parkrunner spotlight: Steph E!

SE01 

Hi everyone, it's Marie back with another great interview, this time with Lillie parkrun founder Stephanie E.  Let’s start with you telling us a little bit about yourself.

My name is Steph, I am 31 years old and I am from Leeds, England, although I currently live near London with my husband Richard.

How did you and Richard meet? 

SE02

We met through a friend that I used to hang out with after school every Monday. One of our outings was to see her friend’s band play at a bar in Leeds, the friend turned out to be Richard! 

Awesome story! How long have you been married?

SE03

We have been married 4 and a half years! We were together for 9 years and decided to get married before I finished my PhD and started a job in London, so we were only engaged for four weeks! 

After nine years together, I don’t think a long engagement was necessary. 

When did you start running seriously? 

SE04

I started running almost 9 years ago. I had just completed a sprint triathlon with some colleagues from a restaurant that I worked at and I was terrible at the running part. A friend told me about an event her then boyfriend used to go to called parkrun and I signed up right away and started walking/jogging there regularly. I roped in a friend from my masters program and also my Mum (who was not a runner at all) and we started going most weeks, although then it was very easy to find an excuse of “it’s too cold” or “I’m not going running in the rain.” I realized I was becoming a “proper” runner when I started enjoying the cold and wet runs and it became an issue of “it’s too hot to run”! About 6 months after starting parkrun my mum and I joined our local running club, the South Leeds Lakers, and I was hooked from then on. 

Lillie parkrun recently celebrated their 2nd anniversary. You were the driving force behind getting it started. I would hope that you feel a sense of pride when you see how much Lillie has grown over the years.  Would you mind telling us how it all came about?

I do feel proud of Lillie parkrun, but mostly I am proud of the volunteers that have kept it going all of this time! All parkruns are the same in that they wouldn’t exist without volunteers.

SE005

I was offered a job in Ann Arbor starting in January 2018. By that time I was already over 100 parkruns in and I was hooked and I knew that the nearest parkrun was ~30 miles away in Livonia which was pretty far without a car (in England there are over 100 different parkrun events within a 30 mile radius of my house). I'm a natural problem solver so when faced with a parkrun drought my first instinct was "oh well, we will have to just start up one in Ann Arbor" so even before we moved Richard and I were scouring google maps to look for places to start a parkrun. There are two main requirements for new events, a safe route with no roads to cross, and a coffee shop close by for post-event socialising, and Lillie turned out to be the ideal candidate. When we eventually moved I had forgotten all about the trail we had chosen and spent some time checking out local routes with some friends from Livonia but none of them were really suitable (Gallup Park was too busy, County Farm Park too difficult to set up a simple course on). Then Rich remembered the trail he had suggested all those months before and that turned out to be Lillie! After visiting the trail I met with the team from Pittsfield Township and they were really excited and encouraging about what we wanted to do, so Lillie parkrun was born! Over the months that followed, I held regular walking meetups in the park on Saturday mornings and met people like Rajiv who came along week after week until we were finally ready to launch with help from our ambassador Andrea from College Park parkrun. I often think about that first morning and how nervous we were that nobody would come but we ended up with around 65 runners, a record that stood for a long time before we started smashing it regularly over summer!

Such an awesome legacy you’ve left behind. 

Where is your favorite place to go running and hiking? 

Oh that is a tough one! I love the beach and being by the water and I used to adore the Poto trail when I was living in Ann Arbor, but my favourite place to hike in the UK is a place called Ingleton. If I am wearing the right type of shoes I really love trail running in the countryside… the muddier the better! 

All that mud must remind you of Lillie Park in the spring. 

What do you like about Lillie parkrun?

SE06

I feel like this gets echoed a lot when this question is asked, but I love the chance to meet different people! I met some of my best friends from Michigan at parkrun! I also love the accountability of it, there is nothing that will make you show up like somebody asking where you have been. 

We never tire of hearing how great the parkrunners are at Lillie.

What’s your favorite volunteer role at parkrun?

My favourite role has always been tail walker as you get to chat to so many different people, and my worst is definitely the run briefing! I have a very strong Yorkshire (York-sher, not shire!) accent and I speak very quickly so it is not the ideal role for me. 

SE07

Any tips for parkrunners or first timers who are coming to visit Lillie parkrun?

Talk to people! If you are nervous about introducing yourself to people in general, seek out someone in a parkrun hi-viz. These people are likely to be long term parkrunners and the friendliest people you will ever meet. 

SE08

If you’ve toured at other parkrun events, are there any tips or favorite memories you want to share?

I have done 210 parkruns at 39 different events in 4 different countries, and I have 3 events that have been my “home” runs. This touring includes 7 in the US. When I am travelling I like to squeeze in a parkrun if possible. The furthest I have travelled for a parkrun was when Barbara and I had a wonderful trip to Durham, NC, but the most ridiculous was the day a group of Michigan parkrunners drove all the way to London, Ontario for an extra Canada Day parkrun! It was a 7hr round trip for ~30 minutes of running but it was a great experience as I had a friend visiting from the UK and another English parkrunner happened to be in the US that day too so came along for the ride! 

Wow!  Your parkrun history is impressive. And seven hours for a parkrun is dedication!  

Are there other activities that you really enjoy?

As well as running I am a triathlete training for my second Ironman event in 2021 so lots of cycling and swimming (although most of my swim training at the moment is done on dry land using swim cords).  

Another Ironman participant!  Where was your first Ironman?

SE09

My Ironman was in Louisville, Kentucky. It was wet, windy, and cold but also a wonderful experience!

Do you have any hobbies?

I love reading! I will read absolutely anything but I particularly enjoy reading pop-sci books. 

Do you have any pets?

SE010A   

I have a 10 year old lionhead rabbit called Jim, and we are currently looking after the family dog Rusty. She’s a little overweight so I’m gradually training her to run with me but she is super cute and lots of fun!

SE010B

Rusty does look like she prefers a warm bed over running the countryside, while Jim has that look: “Don’t even think about asking me to go out for a run!”

Do you like to travel?

SE011

I love to travel, my favourite trip ever was to Kenya for a friend’s wedding. We got to go on safari for 3 days and it was amazing! I would love to go back to Africa. When COVID restrictions are lifted I am planning on getting out to the Netherlands to see a friend and take part in a parkrun there, and also go to Poland to run Cieszyn parkrun, where the course strays across the border into the Czech Republic so we can literally run between the two countries. 

Both sound like great trips for post COVID times. I hope that a visit to Lillie will be on your list of future parkruns.  

Steph, I want to thank you for taking part in this interview.  I also want to thank you for your drive and dedication that it took to get Lillie parkrun established.  I hope that one day we can once again meet in person, until then, take care and stay safe.

Check Steph's globetrotting parkrun history here.

 

barkrunner spotlight: Charlie!!

A note from Marie: Last January, Eden Gray (from Roosevelt Island parkrun) contacted me about interviewing Charlie for the parkrunUSA newsletter. However, around the same time, there were changes in how the parkrunUSA blog was produced and the barkrunner interviews were discontinued; as a result, Charlie’s interview was not published. Reading Charlie's finished interview gave me such a happy feeling inside, so early into lockdown I contacted Adam about interviewing Lillie parkrunners. My hope was that the interviews might give a boost during a low point in our lives. Eden was gracious enough to let me use her format, and thus began the weekly Lillie parkrun spotlights.

This is the last interview in the pipeline, unless you want to be next! If so, reach out to us via email or social media (bat signal might be missed). In the meantime, here is the interview that started it all…

Charlie1

Hi everyone, your barkrunner correspondent Foxy here with another fantastic interview.  This time, I spoke with sweet Charlie who hails from Lillie barkrun in Michigan!

Tell us about your fab puppy self Charlie - 

My name is Charlie. I’m a black lab, and I will turn four on October 14th.  I live on an 80 acre farm in Saline, Michigan with my human parents Roger & Marie. My home parkrun is Lillie parkrun in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Do you like to run?

I don’t run these days, I walk.  Sometimes I jog a little, but not too much. In September 2018, after a trip to the U.P. (Upper Peninsula for your non Michiganders!), I started limping.  At first everyone thought that I had just overdone it and had sore muscles. Unfortunately, I was diagnosed with severe hip dysplasia in my right hip and moderate in my left.  It was a very sad time for all of us - my mom cried. I was told I could no longer run. Oh, how I loved to run and chase balls, sticks, and squirrels… I was a great retriever. Then my mom found Lillie parkrun last summer.  She was thrilled when she found out that dogs were welcome. Not all 5Ks will allow dogs – this seems silly to me. She was nervous that it might be too much for my hip, but it hasn’t been harmful. Since I have been going to our Saturday morning walks, my vet says that he has noticed that I have been building muscle and I have even lost a couple of pounds. I hardly limp anymore.  Eventually I will have to have my hips replaced, but for now, I am doing great!

Charlie 2

I recently had a total tear of my ACL. I had TPLO surgery In July and I was finally allowed to go back to Lillie Park on September 19th. I was so happy and excited to be able to join my mom and a couple of others for a 5K. I’ve lost a lot of muscle these past few weeks, but I am sure that I will be in tip top shape soon.

That is awesome Charlie!  Going to barkrun is great whether you are a runner or a walker!  So, what is your favorite thing about barkrun? 

Charlie 3

I love the people. Everyone comes up and says hello to me, and gives me a little scratch behind the ear.  There are still people who know my name, but not my mom’s - Ha! She is okay with that.

Oh, that is totally the way it goes, isn’t it?  Everyone just adores us barkrunners.  My mom is used to playing second fiddle too!  So, what do you like to do besides barkrun?

I love to take walks on our farm and at our cottage on the AuSable River in Grayling. I am fortunate, in that I am able to go to work with my humans and we walk every day. My mom says I am her personal trainer, because if she sits at the desk too long, I start whining so that she will get up, get out, and go for a walk.

I also love the water.  In the summer, we go to the great lakes and rivers.  I like to walk and splash — I don’t really like to swim.  When it is hot at Lillie Park, I usually like to stop and wade out into the pond to cool down. One time, I jumped off the middle of the bridge! I didn’t realize it was deep and I would have to swim! I haven’t tried that again, but people still ask me if I have jumped off the bridge lately.

Charlie 4

Jumping right into the deep end!  Wow!  Perhaps they need to put a warning in the barkrun announcements?  We have to warn the peeps to be careful on the boardwalk at Roosevelt Island barkrun - or else they could fall into a swamp!  Wouldn’t that be a real mess!

Jumping into a mucky swamp sounds like heaven to me!

So, do you volunteer at Lillie?

I love course set up because I get an extra lap. Tail-walker is good too.  I have the right anatomy for that - wink wink!

Marie-and-Charlie-IMG_3216

Definitely! Any tips for barkrunners coming to Lillie?

Stay to the right, even if the smells on the left side of the path are better, you must stay on the right.

That is super smart advice given Lillie’s three lap course!  Good call Charlie!  Okay, time for my favorite part - the lightning round!  

Best toy?  

Anything that squeaks, makes noise, or has stuffing that I can rip out, and spread all over the house!

Got any party tricks? 

I’m working on choosing which hand the treat is in.  I get a little excited and just start tapping any hand.

He he - might as well go for the gold, right? Fave spot at home? 

Anywhere within three feet of my mom, sometimes even under her feet.

Charlie 5

Most delicious treat?  Peanut Butter, Peanut Butter, Peanut Butter.  My parents have started spelling it, but I am catching on to that.

Why do they try to play us like that?  

Best way to recover after barkrun? A cold drink of water. I also carry snacks for myself, my human friends, and doggy friends, in the packs on my harness.

I need to stick by you then!  

Are you friendly with the kitties?  

Charlie 6

I love my two kitties – Sheldon and Millie.  They sometimes fight… who are we kidding? They fight a lot, and it’s my job to break them up.

We pups are the natural pack leaders.  

One last question - is there anything else you would like to say to all the peeps out there?

I love Lillie parkrun! You should stop by and visit us sometime!

I second that!  I’ve been to Lillie twice now, and the course and the people are absolutely delightful!  Just like you Charlie!  Thank you for taking the time to chat with me!  

Charlie doesn't have his own bark-code, but his stats would probably be pretty close to Marie's.

 

parkrunner spotlight: Ron L

Next up in our ongoing series of interviews is Ron L, a regular volunteer and walker. Contact us via the usual channels if you'd like to be featured in the spotlight!

RL1

Would you tell us a little bit about yourself?

Ron Lochocki, age 58.  I grew up in Tonawanda NY, a suburb of Buffalo.  I’ve lived over half my life now as a Michigander, mostly in the Ann Arbor area.  I work in Milford.

Are you married or in a relationship? 

I’ve been divorced for 6 years and am the father of two daughters (college and high school). Elizabeth is 20 and Suzanne is 17.  Both sleep-in on Saturday mornings.

RL2

So… I guess what you are saying is, we shouldn’t expect to meet them at Lillie Park.

When did you start running/walking seriously? 

I ran regularly in the late 80’s but gave it up because I thought I was too slow and should do something else.  I didn’t have a basis for comparison and have since found out that I was doing just fine with my 9.5 minute mile.  More recently I wanted to find a walking community when I connected with Stephanie through Rajiv, and the original “Let’s bring parkrun to AA” Meet-Up gang.

It’s great that you were able to find parkrun.

Where is your favorite place to go walking? 

RL3

With all my new friends, at our parkrun.  Walking around my neighborhood is kind-of boring.

What do you like about Lillie parkrun?

The interesting community of people I meet walking the route.  I’ve had some truly interesting conversations.  I also enjoy coffee afterward.

The coffee is the highlight of many parkrunners. What’s your favorite volunteer role at parkrun?

Tail Walker followed by Run Director.  Set-up and take down are fun too.  I have some vision issues which prevent me from doing the other jobs well.

RL4

Any tips for parkrunners or first timers who are coming to visit Lillie parkrun?

Volunteering is a great way to meet people. After that continue growing the family we’ve all become. And help build the community of walkers so I have more company when tail walking!  Additionally, it has been nice to see how people have gotten so involved since our beginning.  And in ways beyond the basic infrastructure necessary to field our weekly 5k - in things like the softer roles such as this newsletter or 3D printing the barcode sorting rack.

Yes, parkrun does have a great group of volunteers. Have you toured at other parkrun events?

I’ve not toured elsewhere.  I’d like to do so.

Are there other activities that you really enjoy?

I shoot competitively and have been doing so since childhood.  These are very different sports in which everybody learns safety protocols and muscle memory techniques to keep safe.  I also teach people safe skills should they desire to learn.  When I became active in parkrun, I found the whole “cheering people on” as they run kind-of odd.  But I’ve adapted.

RL5

Don’t your vision issues hamper your ability to shoot?

Shooting is muscle therapy for the muscles that focus the eyes.  I have good central vision, but compromised peripheral vision.  It's macular degeneration in the retina.

 Do you have any hobbies?

RL6

I know my way around cars.  I have friends who restore or build race cars.  I usually have my code reader with me if your car is showing a “check engine.”  Just ask.  I also follow the work of Primal guy Mark Sisson and cold therapy guy Wim Hof. I say this because healthy lifestyle is a hobby of sorts.

I know that you have helped a few of our fellow parkrunners with diagnosing engine problems.

Do you volunteer your time anywhere?

RL7

These days it’s parkrun. In years past it was my children’s school, or my church and before that, Jaycees.  I’m a past president of the Ann Arbor Jaycees and a Past Michigan Jaycees Vice-President.  I have friends all over the state from this organization.  It taught me how volunteer organizations are built and maintained.

Do you belong to any clubs or organizations?

The Society of Automotive Engineers, and various shooting organizations.  And parkrun!

Do you have any pets?

RL8

My daughter’s bunny rabbit, Gimli, lives at my house.  He is a mini-Rex and is very quiet and friendly. He is litterbox trained and has the run of the living/ dining room, which are not furnished, except with hidy-boxes for him.  These are inverted cardboard boxes he "modifies" by ripping larger entry / egress holes.  Most rabbits chew something, he chews cardboard.  He can have all the cardboard boxes to modify that he wants.  There is an endless supply at Costco!   He greets me each morning and when I come home from work, like a dog but without the bark – running around in a very happy way begging for a treat.  Otherwise he sleeps a lot. We don't take him outside because if he ran into the forest we'd never see him owing to his natural camouflage.  And then he'd only survive 2 days thereafter (which is what the house rabbit people tell me).

He is adorable! Gimli sounds like a great pet – he acts like a dog, but you don’t have to take him outside when the weather is bad. 

Do you like to travel?

I do, particularly when the company is paying for it.  I’ve been to some interesting places on road trips in years past.  These days with one daughter in college and another heading that way, there’s not much in the budget for travel.

When you are able to travel, where do you like to go?

I have an affinity for Cedar Point's amusement park and hotel packages that lets you relax on the beach.

RL9

Ron, I would like to thank you for taking part in this interview.  I hope that were are able to see you at Lillie parkrun tailwalking and diagnosing engine troubles again soon.  Until then take care and stay safe.

Check out Ron's parkrun stats here (look at all those volunteer credits!)

 

 

parkrunner spotlight: Liam R

Please enjoy the latest in our ongoing series of interviews with Lillie parkrun participants. Many thanks to junior parkrunner Liam R for participating and to Marie Hamlin for coordinating. Contact us via the usual channels if you'd like to be featured in the spotlight!

LR1

Could you tell us a little bit about yourself? 

I am Liam – age 14 – from Ypsilanti. I went to South Arbor Academy for K-8 and am starting at Huron High School this fall (unfortunately, virtually).  

When did you start running?

LR2

I have been on the cross country team at my school since I was 9 years old (so 5 years). I am training with the Huron Men’s Cross Country team this summer, six days a week! Both of my parents are runners and have done a lot of races (my dad ran track and XC in high school and has done marathons and my mom has done half marathons, triathlons, and obstacle races). Even my brother is a cross country and track runner at Huron. He started running in middle school and is now the co-captain of the varsity cross country team. 

Where is your favorite place to go running? 

I like to run by my house on back country roads. Argo Park is another favorite spot. I have also hiked a section of the Appalachian Trail!

Hiking on the Appalachian Trail sounds awesome. What do you like about Lillie parkrun?

LR3

Running with my friends and really great people (and dogs!). Getting to PR (keep setting personal records)! My goal for this year is a sub 20 minute 5k and to do the DXA2 half marathon.

Just remember to have fun while setting those records!  What’s your favorite volunteer role at parkrun?

I helped at the Kids Run Lillie parkrun day – that was fun!

The Kids Take Over was my favorite parkrun! Any tips for parkrunners or first timers who are coming to visit Lillie parkrun?

LR4

Bring a water bottle! If you have trouble with the big hill after Turtle Rock Pond, chant, “I LOVE HILLS” 3 times and by then you’ll be at the top! Also, use your arms and lengthen your stride.

Oh!  I have been doing it all wrong…I chant I don’t like hills.  Thanks for the tip!

Do you have any hobbies?

Solving the Rubik’s Cube with various algorithms, unicycling (at Lillie Park), and being Dungeon Master for Dungeons and Dragons.

I remember someone recently pointing out unicycle tracks at Lillie.  I wonder if they were your tracks. Do you volunteer your time anywhere?

On my parent’s remodeling projects (they do lots of them)! 

That’s great that you help out with the remodeling.  Just remember who you can call when you are grown with a home of your own.

Do you have any pets?

Two cats, Rocky and Rosie (they are the best therapy for getting through COVID-19).

LR5B
LR5A   

There is nothing better than a nice snuggle with your cats, to calm your nerves. 

Earlier you mentioned the Appalachian Trail. Do you like to travel?

LR6

Travelling is cool. The coldest place I’ve been is Canada where we sat in a hot tub outside when it was well below zero wind chill and the steam froze our hair into icicles! Other cool places I’ve visited are Mexico and Honduras (I got to play with monkeys at Gumbalimba Preserve).

LR7

Oh those do sound like great trips.  

Liam, thank you for agreeing to this interview.  I wish you luck with your first year of high school.  I know that you are disappointed that your freshman year will be starting off virtually. I hope that you will be able to attend classes on campus soon.  I also look forward to the day that I can see your smile and hear your “Good morning” greetings on Saturday mornings.  Until then, take care, stay safe, and keep on running.  

Check out Liam's parkrun history here

 

parkrunner spotlight: Lynn B

Next up in our ongoing series of interviews is Lynn B, a regular at Livonia and our Covid-era virtual #Lillienotaparkrun. If you'd like to be featured in the spotlight, contact us via the usual channels.

LB1

Could you tell us a little bit about yourself? 

I'm Lynn Boven, 63, born and raised in a rural area midway between Morley and Stanwood MI about 40 miles north of Grand Rapids MI. I moved to Livonia in 1976 to attend Motech Automotive Education Center with plans to further my education with what I could earn as an automotive technician.  That plan fell through when I was able to meet all of my financial needs with the skills that I had.  I currently work for General Motors at the Warren Technical Center, hand building pre-production vehicles.

You just recently celebrated a wedding anniversary.  How long have you been married?

LB2

Married 42 years.  I met my wife JoAnne when I walked next door in the apartment complex we both lived at and complained about how loudly she was playing her Supremes vinyl singles.

In reflection, it was a good thing she liked to listen to her music so loudly or you wouldn’t have stopped in the name of love. I crack myself up.

When did you start running?

LB3-v2

I started running the day after watching the 1984 men’s Olympic Marathon.  The winner, Carlos Lopes, was more than a decade older than I was at the time so I felt that I would still have a chance to run a competitive marathon.  So I snuffed out my last cigarette, got a book on running marathons from the library and never looked back.

How many marathons have you participated in?

I have 20 paved marathon finishes (two at Boston, '96 and '97), six trail marathon finishes, two 50k finishes, and two 50 mile finishes. Last paved marathon was Free Press 2018, the 30th anniversary of my first Free Press.

Wow! I would venture to say that when you commit to something you go all in.

Where is your favorite place to go running? 

By far my favorite run every week was parkrun.  Now all my running takes place on Edward Hines Drive and the nearby trails.  The canyon lands in Utah and Arizona will always be holy places for me but are more spiritual than fun.  Best run ever, a double crossing of the Grand Canyon I completed with my daughter Carrie.  It is called the Rim to Rim to Rim.

Carrie and Lynn at the Grand Canyon

Carrie and Lynn at the Grand Canyon

Looks like you like backyard racing too! The readers are placing their bets on Jolynn for the win.

Lynn and granddaughter Jolynn

Lynn and granddaughter Jolynn

What do you like about Lillie parkrun?

No one was happier than me when Lillie parkrun came to life.  In all human endeavor, absence of growth breeds atrophy.  I was very relieved that my fellow participants living near Ann Arbor would have a shorter, safer drive on those nasty winter Saturday mornings.

What’s your favorite volunteer role at parkrun?

Pre-event set-up and safety check is my favorite.  I am grateful to all of the volunteers who perform the tasks that prevent them from participating, enabling Cooper and me to do so.  I am able to get in a nice warmup and Cooper gets to take care of his dog business before we run.

LB6

Any tips for parkrunners or first timers who are coming to visit Lillie parkrun?

Don’t forget your barcode.  I ran my one Lillie parkrun in the winter and just like Livonia there were no restrooms on site.  A stop before you get there if needed might be a good idea.  If possible, volunteer on your first visit; there is great honor in doing so.

Great advice!  I must admit I have been guilty of forgetting my barcode. If you’ve toured at other parkrun events, are there any tips or favorite memories you want to share?

I’ve toured Leakin Park MD, Mansfield and Sippo Lake OH; all great events.  Mansfield is a great racers’ course on a paved rail grade with a slight uphill on the out leg.  If you stand on it hard on the back leg it might net a PB.  Sippo Lake is constructed with my favorite surface of crushed limestone and has a sweet twisty hill.  Leakin Park is a great urban setting and has coffee at a great quirky little pub.

Oh!  A pub!  I will need to put Leakin Park on my list.

How many parkruns have you taken part in?

LB7

My parkrun totals are 316. 315 in the US, the most by an individual on US soil, and one international at Bellevue parkrun Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario.

This is certainly impressive, congratulations! When not running, are there other activities that you really enjoy?

Cycling, home maintenance, yardening, and grazing right from the garden.

LB8

That is one beautiful garden.

Do you volunteer your time anywhere?

Only parkrun

Do you have children? 

Two daughters Carrie and Kristen.

LB9Any grandchildren?

One, Jolynn.  Her name is a combination of my wife’s and mine.

LB10

She looks right at home tinkering on Grandpa’s car.  I love the matching outfits too. 

Do you have any pets?

LB11

Cooper Dog

Can you share a little about Cooper?

No doubt about it, Cooper is way more interesting and popular than me. People from around the world have requested a photo with him, not me. Cooper is a rescue dog who was found lying on a sidewalk in Detroit by a cat lady who turned him over to Home Fur'ever Rescue. We adopted him from an event at Pet Smart. He has just turned 11 years old and has well over 200 parkruns under his belt, er...collar. At 11 he is just now starting to walk with me and not drag me. When younger he was able to pull me at under 5 minute per mile pace for the first 100 yards of a parkrun. Of course that meant I had to pull him for the last 1/2 mile. We genetically tested Cooper and he was listed by grandparents with one being American Staffordshire terrier, one was weimaraner, one was basset hound, and the other so diverse they would not make a call. Cooper's day job is protecting my garden from rodents (ground hogs).

Good boy Cooper, keep those pesky varmints out of the garden! I have to admit that I had heard of Cooper before I knew your name. He looks like a sweet boy. 

His largest claim to fame is his lovely singing voice that he likes to use when we are giving pre-run directions. I had to start keeping him in the car until after the start so everyone could hear the safety messages. (click on the photo below for video clip of Cooper's singing)

Cooper-sings-003

His singing got Charlie up and searching! Charlie is now a fan of Cooper’s too.

Not that you have much spare time, with all your various activities, but do you like to travel?

I love the adventure of travel but get too caught up in local activities.

Lynn, I want to thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedule to be interviewed.  I hope that one day soon, either I will get to Livonia parkrun or you will join us again at Lillie parkrun, and then we can meet in person.  I will try not to spend the entire time chatting with Cooper – but I can’t promise.

Check out Lynn's US-record parkrun history here, stretching back to 2012!

 

parkrunner spotlight: Joanna C

Many thanks to newcomer Joanna C for stepping into the parkrunner spotlight this week. If you'd like to be featured, contact us via the usual channels.

JC1

 

Would you mind sharing a little bit about yourself?

Joanna Connelly, 29.

I grew up in Dearborn and moved to Ann Arbor for college. I spent a few years back in Metro Detroit before returning to my favorite town this past winter just before the pandemic started to be closer to work. I am a volunteer coordinator at Food Gatherers, the food bank for Washtenaw County.

We have a few Lillie parkrunners who volunteer at Food Gatherers. It is a great organization. I see that they will be taking food donations at the Gallup Gallop.  Will you be there?

Yes, I will be there. 

Wonderful!  I would like to ask all of the parkrunners, who are participating and volunteering at the G.G.,  to please bring a food donation, and introduce yourself to our newest Lillie parkrun member. 

When did you start running?

I used to run only during soccer and field hockey games, but my dad caught the marathon bug and got me to start running some races with him in high school. I ran my first half marathon in 2012 at the Panda Bear Night Run with my then-roommate (who spent some time on the U of M track team) and finally ran my first marathon this May on my own after all the races were canceled or postponed. You can see the route below, with its MANY turns. I ran by the homes of my friends and co-workers, who served as aid stations along the course.

JC2

Congratulations on your first full. How many half marathons have you competed in? 

I've done the Panda Bear Night Run, Ann Arbor Marathon Half, Detroit Free Press International Half, Dexter-Ann Arbor, Borgess Half Marathon in Kalamazoo, and The Trail Marathon Half. So 6?

Where is your favorite place to go running? 

On trails, generally. There’s an 8 mile loop I like to do starting at Argo and going through Barton, Bird Hills, and Kuebler Langford.

JC3

What do you like about Lillie parkrun?

Sadly, I’ve never been to a parkrun in real life, but the people are nice and I’ve been loving the virtual activities during quarantine.

I have been very impressed with your participation in our virtual events.  Any tips for parkrunners or first timers who are coming to visit Lillie parkrun?

I need the tips! I’m looking forward to joining when parkrun can start up again safely.

Yes, silly of me to ask, but something tells me that you will be a seasoned parkrunner by the time we can get back into it again. 

Do you have any hobbies?

I write bar trivia for Quizzo Detroit and review films for Mind on Movies. I am currently making my way through The Badass Feminist Coloring Book and about 5 different novels. I have participated in 8 Rubik’s Cube competitions. I also enjoy cooking vegetarian food, taking photos, and practicing Spanish on DuoLingo.

I didn’t realize that the Rubik’s Cube was so competitive.  Can you explain the different types of competition – 2x2, 3x3, pyramid…?

They're different sized or shaped puzzles. The standard Rubik's Cube that everyone knows is the 3x3; there's 3 squares across and 3 squares down each face. I've also competed in 2x2, Clock, Pyraminx, and Skewb. They also do up to 7x7, and 3x3 blindfolded and one-handed, but I haven't attempted those!

Do you volunteer your time anywhere?

Typically I like to volunteer at RF Events’ races and at various locations with the U-M Club of Greater Detroit and the Dearborn Young Professionals Kiwanis Club.

Do you belong to any clubs or organizations?

Bad Decisions Track Club, Michigan Field Hockey Club, bike-in Ann Arbor

JC4

 

Recently Adam H. mentioned some wacky race that the Bad Decisions Track Club participates in. The runners have to drink a beer while running a race.  Would you mind sharing the details with us?  

BDTC did our annual beer mile recently. To be official the beer must be at least 5% and you drink 4 cans of beer--one before each lap. If you throw up, you have to run an extra lap (but thankfully no extra beer). My time was impressively bad but I will say I did finish under an hour. I need to work on my drinking.

It sounds like it would be fun to watch!  Well…except for the throwing up part.

Do you like to travel?

Yes! I am bummed to not be travelling this year. Usually I take a big 2 week trip in late spring with my favorite travel buddy. We’ve been to Germany, Austria, Japan, and South Korea together and even drove all the way to the Grand Canyon last year with her dog, Bourbon.

JC5

Was this picture taken at the Grand Canyon?

The picture was taken on our way to the Grand Canyon. That night we were at Pinegrove Campground in Arizona and it got down to 28 degrees!

Brrrrrrr!  28 degrees makes getting the fire going a priority, or perhaps it calls for putting a little of the drink, your companion’s pup is named after, into your morning coffee. 

Joanna, I want to thank you for taking part in this interview.  As I mentioned earlier, I am so impressed with your participation in the virtual events. You have been a regular in the #lillienotaparkruns, Bingo, and have reached out and commented on other’s interviews.  I want to welcome you to Lillie parkrun and can’t wait for the day I get to see you running around Lillie Park and meet you in person. Now that you've been to all 163 of Ann Arbor's parks, we look forward to seeing you at one of Pittfield Township's parks. 

 

#Lillienotaparkrun week SEVENTEEN: Oh Baby!

Happy last weekend of summer vacation! This will be short but sweet to give a little recap of #Lillienotaparkrun number 17.

We had 40 parkrunners and at least 2 barkrunners, yet sadly no meowrunners (Calvin, Amanda, Sara, and other cat owners - we're looking at you for this one!). We definitely had Baxter and Tui join us yesterday, and possibly even Cooper from Livonia!

Most notably, we've had a new parkrunner join our family! Tiffany unfortunately didn't join us this weekend to parkrun because... She had her baby on Thursday! And we think that's a pretty darn good reason to take a rest week from parkrun.

tiffany trophy week 17

Our average finish time was yet again just around 40 minutes, this week clocking in at 39:42. As we all know, slower parkruns are more inclusive and even though we're in virtual form, we're killing it! Our fastest finisher was Josh S and our virtual tailwalker was Joanna, both right here in Ann Arbor. Yesterday marked the day that Joanna has officially been to every single Ann Arbor park, all 163 of them! Whoa!

joana week 17

We had plenty of out of state tourists, 4 from North Carolina (Ben, Bailey, Joyce, and Brooke) and one from College Park, MD (Colin!). All five of them had some pretty rainy parkruns, dealing with the remnants of Hurricane Laura as the storm made its way back out to sea.

colin photo week 17

 

We've had 9 parkrunners yet again who are at top of the "most virtual parkruns completed" leaderboard, you guys know who you are, keep it up! Our latest member of the Big Ten Badge club is Henry S - Henry also just moved into the dorms at the University of Michigan for his freshman year so we're calling this a double Big Ten Badge today! Go Blue! And have fun in Bursley!

josh and henry week 17

Read up on all the results here and we'll see you next week for the first virtual parkrun of September!! Until then, enjoy this adorable selfie of Kristine and Tui - that is one photogenic pupper - and she knows it!

tui week 17

 

parkrunner spotlight: Jeremy W

Many thanks to Jeremy W for stepping into the parkrunner spotlight this week. If you'd like tbe featured, contact us via the usual channels.

 

JW1

Hello Jeremy, Long time no see!  Let’s start off with some basic background information.

My name is Jeremy, I’m in my 40s. I was born in California, but my parents moved us to France when I was 5. I bounced around a lot there, but also had two different years back in the states before graduating from a French public high school. I then went to Oklahoma for my college years, and then bounced around between Oklahoma and Texas for years, before landing in Michigan. I have a BS in computer information systems, and a BA in multilingual communications.

It sounds like you had an adventurous childhood.

Are you married?

I used to be. I’ve been divorced for about the last 5 years.

What got you into running?

JW2

I threw my back out shoveling snow about 4 years ago, and could hardly walk straight for months. After many sessions of PT, I got better but decided I’d get back in shape. I started with a 5K that I just walked (I feel sorry for the tail walker that day), then the next year I did the same one running, just to spite my previous back injury.

Way to show that back injury who’s boss!  Most of the people who sign up as tailwalker, do so for the slower paced 5k.

Where is your favorite place to go running or walking?

JW3

I like walking, and I’ve walked most of the parks around here. I also like walking downtown areas. I can spend a whole day walking all over town and back again. 

What do you like about Lillie parkrun?

It’s a peaceful place, I’ve walked and hiked the park even when it wasn’t a parkrun day. 

JW4

Any tips for parkrunners or first timers who are coming to visit Lillie parkrun?

I think what had me most confused was how to carry stuff. Particularly my car keys, and the bar code. It turns out there is a basket for such things. You probably don’t need your phone or wallet.

That basket does come in pretty handy. Have you toured at other parkrun events?

I haven’t. Lillie Park is just too convenient.

Do you have any hobbies?

I make things. I have fixed kids toys, made paper craft trains, and of course, my current project is the full size R2D2, which has been a current project for going on 4 years now.

JW5

This is pretty awesome! I know that there are some envious Star Wars fans right now. 

Do you belong to any clubs or organizations?

The Ann Arbor French Conversation Group, and I have to give a shout out to Maker Works for providing a maker space but also space for the Go-Tech group, which I loved to attend (think show and tell for maker geeks).

I take it, since you lived in France and you belong to a French conversation group, that you speak French.  Are you fluent?

Ben... ouais, enfin, je pense que oui. Mais ça fait quand même plus d'un quart de siècle. Les jeunes ont leur nouvel argot... 

I will take that as a yes.

Do you have children? 

Yes, two of them – Natasha (15) and Sheppard (10). Sheppard has come to a couple of the parkruns.

JW6

Oh yes.  Sheppard is a nice young man.  I hope that when we start back up, we will get to see him again. You have mentioned scouting in the past.  I believe that you said that you and Sheppard are both involved?

JW7

He is in Cub Scouts. At that level they do need the parents at the meetings. Eventually he will graduate into Boy Scouts. My understanding is the BSA is more into the boys fending for themselves. I'm not totally clear on how that works yet. We will cross that bridge when we get to it.

My two boys loved scouts, especially National Jamboree where they were able to meet scouts from all over the country and trade patches.  And as my memory serves me, they encouraged parental involvement. 

Do you have any pets?

Yes, I have a dog. He was a rescue. We have no idea what “breed” he was supposed to be. I’m sure he is 100% Canis lupus familiaris

JW8

What’s his name? 

Linux. He was initially a foster, and my ex was trying to re-home him, and thought giving him a tech name would convince some coworker of mine to adopt him. That plan didn't work, and we kept him ourselves.

He looks like a sweet pup as he chews up R2D2’s foot.

Do you like to travel?

I do, but currently that’s not an option. I’ve lived in Europe, visiting most of it as a kid, and I’ve been to faraway places like New Zealand and Russia. I do know my way around an airport

Well that is a great life skill to have!  Just ask anyone who has had connecting flights in Frankfurt, or at Heathrow, or O’Hare, or... 

I want to thank you for taking part in this interview.  It has been nice catching up with you. I look forward to the day that you and Sheppard will once again meet with us at Lillie Park.  Hopefully R2D2 can even make an appearance! We can then all go for a coffee, hot chocolate, and a charge at Biggby afterward. Take care and be safe.

Check out Jeremy's parkrun history.

 

 

#LillienotaParkrun week SIXTEEN: Do tutus come with air conditioning?

Our 16th Lillienotaparkrun on Saturday saw the second Tutu Day of the (not)Parkrun 2020 calendar.  Unfortunately some of us were not awake enough to realize before we set out, but Brooke and Joyce in North Carolina were certainly en pointe with their socially distanced Park de Deux:

BrookeJoyce

…And barkrunner Cooper was also too, too cute:

Cooper

For those who like to plan ahead, the next Tutu Day will be in May 2021.  For those who like random facts, the Guinness World record for the largest tutu was set in Vanessa's home city of Manchester, UK in 2016, and the tutu was big enough to be worn by a bus:

tutubus

Alongside 35 Bipeds, there were 3 barkrunners and -sadly- 0 aardvarkrunners.  Mauricio in London, Ontario was our lone International Tourist.  Starring alongside Joyce and Brooke in the Domestic Tourist category were Ben and Bailey (both also from NC) and Colin from Maryland -who had the fastest run, finishing in an impressive 19:47.

Our official tailwalker this week was Marie, reclaiming her favorite job in anticipation of barkrunner Charlie’s return.  There were no two-legged first-timers, but Paisley was a first-time barkrunner.  Torsten and Joe earned their Big Ten awards, and we still have 9 dedicated lunatics who have not missed a single Lillienotaparkrun.

Tors(big)ten

 

parkrunner spotlight: Tiffany F

Next up in our ongoing series of interviews with Lillie parkrun participants: Tiffany F. Many thanks to Tiffany for participating and to Marie Hamlin for interviewing. Contact us via the usual channels if you'd like to be featured in the spotlight! 

TF1

Would you mind telling us a little bit about yourself? 

Tiffany Fitzpatrick, grew up in Michigan, lived in Taylor until high school when I moved to Chelsea. I’m the youngest of 6, and I’m a stay at home mom with one young child and another on the way (due early September). I have a BBA from Eastern Michigan University in International Business. After college I was an AmeriCorps*VISTA at Oakland University, then I worked for the Boy Scouts for about 5 years before deciding to stay home full time. I married my husband in a brewery, the Frankenmuth Brewery. We’ve been married for 6 years. We took a trip to Malta shortly after for our honeymoon. Malta is so beautiful!

TF2

Someone mentioned to me about how neat it is that you are counting down the weeks, until your due date, on the virtual parkruns.  Everyone gets to share in the anticipation and celebration of the arrival of your newest addition.

When did you start running?

TF3

 

In 2017 I learned about a ministry at my church called Love Runs. Participants in the group train for one of the Detroit Free Press Race weekend events -- 5k, half marathon or full marathon -- while raising awareness and funds to fight human trafficking right here in southeast Michigan. I felt led to this ministry so in 2018 I trained with the team and completed my first half marathon (and raised about $1800 for the cause). I had never run before and when I signed up for the half marathon I had never even done a 5k. (I really didn’t know if I could actually do that much running.) I basically went couch to half marathon. I felt called to the ministry and felt like I was carried through the call. (As the saying goes, God equips the called.) Shortly after I did the half marathon, parkrun started and I loved the opportunity to keep running with other people through the winter. (Love Runs meets together to run as a team in the summer and fall but we take the winter and spring off.) I also knew in early 2019 that I was going to be training with Love Runs for the Detroit Free Press full marathon so I wanted to keep running to work on my running form. Love Runs is an amazing group of people and participating with the group has had a huge positive impact on my life in many areas. For me running has led to as much spiritual development as physical development.

TF4

When we started this process, you told me about how you were interviewed after running the Detroit marathon.

TF5

 

In October I completed the Detroit Free Press Full marathon and I was interviewed for a podcast a few days or so after. If anyone wants to hear the podcast, it's on the Debcast with Debbie Gonzales, episode 33, "Serve others wherever you are."

I found it quite enlightening.  I would like to encourage our readers to listen to the podcast, because it is truly inspirational.

TF6

Something that is really neat about running and walking is it is a personal journey. Once you get past comparing yourself to others, and sometimes even drop expectations, you can really develop physically along with mentally, emotionally, spiritually, etc. You can really learn to give yourself grace and avoid comparing yourself even (for example my 5k pace right now is similar to my 10k pace a year ago... but a year ago I wasn't pregnant so I have to celebrate what I'm able to do now versus comparing it to a previous version of myself). And if you're lucky you get to be a part of a team or a community too (such as Love Runs and parkrun for me).

TF7

This is something we should all consider: running/walking should be a personal journey, not a competition (even with yourself).   

Where is your favorite place to go running? 

TF8

I like to run at Lillie Park with parkrun and Hines Drive with my Love Runs teammates. I love the energy of being around others. I love to encourage others on the running/walking trail as well.

I don’t consider myself a runner (right now I’m not running at all and really haven’t since completing the Detroit Free Press marathon back in October). I do consider myself a swimmer though. I do enjoy getting outside and I like that walking and running get me outside and walking is helping me stay active through pregnancy.

You certainly have been putting on the miles during your pregnancy.

What do you like about Lillie parkrun?

Running and walking with people, it’s fun, the friendliness and acceptance of everyone and that we always wait for everyone to finish. And of course coffee after!  (Oh yeah, and it’s free.)

What’s your favorite volunteer role at parkrun?

I liked marshaling because it gave me a chance to cheer for the runners and walkers, take pictures and ring my cowbell. We need more cowbell

TF9

Yes.  We certainly could use more cowbell in our lives.

Any tips for parkrunners or first timers who are coming to visit Lillie parkrun?

Just do it! Show up, have fun, meet some new people.

Are there other activities that you really enjoy?

TF10

I am a member of the Saline Rotary Club; from July 2018 to June 2019 I was the president of the club. One of my duties as President was to attend the Saline Community Fair and bid on a steer for the club’s annual Steer Raffle. I love to be a part of Rotary because it gives me a chance to meet new people and volunteer in the local community. We have a few big projects that really make a difference in the lives of children and it’s important to me to make a positive difference in the lives of others. 

I also like to cook and bake. The past couple months I’ve found a chocolate banana bread recipe that I love and I have also made it into muffins (and cupcakes with frosting).

Oh yum! Perhaps when you hit your 50th parkrun we might get to enjoy some of your baked goods.

I also like to visit micro-breweries, especially ones with good food. Typically whenever my husband and I go somewhere we look around for a good brewery to check out. We’ve been to quite a few locally, as well as in Battle Creek, Kalamazoo, and the Grand Rapids area.

I am not a beer drinker, but have found that many micro-breweries have great menu options. 

Do you volunteer your time anywhere? 

Yes, primarily with Rotary and Love Runs. With Love Runs the volunteer work is essentially “anti-trafficking” work in the local community. I’ve worked with SOAP which stands for Save Our Adolescents from Prostitution doing hotel outreach. And I’ve donated some lunches, cookies, and basic hygiene stuff to AWOL which stands for All Worthy of Love. I’ve also done a lot of fundraising with Love Runs over the past two summers, and have raised over $4500. (I have a link here with a video from last season.) From time to time I have the opportunity to present on Love Runs and human trafficking at local service club and that’s something else I like to do to raise awareness on the issue.

Wow!  What great causes to be involved in.

Do you belong to any other clubs or organizations? 

Yes. I am also involved with The Boy Scouts, through the Rotary. I was/am a big sister with Big Brother Big Sister of Metro Detroit. Technically my little just aged out of the program but we were matched for about 10 years and have kept in touch the past several months via social media.

I think it’s wonderful that you are able to make a positive difference in the lives of so many children. 

Do you like to travel?

Yes, While in College I got involved with Alternative Spring Breaks and took a couple alternative spring break trips to do service work. I traveled to Tahlequah, OK and volunteered in a day care center in Cherokee Nation for my first trip. My second trip was to Cincinnati, OH to volunteer in a neighborhood referred to as “Over the Rhine,” and my third trip was to Washington DC to do service work related to HIV/AIDS. 

The waterline damage from Hurricane Ike that hit Texas

The waterline damage from Hurricane Ike that hit Texas

While a VISTA at Oakland University I was able to take 2 more trips. One to Galveston Texas to do hurricane relief work and another to the South Carolina School for the Deaf and Blind where I was placed in a classroom and worked with students who were blind. 

I’ve also been on a couple mission trips, one to Mexico while in high school and one to Guatemala at the end of my VISTA year. I’d like to go on another trip when I’m able to.

Tiffany on a mission trip to Guatemala

Tiffany on a mission trip to Guatemala

 

My husband and I have also traveled to Vegas and while there we took a quick weekend trip to California to kayak the Kern River and see the sequoia trees. 

I also spent some time in France studying in college and was able to visit 5 countries total while there including Germany, Belgium, Luxembourg, and Switzerland. I loved Switzerland and enjoyed paragliding and canyon jumping while there.

You certainly do like to travel. I would like to commend you for all the trips you have taken to help others who are less fortunate. 

Tiffany, I want to thank you for taking time for this interview. It is evident that you live your life, according to your favorite passage from the Bible“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”  I look forward to the day that we can once again meet in person; until then, enjoy your time with your little one and please keep us posted on the arrival of the baby.

See Tiffany's parkrun history here.

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