This week Roosevelt Island parkrun turns 2, on the same day that the National Parks Service turns 102. You only share your birthday party with your best friends, right? Well, that’s what these two are doing. Joyce Adams, RI parkrun co-event director, looks back on the past year and the many different friendships formed.
It’s hard to believe that it has already been a whole year since Roosevelt Island parkrun’s first birthday celebration. It feels like absolutely nothing has changed and, at the same time, that lots and lots has changed.
The theme of this year was definitely community building. We were excited to welcome over 1,100 people to their first-ever Roosevelt Island parkrun and we saw two new attendance records. Even better, more than 70 people have now completed 10 or more RI parkruns and more than 80 (plus a few barkrunners) took up the challenge to volunteer at RI for the first time this year.
In addition, we saw 6 parkrunners earn their their purple t-shirts for volunteering 25 times AND they got to wear the coveted high-vis superhero cape to celebrate their milestone. Thanks Rosemary, Nick, Dominic, Eden, Travis, and Paul!
One of the biggest changes this year came when Central Coffee Bars opened in nearby Rosslyn in October. CCB (as we affectionately refer to it) has been the most exceptional host for our weekly post-parkrun coffee. (And we all know that coffee is the best part of every parkrun event.) The coffee and snacks are great, and CCB has gone out of its way to make us feel welcome. When it became clear that our crowd was getting too big for one table, CCB quickly bought a second table to accommodate all of the parkrunners. They even let us host hands-on CPR training in the coffee bar, in conjunction with Hands2Heart and Arlington County.
In 2018, we also strengthened our partnership with the National Parks Service (NPS), both to show our appreciation for their permission to use Roosevelt Island for parkrun every week and to be good stewards of this amazing public space. According to Ranger Trudy, picking up trash is one of the best ways that individuals can help improve water quality. So far, we have hosted two trash pick-up events, and a third is scheduled. It is amazing, and a more than a bit sad, to see how much rubbish a team of parkrunners can pick up in just a few hours. But, it felt wonderful to be able to say Thank You and do something to improve our beautiful parkrun home.
This year, our second birthday actually falls on the exact same day as NPS’ Founders Day, the day that the Parks Service was founded in 1916. Yes, we’re exactly 100 years younger than the NPS. We are so excited to celebrate with them this year, by hosting guided parkrun walks led by park rangers, and helping with a service project that will help improve the Island. We can’t wait to continue this partnership with the NPS far in the future!
We welcomed at least one celebrity to Roosevelt Island. Well, a parkrun celebrity, at least. Tom Williams, the global COO of parkrun visited us in September. And we hosted our first-ever Halloween parkrun, complete with costumes.
We tried out about one million alternative courses so that we can continue to host parkrun on days when there’s flooding or ice (and we finally picked a favorite!). We acquired a bullhorn, so that the growing crowds can hear the run briefing, and a table, so there can be post-parkrun cake. And, of course, we were happily joined by many, many parkrun tourists from all across the globe.
Last year, on our birthday we celebrated Darrell Stanaford’s 50th parkrun. And in January we celebrated Svetlana Stanaford’s 50 parkrun milestone. Darrell & Sveta are the founders and original co-Event Directors of Roosevelt Island parkrun, so it was particularly special to celebrate these milestones with them. Sadly, we also said goodbye to the Stanafords: Darrell is now the event director of Anacostia parkrun and Svetlana is looking forward to becoming a regular at Leakin Park parkrun, after their recent move to Baltimore. They will always be important members of our parkrun family. And Roosevelt Island is in good hands with its new team.
We recently asked our parkrunners for their favorite memory from this year at Roosevelt Island. What stands out is that no one listed a specific day, a PB, or even a special event. What people remember most are the friendships they’ve made, how much they enjoy volunteering, and the feeling of finding a place and a community where they belong. We’re sure that people everywhere have those same feelings about their home parkrun, but they really do sum up why this year (and hopefully, every year) was a very special one at Roosevelt Island parkrun. Happy birthday, dear Roosevelt Island parkrun!
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