Volunteers Brian Thompson, Ryan McIrvan and Dorian Colling were huddled over a phone Saturday morning, comparing notes with serious tones: "It's coming." "It's almost here." "I wasn't expecting it until after 10." With parkrunners already on the trail, the clouds gathered and grew darker, and the finish line volunteers braced for impact. "It's happening again."
In Seattle, weather watching is a serious business and Saturday morning, Renton parkrun volunteers had their eyes on doppler radar, tracking rain clouds as they moved across Puget Sound. Last winter, between October 2016 and March 2017, Seattle recorded only nine sunny or partially sunny days and over 42 inches of total rain. You would be forgiven if you thought these Pacific Northwest-ers had adapted to their surroundings and grown webbed toes! Instead they've adapted in another curious way...
Run director Kortney Thoma moved to the area in 2016 after spending six years in sunny Australia. Having adapted to the behaviors and customs of people with sunnier climates, she predicted a low turn out of 20 runners due to rain. But oh how she was wrong! Not only was there double the number of parkrunners that morning, there were also no umbrellas (save her own) and surprisingly few people dressed in rain gear. With soggy socks, damp hair, and wet clothes, 37 participants (plus three unofficial) came crossing the finish line with a smile on their face! There were 8 first timers, 17 new personal bests, 5 juniors, and 1 parkrun tourist all the way from Brisbane, Australia!
With so much rain in this wet corner of the world, the locals have learned to grin and bear it! John Ruskin says, "Sunshine is delicious, rain is refreshing, wind braces us up, snow is exhilarating; there is really no such thing as bad weather, only different kinds of good weather." So far the forecast is looking sunny for next week and with special guests from College Park parkrun in Maryland, we are looking forward to another big turnout! See you all next weekend on the Cedar River Trail!
Above: Bob and Carly Rees returned this week for their second official parkrun event and though it was a wet finish line, they were all smiles! Tina Vickery and Nikol Gianopoulos were catching up on the trail this morning while taking the dog for a run. A first time parkrunner but currently "Unknown" in the run results, pushed her younger brother across the finish line to where Mom was waiting with the crowd. Also joining us for the first time was Wesley Chism who arrived early at the staging area and quickly made new friends! He smiled the whole way through the course and gave us a few "woo hoo's" as he came past the midway point.
Above: We had a three-way tie for first place at the finish line with Oscar Myre IV, Jon Burby and Jayden Weston! We love to see our runners make friends and achieve together!
Above: Runner Deb O'Connell joined volunteers Kortney Thoma and Leah Kangas at the finish line to chat parkrun business and cheer on the runners. Kortney motioned to both Leah and Deb saying, "Come stand under here with me -- this umbrella is a two and half seater!" It was all smiles at the finish line with Patrick Motel and bulldog Quinn who was busy climbing legs for scratches and kisses! Mike Ryberg brought his service dog to parkrun though we didn't catch this beautiful pup's name.
Above: But the real star of he day was our junior parkrunner Abi with her dad George Wright. Abi persevered through the final kilometer and the entire team stood at the finish line cheering her on. It was a pretty wet and cold morning, but she still managed a half smile and gave us a high five.
Written by Kortney Thoma