College Park parkrun is cancelled on 26 September 2020: COVID-19 (Coronavirus)

Niko Niko! (Virtual Report 16)

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



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

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

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

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




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

Facts and Figures

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


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


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

Not so fast

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

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

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


Don't try this at home, folks!


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



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

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

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


Welcome (back) to the trail, Anne and Louise

For some parkrunners once along the trail was not enough.

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


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


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


Lori's fastest 5K since March 2019

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


Go Isaiah!

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


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

Not only in College Park

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

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


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


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

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

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

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


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

Even more venues

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

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


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

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


Team(let) Schneider in Williamsburg, VA this week

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

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


Town on a cliff

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

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


Matching shades. And medals.

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


Eli's art tour continues


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

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

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


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

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


Post-barkrun recovery for Odin

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


PGRC crew on the Tunnel of Trees

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


Exploring the sights

Virtual Volunteers

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

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

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

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

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


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


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

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

Looking Ahead

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


Michelle Lemon had good company on her CPVp this week

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

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

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


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

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

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

Important final note

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

Until next time!

Your CPVp Team


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


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


Niko niko!


Good things all around us (Virtual Report 15)

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

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

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



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

Facts and Figures

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



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


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

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


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

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


Castle Alatskivi, Estonia. Pretty!

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

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


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

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


Happy anniversary, Cory and Adam!

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


Thanks for the history lesson, Pratyush!


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


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

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


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

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


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


Lots of fun nature pictures and stories this week.

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


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

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

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

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

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


Civitavecchia shoreline. Nice place for a morning run.


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

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

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

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

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


Great to see Steven on the trail this week

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

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


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

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

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

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


Turtle badge for Eddie!

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


Can you see those red legs?

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

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

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

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

Virtual Volunteers

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

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


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

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


Hump's Lake

Looking Ahead

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Until next time!

Your CPVp Team


Kalonji got in an early run on the regular course


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


Matt K. at Hump's Crossing


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


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



The connector trail to College Park Woods is nearly finished


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


End of the Trail (Virtual Report 14)

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

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


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

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

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




Janet met Connie on her walk. Perfect!

Facts and Figures

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


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


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

Live Coffee Returns!

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

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

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


Great to see old friends on a Saturday morning


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



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


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



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


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

Our Favorite Trail

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

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


Phillips x 2 (unrelated)

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

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


Lisa visited herself on the trail

Appalachian Trail Tour

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


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

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

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

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


Mt Katahdin in winter, courtesy of Valerie Silensky

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


Dave and Alyssa covered the entire WV section of the AT


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

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

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


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

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


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


Wordsworth had a point


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


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

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

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


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


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

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


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

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

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


Janet and Mark enjoyed their longest walk together


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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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


Michael and Dom did their CPVp in Akron, OH

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

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

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


Welcome to CPVp, Michelle!

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

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


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

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

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

Virtual Volunteers

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

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

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


One tired parkrunner, one striking barkrunner

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

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

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

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


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

Looking Ahead

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

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

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

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

Until next time!

Your CPVp Team


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


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


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


Eddie Matus had to stop his run to admire this bird


Make Lemonade (Virtual Report 13)

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

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

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



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


Facts and Figures

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


Live Coffee Returns!

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

Making Lemonade

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

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


Nice plogging, Jen and Travis

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


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


Keep up, Malik!

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


Lisa and James, 102 years young

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

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


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


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

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

Appalachian Trail Tour

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


This week's route - Virginia to New York

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

Speaking of Kill Devil Hills …

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

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

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

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

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


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

Courses & Nature

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

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


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

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


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

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

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


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


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


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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


Burlington, VT. Looks lovely.

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

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


Somewhere in the midwest. Easy to socially distance.

Virtual Volunteers

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

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

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

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

Looking Ahead

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

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

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

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

Until next time!

Your CPVp Team


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



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

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


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


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


Elizabeth Sheridan's birthday message left by co-workers


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


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


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


Beat the Heat (Virtual Report 12)

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

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

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



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

Facts and Figures

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



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

Beat the Heat

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

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


Foxy rolled in the grass to cool off


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

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


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

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

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


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

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


Now THAT is an appealing parkrun course

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


Plunge in the Mediterranean after your virtual parkrun. Nice!

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

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


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

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

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

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


Mid-parkrun refueling stop

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


Eden: Thanks, but no thanks!


Xander: Sign me up!


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

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


Rebecca's cheering section. And recovery snack.

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

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

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


Shackleton thought he knew where to put in his finish sprint

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


This is basically how Pooh Sticks works


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

Appalachian Trail Tour

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

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

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

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


Looks like Hyattsville. But with even more hills.


Nantahala Gorge: not the Paint Branch Stream

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

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


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


Stewart headed out early to run on the AT on Saturday

Achievements (just a few)

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

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


9-minute PB for Isaiah!

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

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


Congrats to Joan on achieving her goal!


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Welcome to the Roosevelt Island boardwalk, Annie!

Virtual Volunteers

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

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

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

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


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

Looking Ahead

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

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


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


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

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

But 2020 could be different.

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

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

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

Until next time!

Your CPVp Team


Post-run recovery for the PGRC crew


Unexpected encounter on Baltimore Ave


Lisa's new kicks put a spring in her stride


Post CPVp coffee meetup


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


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