Running club’s signature events will donate tens of thousands of dollars to local charities,
while inspiring and challenging runners from all over the region.
The Frederick Steeplechasers Running Club has announced the dates and locations of the four running events in its Signature Race Series for 2020: the Summer Solstice 8K, the Women’s Distance Festival 5K, the Market Street Mile and Rick O’Donnell Memorial 5.22-Mile Race & Ultra Challenge. Registration is now open for all four events through each race’s website. The Steeplechasers donate the net proceeds of the Signature Race Series to the community, raising over $73,000 in 2019 for local charities and its own community programs and scholarships.
Frederick Summer Solstice 8K – Saturday, June 20
The first event in the series is the fifth annual Summer Solstice 8K on Saturday, June 20. The 8K (nearly five mile) race returns to the Walkersville Carnival Grounds for a second consecutive year. With a well-received location and fast, flat course, the event will also continue to offer live music as part of the pre- and post-race festivities, as well as local brews. The race will again support Blessings in a Backpack, for which it raised nearly $30,000 through 2019’s event and helped provide hundreds of in-need FCPS children with meals on weekends and over the summer. The race takes place on a USATF-certified course and will offer electronic timing. New this year is also a one-mile fun run. Registration is now open at frederickss8k.com.
Women’s Distance Festival 5K – Saturday, August 1
The second event, the Women’s Distance Festival 5K, will occur on Saturday, August 1, on the campus of Frederick Community College. This race celebrates women’s right to participate in running events of any distance and at any age. Net proceeds of the event will benefit the grants program of the Women’s Giving Circle of Frederick County. The race has raised more than $136,000 for the Women’s Giving Circle since 2010. The Steeplechasers will again offer a beginner-friendly women’s 5k training program beginning in June in preparation for the race. Registration is now open at frederickwdf.com.
Market Street Mile – Saturday, September 12
The third race in the Steeplechasers’ Signature Race Series is the Market Street Mile, which is the shortest race of all four, but the longest-running, having taken place since 1983. This year’s Market Street Mile will again kick off Celebrate Frederick’s In The Streets festival on Saturday, September 12, and will take runners from the YMCA on North Market Street and southbound all the way to the Carroll Creek crossing. In addition to the competitive heats, The “Family/Fun Mile” heat provides a non-competitive experience for families with children or adults who prefer a low-key opportunity to participate. Proceeds from this year’s race will benefit City Youth Matrix, a local 501(c)(3) public charity whose mission is to connect youth with opportunities to grow through extracurricular activities; and the Lincoln Panther Running Club at Lincoln Elementary School. Registration is available at frederickmarketstreetmile.com.
Rick O’Donnell Memorial 5.22-Mile Race & Ultra Challenge – Sunday, October 11
Finally, the last race in the series is actually two events run concurrently. The Rick O’Donnell Memorial 5.22-Mile Race & Ultra Challenge, colloquially known as Rick’s Run, will be held on Sunday, October 11 at Greenbrier State Park. The Rick’s Run events are the only race(s) in the series that take place on trail(s), with the 8-Hour Ultra Challenge being the series’ longest race. Participants have the option of completing a single 5.22-mile loop around the park, or attempt the “ultra challenge” by completing as many additional loops as they can within the 8-hour time cutoff. Those having run 6 or more loops will have risen to meet the Ultra Challenge successfully, with the current record standing at 9 loops (46.98 miles). New this year is a team event, open to teams of up to four runners, scored separately in a team category. Net proceeds from Rick’s Run benefit the Frederick Steeplechasers Memorial Scholarship, which awards Frederick-area high school seniors who have made a difference in the local running community, all in memory of late Steeplechasers, Rick O’Donnell and Larry Key. Registration is available at rickstrailrun.com
In support of social running and corporate wellness, all four races in the series offer team registration for groups of friends, family members and employees.
The Frederick Steeplechasers Running Club has been supporting the local Frederick running community since 1975. See steeplechasers.org for more information.