Heidi Novak

President’s Message

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As 2022 comes to a close, let’s take a moment to look back on the amazing year that the club has had. It was also my second year as president, and one that was filled with many changes. There were changes with committees and changes to the club’s Constitution. An upcoming change will take effect at the 2023 Annual Running Celebration and Banquet. At the banquet, we will vote on the slate of Officers and Directors of the current Executive Board.

FSRC New Slate

The proposed Executive Officers slate is as follows: Michele Newton (president), Ainsley Cain (vice president), Michelle Edwards (secretary), and Crystal Tressler (treasurer). The proposed Directors Slate is as follows: Lou King, Harriet Langlois, Heidi Novak, Tim O’Keefe, and Rob Prokop.  Thank you to the Nominating Committee, led by Barb Meely, for going through the nominations and putting together this wonderful slate.

FSRC Annual Banquet

In 2022, we saw the return of the Annual Running Celebration and Banquet. A huge thank you to Gwyn Whieldon and Jason Scaroni from the Social Committee, as well as Shannon Matthews and Ruth Taylor, from the Competition Committee, for all their hard work. Planning is underway for next year’s Banquet, and as with many other things this year, there is a change with the event. Justine Springer has taken over as chair of the Social Committee, and after many years of holding the banquet at the Delaplaine Arts Center, we will be moving it to The Arc at Market Street. The Annual Running Celebration and Banquet will take place on Saturday, January 28, 2023 from 6-9 p.m. Here is the link to sign up: https://runsignup.com/fsrcbanquet

FSRC Old Races, New Races, and Race Series

Our Signature Races were a huge success, thanks to our amazing race directors and volunteers. For those of you who are new to the club, our Signature Races (race directors) are Summer Solstice 8K (Harriet Langlois and Michelle Edwards, assistant race director), Women’s Distance 5K (Harriet Langlois), Market Street Mile (Chris Dutton and Jake Sisler, assistant race director), and Rick’s Run 5.22-Mile Race and Ultra Challenge (Crista Horn). Planning is underway for next year’s races and the only change to the lineup is that Jake Sisler will be taking on the role of race director for Market Street Mile

We had another successful year with the Grand Prix Series, thanks to the Competition Committee, which includes Shannon Matthews, Ruth Taylor, Lou King, and Claire Heasman. After many years serving as the Co-chair of the committee, Shannon Matthews is stepping down. Thanks to Steve Dobson for stepping up to co-chair this committee with Ruth Taylor. This year’s Grand Prix consisted of 22 events ranging in distances from 800m (Summer Decathlon 800m) to 50 miles (Stone Mill 50 Mile Run).  

The Equalizer Series consisted of only eight races, however, participants are all on equal footing, as race times are equalized using standard track-and-field age-grading procedures. We will be recognizing winners (participation, overall, and age-group) at the Annual Running Celebration and Banquet next month. Curious if you are a winner? Check out the link to the 2022 Grand Prix Standings and 2022 Equalizer Standings. The 2023 Grand Prix schedule has been posted on the website and kicks off next month with everyone’s favorite race, the Lewis Memorial 10-Miler. Here is the link to the schedule: https://steeplechasers.org/competition/club-competition/grand-prix/. The Equalizer Series kicks off in February with the RRCA 10 Mile Club Challenge. Here is the link to the schedule: https://steeplechasers.org/competition/club-competition/equalizer-series/

While we had to reschedule the 2022 Lewis Memorial 10-Miler due to weather, we were able to hold all three of our low-key races. A huge thank you to our race directors and volunteers for all of your help with these events. Our race directors this year were as follows: Lewis Memorial 10-Miler (Mark Lawrence), Independence 5000 (co-race directors Victor Cretella and Caren Clark), and Run For the Pie 10K (Mark Lawrence).

Next year brings a race director change, a low-key race location change, as well as the addition of a new low-key race. After many years of being the race director for the Lewis Memorial 10-Miler, Mark Lawrence is stepping down. A huge thank you to Steve Dobson for not only taking on this role, but for finding a new, beautiful location with less traffic. The 2023 Lewis Memorial 10-Miler will take place on Saturday, January 14, 2023. The race starts and ends at the Palmieri Activities Center (PAC) on the Mount St. Mary’s campus. If you were hoping the new route would have less hills, you are in for quite a surprise. Just remember the saying, “Steeps eat hills for breakfast!!” Here is the link to sign up for the race: https://runsignup.com/fsrclewisrun

So, what was that about a NEW low-key race? Thanks to Michele Jacoby for volunteering to be the race director for the Wild Trail 5K/10K on Sunday, April 16, 2023. The 5K is part of the 2023 Grand Prix Series. Look for more information in upcoming newsletters and on Facebook. 

FSRC Training Programs

We had another great year with our training programs thanks to the Training Committee, which included Crystal Tressler, Lisa Layman, Chris Dutton, Megan Putman, Ainsley Cain, and Christine Stafford. While the committee does the behind-the-scenes work, if it weren’t for our wonderful coaches, we wouldn’t be able to hold these programs. This year we were able to bring back the 10K training program, in addition to all of our other wonderful programs. A huge thank you to this year’s coaches: Ainsley Cain, John Duffy, and Marie Burnett (Marathon), Chris Dutton, Megan Putman, Jean Marie Heim, and Oksana Lightfield (Spring Half Marathon), Amanda Berry, Andrea Thompson, Michele Newton, and Robert Kelley (Fall Half Marathon), Michelle Carlin and Sue Searcy (10K), and Michelle Carlin, Sue Searcy, and Heather Kopf (5K).

Plans are underway for next year’s training programs, which will kick off with our Spring Half Marathon Training Program that targets the Frederick Half Marathon. Be sure to check out the Frederick Steeplechasers Facebook Group, as well as the bi-monthly newsletter for updates on these programs, including information about registration. These training programs are FREE to all current members. 

FSRC Youth Programs

Our youth programs had a great year, and also saw some changes. After coaching the Spires for many years, Trevor James stepped down prior to the start of the Fall Program. The fate of the program was in limbo until Michele Jacoby, who had coached in the spring, stepped up to be the head coach. We are so thankful to all of the head coaches and assistant coaches for all their hard work with these programs. After having limited opportunities for group activities during the pandemic, it is so nice to see children participating in these programs.

FSRC Social Events

In addition to runs and races, the Steeplechasers like to socialize as well. Thanks to Justine Springer and Gwyn Whieldon for hosting the post-race tents at Frederick Half Marathon, Freedom’s Run Race Series, and the Across the Bay 10K. Thanks to Billy Clem for hosting the Wednesday Pub Runs. These will continue through the winter, weather permitting. Our famous Breakfast Runs will start back up in January. Thanks to Karen Ochs for organizing these runs and Caree Vander Linden for hosting the first Breakfast Run on Saturday, January 7. Information about these events can be found on our FSRC Group Runs Facebook group https://www.facebook.com/groups/fsrcgroupruns

Please note that in addition to our training Facebook groups, FSRC Group Runs https://www.facebook.com/groups/fsrcgroupruns and our FSRC Trail Runners Facebook group https://www.facebook.com/groups/fsrctrailrunners are member-only groups. Another great perk of being a Steeplechaser!

Stay safe and healthy, and keep on moving!!

Heidi Novak

FSRC President

Heidi Novak
Heidi running the 2022 Freedom’s Run Marathon. Image credit: Luca Encarnación.