Ship Shape (Virtual Report 11)

We held our 11th CP Virtual parkrun on July 11th, and that’s how we learned (from a parkrunner) about one more casualty of the coronavirus: 7-11 suspended their free Slurpee promotion on 7/11 this year. That, folks, shows just how serious things have become.

It’s a time when it is hard to stay active and connected. We’re in the middle of a relentless heatwave. The pandemic is punishing us all for those who have failed to take it seriously. And we learn every day about new attempts to tear us apart. It can feel like the world wants us to give up.

Despite all this, we were as amazed as ever this week by the creative and inspiring stories that you shared about what you got up to, and how you supported each other. This report is mostly a collection of the cool things that you came up with. We’re being safe, we’re staying active, and we’re looking out for each other. That’s what matters right now.

Also, did you see that the cover story in the July edition of College Park Here & Now is -- CP Virtual parkrun! They ran a cool little feature, and many of you contributed quotes. See below for screenshots that you can enlarge to read more clearly. Watch this space for future plans for working with CPH&N to help make College Park a model of a healthy community.

So what all happened at CPVp #11? Darn good question!



Barkrunner Shackleton shows his tips for summer parkrunning. Get your run or walk in early, before it gets even hotter


There's always time to take a nap later on Saturday. Especially in a pandemic.

Facts and Figures

  • 159 virtual parkrunners
  • 735 miles covered
  • 14 first-timers
  • 22 new TEN TIMER TURTLE badges earned
  • 12 new HIGH FIVES earned
  • 11 barkrunners
  • 6 virtual volunteers




This week Malik ran a speedy 5K, then was joined by his 6-year old nephew Isaiah and they ran another 5K together. Fantastic!

Dismal Swamp

Let the record show that the conditions for virtual parkrunning this week weren’t exactly perfect.

Stewart Mayhew’s foggy glasses on the Seneca Greenway Trail tell you that, yes, it was classic July weather in DC.


We think that's Stewart behind those foggy glasses

Steve and Cindy Feld did their run at Virginia Beach. But the venue for their bike ride later in the day captures the conditions pretty well.


Well that pretty much sums it up

Creative Routes

When we said that for CPVp you could run or walk wherever you want, and however far you want, we had no idea of the creativity that this would unleash.

This week Lisa Wilson may have done one of the longest CPVp routes yet. It started in Delaware, and ended in New Jersey, with a point-to-point distance of 20 miles, and maybe about 23 miles in total. All in a little over an hour!. She did this by doing laps around the Cape May - Lewes ferry, for what was surely our first CPVp on a moving route. (Before you get any ideas, we do not recommend trying to do your CPVp on an airplane.)


No need for a turn-around marshal on this virtual parkrun route

But it turned out that Lisa’s route was not the longest of the day. That honor falls to Tim Keer, whose CPVp was part of a Quarantine Backyard Ultramarathon. We hadn’t heard of this race format until recently, but apparently it’s a thing. How it works is you set out from home on the hour every hour, with the aim of covering 4.17 miles within the hour. Then you do the same thing at the top of the next hour. And so on. The aim is to do as many “laps” as possible, and the last person standing is the winner. Why 4.17? That’s because if you do that 24 times it comes to a nice round 100 miles. Tim completed an impressive 12 laps, to make a total of 50 miles.


50 miles done

Meanwhile, Simon Wraight settled for a humble 10 miler in Bow, NH, where he is working his way through the task of covering ALL of the streets in town. (Hmm, what distance would you need to cover to run all the streets of College Park?)

Stefano Gazzano ran from his house in Civitavecchia, Italy to the beach in Tarquinia. The route passed near the ancient Etruscan necropolis of La Scaglia. Yeah, we weren’t quite sure what one of those is, so we looked it up. It’s a complex network of underground tombs. Fortunately, Stefano’s 5K did not go inside the tombs, though this would surely have qualified as the spookiest CPVp route yet.


Virtual parkrunners who headed to the Paint Branch Trail this week were met with two surprises. Inspiring chalk messages left on the trail the night before by Andrea. And a few stretches of trail resurfacing, smoothing out some of the bumpy parts. This is part of the project to create a new connector trail from the Tunnel of Trees over to the College Park Woods neighborhood.



"Find the good. It's all around you." -- Jesse Owenswinnie-the-pooh_web

"It's so much more friendly with two." -- Winnie the Poohtrail_web

Oh looky - newly patched trail!

Heather Sisan also found some inspiring signage on her route.


Rod Green was inspired by fellow parkrunners Lisa, Gail, Keirston, Laurie and Lucy, to extend his run past the 2 mile marker at the Bladensburg Waterfront. And he extended it by a whole lot, making it to 13 miles on a hot, hot day.

Diana Gough ran 3.4 miles in honor of her dad, whose birthday was on Saturday! He is 86 years young, but since there was no way she was going to run 8.6 miles, she decided to do 3.4 mi in honor of his birth year, 1934.

Meridith Phillips saw a mama turtle laying eggs by the Paint Branch Trail, just beyond Hump’s Crossing, so she stopped to watch (from a safe distance, of course). Later in the day, the eggs were still well hidden!

Ellen Oberholtzer and Eli’s run was cut short when they came across a lost beagle. Once the dog was reunited with her owner, Ellen and Eli set out to finish their 5K, which included a swim break for Eli.


More virtual parkrun animal rescue! This seems to be a thing.


Part of Eli's improvised course

Not to be outdone, barkrunner Sophie showed her true waterdog colors in Rock Creek. She gets VERY excited to see all her parkrun friends at the start of our regular parkruns. The one thing that might make it even better for her would be if we could run along the creek rather than along the trail.


Frithjov Iversen’s photography from his run on Roosevelt Island is pretty inspiring, too.


Geese on the Potomac


Apparently this is called a buttonbush, but doesn't it remind you of something else that is dominating our lives these days?

And Tara and Xander Mease had an even more special encounter on their run. They ran into grandma Janet! Between Janet’s healthcare work and Xander’s already struggling lungs, this family has needed to be seriously socially distanced during the pandemic. So running together in the woods for a bit is a huge treat.


Fast and Far

We advised everybody to take it steady in the heat. No need to go any faster or further than feels right on such a hot day. … Well, at least some of you paid attention.

Sam Phipps celebrated his birthday (the day before) by heading out on the B&A Trail in Glen Burnie, MD, where he put in a 17:10 5K as part of a longer run. That’s a CPVp record, we think, beating Brian Rosenberg’s time from a couple of weeks ago. And Sam’s dad Dave was a couple of minutes behind, in the day’s third fastest time.


Sam setting a CPVp record on the Baltimore & Annapolis Trail

Cindy Conant “only” ran 20:04 for her 5K this week, which translates to a 94% age-grade for a 59-year old woman. In other words, Cindy put down a world class 5K time at her local track  in pretty terrible running weather. Meanwhile Cindy’s niece Erin Munsell was out doing her longest run yet this year, of 11+ miles.

Duane Rosenberg has gotten his brother Dave addicted to our virtual parkruns. Dave has his sights on catching Larry Washington, who is a couple years younger than Dave’s 70 years, and ran in just under 24 minutes this week. Dave broke 20 minutes in local Iowa 5Ks when he was in his 50s.  But as Duane put it, “we runners know Papa Time is undefeated.”

Jen Matis completed her longest ever run, 5.5 miles. At least it was in the controlled conditions of her treadmill. And Joan Heffernan continued her progress towards running a full 5K by the time she turns 70 later this year. With 2.25 miles of continuous running this week, we think she’s got this.


Jen is SO ready for her 10K next week

Cindy Cohen again ran faster than she ever has in one of her 100+ regular parkruns. This was on a route in the Idaho mountains that dropped by 900’ over the course of the 5K.


It's all downhill from here. Cindy Cohen's start line in Sandpoint, ID. 


We love hearing about your comeback stories. We had a few this week.

It’s just a couple of weeks since Bud Verge had knee surgery, but he has been working hard on his PT, and this week he was excited to be back running the parkrun trail, being careful to take the pace “wicked easy”.


He's baaaack!

Trace Huard was struggling to walk at the start of the year, but he has been on a solid comeback since then, and this week ran his fastest time since shutdown. His post-run celebratory selfie captured Colin celebrating with him as he ran past on his own virtual parkrun … though at that point Colin didn’t know quite what he was celebrating.


And Clare Imholtz is also on the comeback trail. Normally she would be one of our speediest septuagenarians, but for this week she was plenty satisfied to be able to run a full mile of her 1.5 mile effort.


Already in week #11 there are over *60* CPVpers who have earned a prized 10-Timer Turtle badge in our results tables. Around 20 of them were earned this week. Here’s the honor roll:

Malik Al-Jame, Patrick Wojahn, Nick Huang, Robin Phillips, James Parsons, Kelsey Mannix, Dave Heintzelman, Joel Goldberg, Alyssa Heintzelman, Erin Munsell, Angela Gentile, Jacqueline Hayes, Emma Keer, Cindy Feld, Marvin Russell, Jen Matis, Sharlene Deskins, Bonnie McClellan, Joyce Adams, Tim Keer, Mike McClellan, and Clark Ridge.

Bonnie and Mike McClellan became the first octogenarians to earn turtle badges. Two father-daughter pairs are now turtle clubbers: Dave and Alyssa Heintzelman, and Tim and Emma Keer. Robin Phillips is now a 10-time CPVper, though he has never been to College Park parkrun in person, since he’s based in Bristol, UK.

Meanwhile, we are holding an investigation on whether Patrick Wojahn is the first mayor to earn a turtle badge. Duane Rosenberg already completed his 10th CPVp last week, on July 4th. However, Duane finished his term as mayor of New Carrollton shortly before that. So he did not complete all of his CPVps while in office.

12 more parkrunners earned High Five badges for completing their 5th CPVp.

Terri Snedeker, Dave Menusan, Carolyn Kelley, Stella Dover, Caitlin Poremba, Eve Fingerett, Gail Sockwell-Thompson, Heather Sisan, Mary Langan, Walker (barkrunner), Captain Jack (barkrunner), and Violet Ridge.

This week’s new 5-timers included three from the extended Roosevelt Island parkrun community, all of whom are too far away to run in the DMV right now. Eve Fingerett is based in Charleston, WV. She and husband Michael have become regulars at our CPVp coffee meetups. Mary Langan and her barkrunner Captain Jack are based in New Jersey.

Violet Ridge earned a High Five badge on the same day that her dad Clark earned his 10-timer badge. We’re not sure that they planned this one, but those two do seem to coordinate their milestones. It was last winter when Violet ran her 50th parkrun on the same day that Clark ran his 100th (AND volunteered for the 25th time, AND his son Calvin did his 10th parkrun).

We’d like to give a special virtual high five to Stella Dover, who now joins us regularly from Newent, UK. While her husband Adrian has done a couple of hundred parkruns, including many at College Park, Stella has always taken the role of parkrun widow. But nowadays she gets out for a walk near home each week, and she and Adrian are generally the first who we hear from each Saturday morning. Once the pandemic is over and travel is possible again, we’re really looking foward to welcoming Stella to CP non-virtual parkrun, so that she can be a parkrun widow no more!

And we’re always excited to welcome first-time virtual parkrunners. This week there were about a dozen first-timers. And there was a clear pattern. Almost everybody who joined us for the first time was doing so due thanks to close friendship or family ties.


Team Schneider is growing! This week including Brian, Tammy ... and barkrunner Betty Spaghetti. Ok, that's the best parkrunner name EVER.

Dave Phipps joined because of his son Sam. 6-year old Isaiah Dycks came along to run with his uncle Malik Al-Jame. Mark Grudzien enjoyed a walk with his daughter Janet Grudzien John. Brian and Tammy Camidge took part with their daughter Erin and her family … otherwise known as Team Schneider. Becky deGuzman ran with her dad Frank Snyder. Barkrunner Pakora got out for an easy run with his human Pratyush Tiwary. And Juliana Perry was inspired to run thanks to her dear friend Joyce Adams.


Welcome first-timer Pakora!

Mark Allen & Jason Barthelmy were first time CPVpers, part of the crew running on the B&A Trail in Glen Burnie.


Virtual Volunteers

We couldn’t be doing this without the team of virtual volunteers, who this week were Tara Mease, Joyce Adams, Hannah Russell, Angela Gentile, together with Andrea Zukowski and Colin Phillips.

The role of the volunteers in “old style” parkruns is focused on safety and results, with a secondary role in creating the vibe that keeps the community going.

The role of the volunteers in virtual parkruns is different. It’s SO MUCH MORE about doing the things that help us to all stay active and connected. You all provide the great material, and the volunteers help to ensure that everybody else can see it.

This week Angela Gentile helped on the results team. This role involves collecting information from our various channels, and also being a virtual cheerleader. Angela and her barkrunner Shackleton are regulars at CP parkrun since late 2017. Angela would have earned a red 50 shirt this spring if it wasn’t for the shutdown. And we’re so happy that she introduced both of her parents and also her husband to our community.

Joyce Adams is a weekly volunteer, and we encourage you to “Be Like Joyce!”. Joyce is co-Event Director for Roosevelt Island parkrun, which serves DC and Arlington, and she basically coordinates an event within an event during the pandemic. She builds community among the RI parkrunners, and they tap into our results and reporting. It’s a great partnership. Maybe you could do something similar? If you can work on engaging with your community group, we can help to track results and share stories.


Who said you can't do parkrun and volunteer at the same time! Joyce had the results spreadsheet close at hand *while* doing her virtual parkrun on her treadmill. #multitasking

Looking Ahead

Will CP parkrun be back in its “traditional’ format anytime soon? Sorry, that’s just not happening. Until the US is handling the pandemic better, it won’t be possible to hold events like we held in the past. We’re as disappointed as you are about that.

Prince George’s County was badly hit by COVID-19, and the county has recovered fairly well. But the county’s cautious re-opening combined with the national surge is making matters fragile. We thank you for EVERYTHING that you are doing to make this a safe and healthy community.

So, we expect to be parkrunning virtually for the rest of the year, and we’re looking for ways to help welcome more people into this community. That’s where you can help!

We have learned that many people who have been regular CP parkrunners in the past haven’t heard about the virtual parkruns (or they may have only heard about the globally managed “(not)parkruns”, which are … different. We can only reach people who follow us on our social media channels (Facebook, Strava, Instagram), or if they’re opted in to the College Park weekly emails. (To add yourself to this list, login to your account at, select “email options”, opt-in for College Park, and then click “save opt-in events list”.) We do not have access to your email address, and we will never spam you. You’ll get a nice email once per week from Andrea about what’s happening at CPVp.) We will try to reach more of the folks who aren’t hearing from us, but if you can reach friends, that’s even better.

Also, it’s becoming clear that folks get connected to face-to-face and virtual parkruns differently. For the F2F parkruns, people typically first come along for physical health reasons, then keep coming back because of the community. In the virtual parkruns we’re seeing that almost everybody who joins already has some strong social connection to others in the community. This means that individual parkrunners are the key ambassadors and supporters for the online community. And that we need to find new ways to support those who are more socially isolated and who might stand to benefit the most.

Until next time!

Your CPVp Team


Michelle Lemon had a great conversational partner at the start of her virtual parkrun (see the little feet!) ... who then fell asleep



"It was like a nuclear meltdown." -- Derekcoffee_web

Join us for post-parkrun coffee some time!


Seen on Valerie Silensky's route this week


Kristin and Gus joined us from Sewanee, TN, where Kristin leads the Mountain Goat Trail parkrun.


And some wildflowers for extra karma, courtesy of Lisa Shiota

Click on these to see larger versions






Independence Day (Virtual Report 10)

At the start of the year we noticed that July 4th this year would fall on a Saturday, so we could look forward to a holiday parkrun. Well, we got one, but not quite how we expected.

This week was our 10th CP Virtual parkrun already. That’s a cause for celebration. And we already have a LOT of 10-timers to celebrate. More on that below.

One thing that was quite predictable was that the weather would be hot. No time for PBs.

We always love seeing the creative ways that you get your virtual parkrun done. This week’s creativity was holiday and heat themed.

So what happened at CPVp #10?


Sharlene came equipped -- for sun, and for the holiday

Facts and Figures

  • 161 virtual parkrunners
  • 660 miles covered
  • 9 first-timers
  • 41 new TEN TIMER TURTLE club members
  • 13 new HIGH FIVES earned
  • 7 barkrunners
  • 6 virtual volunteers


You’ll notice two tweaks in this week’s results table.

First, we have added new turtle badges for 10-timers. Why turtles? Well, College Park already has a strong affinity with the turtle. Back in late 2017 UMD mascot Testudo actually visited CP parkrun. Also, we get quite a few turtle sightings along our favorite trail, especially at this time of year. Turtles are not about speed, they’re all about getting there. And aside from all that, the turtle emoji is just darn cute. So there!

Second, we have added virtual volunteer icons to highlight folks who have helped out behind the scenes to make the virtual parkruns work so well. It may appear that these events work like magic. Well, these are the magicians.


This guy was seen a few yards beyond our regular start line. We welcome ALL paces.

Red, White, and Blue

Many of you got into the spirit of the July 4th holiday.

Valerie Silensky wore a pair of stars and stripes sneakers that she has owned for two years but had never gotten a chance to wear before. Valerie’s a diplomat, and this time last year she was working in Argentina. Nowadays, even diplomats are grounded. As always, Valerie shared interesting scenes from her virtual parkrun around the neighborhoods near the DC-Maryland line.



Adrian and Stella Dover completed their parkruns in Newent, UK but still celebrated July 4th with a stars & stripes headcovering.


Erin Munsell tried to be patriotic by wearing red, white, and blue clothing on her 10 mile run; but the red dye was no match for the heat and humidity induced sweating!


Erin's impromptu tie-dye

Anna Tinnemore and Mike and Bonnie McClellan coordinated their red, white, and blue outfits. They walked to the regular parkrun trail from the College Park Woods neighborhood, checking out construction on the new connector trail and passing some parkrun friends along the way.


Color coordinated!

Dale Morey’s four mile course ended at an italian ice shop that had a gelato special for July 4th.

Meridith Phillips wore a red-white-blue tutu for her virtual run, and she did some recruiting along the way. “Ran my 5k decked out in my tutu for the 4th and then walked another 3.5k. Also met two women who wanted more info on the paths and I invited them to join us now and in the future! Happy 4th to all.”


Meridith's holiday tutu!

And the Russell-Barnes family made their own ice cream for a post parkrun treat! Coincidentally, the coconut milk ice cream topped with blueberry and sour cherry compotes fit the July 4th theme.


Now THAT is the way to show some red-white-blue

Beating … or beaten by the heat

No way of sugar-coating this one. It was hot in the DC area this July 4th. Many of us could sympathize with how Keaton Ellis was feeling after his run. Or with barkunner Shackleton, for that matter.




But some of you found creative solutions.

Some chose to run indoors where they could control the weather. Jen Matis not only completed her longest ever run, 5 miles on her treadmill. She also had good company: Lin-Manuel Miranda. She combined her virtual parkrun with watching Hamilton.



Rosemary Schwartzbard found an even better solution to running in one place. She hopped into a friend’s pool and did 45 minutes of aqua-jogging. Brilliant! Rosemary is also one of the Roosevelt Island parkrun regulars who this week earned a High Five badge for completing 5 CPVps.

Cindy Cohen escaped the heat by being far away and at high altitude. She found amazing mountain views on her virtual parkrun in Sandpoint, ID. And she also found preparations for a mountaintop wedding.


Ok, so those seats aren't very distanced ... but the views!

Lisa Jordan, Keirston Woods, and Gail Sockwell-Thompson took refuge in the cool of the underpass below Route 193, close to Hump’s Crossing. Wise move!


Smart place to stop for a moment

Heather Sisan’s daughters Fiona and Hannah went for an even better approach. They hopped into Rock Creek and wished Heather well for her run.


Enjoy that run, Mom!


After 10 CP Virtual parkruns we already have *41* virtual parkrunners who have taken part 10 times! When we started in person parkruns, there was *1* person who took part in all of the first 10. Maybe the flexibility of the virtual parkrun format has some benefits.

So, drumroll, our inaugural members of the Ten-Timer Turtle Club are:

Colin Phillips, Keaton Ellis, Duane Rosenberg, Larry Washington, David Lai, Trace Huard, Brian Murphy, Stewart Mayhew, John Ramsey, Adrian Dover, Katie Hirsche, Kazuko Yatsushiro, Steve Feld, Kalonji Collins, Tara Mease, Xander Mease, Meridith Phillips, Dagny S, Joan Heffernan, Andrea Zukowski, Frank Snyder, Lisa Wilson, Rory Murphy, Diana Gough, Mary Anderson, Külli Crespin, Teresa Perdomo, Gus Campbell, Kristine Rogers, Paul Wester, Cindy Cohen, Gloria Cottman, Lori Dominick, Erin Schneider, Joshua Schneider, Mary Clare Schneider, Samantha Schneider, Anna Tinnemore, Chris McGranahan, Janet Tate, Valerie Silensky.

Mary Anderson deserves a special mention for her dedication: “Three day weekend! I was so excited to get my tenth virtual CP NotAParkrun that I did it right away. Couldn’t figure out why there was no Facebook posting until I realized it was Friday! So … did it again this morning, 5k in Bowie in 40:30. Happy Independence Day all weekend!”

A special shout out to Mary Clare Schneider, one of the four Schneiders in this list. You may recall Mary Clare celebrating getting her new parkrun barcode when she turned 4 in early May. Mary Clare has done every CPVp so far. Under normal circumstances she would be earning a *very* fast parkrun 10 shirt. But no dice, alas. This week big sister Samantha wore her 10 shirt on the family’s parkwalk, and both sisters raised the sartorial bar with their holiday tutus.


10th CPVp for Team Schneider

Kudos to the 10-timers who have joined us every time, despite being nowhere near College Park. Steve Feld (N Carolina), Cindy Cohen (Idaho), Rory Murphy (New Jersey), and Adrian Dover (UK) all have been regulars in person in the past. But Kazuko Yatsushiro (Germany) and Joan Heffernan (Connecticut) have one prior CP parkrun between them, so it has been great to ‘adopt’ them into our community from afar.

Also, virtual high fives are in order for this week’s new 5-timers.

Sam Phipps, Carly Mills, Mika Sauerland, Neha Joshi, Janet Grudzien John, Matt Kaplan, Roo (barkrunner), Adam Gann, Chris Van Vlack, Frithjov Iversen, Kat M, Laurie Goodfriend, Rosemary Schwartzbard

Frithjov Iversen, Kat M, Adam Gann, and Rosemary Schwartzbard are among our regulars from Roosevelt Island parkrun in DC/NOVA. We have enjoyed welcoming them to the CPVp community. Kat sent us a cool photo of the Roosevelt Island boardwalk that they use for their parkruns. RI parkrun started just a few weeks before CP in late 2016. Well worth a visit sometime. … In fact, Stewart Mayhew chose RI as the venue for his 10th CPVp this weekend.


The Roosevelt Island parkrun boardwalk. Give it a try sometime! (Don't worry, the boardwalk is totally safe. If there's winter ice, they have alternate routes.)


Creative Courses

Simon Wraight, joining from Concord, NH, continues his pursuit of a sub-19 minute 5K, using all available tools. Especially hills. Downhills. He came very close this week, with a 19:04 on his route that dropped 400’ in 5K. This still left Simon a little way back from Brian Rosenberg (Duane’s nephew), joining from Mechanicsburg, PA, who simply put in a fast 5K spurt into a longer run.

Barkrunner Eli (and his human Ellen Oberholtzer) continued their tour of local cultural sites. This week they found this cool sculpture in Riverdale Park. Apparently it is called “Icarus”. Flying too close to the sun seems extra relevant this weekend.


Eli and Icarus

Patrick Wojahn is a very busy mayor on Saturdays, whether he’s working local food banks, chairing community meetings, or serving as the city’s leading pandemic food critic. (Every weekend he and husband Dave post pictures from their deck of the latest local eateries that they are supporting, eliciting responses of “Ooh, we must visit that place!” and “Is Patrick’s plate really that full?”) This week he found a creative way to combine mayoral duties with his CPVp. He started at the ribbon cutting for the new Hollywood Nutrition in North College Park (yessss, smoothies!). Then he did a tour of performances as part of College Park’s July 4th Porchfest, joined (by bike) by Eric Olson of the CP City-University Partnership.


Want. Smoothie. Now.


Virtual Volunteers

This week our weekly volunteer crew (Andrea, Colin, Tara, Joyce (for Roosevelt Island)) were joined by Trace Huard on results and Hannah Russell helping with this report.

Trace did some errands after an early run on the Paint Branch Trail, then got down to business early afternoon: “Great! I’m only 68 Facebook comments behind at this point!”

Hannah helped to dig through the many, many cool things that you told us about, helping to turn it into a manageable story that is (just barely) shorter than a Tolstoy novel.

Thank you to both! If YOU are curious about joining our virtual volunteer crew some week, just let us know. It’s fun, it’s easy, and it doesn’t require standing outside in 90-degree weather.


Our volunteers are a key part of our healthy community. They're at least as essential in the virtual format. Just a little less visible.

Looking Ahead

This weekend, on July 4th, parkrun started again in New Zealand, where COVID-19 has been eradicated. Congratulations to our Kiwi friends! (To our knowledge, we have had a grand total of 4 Kiwi parkrun tourists at CP parkrun.)

Nothing similar is in the cards for the US, alas. New infections are surging throughout the South. Maryland’s decline in new cases has stalled, and we are bracing ourselves for a new surge here. The very best that we can hope for in the coming weeks and months is a world where the spread of infection is somewhat kept in check thanks to extreme care in all that we do.

If we don’t do things right, as a region, we will be hit by a new tide of cases. If we don’t find a way to succeed as a community, the return of tens of thousands of people next month for the new UMD semester will increase infection and mistrust.

So, our plans assume that we’ll be continuing virtually through the end of the year. That’s 25 more Saturdays. At least.


Andrea gave her new CPVp shirt a test. It works!

We also feel the need, more than ever, to help create a healthy, connected community. Staying physically active is important, for sure. Staying connected with people outside your COVID bubble is just as important. The more that we can bridge divides, the better off we all will be. We’re just a little running/walking event, but in the age of social distancing there aren’t many ways that bring people together outside their bubble.

(Related to this: look out for a feature on CPVp in the upcoming edition of College Park Here and Now, the new city newspaper. Thanks to those who contributed material for this.)

To make a difference we need your help.

We need volunteers to help with the virtual parkruns. We are so grateful to the folks who have already helped out (and they now have an extra icon in our results tables to recognize this).

We also need help in reaching different parts of our community and helping to support connections. Two good examples of how this can work are the Roosevelt Island parkrun group that has been joining us virtually, and the many different family groups that have been getting active together, even when far apart geographically. Drop us a line if you have ideas.

And, to end on a surprising-but-related note, this week the global organization World Athletics, which is basically in charge of elite level track & field worldwide, announced a new partnership with parkrun Global, focused on broadening participation and getting more people active. We’re not sure what all this involves. At CP parkrun we've thought a lot about strategies for broadening participation, and we know that SO much depends on efforts at the local level. And on being honest about successes and failures. In any case, we were heartened to see the picture that World Athletics chose to illustrate their goal: College Park parkrun! Clearly, the world just wants to be like College Park. We had no role in this, but we’ll take it as a compliment to our community.

Until next time!

Your CPVp Team


World Athletics was looking for a picture that captures their goal for broadening participation. With 2,000 parkrun events to choose from, look at which one they chose! This was the start on this weekend in 2018. We started on the grass for a few months, to add some distance when the turnaround was blocked by construction.


Caitlin and Pete did an ACTUAL RACE in Ohio, with other humans. Amazing!


Mary chose the treadmill this week. For some reason her barkrunner took a pass.


The Mansfield, OH crew left little doubt what day it is


Malik's first sub-22 clocking in a while. On SUCH a hot day.


"Short" day for David. Just 10 miles.


And we leave you with a puppy picture. Because why not! (Plus Eden, and Sam, and Great Falls. They are all lovely, too.)


Glass half virtual (Virtual Report 9)

We miss seeing you all in person, and so many things about our regular meetups. But rather than focus on the things that we miss, we can list many things that we’re enjoying about our CPVps after two months of Saturdays.

We love that we have the flexibility for people to participate how they want. This week 60 people took part but didn’t want to report a time. Great! You are more than a number.

We love that we’re connecting regularly with friends from far away. Duane Rosenberg now regularly does CPVp “with” family members across the country. That couldn’t happen normally.

Adrian Dover used to visit us whenever he could, including this weekend last year. But now he's stuck in the UK. But now he can do CPVp every week ... AND his wife Stella is no longer a parkrun widow!


We love the few in person encounters that we do get. They are all so much more valuable these days, whether they are along a local trail, or stopping by Andrea and Colin’s front yard for a slice of “parkrun cake” (see below).

We love, love, love the things you’re sharing about what you get up to.

And we love that so many are joining in the fun. For the past 3 weeks, during our virtual civil rights history tour, we have seen an average of 180 participants per week. That’s many more than the same 3 weeks last year.

So what happened this week?


If it wasn't for the virtual events, we wouldn't be celebrating Steve Feld's CPVp on his 69th birthday, in Durham, NC

Facts and Figures

  • 177 virtual parkrunners
  • 760 miles covered
  • 16 first-timers
  • 18 new HIGH FIVES earned
  • 8 barkrunners
  • 7 virtual volunteers


Civil Rights History Tour Progress

This week we completed our virtual civil rights history tour, which has extended across the past 3 Saturdays. When we started out we had little idea of how far we would travel -- 2,350 miles -- and how much we would learn along the way. Including learning more about things right around us.

We had planned to finish the tour at the Lincoln Memorial on the National Mall in DC, at the site of the famous MLK speech. But parkrunner Paul Wester came up with a better idea, right here in College Park.


Paul wrapped up his run at the Frederick Douglass memorial in the middle of the University of Maryland campus (on Hornbake Plaza, just across from the student center bus stops). The statue, which was added in 2015, depicts Douglass as a young man speaking in Ireland about abolition and human rights.

As UMD’s Bonnie Thornton Dill explains in this short video about the memorial, Douglass’ life was about the relationship between freedom and education. He was born into slavery in eastern Maryland, at a time of deliberate efforts to prevent black literacy. We can’t begin to do justice here to his remarkable life, which advanced freedom on multiple dimensions, including gender as well as race.

Douglass is a perfect symbol of what we aspire to in College Park and the surrounding area, as we strive to be an inclusive community, with education at our heart. And the link between freedom and education is central to the crises we face as a society right now. In fact, the reason why we can’t meet up on Saturday mornings, now or any time soon, is directly related to efforts to misinform and to undermine trust in science, and to undermine social cohesion. (Our meetups are, of course, trivial in the grand scheme of things.)

Ellen Oberholtzer (and barkrunner Eli) visited the Adam Francis Plummer marker in Edmonston on their virtual parkrun. Born into slavery to the Calvert family (the same Calverts who founded the state, the University of Maryland, and whose heraldic colors feature on the state flag), Plummer was the foreman of the Riversdale plantation and kept a diary of his family life. Now in the care of the Smithsonian, the diary is the only known surviving one of a slave in US history. While enslaved, Plummer attempted several unsuccessful escapes and many members of his family were sold to the deep south. After emancipation, Plummer established a settlement in what is now Edmonston in 1870, after purchasing the land to reunite his family.


Eli is a very educated barkrunner. Last week it was art, this week history

Other stops along this week’s route.

Charleston, SC. Charleston is not known for being at the forefront of civil rights progress. But we were inspired and uplifted this week by a new podcast about Robert Smalls, a Charleston slave who hatched an audacious scheme to gain freedom, and who achieved so much more after that.

Greensboro, NC. Four black students from NC A&T University staged a peaceful lunch counter sit-in at a Woolworth’s store in Greensboro in February 1961. More joined them the next day, and the day after that. By the fourth day the protest had grown to 300, and soon it extended across the Carolinas and beyond. We were surprised to learn of the story of what happened when the Woolworth’s owner relented to the protests.

Appomattox, VA. Where the Civil War ended. Thanks to parkrunner Michael Phipps for suggesting this addition to the tour.

Farmville, VA. 16-year old students at Moton High School in this small town started a push for integration, which eventually became one of the cases bundled into the Brown vs. Board of Education Supreme Court case in 1954. The high school is now a museum dedicated to the history of integration in education. And we learned that it is reopening this week (June 30th) after a coronavirus shutdown. It’s within striking distance of DC. We want to visit.

Harper’s Ferry, WV. This beautiful spot at the intersection of the Potomac and Shenandoah rivers is the site of John Brown’s unsuccessful anti-slavery rebellion. It’s also very much within reach of DC. In fact, parkrunner Stewart Mayhew has been exploring new segments of the C&O Canal towpath for the past few weeks, last week making it to Harper’s Ferry.


Let them eat cake! (after running a lot of hills)

This week a number of parkrunners combined their CPVp with “The Dreaded UP Hills”, which made for what we can best describe as a “semi-virtual” event. With not-remotely-virtual cake.

The Dreaded Druid Hills 10K is an annual race in Baltimore, this year in a virtual format, like so much else. Andrea saw the cool t-shirt design and said, “I want one!” But this virtual event asks that you not run just anywhere, but seek out a route with 8 stiff hills. So Andrea talked a few friends into joining on a devilish route around University Park that included 8 times around a short loop including the climb of Chansory Lane, the “highlight” of the annual UP Azalea Classic 5K. She and Colin set up the parkrun flag and canopy in their front yard, and lured people in with the cake that Andrea had baked. This way, they were able to enjoy socially distanced running and chatting with real people!

Extra kudos to Janice Bernache, who lost count of the laps and ended up putting in a 9th time up the hill.


7:00am - Wave 1: Janice, Colin, Andrea, Dwayne, Aaliyah


8:30am - Wave 2: Chris, Nina, Trace


9:30am - time for shade ... and cake. Stewart stopped by too!


12:00 - Wave 3: Hannah, Judy, Marvin; ok, this wave was all about the cake

High Fives and PB Bells

This week we welcomed 18 new members of our virtual High Five club, for completing 5 CPVps.

Jeff Brown, Dave Rosenberg,, Pratyush Tiwary, Pete Poremba, Maleta Ann Robinson, Janice Bernache, Samantha Ager, Michael Phipps, Michelle Lemon, Rachel Unger, Jenn Augsburger, Eddie Matus, Dan Owen, Dotlyn Jograj, Gifford (barkrunner), Keri Pierce, Thomas Hool, Clare Imholtz

A special shout out to Pete Poremba, Maleta Ann Robinson, and Michael Phipps, all of whom are Ohio-based parkrunners who have been regularly joining us. Ann and Michael this week achieved the feat of taking part in an actual live 5K race. We didn’t know that was still a thing. Looks like the folks in Ashland, OH pulled this off by restricting numbers and starting people off separately.


High fives for Rachel Unger and Jeff Brown who combined their 5 CPVps with becoming new parents. We were impressed that Rachel was back to walking a full 5K this week, just a couple of weeks after giving birth.

Dottie Jograj got in her 5th CPVp taking a hike with Neil and Julie in a park near the bay.


We rang the virtual PB bell for 15 first-timers this week

Ultra Runner j.c., Hannah Russell, Nico Matus, Aaliyah El-Amin, Barbara Gusack, Dwayne Hudson, Lindsay Ward-Gokhale, Robbie Yeager, Roger Hipp, Vikrant Gokhale, Gus (barkrunner), Izzy (barkrunner), Rachel Wintheiser, Rodney Green, Stephanie Goldstein.

We’re not sure of the real name of “Ultra Runner j.c.”, but as far as we can tell this runner based in Doha, Qatar did intend to be a part of our CPVp, based on his tagged Strava activity. So, welcome!

Lindsay and Vikrant were just two of the growing group of Roosevelt Island parkrunners who are joining us each week. There were 21 islanders this week! Looks like they found a lovely venue for their virtual parkrun at Burke Lake in Fairfax, VA.


Running for a cause

Some of you found creative ways to support good causes this week.

Jen Matis completed her furthest run yet at 4.3 miles, as she works up to 10K. Jen dedicated her run and a donation per mile to City Companions, a Baltimore based charity that supports pets and pet owners.  (

Team Schneider was busy this Saturday and combined their virtual parkrun with the Virtual Strides Coronavirus Relief 5K. Pushing for PBs, Samantha and mom Erin finished at 43:30, while little sister Mary Clare and dad Joshua finished at 45:46. Samantha improved her parkrun PB by around 9 minutes! All received medals!


And your good cause doesn’t need to be a registered 501c3 organization. It can be just good things for your community. Meridith Phillips arrived at the park to find the remains of the previous night’s fireworks strewn around the parking lot. So she cleaned it up before doing her 5K. Thank you, Meridith!


More Kudos

Nico Matus joined dad Eddie for a full 5K on the Paint Branch Trail this week in a little over an hour. Way to go, Nico!


Luke Rueter, aged 9, completed the full 5K for the first time. He and dad Jeremy have been adding a little distance every week. They stopped by Andrea and Colin’s front yard afterwards and were rewarded with cake.


Brian Rosenberg, running in Mechanicsburg, PA, completed his 3rd CPVp in the fastest time that we’ve seen yet, 17:29. He was one of FOUR members of Team Rosenberg in action this week - Duane and Cotter in Maryland, Brian in PA, and Dave in IA.

Isaac and John Scott were back to running on the Paint Branch Trail this week. But we heard from John that Isaac really misses the extra push that he gets from Duane in our regular parkruns.


Creative course design

Stewart Mayhew did a little park-calligraphy at Acredale Park. He reports having rather wet feet by the end of that effort.


Nice work, Stewart! We're not sure we can even write that neatly on paper.

Cindy Cohen, running in Sandpoint, ID, must have set a new record for the most ascent in a CPVp, climbing 2,500’ over the course of her 15 miles.



Nutrition corner

You found good things to eat along your virtual parkruns this week.

Heather Sisan found delicious wild berries along her route in Kensington, MD. (Disclaimer: we have no clue about safe and unsafe berries. Try this at your own risk. And watch out for bears.)


Rebecca White found that her local Dunkin was about 2.5K from home. How convenient! We confirmed that she showed impressive restraint upon reaching her turnaround point.


Imagine if Lisa started a donut stand at the turnaround. We'd see records every week!

Virtual Volunteers

This week 3 virtual volunteers joined our regular CPVp crew of Colin Phillps, Andrea Zukowski, Tara Mease (results czar), and Joyce Adams (Roosevelt Island parkrun coordinator).

Jen Matis took on the virtual version of a timekeeper with a stopwatch in one hand and high fives with the other. In the online format this amounts to having one browser tab with a spreadsheet, and another giving lots of virtual kudos to parkrunners as they report their activities.

Ellen Oberholtzer scoured the many activity reports in search of good pictures and stories that go into this report. Really, we have so many to choose from.

And Hannah Russell helped turn Ellen’s raw material into the report that you’re reading right now, working together with Colin.

Big thanks to all! We’re delighted that 20 people have helped so far in pulling off these virtual events, and we’re always happy to find more help. It’s a fun way to be in touch with your community while safely social distancing.


Deer seen on Hannah Russell's virtual parkrun

Looking Ahead

You don’t need us to tell you that the US as a whole is failing in its response to the coronavirus pandemic. Maryland and Prince George’s County are faring much better than a couple of months ago, but we cannot afford to drop our guard if we want to avoid what is happening in the south and west right now.

The zip codes surrounding College Park already have 3-5% of the population with confirmed COVID-19 in the past 3 months. That's far above the national average of less than 1%. We do not need a new surge in our communities.

Prince George’s County will enter full Phase 2 reopening this week, starting on Monday 6/29. This will allow more facilities to open, and larger gatherings. But requirements around mask wearing and social distancing remain in place. We have not seen announcements about the reauthorization of events like ours.

The official position of parkrun Global is that they won’t reopen a country until all events in that country can proceed in unmodified form, i.e., without social distancing. This position might yet change, but that decision is not in our hands. So, there’s little prospect of CP parkrun going ahead in the regular format anytime soon.

That said, if you choose to go to the Paint Branch Trail on a Saturday morning, it’s a great place to do some socially distanced running, with a high chance of encountering fellow parkrunners. Feel free to do this. Just come and go at your own time, and don’t plan on congregating at 9am.

We would have LOVED to celebrate our first ever July 4th parkrun with you all next week. So we’re going to be doing it virtually instead. Next week will be our 10th CPVp already, and we’re looking forward to awarding our first virtual 10-timer badges.

Until next week!

Your CPVp Team


Barkrunner Gifford tries to look unimpressed on earning his sought after High Five badge


David's half marathon crew


Stefano Gazzano dubbed this shrub "The Ghost". Nice! 


Shackleton's back! With TJ for company


Interesting choice of venue for Phil Wadsworth's virtual parkrun, in Colorado Springs, CO. 


Malik did a half marathon distance. In this heat. Serious business.


Colin sporting his new CPVp shirt - you can order one at ProDirect Running, and you can customize with your own favorite message, or just with "college park". These shirts aren't cheap, but one benefit of the pitiful UK economy is that the exchange rate is more favorable now than usual. And shipping to the US is free.



A more perfect union (Virtual Report 8)

The title of this week’s report, “A more perfect union” is taken from the US Constitution. It’s also the title of an important 2008 speech by a young senator from Illinois, addressing issues that are very much with us today. The question of whether we want to be a more inclusive society, or one that is more divided, was all around us this June 19th (a.k.a., Juneteenth) and 20th.

We are just a little running and walking event in a suburban college town. For us, being an inclusive community mostly involves simple stuff like volunteering, and supporting one another in getting active, whatever our age, speed, gender or gender identity or ethnicity. But this week we kept seeing connections from our little community to the broader history happening around us.

Louise Godley and Anne L’Ecuyer squeezed in their virtual parkruns between thunderstorms and … getting married! We are thrilled for these two. And we are also mindful of the fact that this would not have been possible until very recently. Congratulations, Louise and Anne!


A rather excellent union! Congratulations, Louise and Anne!

We were reading about history from the 1960s as part of our virtual civil rights history tour. But when we mentioned the Selma-Montgomery voting rights marches of 1965, regular parkrunner Clare Imholtz said, “I was there!” She was a college freshman and took a bus to Alabama on her own because it seemed like the right thing to do. Things that are distant historical events for many of us are very real personal experience for others.

Many of you sent us pictures of you going about your activities while masked up. Thank you! While masking isn’t required outdoors in Maryland (it *is* required indoors in stores etc.), widespread mask wearing sends a strong message that we care for each other and that we will work together to protect the vulnerable among us.

So what all happened in CP Virtual parkrun #8?


Yes, this! Heather Sisan found this on her run in Kensington, MD

Facts and Figures

  • 185 virtual parkrunners
  • 770 miles covered
  • 20 first-timers
  • 19 new HIGH FIVES earned
  • 10 barkrunners
  • 6 virtual volunteers


After 8 weeks, 394 individuals have participated 1,325 times, covering 5,280 miles in College Park Virtual parkrun. 122 individuals have taken part at least 5 times.


Colin ran into John, wearing his black 100 shirt that he earned exactly one year ago

Fear the Turtle(s) ... and maybe bears

Paul Wester learned what the University of Maryland Athletics tagline “Fear the Turtle” really means when he came across a turtle the size of his torso while on his run. He paused long enough to get a picture of it, but luckily it was facing the other way so he didn’t have to worry too much about how much damage those jaws could do!


Fear the turtle!

Turtles were a common sighting this weekend, with Dave and Alyssa Heintzelman reporting that they rescued one during their virtual parkrun. We’re not sure if it’s the same one as Paul’s, but we would be impressed if they had managed to move the one pictured above!

Mary Menendez from Roosevelt Island parkrun counted 31 turtles, along with the many ducks and fish, in the canal. Mary also had a close encounter with a deer who had no respect for social distancing guidelines.

But turtles were not the only thing worth fearing: Joan Heffernan, joining us from Connecticut, was on alert for a mama bear and 3 cubs that have been roaming her area. Fortunately all she saw were just a couple of runners and a bunny.


Joan was happy to NOT encounter these neighbors on her outing this week in Suffield, CT

Creative courses

A few parkrunners got creative with their courses this week. Team Schneider did 2K of their 5K through Luray Caverns, the largest caverns in the Eastern US. This may be the first known case of parkspelunking.


We love the masks AND the stalactites!

Stewart Mayhew ‘drew’ some Strava art in his neighborhood, as part of his recovery from a speedy run in College Park.


That's one way of celebrating a new parkrun PB!

Zebi Brown didn’t let the storms stop her from joining the fun. Instead she did laps between her TV and her stove, and she managed to keep going until she reached 3K. Impressive!

Civil Rights History Tour Progress

We continued our virtual civil rights history tour. Last week we covered 800 miles from Topeka, KS to Jackson, MS, including a stop in Tulsa, OK, which was prominent in the news this weekend. This week we covered 725 miles from Jackson, MS to eastern South Carolina. Here are some of the sites passed along the way.


Our virtual civil rights history tour progress this week

Jackson, MS. Medgar Evers, who led efforts to integrate the University of Mississippi, was assassinated in 1963 at his home in Jackson, on the same day that President John F. Kennedy delivered his most well known civil rights speech. [Civil Rights Trail]

Selma, AL. The story of the Selma to Montgomery marches for voting rights in 1965 is well known, but less well known is the levels of segregation, violence, and disenfranchisement in Selma that led up to this. In 1964 African Americans made up around half of the population of Selma, but only 1% of voters. [Wikipedia]. Today the population of Selma is 80% African American. That’s about the same as the African American or Hispanic population of Prince George’s County, Maryland.

Montgomery, AL. Montgomery was the site of Rosa Parks’ famous arrest for refusing to give up her bus seat to a white person. It also features prominently in the less well known story of the Freedom Riders, who faced shocking violence as they rode buses in pursuit of integration. [Civil Rights Trail]

We learned that Clare Imholtz was actually in the Selma-Montgomery march in 1965. As a freshman in college, Clare hopped on a bus with a bunch of strangers and joined the march on its way into Montgomery!

Atlanta, GA. Atlanta was the home of Martin Luther King. It has also long been represented by Rep. John Lewis, whose role in civil rights history extends from 1960 to the present. Look out for a forthcoming movie about Lewis’ life, due to be released on July 3rd. [Good Trouble - trailer]

Orangeburg, SC & Summerton, SC. These towns in eastern South Carolina are less well known, but played important roles. Orangeburg is home to South Carolina State University, and it was the center of SC’s desegregation movement in the 1950s and 1960s, including the site of the Orangeburg Massacre of February 1968. [Civil Rights Trail].

Summerton is a small town of just 1,000 that was the site of the first school desegregation case that culminated in the landmark Brown vs. Board of Education Supreme Court Case of 1954. Have things improved? Well, yes and no. Today Summerton is roughly 40% white, 60% black. But the local public high school is 95% black. Most white kids attend a local private school. [Discovery Channel video]

Next week we head north across SC, NC, VA towards our finish in Washington DC.


Start of the Selma-Montgomery march, March 1965. By the time they reached Montgomery the crowd had grown to over 25,000.

High Fives and PB Bells

This week we congratulate another 19 new members of our virtual High Five club, folks who have participated in 5 CPVps. For this great honor they appear in the weekly results table with a high five emoji next to their name. Yeah, it’s not much, but it’s what our budget can handle.

Tomas Marambio, Chris Anderson, Luther Lemon, Dominique Lisiero, Cory Kind, Lara Pagano, Derry Jarvis, Yogarshi Vyas, Rachel Lukens, Cameron McPhee, Eli (barkrunner), Ellen Oberholtzer, Jessica Gerbig, Amanda Mercer, Derek Symer, Anna Weber, Foxy (barkrunner), Luke Reuter, Samuel Mora

For Cory Kind, a Roosevelt Island parkrun regular, it’s a goodbye of sorts, as she’s moving to a new city. Cory is the only person we know of who has ever run to CP parkrun … from Virginia. But one of the nice features of the virtual format is that it really doesn’t matter where you are. So we hope to keep hearing from Cory!

Luke Rueter earns a virtual high five this week. Luke, age 9, has been heading out with dad Jeremy each week, gradually building up distance. This week they did 2.5 miles, and we hear they may be ready to tackle the full 5K next week. Go Luke!


Go Luke! He's running a little further each week with dad Jeremy.

Derek Symer completed his 5th CPVp taking a walk with his wife Allison in Kitty Hawk, NC. Kitty Hawk is the place where the Wright brothers famously flew the first controlled, powered aircraft in 1903. Less known is that 6 years later, Wilbur Wright founded the College Park Airport to teach the first military aviators. Today, College Park Airport is the oldest continuously operating airport in the world and boasts a Smithsonian Affiliate museum. (Well worth a visit.)

Jessica Gerbig earned her high five club badge running in the downpour together with husband Rob, dad Gus, and daughter Cora. They looked bedraggled but happy.


We also welcomed 20 first-time CPVPers this weekend. So we ring the virtual PB bell for:

Isaac Scott, Martin Kearns, John Scott, Elliott Hamilton, Tony San, Amy Weaver, Steve Beresford, Samantha Looney, Gwyneth McElhenny, Kate McElhenny, Mariella McElhenny, Robert von Haase, Judy Mulusa, Chris Lovell, Joanne Smith, Lizzie (barkrunner), Michaela Lovell, Nishinoya Yuu, Rebekah Esmaili, Willow (barkrunner).

Welcome to Team McElhenny (Kate, Mariella, and Gwyneth), who joined us virtually for the first time. It seems like forever ago that we had our last in person event on March 7th, where they brought cake for everybody to celebrate Mariella’s 10-parkrun milestone. Poor Gwyneth is stuck on 8 official runs - so for her next CPVp we’ll be sure to have virtual cake for her.


March 7th, 2020, celebrating Mariella McElhenny's 10 parkrun milestone. That was our last time together. It seems so long ago.

We were super happy to see Isaac Scott join us for his first virtual parkrun. He ran with dad John at their local track.


Also great to see Judy Mulusa join us for her first CPVp. Judy was just a few parkruns short of earning a 50 shirt before the shutdown. We’re going to be especially happy to celebrate those new milestones once we get going in person again.


Last summer. Judy Mulusa in a sprint finish with Yancira Amaya

We’re enjoying welcoming more parkrunners to CPVp from the lovely communities at Roosevelt Island parkrun and parkruns in Ohio. This week’s first-timers included Islanders Martin Kearns, Tony San, Steve Beresford, and Chris and Michaela Lovell. Chris and Michaela were contenders for the most scenic location, doing their parkhike from Sugarloaf Mountain, VA. (Yeah, apparently Virginia has one, too.) And we welcomed first-timers Samantha Looney and Robert von Haase from Mansfield, OH parkrun.


View from Chris and Michaela Lovell's parkhike at Sugarloaf Mountain, VA

A shout out to Nishinoya Yuu, who got moving in Ocean City, MD, part of Zoe Phillips’ virtual parkrun crew, who have been getting in miles for us in locations around N America each week. We love how this crew that mostly came together around shared online interests is now hitting the trails together, virtually.

A virtual PB bell is in order for Stewart Mayhew, who somehow smashed his PB on the CP parkrun course in this week’s swampy weather. When Stewart first joined us in late 2018 he was a new runner, finishing with a time of 28-something. This week: 21:34. Wow. Stewart has been putting in the miles, and it shows.

Dagny S set a PB, too. Not for speed, but for distance. He completed his longest run ever: 15 miles covering the WHOLE length of the Paint Branch Trail, from Lake Artemesia to Beltsville.


One year ago

Jen Matis is working up to new distance targets too. This week we found her running on her treadmill *during* the pre-parkrun briefing. #multitasking


Andrea's giving the pre-parkrun briefing, and Jen's already underway on her treadmill!

Meanwhile, 100+ time parkrunner Eddie Matus had been running exclusively on his treadmill in recent months, but he got to run outside for the first time this weekend. He hit the Paint Branch Trail and was quickly rewarded with seeing a few familiar parkrun friends.

Virtual Volunteers

Our regular virtual volunteer crew (Tara Mease - results, Joyce Adams for Roosevelt Island, Colin and Andrea for lots of stuff) was joined by two new virtual volunteers. Thank you!! We couldn’t do this without a team working together behind the scenes each week, collecting and sharing the cool things that you get up to.

Alex Dystant joined the results crew for this week. Her role was to pull activity reports from Strava that get added to our ever growing spreadsheet of CPVp activities, where we keep track not only of times and distances, but also notes on cool things that you tell us about. Alex is among our speedier parkrunners, and we look forward to watching her zoom past on the trail in the future.


Alex Dystant with parkrun friends, Thanksgiving 2019

Hannah Russell stepped up to help in putting this report together. Hannah first joined us in our earliest events in late 2016, but we haven’t seen her in over a year, as she has been working in Australia … where she also got to visit Kelvin Grove parkrun in Brisbane and Studley parkrun in Melbourne. Recently returned to University Park, MD she’s looking for work. So if you know of anybody who could use a super talented UMD graduate in engineering and environmental science, we can put you in touch with Hannah. [ed. - to clarify, Hannah didn’t write this part!]


April 2019: Hannah admires Tara, Xander, and her mom Judy doing parkrun warmups

Looking Ahead

We would LOVE to be able to get together again on Saturday mornings, in person. But we see little prospect of this happening anytime soon, alas.

One piece of encouraging news: we heard from our friends at The Board and Brew that they are working on plans for reopening. We don’t know when that will be, but you will definitely hear from us when that happens.

Maryland is showing encouraging progress in limiting the spread of COVID-19. New cases, hospitalizations, and deaths are all now around a third of their peak in April and May. But there’s still a long way to go. And much of the US is now headed in the opposite direction. In New Zealand social distancing restrictions have largely been lifted and parkrun events in New Zealand will resume on July 4th. We think it unlikely that the US will be in that situation before the end of 2020.

So we’ll keep looking for ways to keep supporting our healthy community while we’re apart. And we love hearing your ideas for how we can do this.

Our virtual parkrun approach focuses on the social aspect of parkrun. That’s why we’re continuing to focus on gathering and sharing stories and pictures via email, social media, and whatever else works, rather than shifting to the new (not)parkrun system launched this week by parkrun HQ.

Our approach takes time and effort, but we can now see the difference that it makes. Worldwide, participation in (not)parkrun in the first week was 5%-10% of typical weekly totals. Meanwhile, participation in local virtual parkruns with more social support is dramatically higher. We’ve been following and learning from communities in Melton Mowbray and Swindon in the UK, and in the US in Redmond, WA, Ann Arbor, MI, and Leakin Park, MD. Many of these are seeing 50%-100% of typical weekly participation.

The stories and the support that you share makes this SO much more rewarding than a set of 5K times. Unsurprisingly, as a community we get out what we put in. We are so glad that you are a part of this.

Until next week!

Your CPVp Team


Keri and Amanda enjoyed a walk-run together


Sophie never misses a chance to splash in Rock Creek


Smart Shackleton heard the thunder and bailed. So Angela ran by herself this week


Pete and Caitlin, running in Canton OH, did not realize they had a snake for company as they were taking this photo


"I haven't tried to jog in months and you would have thought I was doing a 50k but I pulled out all the tricks in the books (counting tenths of a mile, counting minutes, counting songs) and thought about running the Roosevelt Island course and all the people cheering me on and I didn't stop. I was super slow but I finished and I'm looking forward to the next one." Great job, Mary and Captain Jack!


Welcome to first-time virtual parkrunners Joanne and Lizzie


Eli combined art appreciation with his barkrun this weekend in Riverdale Park


Foxy chased bunnies for a mile before letting Eden head off to do her virtual parkrun


Catherine and Pete looking good in their red 50 shirts. 6 mile run, then blueberry scones at Shortcake Bakery in Hyattsville, then yoga. Perfect!


A new journey (Virtual Report 7)

This week, as usual, our plans for a short-and-sweet virtual parkrun report were overtaken by events. We had spectacular Saturday weather, which inspired you to go out and do so many cool things. We were on the fence about starting a new virtual “tour”, and then events out in the world made it clear that if we care about inclusion in the present then it’s time to learn about the history of inclusion in our country’s history. And an announcement of a new initiative from parkrun HQ got us thinking about what we’ve learned from the first 7 weeks of CPVp.



Julie, Neil, Dottie, and barkrunner Trista hiked at Gunpowder Falls State Park

Facts and Figures

  • 181 virtual parkrunners
  • 825 miles covered
  • 24 first-timers
  • 18 new HIGH FIVES earned (now over 100 in the 5-club!)
  • 11 barkrunners
  • 6 virtual volunteers


Mary Langan and Captain Jack joined us from NJ, part of this week's crew from Roosevelt Island parkrun

Where Things Stand

We are now 7 weeks into our CP virtual parkrun experiment. It’s not like meeting up at the park on a Saturday morning. But many things have worked well, and we’re surprised that average participation has been over 150 people per week, already with over 100 5-timers. But what we have been most pleased about is the way that the virtual events have helped people to feel a little bit more connected despite our isolation, a little bit more motivated to get active. Social support for healthy activity is what we are all about.

You might have seen communications from parkrun HQ (in the UK) this week about their new “(not)parkrun” initiative, which is basically a virtual parkrun on a global scale, starting this week. And so you might be wondering if this replaces our CP virtual parkruns or changes how they operate. The simple answer is: no, it doesn’t make a difference. We’ll keep doing what we have been doing with CPVp. We encourage you to take part in both (not)parkrun and CPVp if you would like to.

Some things are similar between the two initiatives. Both involve parkrunners and parkwalkers getting active at a time and place of their choosing and reporting via an honor system, leading to creation of a weekly results table. Also, both are not official parkrun events, and don’t contribute to tallies for milestone shirts. And, of course, they’re free, inclusive, and swag free and prize free.

Other things are a bit different.

(not)parkrun is automated, robust, scalable, and integrated into the central parkrun IT that supports nearly 7 million registrants worldwide. It’s all about recording times for a 5K distance (any day of the week) and displaying the times in a results table. We anticipate that there may be separate results tables for individual events each week and an aggregated national table.

This is all good. It allows all 2,000 parkrun events worldwide to offer some kind of virtual parkrun experience. And it can happen without any effort from local volunteer crews, who may have all manner of other things to contend with in their lives right now.

CPVp is different because we’re all about social support. Yes, we collect times and distances, but we’re interested in so much more than that. We’re interested in sharing stories, we’re interested in giving support (via Facebook, Strava, email, or whatever). We’re interested in the chit-chat that we get from Zoom meetups or random encounters on local trails. We’re interested in how you’re supporting friends and family in getting active, even if you’re far apart from each other. And we’re as interested as ever in ensuring that everybody feels that they belong, whatever their age, pace, or background. This all takes more time and coordination than simply having folks submit times to a database. And for that reason we also need a volunteer crew each week to keep things going. And volunteering isn’t just a chore. It’s a fun way to connect with others while doing something positive for your community. That’s also what has made it work so well. It helps us to keep going as a community, and may even help some new folks to join the community.


5K walk to coffee. We're cool with that. Especially when it's Vigilante Coffee. Neha and Yogarshi have their priorities right.

You won’t be surprised to learn that we have also been doing research on different models, both for virtual parkrun and for other virtual events. It’s fairly clear that the social aspect is even more important in virtual events than in in person events. That’s why CPVp participation has been at or higher than participation in our regular in person events. (Well, and there’s also our policy on virtual barkrunners. Because why not!)

So, CPVp will keep going for the foreseeable future, as long as there’s interest in participation and willing volunteers. Everybody is free to ALSO submit times to (not)parkrun. And you can certainly submit the same information to both initiatives. But if you want adorable or inspiring pictures of kittens or kids or centenarians or nature, here is where you will continue to find it.

Thanks to Shane Sharkey of Melton Mowbray parkrun in the UK whose pioneering work helped us to get CPVp off the ground, and whose thoughts about the different approaches to virtual events align very closely with ours. We basically took Shane’s model and "College Parkified" it.


Coffee time! It's not The Board and Brew, but it's great to see friends from near and far

Fast and Slow

Last week we celebrated the old and the young. This week we have some great stories from opposite ends of the speed spectrum.

On the speedy end, this week’s fastest finisher, both genders, was Katie Hirsche, who ran a 5K time trial at Blair HS track in 18:18. That’s fast! How fast? Well, it’s almost half a minute faster than the existing women’s record for CP parkrun. And Katie just completed 11th grade of high school. We look forward to the time when we can all cheer Katie as she zooms past on the trail en route to a real course record. Better yet, after the time trial Katie headed out for a few miles of easy running on the trails with the family, including barkrunner Sophie.


After laying down a new female course record, Katie did some trail running with the family

At the other end of the speed scale, this week’s unofficial tail walkers were Team Schneider, who incorporated some trail enrichment into their walk on the Trolley Trail. Pre-K and elementary schoolers Mary Clare and Samantha painted some rocks with uplifting messages and placed them strategically along the trail. That’s why the 5K took them 1h42, but so worth it. We already heard from other parkrunners that they noticed the rocks and wondered who put them there. So now you know!


Look out for decorated rocks along the Trolley Trail

Some others put down some notable times this week.

Lori Dominick has been coming back from injury, and managed a hilly 5K in Greenbelt in under an hour for the first time in a while. Big kudos for Lori!

Alyssa Heintzelman was seen sprinting to the finish of the regular CP parkrun course. This was because she was pushing for her first sub-30 time in a while. Nice! (And Alyssa reports that the kitten she rescued in CPVp #5 is doing nicely in its new home.)

Trace Huard has also been coming back from injury, and celebrated being back into the 24-something range for 5K. And Keaton Ellis was very happy to complete his first sub-21 time in a while.


Nice job, Lori. This comeback is ON!

The Tour

We launched a new community distance challenge this week, following on the successful parkrun Across America in May. Inspired by recent events, we started a civil rights history tour, following a route of at least 1900 miles from Topeka, KS through OK, AR, MS, AL, GA, SC, NC, VA to end in Washington, DC. This should take about 3 weekends.

We were inspired by learning about the US Civil Rights Trail. And we were also inspired by realizing that there are important historical events in the news that we are unaware of. Learning about history won’t directly solve society’s current problems. But it’s a start in understanding the current moment.


This week's route: Topeka, KS to Jackson, MS

Here are some of the places that we virtually visited this week, and some of the things we read along the way.

Topeka, KS. Focus of the landmark 1954 US Supreme Court case, Brown vs. Board of Education, which ruled school segregation unconstitutional. The chief lawyer in the case was Thurgood Marshall. [, Wikipedia]

Tulsa, OK. Tulsa has been in the news a lot recently. Because of events planned for this week, and events that happened 99 years ago. See: Tulsa race massacre of 1921. [Wikipedia, Washington Post 6/13/20, bonus: What is Juneteenth?]

Little Rock, AR. The Brown vs. Board of Education ruling did not go over well in Little Rock. That’s where the Little Rock Nine come in. There’s a memorial to these brave high schoolers at the Arkansas State Capitol. [National Museum of African American History]

Sumner, MS. Recent events have created many reminders of the murder of 14-year old Emmitt Till, and the men who were acquitted for his murder in a courtroom in Sumner, MS. [Civil Rights Trail description]

Jackson, MS. This is our final destination this week. Home of Medgar Evers, Tougaloo College, and the site of the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum. [Civil Rights Trail]

We are learning a lot about the history of the struggle for inclusion on this virtual tour. We encourage you to do some digging yourself.


The Little Rock Nine Memorial at the Arkansas State Capitol

Go Far

Some of you went the extra mile this week as we tried to collect miles for our virtual tour. We did not expect that some would go an extra 20 miles, or even more!

David Lai combined his CPVp with an unofficial “Juneteenth Marathon” in Washington DC, covering 27.2 miles along a rather interesting looking route. Juneteenth is coming up this Friday (6/19), and it has extra significance this year. It has been in the news a lot this past week. Why is this marathon one mile longer than a regular marathon? That’s tied into the history of Juneteenth - things that you don’t get to celebrate as soon as you should. And fittingly David’s marathon ended at the Frederick Douglass National Historic Site in Southeast DC.


David's route for the Juneteenth Marathon. Very cool!


Finish at the Frederick Douglass National Historic Site in SE DC. Very appropriate.

Malik Al-Jame took part in the half marathon version of the same event. Nice job, Malik!


Juneteenth half marathon for Malik

In Bloomfield Village, MI Tim Keer decided that a marathon was not enough. So he decided on a whim to extend his 25-miler to a 50K (31 miles), contributing 5K to the Lillie Virtual parkrun in Ann Arbor, and 28 miles to CPVp. But our favorite part of this is that for the last couple of miles he was joined by his daughter Emma, on a bike, who he had not seen in person for over 3 months. That’s a pretty nice reward for completing your first ultramarathon.


Emma Keer accompanies dad Tim as he wraps up an impromptu ultramarathon around his neighborhood

And even further afield, we got 17 miles from Linda Phillips, in Bristol, UK. Linda has never been to College Park, but she has been following us from afar since we began. She’s Colin and Andrea’s sister-in-law. We hope we can welcome her to the trail in person some day.

High Fives and Bells

It’s all about taking part, in whatever way you prefer. So a shout out to this week’s 18 new 5 timers. Welcome to the High Five Club.

John Maneval, Cotter Rosenberg, Simon Wraight, Kurt Wilson, Stefano Gazzano, Dale Morey, Louise Godley, Jason Yarwood, Robert Bernhard, Judith Barnes, Enrique Jograj Jr., Julie Russell, Deborah Levenson, Eden Gray, Laurie Fisher, Lucy Younes, Misha Bernard, Jeremy Reuter.

This week’s new 5-timers include old and new friends, near and far. Stefano Gazzano is located outside Rome, Italy, where the lockdown was far more strict than ours. We have enjoyed reading his reports of his return to outdoor life. Laurie Fisher and Lucy Younes have been meeting up on the Paint Branch Trail weekly to exercise together. If it hadn’t been for the shutdown, we would have been celebrating their 50th official parkruns right around now.


Eden Gray joined the High Five club using a not-exactly-parkrun-compliant course in Columbus, OH. But for virtual parkrun - no problem!

And welcome to the 24 who joined us for the first time this week. We hope you’ll join us again!

Ariana Lecouras, Jonathan Morgan, Dominic White, Amanda Photenhauer, Carey White, Anne L'Ecuyer, Jonathan Garcia, Freya (barkrunner), Jessica Hsieh, Ariel Ayres, James Cantwell, Jeri Gallant Keer, Whistler (barkrunner), Elizabeth Sheridan, Eve Fingerett, Heather Sisan, Larissa Olson, Linda Phillips, Captain Jack (barkrunner), Deb Tinnemore, Marianne Poon, Mary Langan, Michael Bevers, Rod Tinnemore.

This week’s first-timers include Deb and Rod Tinnemore, Anna’s parents, who took part from Raleigh, NC. Hope you can visit us in person when that’s a thing. It’s good to hear from Marianne Poon again. We were thrilled to see that Louise Godley talked her partner Anne L’Ecuyer into joining us for the first time. And we’re really happy to see Jim Cantwell getting back into the game.


Welcome to first time virtual parkrunner Heather Sisan


You weren’t asking for nutrition advice, were you? Good thing. We’ll just leave here these inspired refueling options that parkrunners found in the absence of our regular post-parkrun coffee spots.

Bud Verge ran the Paint Branch Trail in College Park, then went for donuts. We hope he shared them! (Good luck with the knee procedure this week, Bud.)


Don't try this at home, folks. At least, not without inviting us to help.

In Newport, RI Janet Grudzien John noticed that the beach snack shop was exactly 5K from her front door. So, perfect way to combine a virtual parkrun (or two) with a lobster roll. We’re salivating!


It's not Lisa's turnaround spot, but that's a pretty appealing midpoint for a virtual parkrun, in Newport, RI

Virtual Volunteers

At a regular parkrun the volunteers are quite visible in their bright yellow vests, recording times, tailwalking, marshaling, giving high fives, and more. The rotating cast of volunteers (over 300!) is a key to the success of the community.

In our virtual parkrun format, the volunteer crew is even more important, but they’re less visible. They are what keeps the social support and inclusion of the event going. They track down activities, stories, and pictures from across multiple channels -- so that you don’t need to be on Facebook or Strava to take part. They help to provide support and encouragement to participants. They make it possible to keep track of things like distances covered, so that we can create community challenges. And they help to generate the reports that help us to feel together despite being apart.

A special shout out this week to first-time virtual volunteer Nick Huang. Nick was one of the initial core team members of CP parkrun back in 2016. One year ago this week we bid him farewell as he wrapped up his PhD at UMD and moved to Connecticut to get married and start a new job. We have really missed Nick, so it has been great that in the virtual parkrun format we have been able to connect with Nick again! This week he did an gentle 5K with his wife Jessica and barkrunner Freya on a trail in Simsbury, CT.


Virtual volunteer Nick Huang did his virtual 5K with his wife Jessica in Simsbury, CT

Also welcome this week to new virtual volunteer John Scott, who helped to collect pictures and stories. John has completed over 50 CP parkruns, and often comes with his adult son Isaac. We miss them both! For Isaac, the supportive community provides safe and welcoming human support. This kind of support is very hard to recreate in the virtual format. One more reason why we can’t wait to be back together again.



We're looking forward to welcoming John, Isaac, and Michelle back to the trail in person ... on some Saturday in the future

The rest of the volunteer crew was rounded out by virtual regulars Tara Mease, Joyce Adams, Andrea Zukowski, and Colin Phillips.

We cannot overstate how valuable it has been to have Tara as the results tsarina for CPVp. Thanks to Tara, we can instantly answer questions like: “It’s 3pm on Saturday - how many miles have we covered together so far today?” Or “How many new High Five club members do we have this week?”

Joyce is coordinating the Roosevelt Island parkrun community-within-a-virtual-community. This piece is working well. It allows the balance between being part of something broader while maintaining local social connections and support.

Looking ahead

We’ll be back next week for CPVp #8. We’ll look forward to hearing more of your stories, and we’ll continue learning as part of our civil rights history tour.

This week sees the next steps in the reopening of life as we knew it in Prince George’s County, with more businesses able to open starting Monday 6/15, though with many protective measures in place. We need to remain vigilant, and always remember that our own actions bear on the health and safety of those more vulnerable than us.

We’ll keep our eyes out for the possible return of outdoor fitness classes, such as our popular Yoga in the Parks partnership with Prince George’s Parks that we have held in past years. And we hope that it won’t be too much longer before we can start supporting The Board and Brew in person again.

Stay safe everybody! Keep wearing those masks! And we’ll see you soon.

CPVp Team


Happy Birthday Valerie! And happy Pride Month!


Valerie's route took in a well-timed break for this jazz quartet


That looks like a nice breathable mask, Zebi


Good to see Rory for our virtual parkruns, joining us from Morris Plains, NJ. It has been a hard month for him, so we're glad to see him smiling. 


The weather was great in MOST places. In Berlin, Germany, Kazuko got caught in a thunderstorm.


Jen Matis combined her CPVp with the virtual Run for Love in support of LGBTQ causes


Barkrunner Eli sat out Ellen's 5K, but lucked out with a stroll around Riversdale Mansion later in the day. Lucky pup!


Not the Paint Branch Trail! Another steep downhill virtual parkrun for Cindy Cohen in northern Idaho.


Sunny virtual parkrun for Ashfaq Hasan


Yes, we mean ALL ages (Virtual parkrun Report 6)

You know that feeling where you’ve been cooped up for months? You want a little space, some time to yourself? That’s apparently how Lisa Wilson’s mom felt on Saturday morning. So, she called up Lisa and encouraged her to take her dad for a walk. Nothing much unusual there. Except that Lisa’s mom is 103 years old. And that’s how James Wilson, age 102, became one of the 150 participants in College Park Virtual parkrun #6. And yes, he walked 5K. It took 2 hours and 20 minutes. And why not! As we know, it’s not a race.

In fact, James already had a parkrun barcode. He joined us in late 2018 at the tender age of 100. (Colin remembers that day fondly. Lisa commissioned him to do the first half of the parkrun carrying a (sealed) mug of hot cocoa to deliver to James at the turnaround.)


James Wilson joined us one day in late 2018, at the tender age of 100

This week we also pushed the other end of the age scale. Rachel Unger joined us for a “parkwaddle” in CPVp #2-#4 while very pregnant indeed. She skipped last week. Turns out she had a great excuse, as she gave birth to a baby boy on Saturday. This week, Rachel and husband Jeff Brown walked 2K around their ‘hood with 7-day old Felix (and barkrunner Scooter). Welcome, Felix!!

We just love hearing about all your stories each week. This week we were feeling more than ever that we are stronger together.


No more parkwaddling for Rachel!


Welcome Felix

Facts and Figures

Here is College Park Virtual parkrun by the numbers.

  • 157 participants
  • 600 miles covered
  • 14 first-timers
  • 27 HIGH FIVE badges earned (5 times at CPVp)
  • 11 barkrunners
  • 9 virtual volunteers
  • Age range: 102 years



David combined his CPVp with the Virtual Baltimore 10 Miler

parkrunning, parkwalking, parkmarching

For CPVp we encourage you to take part how you want and where you want, as long as it’s safe. Many people choose to run, and a lot of people choose to walk. This week we added parkmarching to the options, as a few of you got miles in at the Black Lives Matter protests, either downtown or in Hyattsville.

Valerie Silensky’s run-walk took her to the Hyattsville protest. Anna Weber covered nearly 5 miles at the DC protest.


From Valerie Silensky's virtual parkrun in Hyattsville. Note the masks and distancing.

Looking inward

We cannot ignore that our virtual parkruns are taking place in a time of immense upheaval in society around us. Between the pandemic, the economic meltdown, and the response to social injustice there is so much to be worried about right now

And we are well aware that some of us enjoy privileges that others do not. White privilege is very real. Having a job that allows you to work from home is a privilege. Being young and having a dramatically lower risk of severe COVID-19 outcomes is a privilege. So is being free of underlying health conditions that make the world a dangerous place right now.

We need to take seriously what this means for us as a community within a community.

parkrun as a global initiative is committed to diversity and inclusion. At College Park parkrun we take inclusion very seriously. We think that it is not enough to merely say that “all are welcome”. People need to really feel that they belong, that they fit in.

We are glad that College Park parkrun has become more diverse over time. We see people from a wider range of ages, speeds, and social and ethnic backgrounds now than when we were getting started.

We love the fact that we live in an area with a rich mix of people from diverse ethnic and national backgrounds.

But we are also aware that College Park is whiter, more affluent, and less prone to COVID-19 infections than the surrounding area. [Washington Post article] And CP parkrun is less diverse than the College Park community. Our virtual events have been even less diverse than our regular CP parkruns.

Meanwhile, CP parkrun is the only parkrun event in Prince George’s County, which faces widespread health challenges. One of the goals of Prince George’s County Parks & Recreation is to use outdoor spaces to help improve community health. We are happy to contribute to this, but we want to do more.

So we want to hear from YOU about things that we can do, individually and as a community, to make a difference in our community, to broaden participation, community connections, and to improve health outcomes.

We can make statements about our values and our hopes, but as an entirely grassroots, community-led initiative, we are most interested in the things that we can actually do to make a difference to realizing those goals.


We want to help more people in the community come together

They scrub up well!

Zoe Phillips had a high school graduation at parkrun o’clock this week. Zoe volunteered almost every week at CP parkrun this school year. At first, the aim was just to do some volunteer hours to satisfy a graduation requirement. Then Zoe came to really love the CP parkrun community, and continued volunteering, just because. And then started joining as a runner, too.

Zoe will be staying very close for college (Go Terps!), so we’re hopeful that this is one regular volunteer who we won’t have to say goodbye to.

Zoe’s graduation presented an interesting challenge for the proud parents, since they also handle the technical side of our virtual meetups. So, Andrea and Colin both headed out early for a run in the soupy morning weather. Then tried to quickly cool down to change into respectable graduation attire. This left them a little over-dressed for the 8:50am virtual parkrun briefing.


Perhaps a little overdressed for a (virtual) parkrun

From there they were able to immediately join the virtual graduation. And then by 10:30, when it was almost Zoe’s turn to be recognized at the graduation, they had the graduation and the parkrun coffee meetup going at opposite ends of the dining room table.

These are some things that it’s easier to do in the virtual parkrun format than in the traditional format.


Congratulations, Zoe! Looking forward to more volunteering and running when we're back together in person.

Oh, and despite the heat and the hectic schedule, Andrea somehow managed her 6th week of fastest-in-two-years might-as-well-be-a-PB time. Go Andrea!



Ah, that looks more like it. A short while earlier, on sweaty morning virtual parkruns

Family Affairs

Welcome to the Aguilera-Kelley clan, regular parkrunners who joined us en masse for the first time. Carolyn and Jorge ran with Diego and Lucas, and Nico joined on his bike. Excellent!


Team Aguilera Kelley in full force!

Team Schneider did their parkwalk on the shore at Rehoboth Beach, DE. Erin reported that their time was a bit slower this week, because there were too many cool things to look at. Sounds perfect!


That is NOT the Paint Branch creek!

The Rosenberg clan was also out in force this week, but from different corners of the country. Duane was joined by his brother David (in Iowa) and nephews Jeff (in Colorado) and Brian (in Pennsylvania). First-timer Brian was this week’s fastest finisher, setting a CPVp record. Duane explains that Brian won the Baltimore Marathon in 2014, but has a bit less time for running these days while raising a half dozen future Rosenberg runners.


Brian Rosenberg winning the Baltimore Marathon in 2014. Everyone's a winner at (virtual) parkrun, but Brian's still pretty speedy, like his uncle Duane

Derek Symer was joined by his wife and first-timer Allison Aubrey for a 5K around their neighborhood in Kensington, MD. Derek wrote: “"I walked 3.1 miles with my wife today. She stopped to smell and taste mulberries, pull a book from the free library, chat with a neighbor. We still PR’d.” This sounds great, and it reminds us of one of our all-time favorite children’s books, DB Johnson’s Henry Hikes to Fitchburg. Beautiful art, and a moral that’s all about enjoying the journey.


"His friend was sitting in the moonlight when Henry arrived. "The train was faster", he said. Henry took a small pail from his pack. "I know,", he smiled. "I stopped for blackberries.""


No tales of lost kittens this week. But we did have baby ducks! Many parkrunners who headed out on the Paint Branch Trail enjoyed meeting a family of ducks who were unperturbed by the passing parkrunners. Well, mostly. They didn’t seem to mind the humans, but Cameron McPhee reports that they were a bit more circumspect about barkrunner Ranger, who was showing a little too much interest.


Stay away from those ducklings, Ranger!

Angela Gentile and Thomas Hool headed out for a run with barkrunner Shackleton on the Paint Branch Trail. They cleverly brought along a water bottle and a bowl to stash at Hump’s Crossing. Shackleton appreciated it, but still feels that Hump’s water bowl is better.


Shackleton: "I miss Hump (and his water bowl)!"

Barkrunner Wonka joined Rebecca Gitter for a parkwalk around Hyattsville, and appreciated the puddles that he found.


Well, that's another way to enjoy your water

Barkrunner Foxy got in a 4 mile run in Canton, OH together with Eden Gray (of Roosevelt Island parkrun) and Sam Mora (of Sippo Lake parkrun). Special kudos to Sam for his return to running after a car accident.

And Emma Keer, virtually parkrunning in Ann Arbor, MI, is this week’s winner of our occasional Strava art contest with this dolphin. Nice job, Emma! Emma is also a key part of the energy behind Lillie Virtual parkrun, which is doing similar things for the Ann Arbor community that we're trying to do in College Park. Their virtual parkrun briefing video this week, made by the Yun family, is just brilliant. Check it out (it's on Facebook only, alas.)


Cool Strava art dolphin by Emma Keer!

High Fives

We’re not able to celebrate new official parkrun milestones right now, so we’re instead celebrating virtual parkrun milestones. And since we’re starting from scratch and only giving virtual badges, the first utterly unofficial virtual parkrun milestone is the HIGH FIVE badge.

This week, in our 6th week, we bestow virtual high fives on 27 new members of the 5-timer club, to add to the 58 who joined the high five club last week already.

Malik Al-Jame, Patrick Wojahn, Susan Crammond, Clark Ridge, Nick Huang, Ian Parsons, Lokesh Meena, Zak Mellen, Robin Phillips, Emma Keer, Tim Keer, Erin Munsell, Shackleton (barkrunner), Joel Goldberg, Joe Fox, Jacqueline Hayes, Alyssa Heintzelman, Dave Heintzelman, Janete Amaya, Sharlene Deskins, Bonnie McClellan, Dominique Blom, Rebecca White, Catherine Spirito, Pete Monacelli, Joyce Adams, Mike McClellan.

Fun fact: in our 6 weeks of virtual parkruns we’ve got as many 5-timers as we got in the first 6 months of official parkruns. Maybe our Saturdays are just a bit less crowded now than they used to be.


Virtual Volunteers

Many thanks to this week’s virtual volunteers.

Katie Hirsche and Trace Huard were this week’s results team crew, with Katie following Strava and Trace following Facebook. Ellen Oberholtzer helped gather material for this report. We LOVE all the pictures and stories that you share with us for your virtual parkruns, but it’s a bit more complicated than it is for the regular parkruns, and so the team effort is very much appreciated. Thanks everybody!

Carlos and Diana Gough were our ceremonial tailwalkers, accompanied by barkrunner Ruby. Carlos has a particularly stylish mask.

Joyce Adams coordinated activities for our Roosevelt Island parkrun friends, who are teaming up with us for the results and the briefing, but organizing their own coffee meetup and check-ins.

And Colin, Andrea, and Tara coordinated the rest.

Drop us a line if you’d like to help with a future CPVp. Being a virtual volunteer is a fun way to support your community, and it definitely takes a village.


This week's official tailwalkers and tail-wagger

Looking ahead

It will likely be a few months before there is any prospect of a return to regular parkruns, alas. There are still no parkruns operating anywhere in the world, including in New Zealand, where the control of COVID-19 has been, um, slightly more successful.

Here is the latest from parkrun HQ in the UK on the status of events.

So we’re expecting to keep parkrunning virtually for a while, making the best of things. We had a GREAT response to the parkrun across America challenge in the last two weeks of May. Many people told us that they enjoyed the collective effort. We’re definitely interested in your ideas about possible future adventures.

Until next week. Stay safe and healthy out there, everybody!

The CPVp Team


Team Gieske joined from South Bend, IN this week. Looking good!


Meridith met Anna and Bonnie on the Paint Branch Trail. Just one of many happy encounters on the trails early Saturday.



We crossed America and we found … kittens!! (Virtual parkrun Report 5)

Warm and fuzzy overload

This week’s CP Virtual parkrun #5 had it all: the warm community, supporting each other to stay healthy and connected; a perfect day for getting outdoors (for those of us in Maryland and DC, at least); the fun of joining with SO MANY friends and family to complete our parkrun Across America challenge; the joy of meeting new babies … and kittens!

Yes, we had TWO stories of virtual parkruns that turned into kitten rescue adventures. We couldn’t make this up.

The only other thing we could wish for is to be able to come together again.

Oh, right. And to not be in a health crisis and an economic and societal meltdown. These things are on all our minds right now. Consider this report a mix of escapism and celebrating the good that can come from healthy communities that support one another.


Jessica, Gus, and Cora did their virtual parkrun together in Linthicum

Facts and Figures

234 participants

1,010 miles covered

82 first-timers

55 five-timers

17 barkrunners

7 virtual volunteers

Participants in 15 states: MD, CT, NJ, OH, MI, IA, CO, TX, MN, NC, MA, VA, ID, RI, DC

Participants in 10 countries: USA, UK, Germany, Costa Rica, Australia, Singapore, Estonia, Canada, Norway, and Italy


This week’s 234 participants is not only a record for CPVp, it also surpasses our record for a regular Saturday parkrun. The only days when we have seen more people are Thanksgiving and New Years. Of course, we had a LOT of help from our friends this week.

We made it home!

Our target for the day was to cover 877 miles to complete our virtual parkrun across America challenge. A bit of a tall order, as we had averaged 450 miles in weeks 1-3 and stretched to 720 miles in week 4.


To make things a little more interesting, we devised a route that visited TEN different parkrun venues along the way across Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Maryland. We finished with a lap around the DC metro area to visit all of the local parkrun venues.


7-year old Xander Mease decided to choose which part of the route he and mom Tara were running. He was setting out early, so he thought that a section around the Illinois-Indiana border would be a good pick. Nice way to fold in an extra geography lesson.

By lunchtime we had made it to Mansfield, OH parkrun, where a number of locals contributed miles. We highly recommend a visit to Mansfield if you’re in central Ohio some Saturday. Their event was the next one to launch after College Park, in January 2017, and they could not be a more friendly group of people.


Barkrunner Foxy did her run right on the course of Sippo Lake parkrun in Canton OH, which our virtual route passed in the early afternoon.

By late afternoon our route took us from Pennsylvania into Maryland, through Catoctin Mountain Park near Thurmont, MD. As it happens, Neil Jograj, Julie Russell, Dottie Jograj, and barkrunner Trista did their virtual parkwalk in that very park this week!


Late afternoon - back in Maryland. Neil, Julie, and Trista (with Dottie) at Catoctin Mountain Park near Thurmont, MD (visit some time - it's lovely!)

By early evening we were approaching DC, looking like it would be very close. Misha Bernard dispatched her son Alex to walk a couple of miles for the cause -- thanks, Alex! -- and by 7pm we had reached the target. There’s just no way that at the start of May, when we started our virtual parkruns, we would have expected to make it across the continent by the end of May. And it was even less probable to make it home just one hour before our cut-off time on May 30th.

In fact, we ended up easily passing our target, as additional results surfaced over the course of the evening. So we crossed the continent with over a hundred miles to spare! (We considered continuing on to Ocean City, to dip our toes in the Atlantic. But no, that’s maybe not such a good idea.)

May Totals

  • 3,085 miles covered
  • 805 activities by 339 individuals
  • Ages 1 to 86 years
  • Distances of 0.5 to 20 miles
  • Paces from “world class” to “let’s stop and photograph some birds”

An extra shout out this week for some folks who did some big pulls for the team to help us reach our miles target.

David Lai ran 20 miles on the Baltimore & Annapolis Trail in Glen Burnie, MD. His route included the planned course for the new parkrun that we hope can start there later in the year.


Cory Kind and Adam Gann and barkrunner Walker, all from Roosevelt Island parkrun, did 8.5 miles each, adding 25 miles to the account.

Steve and Karen Crane, leaders of Mansfield, OH parkrun, ran 10 miles together, helping us across Ohio. Steve and Karen have visited us for a number of our special events, and we always love welcoming them to College Park. They were last here for our New Year’s Double.

Ndegwa Kamau and Gail Sockwell-Thompson from PG Running Club together added 20 miles to the total. Thanks guys!


The Great Kitten Caper

Gloria Cottman and Tracy Huard hadn’t expected to see each other on the Paint Branch Trail this week, so when they found themselves finishing their virtual parkruns around the same time, they sat down in the grass near the parking lot to get caught up.

At one point, Gloria looked up to see two women running toward them with a black smudge jumping at their heels. "Is that a dog?” Gloria asked, before answering her own question:“No, it's too small to be a dog.  It's a cat!  Is she running with her CAT?!" In fact, it was a small black kitten.

Around the same time, back near Hump’s crossing, Joanna, Dave, and Alyssa Heintzelman were nearing the end of the trail, when a (different) black kitten came running up to Joanna, and meowed loudly at her.

As near as we can figure, someone had abandoned both kittens near Hump’s Crossing, and they had chosen to do so at just the right moment. Because these chance encounters ended up with both kittens finding their forever homes.

Dave Heintzelman was able to catch kitten #2 without much trouble, and little Beau (below, left) is now happily camped out in the Heintzelman’s home.

Kitten #1 followed the runners all the way to the parking lot, where it played hide-and-seek with a small handful of parkrunners, getting right up onto the tires of Trace’s car. With critical help from Ada Lee (one of the women the kitten had followed), and an offering of some chicken sausage as a lure by an innocent bystander, kitten #1 was finally collected. By then, Ada’s running companion had already called home to alert her husband and son that their son’s dream of having a kitten was about to come true, and they arrived on the scene, and took it home.

Now that’s what we call teamwork!


Meet Beau and ... other kitten?

The High Five Club

We love celebrating parkrun milestones, and we’re bummed to have missed a lot of 50 and 100 celebrations this spring. Our virtual parkruns are entirely off-label, unofficial, samizdat … you get the idea. But this means that we can roll out our own recognition for CPVp regulars, and so this week we’re giving a shout out for folks who have completed 5 virtual parkruns already.

Sorry, no t-shirts or medals. But we’re adding badges to our results list for folks who reach 5 CPVps. And the badge represents one of the things we miss about Saturday mornings: the high fives along the trail.

Congratulations to the FIFTY FOUR virtual parkrunners who took part every single week in May. Wow! You can see their names with the high five badge in this week’s results table.


Frank Snyder is confined to his retirement community in Gaithersburg during the pandemic, but he's one of our 54 virtual parkrunners with HIGH FIVE badges


Speed is all relative. We don’t much care whether you’re the fastest or the slowest, or go the longest or the shortest. But we LOVE celebrating your achievements.

Stewart Mayhew equalled his best ever parkrun time in 22:06, and is surely ready for a new PB once we get together again. After finishing his 5K, Stewart headed off for another 6 miles around the trails of College Park to add to our transcontinent challenge.

We were excited to see Dominique Lisiero do a 21:44 time trial on the CP parkrun route. That’s her second fastest time ever. One year ago this weekend we were starting to notice that Dominique was “parkrunning for two”, and she has been doing some stroller running lately. Dominique commented: “I got to imagine all the CP runners pulling me along the course yesterday. It gave me a good push!”


Dominique Lisiero at CP parkrun one year ago. It has been a busy year!

Paul Wester deserves a shout out for consistency. Paul’s virtual parkruns are part of a run-every-day streak, and this week he reached 6 months of running every single day. Nice going, Paul!



Paul Wester has not missed a day of running in half a year!

At CPVp HQ the whole family was inspired to push the pace.

Andrea Zukowski has run faster in every single CPVp so far, and her 32:28 is her fastest 5K in over 2 years. Nice! Colin Phillips ran his fastest 5K of the year in 19:48. Happy to be returning from injury, and even happier to get to say hi to a bunch of parkrunners along the way. But pride of place goes to Zoe Phillips, who walked 8.5 miles around University Park to contribute to the parkrun Across America challenge. This is the furthest Zoe has covered in a long while.




Colin’s time was almost the fastest of the day. But it was narrowly eclipsed by Simon Wraight, running on a route with a 400’ drop in Concord, NH. Is that against the rules? Definitely not! The rules for CPVp are: “Have fun, stay safe, and be creative!”

Cindy Cohen has been honing her downhill running skills, and this week she managed her fastest ever parkrun 5K time, running 23:48 near her new home in Sandpoint, ID … on a route with a 900’ drop!


... And then we heard from Cindy Conant, a CP parkrun regular who’s also part of the Kensington parkrun crew. Cindy timed her 5K in 20:14 this week. That’s pretty quick. Especially when you consider that Cindy’s 59 years old and this translates into a 93% age-grading. (For a 30-year old male, this would translate into a 13:55 5K.) Oh, and by the way, Cindy did this as part of a 13-mile run. And after that she was going to meet up with her new running buddy, 11-year old neighbor Kai Martin, to do an extra 5K. We love this!


This week we had a whopping 82 newcomers join our virtual event! Adrian Dover wanted to do his part to help get us home, and with his encouragement, his wife Stella did her first parkrun event of any kind (real or virtual) in the Dymock Woods in Gloucestershire, UK. Adrian’s second recruit was his friend Colin Nattrass, who lives in Singapore. Colin did a brisk 10k walk to test an injured knee, and his route covered part of Singapore’s East Coast parkrun.


Adrian Dover has done over 200 parkruns, including 20 at College Park. This week his wife Stella joined him for the very first time. Welcome, Stella!!

Adrian wasn’t the only one recruiting friends and family this week. Duane Rosenberg pulled in his nephew Jeff, in Denver, and his brother Dave, in Bettendorf, Iowa.

Zoe Phillips shared the news about our ambitious Run Across America with a small group of friends all over North America (in Brownsville, TX, Minneapolis, and Toronto), and they (and their pups) were excited to participate, collectively logging more than a marathon worth of miles: 26.7.

Külli told her good friend Heddi back in Estonia about our event, and Heddi registered for official parkruns on the same day that she did her first unofficial virtual event, choosing a path around a lake. They have plans to visit Finland together when the fates allow, and to do some parkrun tourism there.

First-time virtual parkrunner Zebi Brown was doing her first run after being out injured for many months. Zebi wrote: “I sprained my ankle in the fall and I’ve only started easing into running again in the last few weeks. Today was the furthest I’ve run since the injury: .75 miles. Proud of my progress and proud I’m not pushing my body too hard.”


Anna Tinnemore recruited her friends Julianne, Mary and Matt to help us complete the cross America challenge. Thanks for your miles, guys! We hope you can join us some time to check out our favorite trail.

Roosevelt Islanders

We were thrilled to be joined this week by a crew from Roosevelt Island DC parkrun. If you haven’t visited their hidden gem downtown you really must. The island is right across from the Kennedy Center but easily overlooked. It’s great for a parkrun, or just for a quiet stroll some time. It’s easy to forget that you’re in the middle of Washington DC.


We welcomed RI parkrun co-Event Director Joyce Adams to lead this week’s Zoom parkrun briefing. Joyce has run or volunteered at CP many times before, and it’s always great to see her smiling face on a Saturday.


Guest briefing by Joyce from Roosevelt Island. And do you see baby Sophia!

A few of the RI crew joined us for our virtual coffee meetup, which was lovely!

Anna Weber shared her philosophy for route planning during the pandemic. Choose quiet streets, preferably the ones with the cutest pups that you can pet along the way. #protip


Anna checked out the local not-so-wildlife in Arlington, VA

Tereza Horejsova and the rest of "the Czech team" completed 6K each, adding a solid 30K to our total.


And one of the nicest surprises of the day came when RI regular Hillary Roberts joined the briefing and the coffee along with a new family member -- baby Sophia! Sophia is just 4 weeks old.


Virtual Visitors

This week we had virtual visitors from so many different places.

We had participants from 14 different US parkrun events join the fun: Anacostia, Delaware & Raritan Canal (NJ), Durham NC, Fletcher’s Cove (DC), Jamaica Pond (Boston), Kensington, Leakin Park, Lillie (Ann Arbor, MI), Livonia (MI), Mansfield OH, Mountain Goat Trail (TN), Ohio & Erie Canal Reservation (Cleveland, OH), Roosevelt Island DC, Sippo Lake (Canton, OH).



Janet found a beautiful route on the coast in Newport, RI for her virtual parkrun. And her virtual parkrun also had this lovely looking cake! Might be related to her birthday - Happy Birthday, Janet!


Three years ago this week, Rory and barkrunner Dolly were doing one of their last runs at College Park before starting new events further north. This week they joined us from northern NJ..

The Barnes family from Australia joined us en masse this week. All five of them did a virtual 5K from Valentine, New South Wales. Looks like a spectacular location on the Pacific coast.


Team Barnes added 5 x 5K = 25K to our total in Valentine, NSW, Australia!

Stefano Gazzano continued taking us on virtual Italian travels. This week he sent us a picture of dawn over the Tyrrhenian Sea near his home in Civitavecchio in Italy.


Joan Heffernan, who is now a proud member of our High Five club, managed to incorporate two states into her run. Starting from her home in Suffield, CT she made it across the state line into Massachusetts.

Random Fun

College Park mayor Patrick Wojahn went the extra mile in helping us get across America. In addition to his 5K run, he also put in some extra distance while mowing the lawn. His GPS track shows thorough coverage of he and Dave’s back yard. Interestingly, it shows Patrick veering across the street at one point. That could tell you something about GPS accuracy, or it could tell you how much Patrick is looking out after his neighbors. Your guess is as good as ours.

Barkrunner Sophie appears to have had a great time on her run with Evan and Katie Hirsche. Chasing sticks and splashing in streams were part of the fun.


One bedraggled -- and happy -- barkrunner!

Amy Rice did a virtual fundraiser challenge that involved completing a mile every hour for 6 hours. And her son Sawyer and their barkrunner Tucker joined for 3 of those miles. Great team effort, guys!


Nice work, Amy, Sawyer, and Tucker!

Crystal Bergemann did what she called an “anti-parkrun”. She found that if you head along the trail from home to the parkrun start and back, it’s almost exactly 5K.


Jeremy Reuter is enjoying virtually parkrunning with his 9-year old son Luke. He reports that they’re going a little further and making fewer stops every week. Luke already has a barcode, and we’re looking forward to welcoming him to the trail when we start up again


5 weeks in to hosting our Virtual events, we are starting to feel like we’ve got a good handle on how this new rodeo works. Results collecting is a big job, but it’s also enormously fun being part of a small team of people funneling results and little tidbits of stories into a shared document throughout the day on Saturday, and watching the miles and the participants pile up.

Tara Mease has been outstanding as Results Coordinator since our first virtual event, and this week her team of helpers included Trace Huard (who had so much fun in week 4 that he volunteered immediately after to help with week 5), Anna Tinnemore, Joyce Adams, Colin Phillips, and Andrea Zukowski.

The other Really Big Job of our virtual events is preparation of this Run Report. This week we debuted a new job: Run Report Technical Helper. These are folks we ask to deposit all the best photos, quotes, and stories that people have shared from one source or another (Facebook, email, Strava) into a shared folder. This is enormously helpful to the Run Report writer! This week’s Run Report Technical helpers were Lori Dominick and Andrea Zukowski. The Run Report writers this week were Colin Phillips (mostly), with cameo appearances by Andrea Zukowski and Trace Huard.

This week we also owe a big thank you to Joyce Adams for being our Virtual Run Director. And of course we owe extra special thanks to the team of parkrunners who helped rescue and find forever homes for two unexpected kittens: Trace Huard, Gloria Cottman, and Ada Lee. Thank you, all of you!


Gloria thought her virtual parkrun adventure was finished. Little did she know that it was only just beginning.

What the future holds

We’re often asked when we’ll be back to regular in person parkruns. We know that it will happen eventually, but we really don’t know when, and we don’t expect it to be soon, alas.

For CP parkrun to return to normal, we need local social distancing requirements to be removed, and we need parkrun Global to authorize reopening of US events.

Although Prince George’s County has announced cautious initial steps towards reopening, starting on June 1st, these steps are quite limited, and they do not come close to what is needed to allow 200-person events to go ahead.

The number of cases, hospitalizations, and deaths for COVID-19 in Maryland is slowing, but only very slowly. So it’s important that we all do our part to prevent a new surge. In College Park we are surrounded by the worst-hit area of the state. Our actions help to protect those around us.

And in parkrun world, all events worldwide will remain closed through the end of June, at least. We have no inside information, but New Zealand has handled the pandemic much, much better than the US so far. And so we are curious to see if they will be ready to re-start their parkruns later this summer.

Meanwhile, there are new attractions to look forward to when we’re next able to come together on the Paint Branch Trail. Work on the connector trail to the College Park Woods neighborhood is now progressing rapidly. This will make it easier for some of our parkrun community to enjoy the trail system. Thanks to the city and the county for making this possible!


New connector trail in progress!

See you next week!

Your CP Virtual parkrun team


Wonka enjoying his barkwalk in Hyattsville


Valerie checked out some of the front yard graduation signs near her neighborhood


In Michigan Tim Keer did 5K for the Lillie Virtual parkrun, then added another 9 miles to contribute to our total for College Park Virtual parkrun




Meridith visited Lisa on her runmary-chris-anderson_web

Mary and Chris on their virtual parkrun in Bowie, MD



Amanda Mercer added a few miles in College Parkellen-oberholtzer-eli-milo_web

Barkrunners Eli and Milo contributed 5K and 2K, respectively, together with Ellen Oberholtzeer


parkrunning Across America (Virtual parkrun Report 4)

Memorial Day weekend is when we’re often thinking about plans for summer travel, and College Park is going into its quieter summer phase. This year - not so much. Travel isn’t happening. College Park has been a bit of a ghost town, with UMD and many businesses closed. And you could be forgiven for forgetting that it’s a holiday weekend. So what better time for some virtual tourism. Hence our “parkrun across America” challenge.

We covered 1,355 miles together in our first three CP virtual parkruns. If we started at Crissy Field parkrun by the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, that would put us a little to the east of the Front Range of the Rockies in Colorado. Great progress, but still a long way from home. So we wondered whether the community could rise to the challenge of completing the distance to College Park by the end of May. Two Saturdays, about 1,450 miles to cover. A big ask. Could we do it? It was going to take more miles, and more parkrunners.


Not a lot of travel this summer. Fortunately, there are beautiful places to go close to home.

Well, we’re making really good progress, covering a little under half the distance home to College Park. As results poured in over the course of the day we followed our progress …

9:00 AM: 100km done, North Platte, NE. Home of the world’s largest railyard, apparently

12:30 PM: 400km done, Lincoln, NE. Go Cornhuskers! Home of the University of Nebraska, our Big 10 rival. They may be better in football, but we have the edge in Quidditch.

3:00 PM: 700km done, Des Moines, IA.

4:00 PM: 800km done, Grinnell, IA. Home of Grinnell College (at least one of this week’s virtual parkrunners is a Grinnell alum - Go Pioneers!).

7:00 PM: 1000km done. Crossing the Mississippi from Davenport, IA into Illinois.


This week's journey!

By the time the virtual parkrun finished at 8:00pm, you had covered 1,155km, around 720 miles. Remarkably, this makes for a perfect spot to “camp”, as it’s almost right on top of Ottawa, IL, home of Heritage Harbor parkrun. HH parkrun follows a course around the perimeter of a pretty harbor, just off the Illinois River. They were due to celebrate their 3rd birthday in mid June. As far as we know, only a handful of CP parkrunners have visited HH parkrun. The Ridge family visited in August 2018, and Stewart Mayhew joined them for a rather snowy parkrun in January 2020. HH’s most famous parkrunner is a man by the name of Juan Leg. You really should read his story: Letting go of my crutch.

One reason why HH parkrun is a perfect spot for our virtual camp: their post-parkrun coffee spot is a bar and grill with a lovely veranda that’s RIGHT by their start/finish area. What’s not to like!


Clark and Violet and family visited Heritage Harbor parkrun in Summer 2018


The weather was a bit colder when Stewart Mayhew visited in January 2020

Vital Statistics

It was by far our busiest week of virtual parkrunning yet.

  • 179 participants
  • 720 miles / 1,155 km covered
  • 54 first-timers
  • 10 barkrunners
  • Ages: -1 week to 85 years



Neil, Julie, Trista, and Dottie did a walk on Kent Island


Malik and Colin passed each other on the trail


How times change! It’s really interesting to look back at what was happening on this same weekend in the past few years.

In 2016 on this weekend we were not yet an official parkrun event. We had been holding super low-key meetups at Acredale Park since January. This weekend was super wet, and we had a grand total of five pre-parkrunners: Kim, Nick, Chris, Sam, and Colin. Sam had a broken arm, so he came with a carefully wrapped cast on his arm.


In 2017 on this weekend, things were a little different. We hosted a visit by Paul Sinton-Hewitt, who founded parkrun near his home in London for a handful of friends back in 2004. We had a big record turnout of 180 finishers, with so many first-timers and visitors from near and far.



Yes, that's Colin wearing a GoPro on his head while stalking parkrun founder Paul Sinton-Hewitt. 

That day also saw the official naming of Hump’s Crossing. Hump had been volunteering with us almost every week for our first 7 months. So we surprised him with a sign, delivered by mayor Patrick Wojahn as he zoomed by at the start of the event.


First-timers from that day included Meridith and Abigail Phillips, who took part this week. Twice, in Meridith’s case!


First-timers from that day also included Pam Marcus, who went on to found Kensington parkrun. And Greg Gorman, who is now Pam’s co-event director at Kensington. And Tom and Genevieve Hornik, who now help to lead Leakin Park parkrun. And there was a send-off award for Cathryn Burby, who was about to relocate to Seattle, where she helped to launch Renton parkrun, the start of a cluster of events in the Seattle area.



Pam and Greg had no idea what they were getting themselves into


Tom and Genevieve were looking forward to having a parkrun closer to home in West Baltimore


Cathryn was about to move to Seattle, where she co-leads Renton parkrun. This Saturday her mom Joan joined us from CT for her 4th CPVp, and shared that it was Cathryn's birthday. Happy birthday, Cathryn!

And that day’s volunteer crew included Joyce Adams, who went on to become event director at Roosevelt Island parkrun. And Iwao Ogihara, who helped to launch parkrun in Japan.


Elite volunteer crew!

On this weekend in 2018 a crew met up early for a rather muddy effort to clean up trash from the stream. And we welcomed Laurel-native Julie Messina, who was one of the pioneers of parkrun in the US, starting Durham NC parkrun way back in 2013.



Laurel, MD native Julie Messina is about to celebrate the 7th birthday of Durham, NC parkrun. She was one of the first to bring parkrun to the US, years ahead of most other events.

And on this weekend in 2019 it was a spectacular day to celebrate Carlos Gough’s 50th parkrun … with cake, of course … and to give a sendoff to Ben and Meghan Gieske as they headed off to new adventures in Indiana.



Toddling and waddling, and strolling

Virtual parkruns are all about getting active with your two legs (or four), at whatever pace works for you. And however far works for you, too.

Fiona Lemon rode in the stroller while mom Michelle and dad Luther did their virtual parkruns. This inspired her to get out of the stroller and do a half mile herself. Perfect!


When your parents inspire you to get running!

Rachel Unger again got out for a parkwaddle, together with husband Jeff and barkrunner Scooter. This time their route took them to the vets, for Scooter to get a check up ahead of the arrival of his new sibling. Rachel is now *39-weeks* pregnant! We’re on the edge of our seats. Good luck, Rachel and family!


Rachel's parkwaddle at 39 weeks pregnant

Jenn Augsburger took a parkstroll, combined with a bit of birding. She said, “Can you tell which was the mile when I stopped to take ALL the pictures?”


It’s all downhill from here!

No big surprise that Clark Ridge was this week’s fastest finisher, in a speedy 17:59. But Clark confessed that his 5K was on a bit of a downhill route.

Well, it turns out that Clark’s little down slope was nothing. Our virtual parkrun format allows for a lot of creativity in route selection. Simon Wraight, joining us from Concord, NH, ran faster than in ALL of his previous 111 official parkruns, with a 19:06 time. That may have been related to finding a route with a 400-foot drop over the 3 miles. Simon mentioned that his family made a cheering station for him outside their house, at the halfway point. (Fun fact; Simon first joined us at CP parkrun on, yes, this weekend in 2017.)



But Simon’s downhill course was nothing on the one that Cindy Cohen found, running in Sandpoint, ID. Cindy’s zig-zag route took her down a mountain path, and netted her fastest parkrun time in two years. The drop over the 5K: 900 feet!


Unfair? Cheating? Heck no! CPVp is not a race, and we just love the creativity!

Extra credit

Although we only report 5K equivalent paces in our results table, the clever spreadsheets that Tara Mease set up for our virtual parkruns keep track of all your distances. And we’re using those to track our parkrun Across America challenge. So hats off to some of the many folks who put in some extra miles of walking or running to help us along the way.

Tara and Xander did an early morning *8*-miler to get things going. Nice running, guys!


Josh Weiss ran 7 miles. Then when his wife Lara Pagano decided to do a 5K virtual parkrun (*after* a 1-hour bike ride), he tagged along to add some more miles.

Misha Bernard and Maia Swisdak got in an early evening birding walk to add some miles. And Andrea Zukowski added some dusk birding miles to combine with her morning 5K run.

Meridith Phillips headed out for an early evening walk with daughter Abigail, to go with her morning run. Then, upon learning that we were within sight of the Mississippi on our virtual quest, she offered to head out for a THIRD time to add some miles!


David Lai may have put in the longest pull of the day, covering 16 miles on a bit of a warm day.


David's long run also covered the hoped-for course of the new Glen Burnie parkrun


We love welcoming newcomers to CP Virtual parkrun. And there were SO MANY this week, over 50 at last count.

Jane Kushner Hopkins shared that her walk was the furthest she had walked this year. Nice!

Sarah Cunanan joined her first CPVp, and was excited to learn that our 4pm update had us in Grinnell, IA. Sarah is a proud Grinnell College grad.


Go Pioneers! Grinnell College in Iowa. Looks pretty!

Sharyn Gordon and her grandson Julian got out for a walk together and added, “Thanks for keeping us moving forward!”

Dominique Lisiero put in a few miles pushing the stroller, which must be extra challenging on the hills.

Luke Reuter of University Park, aged 9, took part for the first time, covering about a mile. His dad Jeremy shared that Luke is making it a little further each time. Fantastic!

And Andrea Z. did a LOT of recruiting this week, via Facebook, via email, and seemingly via any random person she passed in the street. (Ok, we’re exaggerating slightly, but only slightly.) Crystal Bergemann, Vera and Bob Wiest, Sarah Treado, Kate Kennedy, Bill Bystricky (and barkrunner Seneca), Shevaun Lewis (and barkrunner Jasper), Laurie Goodfriend, Jeff Lidz, Liina Pylkkänen, and Pam Diamond were among the many who she ensnared.

This is one thing we’ve learned from the virtual parkruns so far. The best way of supporting each other to stay active is through all of our friends and family encouraging one another.


Virtual Tourists

We really miss meeting up with people on the trail on Saturday mornings. We really do. But one thing that we’re going to miss when things return to normal is the way that we’re connecting now with friends in far away places.

This week we had participants from FIVE continents. The fastest female time came from Michelle Barnes, running near home in Newcastle, Australia. Michelle and family visited us in College Park on a rainy morning in January, on one of the days when we had to use our multi-lap route due to trail flooding. Michelle’s 20:25 time was faster than she has ever run in a parkrun, so two thumbs up for that!


The Barnes family when they visited us in January 2020

Susan Crammond joined from Greystones, IRELAND, where she also bested her fastest ever parkrun time. Susan was a part of the Fletcher’s Cove parkrun team in DC and often visited Kensington parkrun before moving back to Ireland last year. Guess which day was the one time she came to CP in person? Yup, this weekend 3 years ago, like so many others.


Stefano Gazzano has never been to College Park, but he’s now a regular at CPVp. We’re enjoying his post-lockdown journey. This week he was in Capodimonte, an ancient Etruscan village by Lake Bolsena. So beautiful! And it’s the closest to actual European tourism that we’re likely to get this summer.


We’ve enjoyed welcoming faraway friends to our live briefings and coffee chats. This week Robin Phillips (Colin’s brother) joined Andrea’s briefing from Bristol, UK. And Lois Zukowski (Andrea’s mom) joined the coffee chat as she set out on her walk in Michigan. So we got to introduce family to parkrun friends.


Can you spot the brothers in this picture?


Kazuko Yatsushiro has completed EVERY CPVp so far from her home in Berlin. This week she recruited her daughters Mika and Lina to join her for a 5K. And she shared an important detail of their route. On the College Park parkrun route the attraction at the halfway point is visiting Lisa. Turns out that the halfway point of Kazuko, Lina, and Mika’s route just happens to be at an ice cream shop. Now we’re talking!

We were thrilled to welcome virtual parkrunners this week from so many different US parkruns.

Janet Grudzien John is a regular at Jamaica Pond parkrun in Boston. She joined us from a windswept beach near her home in Newport, RI.


Kristin Sturgill and Kerline Lorantin are two of the key people behind Mountain Goat Trail parkrun, in tiny Sewanee, TN. Two years ago Andrea was visiting them for their launch, and we had a sign at CP to welcome them to the parkrun USA family. So they should have been celebrating their birthday right now. If you’re ever in that part of the world, you really should visit them. Small, but perfectly formed.


Karen Crane and Maleta Ann Robinson of Mansfield parkrun in central Ohio got in on the action this week. Our virtual parkrun across America will pass very close to Mansfield next week. Karen and her husband Steve have visited CP a few times … including on this weekend in 2017, like so many others.

And many more besides. By our estimate, we had friends from about a dozen US parkruns join us this week.

Grumpy Unicorn

This one deserves a section all of its own. Vivienne and Autumn Miller did a virtual parkrun together in Ellicott City. Their route looks a bit complicated, until you realize that it’s pure genius Strava art. We especially like the clever use of a small rotary to draw the eye. They call it “Grumpy Unicorn”. So fitting!



Nice work, Vivienne and Autumn!

Virtual Volunteers

We couldn’t do these virtual parkruns without virtual volunteers.

The parkrun Across America challenge would not be possible without the spreadsheet wizardry of Tara Mease, who has made it easy to keep track of who has done what how many times and where. The big Google Sheet that she has been developing week by week would be a thing of beauty for some of you, and an abomination for others. We kind of like it. :)

Trace Huard joined the results team as a virtual volunteer this week, and enjoyed learning about how the sausage is made.

Rebecca White and Lori Dominick were our unofficial tailwalking crew this week. They got to cheer a few parkrunners who they saw along the trail. And they joined the mid-morning coffee chat live from the trail. So we got to enjoy views of our favorite trail as we enjoyed coffee and company from our living rooms and basements.

Andrea and Colin did the Stuff That They Do. And they’re loving seeing the community come together while we’re all apart. Andrea said, “It’s starting to feel like Saturday again!”


Colin passed the tailwalkers TWICE on his virtual parkrun

One more thing

Our friends at the College Park City University Partnership are surveying the community about plans for future improvements to our favorite trail, especially the section between Acredale Park and The Board and Brew. It’s called the Paint Branch Riverwalk Project. Please take a couple of minutes to fill out their survey. Thank you!


Next week …

Our mission is simple. We’re virtually camped at Heritage Harbor parkrun in Ottawa, IL. And it’s around 800 miles to get back home to College Park. Can we do it? It’ll be a stretch, but with your help we can get there.


Our target for next week! Can you help?

See you then!

CP Virtual parkrun Crew


25km contributed by Team Schneider. Joshua did an extra 5K to cover for James


Valerie Silensky found this boundary stone on the DC line


Warm run for Patrick Wojahn


Nick Huang, one of the founding team of CP parkrun, took part from his home in Windsor, CT


A deer nursing a fawn, seen on John Ramsey's virtual parkrun




Kalonji visited Hump on his virtual parkrun


And it's Memorial Day weekend. Thank you to all those who this day is about. Including all those who are on the front lines of helping us through the current health crisis



Do you see what I see? (Virtual parkrun Report 3)

One of the surprises about spending so much time at home during the pandemic is all the things that we have been discovering close to home. Normally we’re on the go all the time and we get to explore the WORLD. Now that our physical world has shrunk, we hear from so many people who are discovering cool things close to home.

There’s no denying that there’s a lot of hurting happening right now. But there’s also a whole lot of creativity to be found right now. Members of our CP parkrun community discovered some of these this weekend.

But first, the tl;dr …

  • We finally had nice late spring weather. Temps reached the 80s, but a fresh breeze instead of the summer soupy humidity
  • 132 took part this week, at last count, including 20 first-time virtual parkrunners!
  • It was a nail biter in the “mayoral race”. You’ll just have to read on to find out more …



It was such a nice day that David Lai decided to throw in an extra 10 miles!

Seen along the trails

We love, love, love our regular Paint Branch Trail. But we’ve run and walked it so many times (about 19,000, since you’re asking) that we have a good idea of what we’ll see along the trail on a “normal” Saturday morning. In a virtual parkrun, there are a lot more surprises. And stopping to enjoy them is totally fine.

Valerie Silensky took a break from her 5K to enjoy a front porch cello performance in her neighborhood. Professional cellist Jodi Beder has been holding daily half-hour performances, supporting her neighbors and people who view the live stream from around the world. The Hyattsville Wire had a good story recently about Jodi’s performances.


Race past on your 5K, or stop to listen to the outdoor cello concert. No contest!

When Jen Matis set out on the Paint Branch Trail at 6:45am she wasn’t expecting to encounter too many people, but was surprised to see a few birders out. Misha Bernard explained to us what was going on. The Maryland-DC Audubon Society organized a 24-hour Backyard Birdathon, kind of like the human census (have you filled out yours yet?), but for birds. Misha and her daughter Maia combined their parkwalk this week with some birding up and down College Park. Great idea!

Colin Phillips took a very tentative jog around his neighborhood in University Park, testing the progress of a foot injury. (Verdict: hung jury.) His route briefly took him into the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Silly Walks.


Dave and Alyssa Heintzelman got in a few miles near Lake Artemesia, and reported that “We also managed to save a baby turtle along the way!”

Most of these would not have happened at a regular parkrun. Though we have had some baby animal rescuing in the past.


Do you recognize the spot on the Paint Branch Trail where John Ramsey saw these turtles?

When they go low, we go high

(h/t Michelle Obama for that one)

We again had a full range of ages in action this week.

Lois Zukowski (Andrea’s mom, age 85) did a walk near her home in Harrison Twp, MI. She wasn’t sure quite how far she walked, but she wisely quipped: “How far doesn’t matter so much. It’s the getting outside to do it. Maybe next week I can do some more minutes."

Our regular octogenarians Bonnie and Mike McClellan were out on the trail, together with Anna Tinnemore. (Violating social distancing? Nope. Anna lives in their basement.) If you have been on the Paint Branch Trail recently you may have noticed construction just beyond the Tunnel of Trees. This is a project to create a connector trail linking the PBT to the College Park Woods neighborhood. This will soon make it even easier for Bonnie, Mike, and Anna to enjoy the trail.

At the other end of the age scale, Rachel Unger was out again for a “parkwaddle” to Vigilante Coffee, together with husband Jeff and barkrunner Scooter. Rachel is now 38-weeks pregnant! So we wait with bated breath for the week when they check in with four in the family!


11-year old Violet Ridge is a very seasoned parkrunner. 5K is no problem for her. But this week she shortened her run so that she could join her brother Felix, age 2, for a parktoddle.

Another parktoddler this week was Cora Gerbig, who hopped out of the stroller for a while during a 5K near BWI Airport by mom Jessica Gerbig and granddad Gus Campbell. Gus explained that Cora was testing out her new Frozen 2 running shoes. We’re jealous!



In the spirit of doing your virtual parkrun how you want, where you want, James Schneider decided that toddling would have to wait for another day. He celebrated his FIRST BIRTHDAY by joining the rest of Team Schneider on a 5K walk in Hyattsville. (This week they cut off 15 minutes from their time last week, we hear.) But James opted for the “parknap” option.


The Mayoral race, and other speediness

We have two speedy mayors in Duane Rosenberg (New Carrollton, 119 parkruns) and Patrick Wojahn (College Park, 94 parkruns). It’s often a toss-up which of them will finish first.

Duane set out early for a 5K around Lake Artemesia, and checked in with a 22:06 clocking. That’s his fastest time since January. Nice! Patrick left it until later in the day to get out, but responded with a characteristic let it rip effort around North College Park. He started with a 7:03 mile, then laid down a storming 6:03 second mile. This could mean that he found a downhill. Or that the GPS signal in north CP was dodgy. Or that his weekend takeouts supporting local businesses are more potent than we realized. But the pace dropped a little in the final mile, bringing Patrick (literally) home in 22:12, allowing wily Duane to edge ahead by just a couple of seconds. Nice effort, gentlemen!


Patrick finished mere seconds behind Duane this week!

Also at the speedier end of the scale, it’s fun each week to see the times come in over the course of the day, wondering who will be in the “lead” when the 8pm cutoff rolls around.

This week Lokesh Meena laid down a very early marker, running 19:30 in countless laps around his apartment complex in New Delhi, India. We suspect the weather was not ideal for running, and we know that Lokesh ran the 5K wearing a mask, so that is an impressive effort!


That's speedy at any time. But on a small loop, in New Delhi, wearing a face mask. Wow.

Tomas Marambio set out a little later in the day in College Park. He’s a sub-19 runner when in form, so he could have been a threat. Final time: 20:00.0. A little slower, but so much more aesthetically pleasing!


Robin Phillips (Colin’s brother) could have been another threat, running in Bristol, UK for his second CP Virtual parkrun. But with a busy schedule of virtual relays, including a fast 5K on Friday and a 10K planned for Sunday, he opted for an steadier 5K. Next week, maybe, Robin?

Katie and Evan Hirsche might have threatened Lokesh’s time when they went out for their run. Katie has been laying down crazy fast times in a series of virtual track races lately. (And dad Evan has been hanging on for dear life.) But they started with Katie doing a 1 mile virtual race on Rock Creek Parkway, in 5-something. And then decided to put in a solid CP parkrun effort right after doing that. So it was 20-something for these two.


Katie and Evan did a speedy parkrun RIGHT AFTER doing a 1-mile race

Just when we thought Lokesh might maintain his masked lead to the end of the day, Clark Ridge checked in via email with his 19:06 clocking around his neighborhood. No prizes for being fastest at parkrun, of course. But the added intrigue of the virtual format makes it that bit more exciting to follow along.

Meanwhile, you don’t need to be a front of the pack runner to have times to celebrate, if that’s what you’re looking for.

It was only last week that Meridith Phillips was running her fastest ever time on the CP parkrun course. And this week she went and ran a whole minute faster. Nice!


Another PB for Meridith!

Comebacks from injury kind of let you reset your PBs, too. Gloria Cottman was delighted to run a 5K in under 40 minutes - her best run since she tore her MCL. And Andrea Zukowski set another post-injury PB, taking another minute from her time the week before.


Comeback kid!

Four legs good, two legs … also good

(h/t George Orwell on that one … dystopic times call for dystopic quotes)

The barkrunners were not missing out on the opportunity to enjoy a run or a walk with their humans.

Heidi joined Susan Whitney on the trail, and may have noticed that it was a little warmer this week.


Barkrunner Heidi noticed it was warmer this week

For some obscure reason, virtual high school track meets are less chill about canine participants than we are at CP virtual parkrun. So Sophie missed out on Katie and Evan’s speedfest. But it looks like she did pretty nicely anyway, going for a parkhike in the woods with mom Maria.


Woodland hike for Sophie and Maria

Gifford got out for a run around the Potomac trails in Cabin John, MD with Dan Owen. Dan shared that at some point he just let Gifford do the navigating, and then things went a little off track after that.


Visiting Relatives

We’re excited that we now have regulars at CP Virtual parkrun who are based far away from College Park.

Cindy Cohen took in another rather hilly looking parkrun in the mountains of Idaho. Check out that elevation profile.


Kazuko Yatsushiro also sent us a picture from the “mountain” in the middle of her run. In this case it’s the Insulanerberg, a 260-foot high hill in the south of Berlin, Germany, built out of rubble from World War II, now with forested trails and an observatory on the top. In the view from the top that Kazuko sent us, you can make out the big TV Tower at Alexanderplatz, in the center of Berlin. Kazuko is missing her local parkrun in Berlin, Hasenheide parkrun, but is enjoying hanging out with the CP parkrun community in the meantime.


Do you see the tower at Berlin Alexanderplatz?

Joan Heffernan joined us for the 3rd consecutive week from her home in Suffield, CT. This week Joan squeezed in her run early, ahead of a volunteering shift at a local farm.


Carlos Chaverri-Morales is another visitor with a perfect attendance record at CP Virtual parkrun, joining us from Cartago, Costa Rica. We always thought of Costa Rica as being, well, coastal. But it turns out that the San Jose area where Carlos is based is at 4,500’ of altitude, with tall volcanoes nearby!

Adrian Dover checked in again from Newent, in Gloucestershire, UK. Adrian’s a regular visitor to College Park. He first joined us on our quietest ever parkrun, on a rainy Christmas Eve in 2016. And that’s a connection to our next tourists …

Steve Feld also did his first CP parkrun on 12/24/16. Now he and wife Cindy are regulars at Durham, NC parkrun, where there’s an emerging satellite CP Virtual parkrun happening on Saturdays! This week Steve and Cindy were joined by Durham, NC parkrun regulars Dave Menusan and Faith Hays, who happen to also be Marylanders.


The North Carolina branch of College Park parkrun: Steve, Dave, Faith, and Cindy

And our biggest contingent of visitors this week are really local family. The folks at Roosevelt Island parkrun in DC decided to “join” us this week, so we had a few Islanders in the mix. Joyce Adams got in another treadmill parkrun, appreciating the fact that for a virtual parkrun you can finish reading your book with your cat before starting your run. Anna Weber got in a walk in Arlington, VA. And Eden Gray and barkrunner Foxy did a half parkrun at Sippo Lake in Canton, OH, with lots of sniffing involved, no doubt.

The tie-in with RI parkrun also brought us international tourists! Normally most of the international parkrun visitors to DC head straight to Roosevelt Island. It’s why we see so few international visitors at CP. But this week we had visitors who heard about us via RI. This includes Derry Jarvis, from Horsham, south of London. Derry is not infrequently in DC for work, and has visited RI before. We now look forward to welcoming him to CP at some point in the future.


Emma Keer ran 7 miles in Ann Arbor, MI. So she figured that should count for her local Lillie Virtual parkrun AND for College Park Virtual parkrun AND for a nice smoothie!

Miscellaneous Highlights

Joe Fox scores extra points this week for his creative plan for his virtual parkrun intervals. “I "did a fartlek for the length of "I love LA" by Randy Newman"”. Can’t argue with that. (Want to try it for your own intervals? You’re welcome.)


Erin Munsell was SO close to completing her 100th parkrun before the shutdown. With 98 regular parkruns and now with 2 virtual parkruns under her belt, we think she at least deserves some virtual cake. We can’t wait to celebrate when she reaches the official 100 after we return to normal.

Kalonji Collins took a break from treadmill running to run on the Paint Branch Trail again. Kalonji’s observation: “Running outside is SO MUCH HARDER than running on the treadmill". Just wait until July, Kalonji!


Lisa Wilson was nowhere to be seen on the trail this weekend … well, aside from the virtual Lisa that Elmer Hernandez got to visit on his run. Lisa was up in Howard County (no longer under a stay-at-home order) teaching an outdoor yoga class, with social distancing, of course. Then she got in a nice parkwalk for good measure.


Vital Statistics

The counts are always a bit iffy (and evolving!), but at the time of writing there have been exactly 130 participants all 3 weeks of CP Virtual parkrun. That’s consistency! [Ok, since writing this, we found 2 more results. Oh well!]

Around 65 have completed all 3 CPVps. That’s also consistency!

And we had 20 first-time virtual parkrunners this week. This included welcoming regular parkrunners Joel Goldberg and Dale Morey to the online community. It also included Anne-Marie and Michael Gorman from Hyattsville. And Louise Godley and Samatha Ager in Takoma Park. Welcome all!

To date, 205 unique participants have completed CP Virtual parkruns 390 times, covering around 1,400 miles. That’s roughly the distance from College Park to Denver.

NOTE FOR STRAVA USERS. We found that some people joined our Strava Club and they’re recording virtual parkruns, but we’re missing them in the results. That seems to happen when you have your Strava privacy settings configured so that we cannot see your activities. You can fiddle with those settings … or just send us an email and we’ll update our records.

Virtual Volunteers

Virtual parkruns need volunteers, too. Please let us know if you can help out in a future week. Drop an email to At a virtual parkrun you don’t need to choose between volunteering and walking or running. You can have it all!

This week Stewart Mayhew stepped up to give the pre-event briefing on Zoom and Facebook Live.

Tara Mease was results coordinator -- getting us more organized from one week to the next -- and this week she was supported by Diana Gough, Anna Tinnemore, and Andrea Zukokwski.

Colin Phillips held the fort in the Storytelling Department.

And although we didn’t have official unofficial tailwalkers this week, we’ll bestow that role after the fact on Rachel, Jeff, and Scooter. Walking 5K while 38 weeks pregnant in 1h45 is darn good going. And it might even encourage a baby to be born.

Thanks to all of the volunteers!


Got coffee? Join us at the Virtual parkrun coffee chat, Saturdays at 10:30am

Looking Ahead

We don’t know how long we’ll remain in virtual mode, but we expect it to be a long while. We don’t expect to be able to resume regular parkruns until all outdoor distancing regulations are removed. And that isn’t likely to happen any time soon. The rate of new COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and deaths in Maryland is slowing, but only VERY slightly. And Prince George’s County is taking an appropriately cautious approach to its reopening plans.

In the meantime, it’s all the more important to stay active, and to support each other in doing that. It’s great for our physical and mental health. So we’ll keep on doing what we’re doing. And we thank you for all that YOU are doing to encourage friends and family members to be active, too.

Till next week!

 frank-snyder_webFrank Snyder has taken part in every CP Virtual parkrun so far, running around the retirement community in Gaithersburg where he lives.



Good Luck Comes in Fours (Virtual parkrun Report 2)

They say that bad luck comes in threes. So this week we’re declaring that good luck comes in fours. We know that times are hard for so many people right now, but we’re happy to share so much positivity that was in evidence this weekend.

Congratulations to everyone who participated in this week’s CP Virtual parkrun #2. Whether you ran or walked, indoors or out, on a treadmill, in a parking lot, on a trail, in other time zones or other countries, as part of a virtual race, with friends, with family, or on your own, it is great to read about your accomplishments, either through Strava, email, or Facebook.  HIGH FIVES (virtually) all around!

Despite the coldest May day in at least a dozen years, we were thrilled to see another big and diverse crowd join us, with 130 participants at last count - exactly the same as last week.

We were also super happy to see the breadth of participation, from speedsters to very pregnant “parkwaddles”, and with ages from a few months to eighty-something years. And it was great to be joined by friends from near and far, helping us to connect with folks who could no longer join us in person.


But the stories are more interesting. Here are just a few of this week’s stories.


Four Years

Mary Clare Schneider has long been looking forward to turning four years old and being able to get her very own barcode. The birthday came during the week, and by the next day, there she was in the parkrun database … but with no official parkrun to take part in.


No problem, thanks to mom Erin and lots of parkrun friends, it became a special day.

Erin wrote: “Mary Clare had a great birthday parkrun!! Team Schneider did the whole 5k in 1:27. Mary Clare was reluctant to get going because it was so cold, but after some "fuel" and seeing some parkrun friends she started to warm up! When she saw Lisa at the turn around she took off running!! She had to show off her pink barcode which was graciously "scanned" for her post run. She was excited to get a certificate, and see her name on the trail. And she talked to the people in the Zoom cheering section as if it was live!! Thank you everyone for your help!”

We just love the community support, and how parents Erin and Joshua are fostering a love of outdoor exercise in their family.





Four Generations

At CP Virtual parkrun you can take part where you want, and go as far as you want. Great news for Xander Mease, who had four generations of his family taking part this week.

Xander took an early morning run with mom Tara. Dad Jon took a walk later in the day.

Grandma Janet was working as a nursing supervisor, but put on her tracker as she worked. Her Strava art is, um, interesting. And we think the time is maybe a little optimistic. But we’re sure that the 5K is legit.

Meanwhile great grandma Ellie, aged 86, put in a mile on her treadmill, to complete the family collection. Wonderful!


Four Legs

Plenty of barkrunners got in on the action.

Ranger took to the trail with Cameron McPhee. He is quickly growing up!


Shackleton made it to the pre-parkrun briefing this week, and then was seen racing down the trail soon afterwards.


Barkrunner Gifford is a regular fixture at Fletcher’s Cove parkrun downtown. This week he did our virtual barkrun together with his humans Dan and Zak Owen. Dan reports that Gifford edged ahead of him at the finish, thanks to motivation from a squirrel.


Tuffi got out for a walk with Gloria Cottman, and looks pretty happy to be out on the trail again.


Four Babies (give or take)

We were super happy to hear from Meghan and Ben Gieske, regular parkrunners who moved back to Indiana last summer. Turns out they have a new member of the family. Blaise is around 5 months old now, and she got out for a run-walk with mom and dad. Meghan wrote:

“Greetings from the Midwest! Missing all of you in Maryland! Thank you so much for organizing this! Ben and I had our first child right before Thanksgiving. I managed to keep running (well, jogging anyway) until 35 weeks pregnant, but I’ve had a hard time finding motivation to get back out there, so this was really great! We managed to do a full 5k. I’m certain it was a personal slowest for me, and possibly for Ben too (we only ran about a quarter of the distance and walked the rest). Blaise’s face looks about how I felt.”


Rachel Unger sent us pictures from her “parkwaddle”. She’s 37-weeks pregnant, and moving a little slower than at her last parkrun. She and Jeff and barkrunner Scooter took a steady paced 5K walk to recently reopened Vigilante Coffee in College Park. It took “about an hour and a half”. Great job, Rachel, and we can’t wait to meet the new member of the family some time!


Kate and Matt Perkins got out for a run with the double stroller in Rock Creek Park. For Kate it was her first 5K in a while. Congratulations, Kate!


Four Continents

It was cool to have friends join us from far away again this week.

Carlos Chaverri-Morales made this cool sign for us in Costa Rica.


Lokesh Meena joined us from New Delhi, India, where he ran a LOT of laps of a ~0.5 km loop near his home, making for an impressive Strava track. Lokesh was a regular at local parkruns during his time working for the Indian Embassy in Washington DC. If you haven’t read about Lokesh’s own story, it’s well worth a look.


Stefano Gazzano checked in from Citavecchia, near Rome, Italy. Italy faced a much stricter lockdown than we have had in Maryland, so he’s easing back into the outdoor running.


Regular CP parkrun visitor Adrian Dover sent us a picture from his virtual parkrun in Newent, Gloucestershire, UK. The locals may have been surprised by his brightly colored socks. But we all know exactly what they mean!


And we welcomed a special first-time virtual parkrunner from Bristol, UK. Robin Phillips (Colin’s brother) was the person who planted the parkrun seed in Andrea’s mind back in 2014. By now he has done 319 parkruns in 60 different locations. But he has never visited CP parkrun in person. So the next best thing was to do CP Virtual parkrun, starting at his front door. Robin put down a speedy 19:05. That might have been good for our fastest time of the day. But then Sam Phipps came out and turned on the gas … so never mind. Welcome Robin!

Within the US, regular CP parkrunner Cindy Cohen is currently based at a ski resort in Idaho, where she took on what must be one of the toughest parkrun courses that we have seen. She ran two miles down the mountain, and then two miles back up. Here’s the elevation profile for the first 5K of this. The current hilliest parkrun route in the US is at Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller parkrun in Woodstock, VT, which climbs 360 feet in the first mile. Cindy’s run looks even hillier!


A couple of parkrunners joined us from Michigan, where Lillie parkrun in Ann Arbor was launching their virtual parkrun this week, following a similar approach to ours. Emma Keer had joined us at CP parkrun on New Years Day 2020, and her dad Tim Keer had joined us in late 2018. Welcome “back”, Emma & Tim!


Running and Walking FOR a Cause

Jackie and Kayla Hayes were due to take part in the National Police Week 5K. It turned into a virtual event, but with real race bibs. So they headed out into their neighborhood to do the race, and it counted for CP Virtual parkrun also. A few other runners with those bibs were spotted around College Park, too.


Others were part of the movement to honor the memory of Ahmaud Arbery, a young African American who was shot while running near his home in Georgia on February 23rd. A number of virtual parkruns included a 2.23 mile section and/or the tag #irunwithahmaud. Among those was College Park mayor Patrick Wojahn, who was joining us for his first virtual parkrun.


Tailwalking crew members Lori Dominick and Rebecca White took along a grabber and a trash bag, to clean up the Paint Branch Trail as they walked. Thank you! They were pleasantly surprised to find little trash along the way. That’s thanks in part to responsible trail users. And also to helpful parkrunners. Lisa Wilson has been doing some trail maintenance during the pandemic. And we recently found the Heintzelman family working on clearing trash from the Acredale Park parking lot.



Four Kinds of Volunteers

CP parkrun is 100% volunteer-led, and hundreds have helped out over the past few years. It’s no different for CP Virtual parkrun, except that the roles are a little different, where most of the action is in connecting with, tracking, and supporting people online.

This week Andrea and Colin hosted the 9am briefing. We’d love to bring in a new briefing host next week. Let us know if this could be you!

The biggest role is collecting results and stories, and engaging with virtual parkrunners who reach us through various channels. Tara Mease has spearheaded results coordination (spreadsheets!). This week her support team was Jen Matis, Anna Tinnemore, Teresa Bippus, together with Colin and Andrea. And Colin teamed up with Lori on storytelling.


We can have as many virtual tailwalkers as we want in the virtual format. The more the merrier. Your job is simply to walk and to tell us about it. This week Lori Dominick and Rebecca White were joined by a highly inexperienced tailwalker. Colin has never walked a parkrun before, but he’s now on the injured list. So he walked a 5K around his neighborhood, stopping to take a picture by a park bench dedicated to Muppets creator Jim Henson, who grew up in the neighborhood. The message on the bench is oddly appropriate.


Not FORgetting …

It was cold for May! Like some of us, Valerie Silensky wasn’t going to venture out because of the wind and cold, but the sunshine was so glorious, she’s glad she did!  John Ramsey never thought he’d be wearing a hat, gloves, pants and long sleeves in May. Zak Mellen reported that he didn’t see any other people (or bunnies for that matter). Josh Weiss got through the wind and cold by pretending that every person out there was a parkrunner cheering him on. Jen Matis thinks the cold may have helped her shave a few minutes off last week's time.


Meridith Phillips was excited by her all-time parkrun PB! She ran the regular trail, and was happy to see some familiar faces along the way.


Zoe Phillips (no relation to Meridith) volunteers almost every week at CP parkrun, but hasn’t completed a 5K since last fall. So he was happy to get out for a 5K walk this weekend. And he was greeted by a surprise when he got home. A care package from his school, including a yard sign. This year’s 12th graders won’t have regular graduation celebrations, so local schools are finding creative ways of celebrating their seniors. Congratulations, Zoe!


And we’re happy that many parkrunners are supporting local businesses that are struggling during the pandemic. Vigilante Coffee is a supporter of CP parkrun, and they make fabulous coffee. (Andrea also swears by their acai bowls. Just saying.) Vigilante recently opened for curbside pickup at their College Park location, and we’re happy to see that more parkrunners are combining a run or walk on the local trails with a nice cup of coffee from Vigilante. We had a few on display at the mid-morning online meetup this week.


We’re also looking to support our friends at The Board and Brew, who are closed right now. Gift cards are available here.

The New Normal

We’re looking forward to getting back to our regular parkruns. But we don’t expect that to happen anytime soon. The State of Maryland has outlined a sensible, cautious plan for reopening, and we are in the middle of the epicenter for COVID-19 cases for the state. Also, parkrun HQ has made it clear that they are not going to hurry. Their position is: if special measures are needed, then it’s not yet safe to go ahead.

So for now we’ll do our best as a community to help each other stay active and connected.

We have been very happy to see so many taking part. We have enjoyed seeing friends on the live chats. We have LOVED hearing stories from folks near and far. We’re glad that we’re able to reach beyond the social media bubble. But we also know that there are lots of people who we’re unable to reach. So we’d love to hear from you about your ideas for how we could help to support more people as part of our healthy community. Right now we all need this more than ever.

Until next week!

Colin and Lori


Susan Crammond joined from Greystones, Ireland, where it was a bit warmer than in College Park.


Sharlene Deskins did her first CP Virtual parkrun!


Violet and Clark Ridge first ran a 5K together. Then Clark went straight out to do another. Maybe that's why he looks a little tired!


Perfect day for a fleece mask. Misha, Marc, and Maia took a 5 mile walk together


Mike McClellan got in a couple of miles on the trail. Nice!


Melanie Barzik and Matthias Machner incorporated CP Virtual parkrun into a 14-mile run together by Rock Creek. Pretty!


Special guest appearances for Mary Clare's first parkrun with her new barcode.


Lucy & Laurie in matching outfits


Joyce completed 5K on her treadmill. (And we like that London Marathon map in the background, Joyce!)


John Maneval on the Baltimore & Annapolis Trail. John, Jessica, and Mark are still looking to bring a parkrun to the B&A Trail in Anne Arundel County.


Nice day for a virtual parkrun for Frank Snyder


Steve and Cindy Feld representing CP parkrun in Durham, NC


We think that's Anna and Bonnie behind those masks


Andrea ran her fastest 5K in a while, and then got to work with her camera.