If you’re a member of the Steeplechasers, you can help promote the Club and be an ambassador for running in the Frederick Community. Last weekend I happened to be at Walkersville High School just when the track team was meeting for their morning practice. I introduced myself to their fantastic coach and asked if I could talk to them for a few minutes about the Frederick Steeplechasers. I promoted one of our signature races, the Summer Solstice 8k which takes place in Walkersville. I encouraged them to enter, or even volunteer.  I also told them about the FSRC Memorial Scholarship which is open to all Frederick County High School Seniors. We are now accepting applications and the deadline is April 15. An applicant will have participated as a runner in cross country or track or will have demonstrated support for running as a team trainer or as an assistant to the coaching staff. In addition to participation in/around the sport of running, the applicant should have a history of volunteerism within their school, church, or community. Help us get the word out!

The Steeplechasers has something to offer every type of runner. If you are a competitive runner and want to be challenged, we have fast runners ready to run with you. Our Racing Team and competitive runners recently achieved some amazing finish times at the 2023 Club Challenge. I want to give a shout out to Claire Heasman who placed second in her age group. The competition this year was fierce, making her achievement even more remarkable.

Since becoming the club president at the end of January, I’ve gained a new appreciation of how many exciting things we have to offer our members, and the dedicated volunteers in our membership that make it happen. Let me highlight a few for you so that you can fully take advantage of your $20 annual Club membership:

We now have a new, free trail race that is open to members only. The Wild Trail 5k or 10k is scheduled for April 16. Members can register at https://runsignup.com/wild5k10k. Thank you to Race Director, Michele Jacoby, for organizing what is sure to be a fun race at Thorpewood in northern Frederick County.

Registration is open for the FSRC Spires Youth Running Program for children ages 7 – 14. The program will run April 6 – June 8. Spires Lead Coach, Michele Jacoby is looking for coaches. If you are available to help coach on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 5:30 – 6:30 pm, please reach out to Michele.Jacoby@fredericksteeplechasers.org.

Our Spring Half Marathon Training Group is up and running. This year we have our largest training group ever with more than 175 registered thus far. This is also the first time that we have six coaches. Lead coach, Jean Marie Heim-Berry, along with Ainsley Cain, John Duffy, Marti Grib-Kachman, Robert Kelly, and Rob Prokop each bring unique running experience and expertise to the coaching team – most are RRCA-certified coaches. They I am so excited for those who are participating in the training this season. And it’s still not too late to sign up! The training program is free to members.  

If trail running is your passion or if you are interested in breaking out of your comfort zone and giving it a try, we have a very active training running group. They are planning to offer weekday “come try trail running runs” starting this month. The plan is to have one every 3 – 4 weeks. Reach out to the Trail Running Co-Chairs, Billy Clem and Michele Jacoby, to learn more.

There’s a team behind the scenes dedicating time to bring these opportunities to you. I want to give a shout out to our Membership Committee chair, Barb Meely, who welcomes all new members and finds awesome runners to highlight for our member spotlight. And a big thank you to our Communications Committee led by Oksana Lightfield. We sure are keeping Oksana and fellow committee member Lou King busy getting the word out about all of the things that we have going on. Thank you and welcome to Aiden Callery, Michelle Felux and Pamela Lesch, new volunteers on this Committee who will help out with our bi-weekly newsletter, blog, and social posts on Facebook and Instagram.

Our Technology Chair, Lou King, is kicking off a project to refresh the Steeplechasers website. He put out a call for web designers and software developers. If this is an opportunity that interests you, please reach out to lou.king@steeplechasers.org.

Harriett Langlois, the race director for the Summer Solstice 8k, the Women’s Distance Festival and Jake Sisler, the race director for the Market Street Mile, are already busy planning their races. They are always looking for volunteers and race sponsors.

Mark Lawrence, the chair for our race services committee, already has six events on the list for which the Steeplechasers will provide race support services (such as course marking and finish line services). Thank you to Natasha Keogh and the dedicated team of volunteers that allow us to continue to offer this service to small races in the Frederick Community.

Speaking of volunteers, the Volunteer Committee chaired by Crystal Tressler maintains a talent and volunteer database that we can tap into as volunteer opportunities arise. Please reach out to crystal.tressler@steeplechasers.org if you are willing to volunteer, or if you are not sure if you are on the list.

And last but not least, Crystal conducted a membership survey last year. Look for updates from Crystal over the next few weeks about the results. Thank you to everyone who responded and provided feedback. Your feedback was shared with our Committees who take your input to heart.

There’s so much more, but I have to end this somewhere. It’s a great time to be a Steeplechaser! Now go and tell your friends what we have to offer and invite them to join in the fun!

Michele Newton, FSRC President