Mark Lawrence

Member Spotlight: Mark Lawrence

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The week’s spotlight is on someone who is a past club President, biggest promoter of the Steeps, local race director, you have seen him doing race time keeping, encouraging mentor and all around great guy Mark Lawrence.


“I know we’ve all been sidetracked in all kinds of ways by this pandemic. It’s certainly a difficult time to maintain motivation and a positive outlook but there are several good reasons why you should make it one of your priorities to keep practicing your ability to run.

Moderate daily exercise strengthens your immune system. 30-45 minutes per day is ideal. There are very few other forms of exercise that can be so conveniently done in 30-45 minutes that provide the level of benefit that you can get by going for a run. But I’ll also include a warning here. Pressing to do too much can have an adverse effect. Don’t decide to use a pandemic as a time to go to newfound extremes because stressing your body in that way can deplete your immune system for as much as 72 hours if you push too hard. Here’s an article with more info about that: https://www.runnersworld.com/health-injuries/a20839244/dont-let-colds-and-coughs-stop-your-running/.

Running also benefits your mental health in lots of ways. Those benefits were recognized and documented way back in the 1970’s with the publication of The Joy of Running by psychiatrist Thaddeus Kostrubala, who actually created programs where running was used as therapy for patients with a wide variety of psychological disorders. But if you don’t want to read a whole book to be convinced, here’s an article that summarizes some of the benefits Dr. Kostrubala recognized back then: https://www.cigna.com/individuals-families/health-wellness/mental-health-benefits-of-running.

Running outside is perfectly safe if you’re running solo and the CDC believes it can be done with others, as long as spacing consideration are being applied. Having a buff or some type of face covering with you is recommended for use when you do come within 6 feet of people along the way. Just understand that it’s not a perfect protection. Unless the mask is one that creates a seal around your face, it doesn’t prevent you from inhaling germs from someone else. I don’t wear a mask constantly, but I do use something to cover my mouth when I’m passing within 6 feet of someone. Here’s a good article about those types of considerations: https://www.runnersworld.com/news/a31439358/running-during-coronavirus/.

Now let me share with you my own personal story. I’m 61 years old and have had a knee replacement after which I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease. All of these circumstances could reasonably be used as a rationale to stop running, but to me running is more important than ever before! If I don’t practice now, I could quickly lose my ability altogether. We’re talking about our ability to move forward! I don’t know about you, but I think that’s pretty fundamentally important! I don’t go as far or as fast as I used to, but for 30-45 minutes (with some walking breaks), it does what I need to do to take care of myself and feel fully functional.

I encourage all of you to take care of yourselves as well. Don’t take your ability to move forward for granted. It serves too many valuable purposes!

By the way, don’t forget to tell your friends,

“If you are a runner in Frederick County, you, too, should be Steeplechaser!”

The Frederick Steeplechasers running club is a 45 year-old organization that helps people to learn how to find the joy of running! Online virtual training programs are ongoing during the pandemic because we know how much good it does to keep moving forward!!! Plus we do a lot to support each other and contribute to the community at large! Stick with us! We’ll get through this together!”


We really do have the most diverse and amazing members! I would love to share your stories, accomplishments or anything else you would like to share, please send them to barb.meely@steeplechasers.org.