It was a big week for parkrun USA. Extreme cold across much of the country tried to thwart plans for our busiest weekend of parkrunning yet, including the first New Years Double parkrun this side of the Atlantic. Despite many cancellations it was still the largest weekend yet, with a combined 975 runners + volunteers between Saturday and Monday. So many friends came together to get 2018 off to a strong start.
Saturday at College Park parkrun. Christal, Katedra, and Robin had a great time doing their first parkrun in the snow.
New Year’s Day plans? To run on the course of Anacostia parkrun in the Mayor of Washington DC’s Fresh Start 5K.
The hardy volunteers at Leakin Park parkrun got the first parkrun USA event of 2018 off to a strong start at 8:30am, in temperatures that the Washington Post said “may well rank among the coldest starts to a new year” in the region’s history.
New Year’s Double parkruns are a popular tradition in countries like Australia and the UK, where 25,000 ran a double on 1/1/18. Leakin Park parkrun was the first leg of the first ever New Years Double parkrun this side of the Atlantic.
Despite temperatures in the low teens (Fahrenheit, that is), parkrunners eventually warmed up enough to appreciate the beauty of Leakin Park parkrun in the morning sun.
Karen and Steve Crane of Mansfield OH parkrun drove 400 miles to join the fun and meet parkrun family. Compared to conditions at home, the weather felt “balmy”.
The special New Years parkruns brought together parkrun family members who are normally busy on a Saturday morning. Joyce Adams, event director at Roosevelt Island parkrun, ran with Stephanie Coomes, volunteer coordinator at Fletcher’s Cove parkrun. It was Stephanie’s first run since giving birth in the Fall.
In total, event leaders from 7 different parkrun USA events took part in the New Years Double. On 1/1/17 there were only 7 parkruns in the entire country.
Colin Phillips, co-event director at College Park parkrun, had a day to remember. On his 50th birthday he ran his 50th parkrun (and his 51st). Friends lent Colin a red sash and a tiara to wear en route to being first finisher of the first American New Years Double. The day’s run director was his partner in parkrun, and in life, Andrea Zukowski.
The 127 parkrunners at College Park was the 3rd largest ever turnout, despite the extreme cold. Afterwards, the coffee shop coped admirably with the invasion of 40-50 thawing parkrunners.
Tracy Watson normally does her parkrunning in Canberra, Australia, where icy eyelashes are not a concern.
Tracy is using her 6th month placement in the US to squeeze in a lot of US parkrunning. She took in 3 different parkrun USA events in this weekend alone, one of 5 people to do so.
It was cold enough for the runners. But spare a thought for the volunteers. The New Years Double included parkrunners from 3 events who volunteered at a different event than their home parkrun.
On Saturday there were a few inches of snow on the ground at Mansfield OH parkrun, and temperatures in single digits (Fahrenheit). No attendance records were set, but the parkrunners who took part had a wonderful time.
And the local media noticed that Mansfield OH parkrun really is a year-round event. This was an article in the Richland Source.
It wasn’t only in Ohio that local media took note that parkrun embraces the changing seasons. The course at Roosevelt Island parkrun comes into its own in light snow, where the trail is firm and the island is beautiful.
The Washington DC TV weather crew visited Roosevelt Island parkrun to find out why they were still running despite the weather.
Meanwhile, at Livonia parkrun snowy parkrunning is par for the course. This week’s first female finisher, Megan Boyak, is accomplished in the sport of snowshoe racing. So she was in her element.
Yes, that’s a thing. We had to Google it too. And yes, you’re welcome to bring your racing snowshoes to parkrun.
The big weekend of parkrunning created opportunities for some local parkrun tourism in the DC area. Cindy, Cindy, and Steve from College Park parkrun visited Fletcher’s Cove parkrun, where they were warmly welcomed by Henry Wigglesworth, doyen of parkrunning in the DC area.
A few miles away, at Anacostia parkrun, Svetlana and Eden (and Foxy) from Roosevelt Island parkrun, ran with Ian, who almost never misses a week at Anacostia parkrun.
Not all parkrun USA events were so lucky. All 5 parkruns n the central time zone had to be canceled due to extreme cold. These are the temperatures and wind chill values for Eagan parkrun on Saturday. And it was even colder for New Years Day.
parkrun continues year round. But we cancel for safety reasons.
In central Florida, they also enjoyed a long weekend with two opportunities to do Clermont parkrun. They apologized for the cold temperatures — only 52 degrees on New Years Day. Wait, what?
Joanne Watkins, co-event director at Albert parkrun in Melbourne, Australia, was one of the people who completed Clermont parkrun twice this past weekend.
Joanne completed the parkruns on crutches.
On a rainy New Years morning we caught up with Enrique Jograj and Julie Russell at Clermont parkrun.
You may remember Enrique and Julie’s inspiring story from a few weeks ago, when they first visited College Park parkrun. So we were thrilled to see them 900 miles away in Clermont.
This one is a collectors item. Dale Rose, one of the crew that brings you Crissy Field parkrun every week, actually ran this weekend. His first time since February 2016. Thousands of parkrunners have visited Crissy Field on their travels, and you can be sure that most of them got a warm personal welcome from Dale.
A few weeks ago we featured Mike Hiscott running the fastest ever parkrun by a US-based athlete, at Crissy Field parkrun.
This weekend he was somewhat slower. But he still ran under 17 minutes. Pushing a stroller.
parkrun isn’t a race, but we must admit to really liking it when the overall first finisher is a woman. At Deep Run parkrun Lindy Heffernan can go one better than that. She has been overall first finisher six times, more than anybody else. Fantastic!
It was quite cold by North Carolina standards for the New Years edition of Durham, NC parkrun. But the dedicated crowd quickly warmed up.
This may be our first sighting of a Heritage Harbor Ottawa parkrun apricot shirt. Bill Post splits his time between Illinois, where he runs at Heritage Harbor, and Clermont parkrun, where he can often be found running the show.
At Renton parkrun New Years Day was their 8th event. Nikol Gianopoulos has completed 7 of the 8 runs, and she has volunteered once. So it’s fitting that she is Renton’s inaugural parkrunner of the month.
Nikol’s dog, Leo, also a regular parkrunner, was apparently less impressed.
Running the high five gauntlet at the mid point of Renton parkrun.
Wongani Mwanza had a fantastic time at Renton parkrun on New Years Day. His current home parkurun is Oxford parkrun, previously it was Newcastle parkrun and Haga parkrun in Stockholm. At Renton Wongani completed his 98th parkrun, had his first ever first finish at parkrun, and after finishing jumped in as backup timer for all of the other volunteers. Thank you Wongani!
Across the country, teams are working hard to create new free, weekly parkrun events. And more and more parks authorities are partnering with parkrun USA to make this possible.
Here’s a teaser from one that you can look forward to in early spring.
One big gap in the current parkrun USA line-up is the Mountain Time Zone. But that is about to change.
Do you have plans for the last weekend in February?
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