In May I had the honor of presenting a scholarship to a 2024 FSRC Memorial Scholarship recipient. The FSRC Memorial Scholarship program awards Frederick County High School seniors who were not only involved with running, but who also demonstrated exceptional character and volunteerism. In presenting the award to Adian Simmons at Walkersville High School, I explained that one of the ways FSRC meets its mission of giving back to the community is through the awarding of scholarships. Through the generosity of community donors and annual running events such as Rick’s Run, FSRC memorial scholarships honor the memory of three beloved members of our club, Rick O’Donnell, Larry Key and John Godinet, who exemplified kindness, generosity and perseverance. After I presented the award, a woman who I was sitting next to at the ceremony leaned over and shared with a smile, “I knew John Godinet. He was my friend. He invited me to run.” Wow! The spirit and positive qualities exemplified by the lives of Rick, Larry and John are certainly with us today as we nurture the next generation of runners and welcome new members of all ages into our growing community. 

Congratulations to the impressive scholarship winners:

  • Justin Banks, Tuscarora HS
  • Sydney Querry, Oakdale HS 
  • Nina Connors, Tuscarora HS 
  • Alyssa Davies, Urbana HS 
  • Sofia Driver, Frederick HS 
  • Caroline Gregory, Frederick HS 
  • Aidan Simmons, Walkersville HS

I also want to thank the FSRC Memorial Scholarship Committee—Crista Horn, Bonnie Key, Mike O’Grady, Bill Susa and Michelle Felux—for their dedication to continuing this special program and their outstanding effort to attract such excellent candidates this year. This is such a special way to meet the FSRC mission “to promote running for fitness, friendship and athletic development in support of our members and the Frederick community.”


The benefits to running are beyond the physical such as mental agility, resilience, optimism, perseverance, and self-confidence. Running offers an abundance of opportunities, and it can be jarring, even humbling, when confronted with forces that require us to take a step back and consider safety. In March we learned about separate incidents of runners who were attacked while on a run on the C&O canal. No one should feel scared to go out for a run. Our members shared some thoughtful ideas on runner safety that I wanted to highlight:

  • Run with a group in particular when on a trail or on country roads where you might be alone.
  • Tell someone where you are running, and when you expect to be back.
  • Never run without your phone.
  • Never run with earbuds in both ears. 
  • Take a self-defense class. 
  • Trust your gut. If something feels “off,” you are probably right. 

Thank you to our Membership Chair, Barbara Cosgrove, for organizing a self-defense class for our members. This is something that we plan to offer at least once each year.

There are other things to keep in mind to run safely. For our running groups, we recommend the best practice of running against traffic, wearing bright colors and running single-file or stepping off the road completely if needed. Always make sure that drivers make eye contact with you before crossing an intersection in front of a car. Though drivers are supposed to yield to pedestrians in a crosswalk, many do not, and the vehicle always wins.

The Heat is on! 

Running in the heat of summer presents a real challenge. If you plan to participate in any of our summer / fall training groups, I encourage you to learn as much as you can about best practices for running the heat, including hydration and electrolyte strategies. As a start, see RRCA Run Safe in Hot Weather for tips. 

What’s Up Next?

After a successful and fun spring Half Marathon Training Program and Co-ed 5K training program, the Steeps are off and running into our summer programs. Our Summer Decathlon Series held on Wednesday evenings is in progress. Our Upcoming Events Calendar is where you can find information about the decathlon, local races and other events that are free to members. Thank you to Tim O’Keefe for leading this fun, competitive program that is free to members. Our next free, low-key race for members is the Independence 5000 on July 6th. Learn how to register or volunteer. This will be our first race using our new chip timing system. Thank you to Lou King and all the volunteers who helped test the new timing system. 

Our Women’s Distance Festival 5k Training Program just started. I was honored to attend the kick-off meeting and talk with members. For many of our female members, this training program is the start of their running journey and their first experience with the Club. It’s no coincidence that many return to the program each year to train, mentor and coach. It’s not too late to sign up. 

Our Marathon Training Program starts on June 24th. Register to join and learn more. Stay tuned for more information about our Half Marathon Training Program – registration will be opening soon. In addition to our weekly Pub Runs, August 10th is the date for the FSRC Annual Picnic. Reserve the time on your calendar now and check out the newsletter for more details. 

Thank you to all our volunteers! Your support for our Community, Low-key and Signature Races, would not be possible without you. The number of volunteers for the Summer Solstice 8k was amazing! Until next time, don’t forget that so many good things happen when you simply step outside, put one foot in front of the other and go for a run. It only gets better if you can share the experience with a friend.

Michele Newton