Big Family (Run Report #155)

Families look out for each other. And that’s exactly what we were doing at this week’s CP parkrun #155. In some cases it was our relatives, in other cases it was our parkrun friends. But we had each other’s backs.

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It’s never too late

Kath Phillips is one of the most consistent readers of these reports. Despite living on the other side of the ocean. Why so? Because that’s what moms do. And she’s *my* mom

Anyway, Kath has been following us closely from Bristol UK over the past 3 years. And she had been looking to visit again -- last time she was with us was in CP parkrun #2, when we had around 40 finishers. At that time she volunteered, and wouldn’t have dreamed of trying to cover the 5K. But since then she has got two new knees. So she has been looking forward to joining us and trying to walk the course.

And that is exactly what she did! Accompanied by tailwalker Patty Hall, tailwagger Jude, and (on the return) turnaround hero Lisa Wilson. What’s more, this was the first 5K Kath has ever done. At age 75. We were a family of competitive boys, and she went to many, many athletic events in her time. But this was the first time that she has taken part.

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Meanwhile, my dad Derrick also had his barcode ready. He did his first run in maybe 15 years, aside from chasing a young granddaughter down the street. He made it through remarkably well. Derrick is no stranger to running. He took part in the London Marathon a couple of times. But that was when I was in 8th grade. So, a little while ago.

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I’m so proud of them both and happy that they took part

It also bears mentioning that Kath and Derrick joined in partly because they knew how welcoming our CP parkrun community would be. They live in the UK, where there are roughly as many parkruns as there are Starbucks (true fact!). They live around the corner from Little Stoke Park, where Andrea first got the idea of starting this little meetup in College Park. And they have been along to plenty of UK parkrun events as spectators. But they knew that they  would fit right in with us.

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Looking out for each other

This week one of our senior parkrunners got lightheaded towards the end of the run and then fell hard on the ground.

Fortunately, help was close at hand. A group quickly came to his aid. We had a chair and a first aid kit at the ready. And thanks to a call from the volunteer crew there were paramedics from nearby Branchville VFD on site 10 minutes after the fall. The parkrunner was able to leave under their own steam. Stitches were needed, but we expect a return to running fairly soon.

We’re glad that this all worked out well, and we’re also very thankful that so many parkrunners were able to help out so quickly.

But we’re also aware that this could have happened further away from the park, where we would have been able to respond less quickly. Incidents like this are rare at College Park parkrun. But with growing numbers rare events could happen more often. So we’re looking to take steps to ensure that we can remain as safe as possible, especially for more vulnerable members of our community. To this end, we ask two things of you:

  1. Please continue to be the eyes and ears of the community when you’re out on the trail. If you notice somebody who looks like they’re in a bad way, do please ask.
  2. If there’s a problem out on the trail, try to find somebody who can help. One person can stay with the parkrunner in need, one can try to reach help. Our tailwalker generally has a small first aid kit, and course marshals Hump and Lisa always have phone contact information for the day’s Run Director and other volunteers. If you’re south of the bridges, then Hump is closer, if you’re north of the bridges, then Lisa is closer. Chances are the tailwalker is even closer. You probabaly notice where you typically pass them.
  3. Ideas for how we can improve safety? We’d love to hear from you. One thing we’d llike to do is to have more community members take part in CPR training, building on the mini tutorials that CP Fire Dept did a few weeks ago.

And thanks again for being a caring community. One thing we’re very happy about is that more and more seniors are joining us on Saturdays. This week saw more than ever. We hope to see this continue.

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Moms and Daughters

This week Lisa Parsons completed her 50th parkrun on the same day that daughter Kiera Parsons completed her 10th. They enjoyed a nice run together on the trail. This now means that *5* members of Team Parsons have earned parkrun milestone shirts. Impressive!

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Meanwhile, Team Hayes was at the helm this week. Jacqueline Hayes took her first spin as run director for the day, and everything went off very smoothly, despite the 911 call. And she was ably assisted by daughter Kayla Hayes, a seasoned parkrun volunteer. Thanks, Jackie and Kayla!

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Some Notables

Mini-milestones

  • 25-timers: Yvette Tamukong, Jonathan Garcia, and Meredith Phillips all did their 25th CP parkrun. Halfway to the red sash!
  • 10-timers: William Scott, Kiera Parsons, and Jimmy Tancabel all now have completed ten 5Ks at CP parkrun. That’s a good kind of habit.
  • 5-timers: Ben Kaczmarski, Katherine McElhenny, V Senthep, William Grunow, and Jolene Russell are all joining the many people who keep coming back to our healthy community.

PBs. There were 30 PBs at this week’s CP parkrun. So many!

  • John Ramsey. How do you go and set 2 PBs in a row after 113 parkruns. Crazy!
  • Matt Kaplan is now finishing 10 minutes faster than he was at the beginning of the year. Wow!
  • John Maneval was finishing in close to 32 minutes when he first joined us. Now he’s pushing 23 minutes.
  • Louise Godley. 6 times at CP parkrun, and a PB almost every time. (One day it missed by 2 seconds, within the margin of error.)
  • Judy Barnes: on her 79th parkrun, she came so close to walking the 5K in under 40 minutes. Pretty much all of us have to run to keep up with Judy.
  • Lorelis Gonzalez and Angel Cejo: 4 visits, 4 PBs.
  • Sharyn Gordon: hot on Judy Barnes’ heels as one of our speed walkers.
  • Andrew Widman: what, another PB!
  • Sharon Chi: she took 1 second from the PB set in February. That works!

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First-timers

  • Natalie Sullivan was cheered in to the finish as she completed her walk, accompanied by Meredith Phillips. It’s an achievement for Natalie to do this, and her friends and family were all proud of her.

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And don’t forget …

SATURDAY SEPTEMBER 28TH. MUGGLE QUIDDITCH DAY. While most of College Park is freaking out about the Friday night football traffic on 9/27, the busiest day of the year at Acredale Park is the day of the Turtle Cup, a Muggle Quidditch tournament. The parking lots at Acredale Park often fill up early, so you should expect parking to be a little more challenging than usual. Options …

  1. Consider biking, walking, or carpooling to reduce the need for parking.
  2. Park at UMD Lob 11b. It connects directly to the trail, and it’s a 5 minute walk to the parkrun start. Also, perfect positioning for brunch at The Board and Brew.
  3. Park at the College Park Lanes bowling alley, across Route 1 from the park. If you use that lot, please park at the edge of the lot, so as not to interfere with bowling customers.

SATURDAY OCTOBER 12TH. Big DMV parkrun brunch after CP parkrun at The Board and Brew. We will be hosting the parkrun USA “ambassadors” for the weekend, together with others from parkrun Global, and we’ll be inviting all to join us at B&B after parkrun. Come meet James Kemp, who’s job is to keep on top of operations for nearly 2,000 parkrun events worldwide every week.

SATURDAY OCTOBER 19TH. We’re turning 3 years old! Come celebrate with us!

THURSDAY NOVEMBER 28TH. THANKSGIVING PARKRUN. It’s the friendliest (and most affordable) Turkey Trot in the area.

WEDNESDAY JANUARY 1ST. New Year’s parkrun double! CP parkrun starts at 10:30 am. You can sleep in … or you can squeeze in another parkrun at 8:30am.

See you Saturday!

Colin Phillips

Co-Event Director

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Where everybody knows your name (Run Report #154)

First timer Alfredo Espinoza and second timer Kim Lopez had the good luck to run CP parkrun #154 alongside stalwart Misha Bernard. They weren’t the first parkrunners that Misha left a strong impression on. Alfredo noticed that Misha was cheering for other parkrunners along the trail. But he was especially impressed that she seemed to know everybody’s name.

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Yes, that’s how we roll. Well, partly.

We want you to bring your barcode, but you’re definitely more than a number at CP parkrun. As the community continues to grow, we can’t promise that we’ll remember your name on the first try. But we really are happy to see you, and to see you come back, and eventually we’ll get the hang of your name. And some of us, like Misha, get there faster than others. (Thanks, Misha!)

One name that we won’t forget in a hurry is Abdur Rahman-Quadri, who was back in College Park to celebrate his 50th parkrun this week. For a long time Abdur lived closer to the park than *anybody*, closer even than Hump and Lisa. After moving from Nigeria to pursue an engineering degree at UMD, Abdur discovered this cool weekly meetup that was happening literally under his nose. And in addition to running he would volunteer every Saturday during the month of Ramadan. Recently Abdur graduated and moved to Baltimore, where he became a regular at Leakin Park parkrun. But for #50 he wanted to come back “home” to CP. We were very happy to see him.

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In fact, Abdur was so happy to hold our terrapin “Patronus” board that he wondered if he could carry it with him on the whole 5k. Never mind, he went and set a PB instead.

We had other milestones to celebrate. Diana Gough wore the purple superhero cape, as she was volunteering for the 25th time. A snazzy purple parkrun V25 shirt will be on its way to her soon. It’s Diana’s favorite color, too, so she can take turns wearing that shirt and the red 50 shirt that she already earned a couple of months ago.

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Speaking of red and purple shirts. Look who were the cover girl and cover boy for this week’s parkrun USA roundup of pictures and stories. Diana’s son Carlos, looking good in his new parkrun 50 shirt. And Xander Mease’s grandma Janet Tate, who was completing her 30th run with us.

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And there was one more milestone that we missed! Kim and Taylor Nickens snuck in a little after we started, and for Taylor it was her 10th parkrun, an official milestone for under 18s. Sorry that we didn’t notice this until afterwards, Taylor. We’ll give you a shout out the next time that we see you at the pre-parkrun briefing.

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We welcomed 10 first-timers to CP parkrun this week. It’s always great to meet new people.

One of the first-timers was Judy Meyer. Judy normally lives far away, but she’s in the area for a while because she recently became a grandma. And she found us, too! By a stroke of luck, she was also the same pace as Judy Barnes, who was completing her 78th parkrun. A good time was had by all.

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Another first-timer was Megan Newcombe. She and husband Pratyush are recent transplants to CP, and Pratyush has already run with us a couple of times. So happy that you could join us too, Megan. (And she speaks the same language as me, just sayin’.)

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We had amazing hint-of-fall weather, so it’s little surprise that one or two PBs were set this week. Well, there were 30 in total. Of particular note are the PBs by Marvin Russell, on his 112th parkrun. When you have done that many parkruns and have been battling injuries for a while, this isn’t so easy. And John Ramsey also set a PB on his 112th parkrun. When John first joined us he was completing the 5k in 31 minutes. Now he’s pushing to dip under 24 minutes. Nice!

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There was a time long ago when John Ramsey was setting a PB every week. After so many parkruns, that just isn’t happening any more. But somebody who is still in that phase is Marianne Poon, who this week did her 5th CP parkrun, and in doing so set her 5th PB. Wow!

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Andrew Widman must be doing something right, as he took another big chunk from his PB this week.

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I’m really not the person who should be handing out kudos for parkrun fashion choices. I really have no clue. But I feel compelled to give a shout out to Gwyneth McEllhenny for a truly outstanding hat.

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In mini-milestone news, we had two people completing their 5th CP parkrun: Marianne Poon and Liam Edmonds-Moore. (Liam has done a few others, as he has been to Kensington and Fletcher’s Cove parkruns a few times.)

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Amy Duan (PB!) and Taylor Nickens completed their 10th CP parkrun

And Lucy Younes and John Jensenius completed their 25th CP parkrun. Great stuff, guys! For Lucy she’s already half way to earning her 50 shirt. For John he’s already the proud owner of a black 100 shirt, as he did rather a lot of parkruns in Oxford, UK before moving to CP.

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Our volunteers are wonderful. But you know that already, of course. And you know that the volunteers are simply regular parkrunners JUST LIKE YOU.

We have a special shout out this week for Saul Goldberg, who took on the Hump for a Day role. Hump wasn’t able to fill his regular role, so Andrea drafted Saul at the last minute to replace him, dispatching him down the trail to take care of business. Saul did great … and for his efforts he was rewarded with an escort to the finish by tailwalker Külli and turnaround marshal Lisa.

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The rest of this week’s volunteers were Jim Cantwell, Külli Crespin, James Edmonds-Mooree, Diana Gough, Tomas Marambio, Steven Moore, Zoe Phillips, Valerie Silensky, Alexander Swisdak, Pratyush Tiwary, and Lisa Wilson. This was all under the expert direction of Run Director Anna Tinnemore. And Andrea Zukowski did her magic in various ways. And I did a little propaganda here and there.

In fact, although I was volunteering, I wasn’t in College Park at all. I was working in Berlin, Germany, and faced the dilemma that I wanted to go along to the local parkrun, but I had work meetings starting at 9am. Ack!

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I decided to throw caution to the wind, and went along to Hasenheide parkrun, together with a mix of Germans and British visitors, plus a few visitors from Oregon. I completed the parkrun, then with a run, a taxi, a shower, and a walk I was able to get to the meeting, looking relatively respectable, by 10:01am. And I had a great time at Hasenheide parkrun.

Upcoming attractions:

  1. September 28th. Quidditch Day! Please allow extra time for parking, e.g. park at UMD Lot 11b, or bike or walk to parkrun.
  2. October 12th. Big parkrun meetup at The Board & Brew after CP parkrun. We’re hosting the parkrun USA Ambassadors Conference again in CP, and we’re inviting teams from around the region to join us for coffee after dinner. There you can grab a word with James Kemp, who’s in charge of global operations for parkrun … that’s 300,000 parkrunners per week.
  3. October 19th. Our third birthday! Can anybody help with cake?
  4. November 28th. Thanksgiving parkrun!
  5. January 1st. New Year’s Double parkrun. Yay!

 

Colin Phillips

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15K (Run Report #153)

At 8:40am the park was largely empty this week. Perhaps everybody had noticed what a lovely day it was, and they were going to chill on the front stoop instead of coming to parkrun.

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Never mind! By 9:00am the park was teeming with parkrunners and parkwalkers. You’re experienced enough now that you can time the arrival to perfection.

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Do note that on Sept 28th we’ll be sharing the park with the annual Muggle Quidditch tournament, so parking will be in short supply. So please plan on allowing extra time that day. Bike to parkrun if you can. Or park in UMD Lot 11b and take the 5 minute walk down the trail.

Also, as word continues to spread about our community, parking will become more scarce. So do plan accordingly.

This week we celebrated the 50-parkrun milestone for Jenn Augsburger. Congratulations to Jenn on completing 50 5Ks with us. (And volunteering A LOT also.)

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But we also celebrated a 15K milestone for all of us. That’s 15,000 5Ks that we have completed together since CP parkrun started in October 2016. That’s almost two times around the earth.

The 15,000th finisher was this week’s 73rd finisher. It was George Sisson, who was completing his 23rd parkrun. Congratulations, George! Your prize: a lifetime of free 5Ks. And we had another 87 finishers beyond that, to make a total of 160 finishers.

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We had so many great volunteers again this week. Keaton Ellis and Anna Tinnemore were in the all-important high-fiver role (which also includes a little timekeeping). Keaton was resting up ahead of his first ever half marathon the next day. Evan Hirsche was another volunteer resting up for a half marathon the next day. He was joined by Xinzi He on scanning, and by daughter Katie after she had zipped around the course.

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Rebecca White joined Hump at his crossing, and brought her camera along, too, so we were treated to some great photos from an unusual vantage point. Thanks Rebecca!

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Saul Goldberg walked up ready to help. Always happy to see Saul join us, together with his brother Joel.

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Zoe Phillips distributed finish tokens. (And is happy to take commissions for the extra volunteer role of parkrun sketch artist. Just ask.)

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Neil Jograj took everything in his stride as Run Director. Ably assisted by barkrunner Trista.

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This week we welcomed 15 first-timers, and a cool 27 second timers, as many as we have ever seen. Some of the first timers were brought along by the second-timers, such as Judith Riordon, who was back this week with her daughter Margaret. The same goes for Deborah Ruddy, who was back this week with her son John. And also Martine and Pascale Gaujeanmay, who were back this week with dad Hubert. The more the merrier!

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Among the first-timers were Kevin Camp and Sharon Razsap Skorbiansky. Kevin and Sharon visited Fletcher’s Cove parkrun a few times while living in DC. Now married and moved to the ‘burbs, we’re their new local. Looking forward to seeing them more in the future!

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With the great weather we expected quite a few PBs, but we did not expect to see as many as 27. The PB bell saw a lot of action.

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Sam Phipps was pretty excited to set a PB on his 23rd parkrun. He left the rest of us far behind as he finished in 17:03. Recall that Sam runs from Silver Spring before starting his parkrun. Then he runs home. So he’s probably running at least a 15K on parkrun days.

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Kudos to Andrew Widman, who set a PB on his 12th parkrun. His secret: he brought along his son Nathan as an expert pacer.

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Annika Dallmann and Wiktoria Dabrowska were back, and they both took a BIG chunk from their PBs. Like 6 minutes big.

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Marianne Poon continued her streak: 4 weeks, 4 PBs. Not bad!

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And Jimmy Tancabel and Vicki Stevens are building impressive parkrun resumes. 20 parkruns between them, and almost all of them PBs.

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Zebi Brown has a practically perfect record of PBs in her 5 parkruns (we don’t count the crazy hot day when we were going for PWs instead of PBs). Zebi’s secret: as she was running she was trying to keep ahead of Judi Barnes’ walking. As many of you know, that’s harder than it sounds, because Judy is a FAST walker.

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We welcomed 6 new members of our exclusive 5-timer club. Louis Green, Eileen Sullivan, Zebi Brown, Reese Madsen, Bonita Shelby, and Louise Godley. This club is so exclusive that there are now 610 members.

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There was one new 10-timer: Michael Navarette. And one new 25-timer, Michael Cohen. Keep at it, guys, and the next thing you know you’ll be wearing the red 50 sash.

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Coming attractions …

 

  1. Every week through the end of October. FREE Yoga in the Park, at 10am after parkrun. New teacher! New fun.
  2. Sept 28th. Muggle Quidditch Day. No, we’re not chasing snitches all the way to Lisa’s turnaround. But we are sharing the parking. So allow extra time, or bike, or park in UMD Lot 11b, behind The Board and Brew.
  3. Oct 12th. Regional parkrun meetup at The Board and Brew after CP parkrun #158. We’ll again be hosting the parkrun USA Ambassadors Conference. Come meet some of the big cheeses.
  4. Oct 19th. Our 3rd birthday! Can you help with cake or other celebrations? Let us know.
  5. Nov 3rd (Sunday). parkrun DMV meeting in College Park. Interested in helping to further build the DC-MD-VA parkrun community? We’d love for you to join us.
  6. Nov 28th (Thursday). Thanksgiving parkrun! With the possibility of a post-parkrun meetup with Kensington parkrun, for gelato. Just saying.

See you soon!

Colin

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No worries! (Run Report #152)

Andrea and I like to get up early on a Saturday morning. To enjoy a quiet coffee ahead of a whirlwind morning. To check on friends and family who have been parkrunning many time zones ahead of us. Sometimes to do some baking. This week when we got up we knew two things about the morning. First, it was going to be a bigger than usual CP parkrun -- we had seen a spike in registrations in the past week. Second, we were kind of short on volunteers for the finish line crew.

We weren’t worried.

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We were confident that the community would come through for the volunteer roster. Jim Parsons was running the show this week, and he is cool as a cucumber, so he could get by with a reduced crew if needed. But soon enough folks came forward, entirely unprompted, to offer to help. Zoe Phillips offered to hop in the car with us to help out (no really, you don’t try to arm-twist a 12th grader). 82-year old Mike McClellan walked up to offer his services. He was recovering from surgery so wasn’t able to run this week. But he’s an experienced barcode scanner. Meredith Phillips came along to offer her help -- why yes, a 3rd scanner could come in handy this week! And although the event started with one timekeeper, by the time the first runners returned Eskinder Haile had joined as a second time keeper.

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By the end of the morning we also had a results processor who offered to help on the spot. And another volunteer who we had never even met before today.

And that’s in addition to already-signed-up volunteers Tomas Marambio, Hump Plotts, Lisa Wilson, and Külli Crespin. And first-time volunteer Louis Green. Louis first joined us a few weeks ago, and has come along every week since. Great to see him donning a yellow vest already.

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Three years ago we used to worry about being able to find volunteers every week. Every new parkrun team worries about this. But now we know -- this community is fantastic, and we just don’t need to worry.

And the big crowd? No worries. We knew the team would take it in their stride.

With 191 finishers this week (and probably around 200 starters, thanks to our high tech counting device -- Hump!), CP parkrun #152 was one of the largest yet, behind only New Years Day (resolutions!) and our 100th event, which also coincided with a hurricane-that-never-materialized, so most other events in the region were canceled. Part of the surge was due to a big influx of first-timers -- 50 in all -- including a big crew from DeMatha High School, which chose to use CP parkrun for their pre-season time trial. Great idea!

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Surprisingly, we lost zero finish tokens this week.

One other thing that surprised us -- and that’s because the notification went to our spam box -- was that we were joined by the CP Fire Department, who kindly gave mini CPR trainings to parkrunners. Thank you to the officers who came along and offered training. And thank you to all the parkrunners who took the mini training.

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Our friends at Roosevelt Island parkrun downtown have arranged more extensive (1 hour long) CPR trainings for their community, and now they have around 25 who are trained to do this. This is a great idea, and we should look into doing this ourselves. Let us know if you’re interested.

We celebrated one new 50 club member this week. Dave Heintzelman certainly raised the bar on parkrun milestone fashion, wearing a tie for the occasion. And since Dave is a proud New Carrollton resident, we specially arranged for the mayor of NC to be on hand to congratulate him. Actually no. Mayor Duane Rosenberg is with us almost every week, looking forward to completing his 100th parkrun before the end of the year.

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No official milestones for Team Parsons, but they featured prominently this week.

Dad Jim Parsons was run director. So everything went smoothly, of course.

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Ian Parsons was part of the DeMatha team. Most of the team were first-timers this week. Not Ian. This was his 75th parkrun. And he set a PB. Nice!

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Mom Lisa Parsons completed her 49th parkrun. Red sash next time!

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AND elder son Thomas was also one of the first DeMatha finishers, and was completing his 48th parkrun. We look forward to embarrassing Thomas with the 50 sash once XC season is over.

We like to give shout outs for unofficial milestones, too.

4 people did their 5th parkrun this week: Samuel Gamble, Annika Dallmann, RJ Spalding, and Alyssa Lee. Annika came along with her friend Wiktoria. And Alyssa took another two minutes from her PB! Her mom was suitably proud.

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2 people did their 10th CP parkrun: Nishant Nemani and Vicki Stevens. Vicki is on a roll. She joined us for the first time in June, and since then she has set a PB almost every single time. That can’t go on forever, but we’re enjoying watching it while it lasts.

And John Maneval was this week’s new member of the 25 club, running his second fastest time to date.

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This week’s 50 first timers weren’t only high schoolers. They included Martine Gaujeanmay and her daughter Pascale, who was doing her first ever 5K. Pascale is one of our many participants who list their club as St Jerome Academy Runners. We think these kids are super ready for the upcoming cross-country season.

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Also from St Jeromes, all *four* of the Bishop family set a PB. Nice job!

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And Louise Godley and Marianne Poon had the distinction of setting PBs 3 weeks in a row.

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Keaton Ellis set yet another PB. And Angela Perdomo took a HUGE chunk from hers, apparently thanks to great pacing by mom Teresa.

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It wasn’t only the runners who were setting PBs. Bonita Shelby got in on the action, too. We love that Bonita is making parkrun a regular part of her walking routine.

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And in addition to the many newcomers and PBs, we welcomed back an old friend -- Xinzi He was back after a year working in “the other Washington”. We’re super happy to have her smiles back on the trail on a Saturday morning.

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So that rounds off August, our busiest month yet of parkrunning, where we saw 778 finishers in a single month.

Coming attractions:

  1. September 27th is Quidditch Day. That’s the busiest day of the year for Acredale Park. So we encourage folks to park away from the park, or to walk or bike to parkrun.
  2. October 19th is our *3rd* birthday event.
  3. November 28th is our 2nd Thanksgiving parkrun. (And we’ll have a regular Saturday event, too.) Rumors have been heard of a post-parkrun rendezvous with Kensington parkrun for gelato. (yum!)
  4. January 1st is our 4th annual New Years Resolution parkrun. We’ll start at the unusual time of 10:30am. On that day Kensington parkrun will start at 8:30am, and so it’s possible to do BOTH 5Ks to get your new year off to a solid start.

See you soon!

Colin, co-Event Director

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parkrun by the numbers (Run Report #151)

Dr. LAWRENCE C. WASHINGTON, Professor of Mathematics at the University of Maryland, College Park, was no stranger to the Paint Branch Trail when, in the fall of 2016, College Park parkrun began invading his regular running spot.

Known in his professional life for his research in the field of number theory and  his work on cylcotomic fields, Larry ran with parkrun as a first timer (and set a new age-group record!) at CP parkrun #19 on February 18, 2017 (part of a legendary cohort of CP parkrun #19 first timers).

Over the 917 days since joining up, Larry has become a fixture at CP parkrun. This February (at event #124) he earned a purple shirt for volunteering 25 times, along the way starting our tradition of timekeeper high fives. This week he earned a red shirt for completing his 50th parkrun. Congratulations, Larry!

(Footnote: Apparently, Larry claims that he completed his 100th parkrun last week but did not qualify for a black shirt because the parkrun organization does not recognize milestones using a base-7 numbering system.)

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Larry Washington, outstanding in his field

THE NUMBERS

College Park parkrun’s 151st event was held on August 24, 2019, the 236th day of the year. It was a beautiful day for running and walking, with temperatures at start time around 64°F. There were 149 finishers, including 10 finishers over the age of 70 (a new CP record).

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This week’s 149 finishers accounted for approximately 7% of this week’s 2,130 finishers across the 36(!) parkrun USA events (CP extends a warm welcome and best wishes to Howard Temin Lakeshore Path parkrun in Madison, WI!).

This week’s run brought the cumulative number of CP parkrun finishers to 14,736. So probably somewhere around 9:35am on Saturday September 7th, somebody will become the 15,000th finisher.

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Congratulations to David King for completing his 10th parkrun and qualifying for a white milestone shirt!

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Our 149 finishers this week included 17 parkrun first timers, 1 College Park first timer, 124 returning participants, and 7 finishers who did not scan. Returning participants included 9 second timers, and 11 participants who have completed more than 100 events.

Amanda Mercer completed her 81st parkrun in 81st position.

FIRST TIMERS

Welcome to first timer Clarence. Hope to see you back next week!

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Welcome to first timer Ariela!

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Welcome to first timers Donovan and Dylan!  Good luck to Donovan on your move to Chicago.  Dylan, hope to see you back soon!

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Welcome to first timers Shaan, Saksham, and Cara!

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Welcome to first timers John, Daniel, Louise, and Connor!

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“PERSONAL BEST”

No fewer than 25 parkrunners had “personal best” times this week—too many to list every single one, so…

 

For n=1 to 25

{If pbflag[n]=”Yes” then Nice Job parkrunner[n]};

/*

 

Consider yourself congratulated!

But to name just a few…

Congratulations, John R., for a PB on your 109th parkrun!

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Big PB for Natasha! Like, 11 minutes big.

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PB for John M. When John first joined us he was a 32-minute runner. Now he's a 23-minute runner.

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PB for Janel

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PB for Louis

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PB for Nathan, shown here pacing Manuel, who was also en route to a PB.

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And although it wasn’t strictly a PB for Nathan’s mom Becky, when it’s your fastest parkrun in 2 years, that’s good enough for us.

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PB for Arnd

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This face rings a bell. Congratulations to Zebi. She reported that it was her first time running the whole way -- nice!

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PB for Marianne, one of this week’s many second timers.

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PB for Cordell. *So* close to sub-30 now.

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VOLUNTEERS

Thanks to our 14 credited volunteers, and the others who pitched in to help, and for everyone who contributes to make CP parkrun community so great. Including today’s 14, we now have reached a cumulative total of 1,985 volunteer occasions, by 315 different people. Can we get 15 volunteers next week and reach 2,000?

Thanks to Clare and Cameron for timing, Joel and Katie for scanning, and Kayla for tokens.

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Thanks to Lori and Zebi for helping with the token aftermath, and thanks to Adrian for helping with the … beforemath?

Thank you course marshals Hump, Lisa, and Danny.  Thanks 1,000,000 to Janet for stepping in as tailwalker after an all night shift!

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Thanks to Colin and Andrea for the 1,000,001 things you do to make this event happen every week! And to everyone in the CP parkrun community, if you are interested in volunteering in the future, please check out this page:

https://www.parkrun.us/collegepark/volunteer/

And if you are not on the email list that is used for the weekly volunteer call -- just one email per week from Andrea, and it has other cool CP parkrun news, too -- then please sign up. You can do this via your parkrun.com profile, which you can access from a link at the bottom of any parkrun results email. In your parkrun profile go to “email options”; under “opt in/out for different parkruns” select College Park, then click “opt in” and click the green save button below.

You can find all of the photos here and many more from the day in our weekly photo albums.

A couple of extra notes:

1. There are new parkrun events starting in the coming weeks in Madison, WI (starts Aug 24), Portland, OR (Sep 7), Palo Alto, CA (Sep 14), Cleveland, OH (Oct 5), and Atlanta, GA (Oct 5). Know folks in those areas who might be interested? Let them know!

2. There are renewed efforts to get a parkrun event going in Anne Arundel County, likely on the B&A Trail in Glen Burnie. The key step needed at this point is folks who would be interested in helping out from time to time. Do you know of anybody who might be interested? Let Colin or Andrea know. Similar for South Riding, VA (near Centreville/Dulles) and the NCR Trail north of Baltimore.

3. Date for your calendar: we are planning special events again this year on Thanksgiving (9am) and New Years Day (likely 10:30am).

Stewart Mayhew

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Defining Success (Run Report #150)

Another hot and humid day – perfect for proofing croissants, not ideal conditions for running.

Yet, 140 finishers came out for College Park parkrun #150.

I’m Lori, and I am honored that Andrea asked me to be Run Director this week. Part of the duties include writing a Run Report and telling you a little bit about myself. If this is a little “TL;DR” for you, please feel free to skip to the photos.

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I started running about eight years ago. Actually, I started walking and hiking before that to get out of the house, lose weight, make friends, and get healthier. At some point, I decided to try running. On my walks, I would run to a mailbox, then walk to a mailbox. Then I started running from utility pole to utility pole. One day it was a mile. A mile turned into two miles, then three miles. I wasn’t very fast, but I was running.

Over time, 5Ks turned into 10Ks across the Chesapeake Bay Bridge, a couple of 10-milers and finally, a Half-Marathon. I paid for running classes to work on my form. I went to stores that just sold running shoes. I ran on a treadmill for an hour at a 4.0mph pace and that was a huge victory!

I moved to the College Park area two years ago to be closer to work, and I needed to find a group of people to run with. I searched online for 5Ks in the area and stumbled upon College Park parkrun. Wait – a FREE 5K? Every week? Really? I signed up right away and my first parkrun was #68 in January 2018. I was nervous, but Andrea, Colin, and many other parkrunners made me feel welcome immediately. It wasn’t long before I was volunteering for events. One of the things I really love about College Park parkrun is the amount of support and encouragement that everyone brings on Saturday. Whenever I cheer on a faster runner, they cheer for me too. That’s amazing.

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A couple of months ago, Valerie (a regular CP parkrunner) brought up a question: “Why do we measure the success of our parkruns by how fast we run them?” The answer seemed obvious to me, it’s easy to measure how fast we run, if we run faster, we’re doing better.

With the summer heat and humidity, my times are not getting better, and I’ve decided to revisit this question. How do you measure parkrun success in other ways besides how fast you run? I think it comes down to celebrating every victory, and the College Park parkrun team excels in this.

This week, I’d like to recognize some of our celebrations:

14 first-timers joined us this week. Hopefully, you had a chance to say hello to them. As a former first-timer, this makes a difference!

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14 second-timers CAME BACK this week! In this heat and humidity! You are 1 parkrun closer to 250! [But that’s a long way! So getting to 5 or 10 might seem like a reasonable target.] It was great to see some people who we hadn't seen for a year or two. Your barcode never expires.

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18 people set PBs and got to ring the PB bell!

A special shout out to Cameron McPhee on her PB this week. Last week Cameron wrote to us on Friday to say that she had broken her toe and couldn’t run, so could she help out as a volunteer instead. Of course! So we were surprised to see her back running this week. And setting a PB, despite the heat and humidity. Nice job, Cameron!

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14 people volunteered their time this week.  Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! To my finish line crew: Mike McClellan, Judy Mulusa, Maia Swisdak, Alexander Swisdak, and Marc Swisdak. And Andrea Zukowski, who was on hand if I needed anything. Working out the results was a breeze thanks to this team. Out on the course Jackie and Kayla Hayes were smiling tail walkers, Lisa Wilson welcomed everybody at the turnaround. And we had the pleasure of seeing Hump back in his rightful position in command of Hump's Crossing. It's so good to see him in better health again.

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Families – From stylish moms to grateful dads, to princesses and a trio of timers, it’s great to see families together. And special congratulations to Nico for his first parkrun! Last week Nico was riding in the stroller as we celebrated his dad Eddie doing his 100th parkrun. This week Nico ditched the stroller and completed the course under his own steam for the first time. Mom and dad were suitably proud.

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Congratulations to everyone who participated in College Park parkrun #150. I appreciated your support and I hope to do this again!

Lori Dominick

 

Milestones, farewells, and PBs (Run Report #149)

What a day we had on Saturday! I’m not just talking about the weather. Although, that was quite nice. We had lots to celebrate in our College Park parkrun community. We saw lots of friends (148 finishers), met some new friends (25 first timers), and said a fond farewell to a great friend. CP-parkrun-149-178_web

We saw three parkrun milestones met on Saturday. The first was by Eddie Matus. Eddie ran his 100th parkrun Saturday. Every. Single. One. at College Park. Thank you for being such a staple in our community Eddie. The next two have done a tiny bit more tourism. Completing their 50th parkrun was Jackie Hayes - 34 of those at College Park. It must be that tunnel of trees that keeps her coming back. Another 50th milestone this week was from Dan Sarmiento. I think Dan had the lucky 50 sash or maybe he was pushed along by the weather, because he crushed his PB by over 2 minutes! It could be something in the family, too. His wife, Erin, who Dan ran with Saturday, also set a PB on her 50th! (Do keep that in mind, Carly!)

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Speaking of PBs. There were lots of them. One of our 17 PBs, John Ramsey came up to me right after and enthusiastically said “I didn’t think I’d get a PB until October!” John was one of our many finishers that was pleasantly surprised by the relatively low temperature and low dew point on Saturday morning. Hey, Mother Nature, more of that in August, please!

Some of the others out there ringing that PB bell included, Keaton Ellis, John Maneval, Adrian Dover, Matt Kaplan, Kayla Hayes, and Lucy Younes.

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Tom Charles and Celeste Pere both seem to be on a roll. Both have set PBs on almost every visit to CP parkrun … with the only exception being on crazy hot days when PBs really weren’t a thing. And Jimmy Tancabel seemed to take to the cooler weather, taking 2 minutes from the PB that he set just last week.

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Ada and Aaron Lee were both running together until the turnaround. I’m not sure, but they both might have had PB in mind from that point. Ada got her PB first, but less than a minute behind her was Aaron, just as ready to ring that bell.

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We also had said goodbye (and see you again soon) to Carlos Chaverri. As mentioned on Saturday, Carlos is an amazing member of our community and a friend to many of us. Carlos brought family with him on Saturday as his father and wife, Viviana, joined all of us on the trail. Saturday was Carlos’s 46th parkrun. He’ll be moving away, but we do hope we’ll see him as often as possible. Carlos, make sure you come back to College Park to run that 50th!

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In addition to the many regulars who are out there setting PBs, reaching milestones, or just enjoying the good company in the outdoors, we’re happy to be meeting so many new friends.

Our first-timers span all ages and paces and all parts of our community.

That includes families who were doing their first ever parkrun, such as the four members of the Bishop family.

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And families who are seasoned hands. We understand that the Kims, who have done over 200 parkruns between them in South Africa, may be new to our area. We’re looking forward to helping them meet people in their new home.

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It includes speedsters in their prime, like Cirilio Perez and Alexandra Dystant.

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… and four-year olds who were almost certainly completing their first 5k. It was very cool to see Marty Lukens completing his first parkrun together with mom Rachel. Marty is no stranger to parkrun, as he has covered the course in a stroller many times, sometimes as volunteers. But now he’s four years old he can get his own barcode and do parkrun under his own steam. Great stuff, Marty!

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We’re just as excited to see folks returning for a second visit. Louis Green and Bonita Shelby both joined us for the first time last week, and so it was great to see them back again this week.

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As with every week, we could not have done this without our wonderful volunteers. The volunteer roster may look empty a day before, but we always know people will step up. I had more people ask me on the morning of parkrun if we needed help than I had positions to fill. You all are amazing! This week’s superstars were Janice Bernache and Cameron McPhee as our timers. A special shout out to Cameron, who messaged us a couple of days earlier to say that she had broken her toe and so could she volunteer instead? Speedy recovery, Cameron!

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We also had Barbara Gusack as our tailwalker, Ashwin Varghese Kuruttukulam and Anna Tinnemore as our scanners (Anna played double duty as first timers briefer), Mike McClellan, Jennifer Murphy as our photographer, Hump Plotts, Daniel Walker, and Lisa Wilson as our course marshal extraordinaires. And, of course, Andrea Zukowski and Colin Phillips with all the behind the scenes work to make it easy on a run director.

A couple of quick additional notes:

You can see our photo albums from this week and almost every other week in our Flickr collections.

And if you enjoy CP parkrun then we would LOVE for you to sign up for our weekly news email. We promise not to spam you, scam you, or bore you. In a typical week you'll receive one email from co-event director Andrea, with news about the event, and volunteering information -- this is what keeps the event free, for everybody, forever. To join the news list log in to your parkrun.com profile, or click on the link at the bottom of one of your parkrun results emails.

Until next week!

Brian Murphy

 

Be prepared! (Run Report #148)

“Be prepared!” is the motto for the scouts. And that is exactly what we were this week.

4,100 British scouts (boys and girls) were spending the weekend at UMD following a week at the 24th World Scout Jamboree in West Virginia. And we heard from a couple of units that they planned to sneak in a quick parkrun while they were in town.

Andrea really wasn’t sure how many to expect, so she made up a lot of extra finisher tokens, just in case.

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As it turned out, we didn’t need the extra tokens. About 20 scouts and their leaders joined us, coming from Warwickshire, Cornwall, and Jersey. And we thoroughly enjoyed welcoming them. We rarely see international visitors at College Park parkrun, as most tourists head straight to Roosevelt Island parkrun. So this was probably the biggest group of international tourists we’ve ever seen.

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They’re scouts, so of course they were helpful. Some of them helped us to get everything set up.

Most of them were doing their first parkrun away from home. Such as leader Petra, who normally does her parkunning at Salisbury parkrun.

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And one guy had a broken arm, so he couldn’t run. And CP regular Lori Dominick kept him company and they struck up a great conversation along the trail. We love this!

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We had other, scout-adjacent visitors from afar. Misha Bernard brought along her sister Kimberly and family, who are based in Northumbria, England. It looks like a couple of them are involved in the scouts. It was also their first ever parkrun. We love introducing Brits to parkrun -- who knows, maybe it will catch on there!

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We also learned that Susan H, who has been spending her second summer with us, also has a long history with the scouts in Canada. So she enjoyed catching up with the visitors.

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And we had local scout leaders out too, helping to welcome the visitors.

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And we had other international visitors besides. Gerry and Cepta joined us from Navan parkrun near Dublin, Ireland. They apparently did their homework on which DMV parkrun to join, and had a great time in College Park.

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These folks were some of the *30* first timers this week, part of an overall field of 150. Nice crowd! Another first-timer this week is Bonita, who enjoyed her walk with Dottie. Hope you can join us again, Bonita.

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We had a special milestone celebration for Valerie Silensky, who was reaching two official parkrun milestones on the same day! She wore the red sash for completing her 50th parkrun. And she also wore the purple superhero cape for volunteering for the 25th time. This week she was tailwalker. Thank you, Valerie!

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With slight improvement of the weather it was time for some more PBs. There were 16 of them in all this week. Between that and the first-timers the PB bell saw a lot of action this week.

One PB was by birthday girl Lucy Younes, who was celebrating entering a new age-category. When Lucy first joined us she was struggling with balance issues, and needed assistance on the trail. We’re so happy to see her getting her running mojo back.

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Delia Reyes set a PB too, her first time under 50 minutes on her 19th time with us. Delia has been power walking, and breaking into a jog increasingly. And her kids Alondra and Juan have been joining her to encourage her. Delia tells us that her target is to reach 45 minutes. We’re sure that can’t be too far off.

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Meanwhile, up front it was the speediest day that we’ve seen in a long while, with Travis Boltjes and Mike Padilla pushing each other to new age-category records of 16:12 (40-44) and 16:18 (45-49), respectively. Speedy!

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Other PBs this week came from Brian Krznarich, Jason Daniels, Mark Sullivan, Ada Lee, Jimmy Tancabel, Annika Dallman, Janel Niska, Kathy Unlu, Zebi Brown, Vicki Stevens, Corrie Pond, and Alondra Saavedra. Nice job, everyone!

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A few people reach unofficial milestones every week, on their way to wearing the red sash

 

5-timers: Sarah Cunanan, Kathy McFalls, Thomas Hool, Steven Camarano, Kathy Unlu, and Jimmy Tancabel.

10-timers: Aaron Lee, Howard Gillespie

25-timers: Angela Gentile (who this week brought a curious barkrunner).

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The biggest cheer of the day, though, came when Andrea announced at the pre-run briefing that our dear course marshal Hump Plotts was back. We’re so happy to see Hump back in his regular spot and starting to feel better. And thanks to Danny Walker, who has been acting as Hump’s stunt double these past few weeks. This week we had two tall bearded guys with red trucks watching over you.

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We had lots of other volunteers keeping the show going, of course. We love seeing different people stepping forward week by week.

Team Schneider was out in force again. Josh handled tokens, with help from Samantha. Erin took photos. Samantha and Mary Clare helped timekeepers Joel and Jenn hone their high-fiving technique. And baby brother had the job of staying calm and collected.

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Our other volunteers this week were Jeremy Rubio (scanning), Abigail Phillips (scanning), Katie Hirsche (scanning), Violet and Calvin Ridge (finish token sorting), Lisa Wilson (turnaround), plus Andrea Zukowski as run director, and me as propagandist.

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And for me, it was great to be back home at College Park again. Last week I was in Japan, and tried to get in a parkrun in Osaka. I set off super early to navigate the trains to the park. … And while I was traveling they canceled, due to an approaching typhoon

Colin

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100 in the Shade (Run Report #146)

College Park parkrun #146 was undoubtedly the hottest we have experienced since we started meeting every Saturday on the Paint Branch Trail in early 2016. The forecast was for 90 degrees and high humidity at start time, with a heat index pushing towards 100 degrees.

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Lots of barcodes were wilting in the heat, too

It was also notable for a special milestone for Andrea Zukowski, our event founder and co-Event Director. When she first discovered parkrun in 2014, and wished we had this in our community, she was able to do a couple of parkruns a year, on family trips to the UK. It was going to take her until age 99 to join the 100 club. But thanks to her initiative, and thanks also to the wonderful volunteer culture that means that she gets to walk or run most weeks, she reached her 100th parkrun some way ahead of her 99th birthday.

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We seriously considered canceling due to the excessive heat warning. A couple of the DC-area events did cancel, lacking shade to protect the parkrunners and the volunteers. But thanks to much sharing of ideas among the DMV parkrun crew, we came up with a list of precautions that would help to keep everybody safe.

  1. We encouraged everyone to slow right down and try to set a PW - personal worst. The bell was a PW bell for the day, too.
  2. We moved the start/finish area into the shade closer to the stream, and came with THREE canopies to provide additional shade. The shade at Acredale Park is improving thanks in part to trees that YOU planted over the past couple of years.
  3. We encouraged everyone to hydrate well, and we brought along additional tubs of water for the day. Including an emergency jug at the turnaround.
  4. Andrea walked and she encouraged others to join her. Leading by example!
  5. Lisa and Joyce had the wonderful idea of bringing along popsicles. Thank you!
  6. We had additional eyes and ears out on the trail looking out for safety.
  7.  We encouraged folks with greater heat sensitivity to stay home and wait for next week.

We’re happy to report that it worked well. 106 parkrunners safely completed the course, and we estimated that a third of participants set PWs. Slowing things down really helped, nobody appeared distressed, and folks were happy to hang out in the shade afterwards to chat with friends, enjoy treats, and cheer in everybody else.

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We celebrated two more official milestones, in addition to Andrea’s 100. Maria Cecil reached the 50 milestone, and she looked great in the red 50 sash. We really appreciate that Maria and her family make the journey over to College Park to be a part of our community. They now have three 50-clubbers in the family, so we wish them well on keeping track of the different red shirts in the laundry.

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Yancira Amaya wore the purple superhero cape, for volunteering for the 25th time. This week Yancira was scanning barcodes. In the past couple of weeks she has been Run Director and given the first-timers briefing. We are so grateful for the many ways that Yancira contributes to our community, as a runner, volunteer, and as a welcoming presence.

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One of the highlights of the day came when a large group moved on to The Board and Brew. There we were joined by our much loved course marshal Hump Plotts, who came to join Andrea’s 100th parkrun celebration. Hump has been poorly lately, and so it means a lot that he came out to join us. Best wishes for a continued recovery, Hump!

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Together with our post-parkrun coffee we enjoyed a rather tasty cake that Svetlana Stanaford brought along for Andrea. Svetlana and Darrell Stanaford drove down from Baltimore to join us. And Darrell achieved the minor distinction of finishing in 85th position, making him the 14,000th finisher at CP parkrun. … That’s a lot of free 5Ks that Andrea set in motion.

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There were very few first-timers this week, unsurprisingly. One of them, Simon Webster, is a parkrun tourist normally based at Roundshaw Downs parkrun on the southern edge of London. Simon has done a lot of parkruns, but he had little doubt that this was the hottest that he had ever completed.

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We love it when folks enjoy parkrun enough that they keep coming back to the community.

This week’s new 5-timers included Celeste Pere, Neha Joshi, and Nicholas Hall.

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Susan H joined us for the 10th time. Susan is an unlikely -- but extremely welcome -- regular at CP parkrun, because she lives thousands of miles away. Variously based in Vancouver, Canada and Strasbourg, France she was working at NASA the past two summers, discovered us through a friend of a friend, and has been joining us whenever she’s in town.

Meanwhile, Alyssa Heintzelmann became a 25-timer this week. She and her dad Dave smartly chose to just enjoy an easy walk together this week. We hear that Alyssa recently graduated high school and will be heading off to college soon, but we hope she’ll continue to join us when she’s in town.

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A couple of other returns or surprises this week …

 

First, many of you saw that Neil Jograj completed last week’s parkrun in a wheelchair. He wasn’t able to cover the course on foot, but he did not want to miss out on joining us. We were really pleased to see him completing the course bipedally again this week. We’ll take you however we can have you, Neil!

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Second, we welcomed back Keaton Ellis from Australia, where he was representing the US at the world Rubik’s Cube championship. Yes, that’s a thing. And we hear that Keaton is definitely a thing in that world. He’s a pretty speedy runner, but he’s an insanely speedy cuber. Keaton also snuck in a little bit of parkrun tourism while down under. He called in at Mosman parkrun, which overlooks Sydney Harbor … and just happens to be led by UMD grad Mary Botto. You never know where you might come across a fellow Terp.

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Third, we were surprised and very pleased to see Xander and Tara join us this week for their 86th parkrun together. As many of you know Xander runs to help manage his cystic fibrosis (... and because we’re kinda fun). But one of the consequences of CF is that the world can seem like a much hotter place. So in the past Xander has had to run indoors on the treadmill when things get really warm. But apparently a new treatment that he has been taking makes a big difference to his ability to get active outdoors in the summer. New treatments take a long time to develop, but this shows that Xander’s CF fundraisers, which many of you have supported in the past, really do make a difference.

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Xander didn't get an all-time Personal Worst. But he did his slowest time since he was barely 5-years old. That's good enough for us.

As ususal we had a wonderful crew of volunteers making everything go ahead without a hitch. Some were volunteering for the first time, others are regulars. It’s always a rotating cast of different community members, and it just works.

Lisa Wilson was in her usual spot, and Danny Walker continued his stint as Hump’s replacement marshal. He’s got the beard, the red truck and the coffee. But as he ramps up the mileage for marathon training he’s clearly not the Real Hump. Thanks Danny!

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Sisters Erin Munsell and Carly Mills took care of timing. They came over after already having completed the MCRRC Matthew Henson 5K at 7:30am. Judy Mulusa and Yancira Amaya handled tokens and barcodes. Jackie and Kayla Hayes were additional safety marshals on the trail, while Barbara Gusack brought up the rear as tailwalker. Gus Campbell sorted tokens, and Adrian Dover and Stewart Mayhew helped get everything set up and taken down.

I basically stood around and did a lot of talking and cheering. And Andrea did the many things that she always does. We are so fortunate that a few years ago she went way out of her comfort zone to get this started for all of us. And she was just thrilled to see so many friends join us this week, even in the strong heat.

Here she is right after receiving her 100-club notification email.

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And below are some of our Personal Worst achievers this week. Congratulations, all!

Colin

Co-Event Director

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We're not sure whether to count Sam's Personal Worst. He arrived a couple of minutes late (... a result of smartly slowing down on his 5 mile run to parkrun), and then proceeded to pass all but two people. You may have noticed him zipping by on the trail!

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From our Swamp Correspondent (Run Report #144)

July 6, 2019

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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Jackie & Kayla Hayes enjoyed a run together

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

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

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Team Schneider helped with the trail chalk

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

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

 

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

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

-S. Mayhew (reporter at large)

 

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