQ when Joan shared this news via email.


Congrats to Joan on achieving her goal!


This week 10 humans and 1 barkrunner earned a ten timer turtle badge in the results table.

Dale Morey, Jeremy Rueter, Carlos Chaverri-Morales, Jen Murphy, Bud Verge, Joe Fox, Louise Godley, Judy Barnes, Shackleton (barkrunner), Eden Gray, Simon Wraight

And we handed out 9 more high five badges this week, taking the total to 174!

Uli Sauerland, Hannah Russell, Lisa Shiota, Lina Sauerland, Jim Cantwell, Joanne Smith, Anne L'Ecuyer, Michael Bevers, Maia Swisdak

There are a couple of families represented in both lists. Judy Barnes is a 10-timer while her daughter Hannah Russell is now a 5-timer.

A couple of weeks ago we noted how Louise Godley and Anne L’Ecuyer squeezed in a virtual parkrun around their wedding. And this week they completed their 10th and 5th CPVps, respectively. Unexpectedly, Colin and Andrea ran into Louise earlier this week in the bowels of the Maryland Stadium as they all took part in UMD’s mass COVID testing trial. With a mask and a hat, Louise would have been hard to spot, if Colin hadn’t learned to recognize tightly wrapped parkrunners out on the trail on freezing winter mornings. These days when we mostly see other people through screens it can be such a pleasure to come across parkrunners in real life!

Uli Sauerland and his daughter Lina both joined the high five club this week from Berlin, Germany. As far as we can tell, they are getting in their regular CPVps separately, but always with mom Kazuko. Uli takes the early shift, running around town with Kazuko. And Lina (and sister Mika) take the later shift, which somehow always seems to incorporate an ice cream shop. Good work if you can get it!

Finally, a special shout out is in order for Shackleton, who we think is the first barkrunner to join our 10-timer club. We’re not sure if he has met an actual turtle on the trail, or how he would react if he met one.

And we ring the virtual PB bell for this week’s 13 first-timers. Welcome!

Kris Sooklal, Peter Rosenberg, Joan Richards Gordon, Rachel Smigielski, Kim Frum, Judy Mason, Annie (barkrunner), Carmen O'Hagan, Christina Nichols, Cindy Wadsworth, Liz Benson, Svetlana Stanaford, Henry Stanaford.

Judy Mason got in an early walk near home in Bethesda. It was too hot to run. Judy is a regular runner and volunteer at our sister parkrun event in Kensington, and we look forward to welcoming more Kp friends to future CPVps.

Kris Sooklal, Rachel Smigieski and Kim Frum joined via the (not)parkrun system. Welcome!

And a special welcome to first-time barkrunner Annie, who took a walk with her human Stephanie Goldstein on the Roosevelt Island boardwalk. Why is this so special? Because it was only one day earlier that the adoption papers were signed and these two became a family. Perfect!


Welcome to the Roosevelt Island boardwalk, Annie!

Virtual Volunteers

This week we were thrilled to have more virtual volunteers than usual. It makes such a difference to have a team working together on different pieces of the event. It might look effortless on the surface, but there’s much paddling happening under the water.

This week Tara Mease and Anna Tinnemore were both at work behind the scenes helping to make our collecting and sharing of activities and stories more robust. Reliably tracking the growing amount of information each week takes some skill to manage, and Tara and Anna have those skills.

Jen Matis, Angela Gentile, Nick Huang, and Hannah Russell all played key roles this week in gathering and curating activities and stories, together with Joyce Adams, who regularly curates the contributions from our partners at Roosevelt Island parkrun.

And we had a new volunteer role this week -- coffee host! Anna Weber hosted the pre/post-parkrun online coffee chat for Roosevelt Island parkrun, and that strikes us as a great idea for a role that can be shared around from week to week (and among different sub-communities, too). Thank you, Anna!


Anna hosted the Roosevelt Island crew coffee meetup this week. Anybody want to do coffee hosting in the future? 

Looking Ahead

When we started CPVp we had little idea how long this format would continue. Maybe it would flop in the first week. Maybe old-style parkruns would return by the fall. Now, as the course of the pandemic across the US continues on its disastrous path, an early 2021 return seems increasingly optimistic. This is feeling less like a stop gap and more like the new normal.

At this point, in the space of two and a half months we have gathered around 2,000 activities from 445 individual participants. That’s already more than 10% of the activity ever recorded at CP parkrun since 2016. And we’re likely to see thousands more activities by the time we get back to “old normal”, all without the benefit of the regular parkrun database. To this end we’re looking for ways to ensure that CPVp is as sustainable and inclusive as possible. Some of this involves the way that things happen behind the scenes. Some of it involves looking for ways to ensure that there is broad community ownership of the event, so that as many people as possible can contribute, and also feel that they belong.


This weekend last year was a scorcher. UMD grad students Neha and Yogarshi enjoyed the popsicles that parkrunners brought along.


One year later -- another scorcher. Yogarshi and Neha went in search of popsicles again

One thing that we’re thinking about a lot these days is how College Park will handle the surge of new residents and new community members over the next 4-6 weeks. Normally, we are accustomed to the seasonal flow of thousands of students and others arriving and leaving each year. There is always a degree of separation and suspicion that divides different parts of the local community. But everybody takes it in their stride, and at CP parkrun we try to be one small part of the effort to help people connect in a third place. [See the criteria for third places in this wikipedia entry.]

But 2020 could be different.

There will still be thousands of people coming to town, many for the first time. Student life will not be like normal. Activities will be more limited and more monitored. Most classes at UMD will be online. Many local employees will still be working remotely, many of them juggling the demands of work with remote schooling for their children. The large international population -- those who are even able to get into the country -- will be nervous about whether they are as welcome here as they once thought. Student gatherings that in the past have been seen as a nuisance by local residents will instead be seen as a grave health danger. And while more interaction is happening through online meetings than in person conversation, there’s a risk of heightened cross-generation tension. Students may see faculty as old people behind Zoom screens, and may barely see local residents at all. Maybe as faces hidden behind masks at the grocery store or in the dining hall. And of course there are many other broader forces invested in pulling us apart, especially in the lead up to November.

Against this backdrop, anything that we can do to help connect people and build trust is so valuable. We would love to hear from you if you have ideas about how we, as individuals or as a group, can help to welcome some of the many new people in our community, as it will be more important than ever before.

In more hopeful news, we’d like to thank all of you who filled out the recent survey about the planned Paint Branch Riverwalk project, spearheaded by our friends at the College Park City-University Partnership. The plan is to make improvements to the area around the Paint Branch Stream and Trail, roughly between The Board and Brew and our parkrun start/finish. A couple of us took part in a focus group about the project this past week, together with representatives from other community groups. The team that’s consulting on the project had heard a LOT of great input from the CP parkrun community via the survey, and they are looking at suggesting a lot of things that will make our favorite trails even better in years to come. Hopefully this will include trails on both sides of the Paint Branch stream and more ways to connect with the banks of the stream.

Until next time!

Your CPVp Team


Post-run recovery for the PGRC crew


Unexpected encounter on Baltimore Ave


Lisa's new kicks put a spring in her stride


Post CPVp coffee meetup


The weather looks a little better in Gloucestershire, UK where Adrian and Stella did their CPVp. Temps in the high 60s. We'll take it!


Join us for the next leg of our Appalachian Trail tour next Saturday

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