Current Executive Board
Michele Newton, President
Michele Newton joined the Frederick Steeplechasers in 2014. She participated in several FSRC half marathon training programs and is grateful for the coaches and fellow runners who helped her transform from someone who just ran into a runner. Wanting to share her love of running with others, she served as a FSRC half marathon coach for several seasons and earned her RRCA Level 1 Coaching Certification in 2020. She enjoys supporting new runners and creating new running routes. Michele is also a daily run streaker since April 2020. She’s completed races of varying distances up to the marathon distance. Importantly, she credits the support of the Frederick Steeplechasers and the friendships that she’s made through the Club with positively impacting her life. Michele is a wife, a mother of two and a marketing communications specialist at the National Cancer Institute. When she’s not running, she enjoys attending her son’s baseball games and going to concerts with her husband.
Ainsley Cain, Vice President
Ainsley joined the Steeplechasers when she moved to Frederick from Nashville, TN in 2021 as a way to make friends. She participated in the full marathon training group that year and had such a good experience, she jumped into volunteering and coaching with the club. Ainsley has a Master’s degree in Exercise Science, is an RRCA Level 1 coach, and is pursuing a UESCA Ultrarunning Coaching certification. Ainsley enjoys both trail and road running, racing 10Ks and ultramarathons, and helping people meet their goals. Outside of the club, Ainsley is a mom, realtor, event coordinator, and aspiring gluten free baker.
Crystal Tressler, Treasurer
Crystal Tressler has a passion for road running and loves to find new and interesting routes. She began running casually at age 27 as a way to prepare for the 30-mile Avon walk. For several years, she continued running off and on between children being born, working full-time, and life happening. In 2013, Crystal joined the Steeplechasers as a participant in the Women’s Distance Festival 5k training program. The friendships that developed following the training were the catalyst for longer distances and more time shared with good friends. With the continued support and training from the Steeplechasers, she ran her first half marathon the next year and the Marine Corps Marathon in 2018. Crystal joined the coaching team in 2017 and is an RRCA Certified Level II Running Coach. When not running on the road, she is running after her 3 young children or volunteering.
Michelle Edwards, Secretary
Michelle began running in her 40s and had an off and on relationship with it for about 10 years, while life with 3 young children and work took priority. She started back up again in 2020 and joined the Steeps as a way to meet other runners. Joining the Steeps gave her the courage to train for her first marathon (and then another!). In addition to serving as the club Secretary, Michelle is the Assistant Race Director for the Summer Solstice 8K and enjoys volunteering at local races. A Boston native, Michelle has lived in Maryland for the last 25 years, and in Frederick County for the past 10. Michelle is a medical director for a small biotech company in cancer drug development. In addition to running, Michelle enjoys hiking and reading in her free time.
Harriet Langlois, Board Director
Harriet ran for a few years in her 20s until kids, career, and long commutes got in the way. Picking up again in 1996, she dabbled for a while at shorter distances until completing the (original) Frederick Marathon in 2005. Since then, she’s completed 39 marathons in 30 states, including 8 Boston Marathons. She joined FSRC in 2008 and has held the positions of Social Committee Chair, Treasurer, Races Chair, and Race Director. Her favorite race is the Women’s Distance Festival, encouraging women of all ages and abilities to participate while raising funds for women in the Frederick community who need a bit of help to achieve physical and mental health, self-reliance, and financial stability. Running and volunteering with FSRC checks all her boxes and have become a retirement vocation!
Heidi Novak, Board Director
Although Heidi enjoyed keeping active with exercise classes at the gym, she didn’t start running until the age of 40. When the school she was working at put on a 5k, she joined some moms doing a Couch to 5k program to prepare. She got first place female (it was a small race) and learned about the Steeplechasers from Mark Lawrence who was working the finish line. She joined the Steeplechasers and participated in the Half Marathon Training Program the following spring. She completed several half marathons before completing her first marathon in 2016. The support and knowledge she gained from the coaches of the training programs inspired her to become a running coach. In 2017 she became an RRCA Level I Certified Coach, hoping to inspire others to love running as much as she does, and to help them set and achieve their goals. Heidi has also served as the Chair of the Social Committee and the Co-Chair of the Training Programs. When she isn’t running or hanging out with her running friends, Heidi teaches at a Montessori school and is a teacher trainer at a Montessori Training Center.
Lou King, Board Director
Lou started running in 2005 after his knees gave out from playing indoor soccer. This was 10 years after his wife (Harriet Langlois) first started trying to get him to run, so it worked out for the best. Now he’s completed 35+ marathons in 29+ states, with a goal of hitting all 50 states. It’s a process. He was President of FSRC from 2015 thru 2016 and was awarded RRCA’s Outstanding Club President of the Year for 2016. Lou’s passion is software, and as FSRC’s Chief Technology Dude he looks for ways to reduce volunteer workload through the application of technology and process improvements to club operations.
Rob Prokop, Board Director
Rob Prokop began his running journey in 2001, in his early 30’s. Instead of starting with a 5K, he jumped right in and decided to run the Marine Corps Marathon for his first race, (NOT his best move). Since then, he has completed 9 additional MCM’s, bringing it to a total of 10! He is extremely passionate about encouraging others and helping those he coaches reach their fullest potential. His love of coaching and teaching started in his early 20’s as an assistant martial arts instructor. He has worked as an assistant indoor track coach at the High School level, and has also coached soccer and basketball. He is currently studying for RRCA level one coaching certification. He has overcome weight issues, losing over 70lbs. with nutrition and exercise, and is currently beating cancer with health and wellness strategies alone. He can empathize with anyone starting from scratch to achieve their goals and overcome obstacles. In July 2022, he joined the Marathon Training Group with The Frederick Steeple Chasers. Just ask him, and he will tell you that joining the Steeps was his best move regarding running! He is currently helping coach the half marathon training group, and hopefully the marathon training group this summer.
Tim O’Keefe, Board Director
I’m Tim O’Keefe and have been a Steeplechaser for 41 years. My journey in running began in 1967 when I was a sprinter and jumper for my high school track team. After medaling at states in the 200 I moved up to the 400 in college. After 4 years I still could not crack the 50 second mark. In 1975 I began teaching in Rockville and friends invited me to join them for a “jog”. Having gotten in shape make it a whole 5 miles, they enticed me into running a half marathon with them in 1977. They bailed but I ended up running my first race…the National Pike Half Marathon. All on alternate 40 from Boonsboro High School to the the VFW by Fredericktown Mall. The hills and mountains destroyed me but I finished (1:39.23) AND got a medal! A runner was born. I continued to run getting all the way up to an 8 miler. I was ready for the marathon! In 1978 I ran the Schultz Lite marathon in Montgomery Village on a blazing hot Labor Day. I was clueless…I ran with the half marathoners and was ecstatic when I got to 15 miles and was with the real runners! At 16 miles my body began failing bit by bit…every muscle took a turn cramping and walking was torture. I finished 3rd from last in 3:55. All the concessions were gone and few people were left. I swore I would never do that again. In 1979 I joined the Steeplechasers despite not having a clue how to run over hurdles and into water jumps. I came find out that they were just a bunch of friendly runners some of school were as slow as me. My knowledge of running distance went from a couple of things to volumes with a lot of on the road information. All the races and events were fun and there was a lot of camaraderie. Long runs became actually long and in 1980 I ran the Marine Corps Marathon in 3:35 and actually felt okay. It’s amazing what knowledgeable runners and real training can do.I also found a group that ran about the same times as me and we trained to break 20 in the 5 k and 40 in the 10 k. The thrill of making progress and reaching those goals was great. After 25 marathons I finally got my BQ in Pittsburgh in 1988 with a 2:56.27. Boston was an amazing experience and my 3:01 was just shy of requalifying but I was marathoned out at that point. My sister kept telling me that ultras were easier than marathons which made no sense to me. Again with help from the Steeps (Bob Imming) I learned to run trails which is still my favorite today. With a dozen 50 k under my belt I ran the JFK 50 when I turned 50 back in 2003. It was an experience but I wasn’t pleased with my 10:10 time. So the following April I did Bull Run. The 9:25 time was better but I decided I didn’t like to start a race when it was dark and finish in the dark! Nowadays races are fun events and adventures. I’m happy if there are still refreshments when I finish.
As a steeplechaser I have served as secretary, vice president, and a term as president. I have served on the board of directors since then and have been organizing the summer decathlon for the past 30 years. Needless to say, running and the Steeplechasers are an important part of my life.