Meet the Racing Team

Meet the members of the Frederick Steeplechasers Racing Team. Our Racing Team is comprised of an Elite and a Developmental Team. We all enjoy competing in a variety of distances from 200m to 100 miles. We have members that are relatively new to the club and a handful that are seasoned veterans who truly round out our team with their experience. We look forward to our 2020 season and hope this is the stepping stone for many more years of fast times.

Elite Men’s Team

Mike Geisler

I have participated in many different sports throughout my life: baseball, football, basketball, softball, outdoor enthusiast, and always a “jogger.” A few community 5k’s and 10k’s were all I had on my resume until age 40. Getting to know a lot of the local runners, joining the Frederick Steeplechasers, participating in a Chi-running clinic, understanding nutrition, and genuine interest in becoming a faster, pain-free runner lit the fire in me. The people I’ve met, the milestones I’ve hit, goals surpassed, and experiences I’ve had, have been unbelievably rewarding. When I turned 40, I updated my bucket list to run a marathon. I did, and then went on to run three 50k’s as well. Lots of miles and and hard work later, I will be running in the Boston Marathon in April 2018.

Art Gregory

I started jogging in my 30’s, logging up to 3 miles per day to stay in shape generally and for playing softball. I rarely went more than 3 miles at an easy pace. I ran the Market Street Mile and a few other races with friends, but never competitively, just to run with friends. My running took a competitive turn after running a 5k to determine how “in shape” I really was. After that really slow race, I determined it was time to become competitive in my age group if nothing else. I went back and took more than 6 min off that 5k time. That year was my first year as a Steeplechaser. Since that time I have tried to become competitive in distances from 200 meters to 26.2 miles and everything in between. Any success I have had is a result of joining the Steeplechasers, and the help, training, friendship, and encouragement from my Steeps friends. My hope is to remain competitive with those in my age group well into the next decade.

Jesse Henderson 

Rick Kern 

Arthur Leathers 

Adam Lowe 

Louis Schiavone

Louis, 26, was a “late bloomer” in terms of competitive running, as he had never run on a team in high school nor in college. His interest in distance running was sparked by his first 5K, the Frederick Turkey Trot in 2012. From there, he continued running and racing in a few 5Ks here and there until he caught the “running bug” and decided to run a full marathon (Rock N Roll D.C., March 2015) before graduating from UMD. Louis got involved with the Steeplechasers in late 2016. Running with the Steeplechasers has brought Louis an immense amount of joy and growth as a runner, and he hopes to help provide that to other runners in the Frederick community and beyond. A couple of Louis’ best results so far are a 2:58:15 marathon at the 2018 Wineglass Marathon in New York, a 16:51 5K at the 2017 Frederick Turkey Trot and a 58:50 at the 2018 RRCA Club Challenge 10 Miler. He hopes to continue to grow as part of the Steeplechasers’ Racing Team, and he looks forward to being an active member of the Steeplechasers for years to come.

Andrew Spangenberg 

Chris VanSant

I started running back on 2012 to lose weight. I joined a gym and worked my way up to 3 miles of continuous running and a gym friend talked me into trying a 5k. Reluctantly, I signed up not knowing 1) if I’d be able to finish, or 2) if I’d come in last. Well 1) I did, and 2) I didn’t, and a competitive runner was born that day.

I started training for longer distances and held my own in my age group at local races. Along the way, I’ve met some great friends, running races near and far, short and long, marathons and relays.

My first marathon was a planned one-and-done, but coming within 20 minutes of a BQ without “real” training had me reconsider with a more dedicated training plan. Marathon #2 had me within 10 minutes of that coveted mark, so there was no stopping there. I finally qualified for Boston on marathon #4. I ran Boston in April 2017, and it was my proudest moment as a runner that I could ever imagine.

I look forward to continuing to represent the Steeplechasers Racing Team, as I still aim for PR’s every chance I get.

Scott Wallace

Bobby Zaal 

Elite Women’s Team

Kathy Cea

At the age of 51, on a lark, I asked a friend if she might be interested in running a 5K with me. She agreed, and we “trained” all summer for the fall race. “All we need is a pair of shoes” we declared. And then we identified a few rules, including “I will never buy a GPS watch” and “I will never run a half marathon.” We were wrong on all counts and what started out as a one-and-done turned into an unexpected passion. I became completely hooked on running and was driven by the desire to improve; seeing women around my age running fast times was a great motivator. I learned that with more running and better training, I could improve my race times. Perhaps the biggest surprise, though, was the wonderful community of runners I found – the social side of the sport as well as the encouragement and support given to each other.

I am excited for the opportunity to join the racing team. Along with a never-ending quest for the next PR, I hope that it enables me to share with others some of my enthusiasm for running.

Claire Heasman

I joined my first running club at age 11 and ran middle distance on the track and cross country through my teen years. In my 20’s I switched focus to concentrate on field hockey but still ran in some capacity for fitness. A house move from England to Scotland in my early 30’s re-ignited my passion for running and with the local running club’s HQ literally on my doorstep I returned to competitive racing primarily on the roads over 5km to half marathons and cross country. A transatlantic move came in 2010, 2 children soon followed but I kept up the running and started racing locally. Now well established in the ‘Masters’ ranks, consistent training with great team-mates has reaped PR’s on the road for all distances from the Mile to Half Marathon. Age is just a number right!

Harriet Langlois

After running for a few years in my 20’s, I took some time off to focus on a career and family. I got back to it in 1996 at age 40, and started seriously going after the marathon distance in 2005. I am averaging 2 to 3 marathons per year and have 34 marathons (25 states) as of April 2019. I love that the Steeplechasers have pushed me to do more racing. My PR’s are likely behind me, but I am focused now on maintaining and improving age-grade results. When I’m not training or racing, I am involved in some of the Steeplechaser races, including Race Director of the Frederick Women’s Distance Festival.

Shelby Shrader

My name is Shelby and I am 24-years-old. I have always loved running and have been racing competitively for 11 years. Growing up in Carroll County, I attended Manchester Valley High School where I ran Cross Country, Indoor Track, and Outdoor Track. In high school I was mostly a middle-distance runner. It was not until I got to college, where I ran Cross Country and Indoor and Outdoor Track and Field for Shenandoah University, that my wheelhouse was really in long-distance running. In college my main events were the 5k, 10k, and Steeplechase. In 2016, I earned third team All-ODAC (Old Dominion Athletic Conference) for the Distance Medley relay and 5000m. That outdoor season I won the Steeplechase title for the NCAA Division III ODAC Championships and was also named All-Region and Academic All-State. I also earned third team All-ODAC for the 10000m at the 2016 Outdoor Track and Field Championships. My senior year I made second team All-ODAC for the NCAA Division III ODAC Cross Country Championships, and I also made All-Region for the NCAA Regional Championships, where I earned Academic All-American Honors as well. After college I have continued to race competitively, but have switched gears to marathon racing. In 2018, I ran my first marathon in Scranton, PA at the Steamtown Marathon, where I just fell three minutes short of my goal time to qualify for Boston. This year I ran the same race, PR’d by 20 minutes, won my age group, was the 15th woman to finish, and qualified for Boston! This year I have also PR’d my half-marathon time at the Frederick Running Festival, where I won my age group, was the fifth woman to finish, and was the female winner of the Nut Job Challenge. I am very excited to join the Frederick Steeplechasers, where I look to improve my times even further, as well as help my teammates to excel and get people in the community as excited about running as I am!

Ruth Taylor

My name is Ruth and I’m a reformed soccer player. Been running all my life as part of sports, but have only been running races since 2007. I’m a running generalist…I love all distances from our decathlon track series and 1 mile races all the way up to ultra-marathons (50k and 50 miles). I am an original member of the Frederick Steeplechasers Racing Team since its formation. Since 2012, I’ve completed over 35+ races each year. Recent racing pursuits have been completing the MD Grand Prix RRCA race series (placing 1st, 2nd, 3rd overall female, and 1st AG) in the past five years and pursuing marathons in all 50 states. I have completed 4 trail ultra-marathons with three 50k’s – including two Catoctin 50K and two Stone Mill 50 Milers. Except for my 1st marathon, all have been Boston qualifiers (12 total). To date, I’ve run 13 marathons in 10 states including a sweep of the U.S. major world marathons with time-qualifier entries at New York, Boston, and Chicago in the past year. I’m an active volunteer for the Frederick Steeplechasers including heading the social committee for 2 1/2 years and now I’m co-chairing the competition committee.

Developmental Men’s Team

Mike Kearney

Mike rediscovered his love for running and racing in 2015 and joined the Steeplechasers in 2017. With the  support of his Steeps friends and coaches,  he ran his first half marathon in fall 2017, another in spring 2018 and completed his first marathon in fall 2018. Mike joined the Racing Team in 2018, and in 2019 ran two marathons and qualified for the 2020 Boston Marathon.  Mike currently serves as the Racing Team Administrator.

Edwin Marroquin

Tim O’Keefe

My running story begins 52 years ago when I competed in the 100 (9.9 seconds) and 220 (22.2 seconds) yard dash in high school. In college I continued my running now moving up to the 400 meters (50.0 seconds). At that time, a lap or two around the track for warm up was considered long distance. After graduating from college, I realized there wasn’t much in the way of running for a sprinter but there were a lot of people around who were “joggers”. Two friends at the school I was teaching ran a few days a week and invited me to join them. I tagged along but this was not as easy as it seems, I was used to running for distances measured in seconds not many minutes. Over the year mile or two runs slowly morphed to 3-5 mile runs. Each year my friends did one race – in a place called Frederick – that was a half marathon from Boonsboro to the Fredericktowne Mall. Being clueless and knowing I could do 5 miles, I ran the race. On National Pike I made it up South Mountain but with each hill my energy ebbed until I faced Braddock Mountain and was not sure I could even walk up. I did finish the race and got a medal for finishing in 10th place. It wasn’t pretty but I got the long distance “bug”. In 1978 I felt ready to tackle the marathon. If I could do a half marathon, with a bit more training, I was pretty sure I could do this marathon thing. I up my training to 8 miles and lined up on Labor Day at the new Lakeforest Mall. My 3:59 run was a lesson in torture. I finished next to last and the finish area was already being taken down. Later that year we moved to Middletown where I began reading about the Frederick Steeplechasers. I would look at their race results but was pretty sure I could not do the steeplechase. In 1979 I took a chance and ran in a low key Steeplechaser race. It was fun, the people were nice, and it didn’t involve jumping over barriers! I joined the club and I learned a lot about distance running and training. I became a regular participant in the clubs races and saw improvement in my times. With good training partners, I was able to get my 10k time down to the 36 minute area and my 5k to a 17:25. A great Cherry Blossom 10 miler helped me to a 58 minute PR and I hit 4:48 in the Market Street Mile. The marathon was always looming in the background and after training with the Steeps, saw my finish time go to 3:35 in my second attempt and feel a whole lot better in the race. It took 13 more marathons before I finally hit my big PR of 2:56 in the Pittsburgh Marathon in 1987. That was a Boston qualifier and in 1988 ran Boston in 3:01. My sister kept telling me how much fun ultra running was and how much easier a 50k on trails was than the marathon. Again with the help of steeplechase runners, I learned the art of trail running and eventually did my first HAT 50k. She was right, it was a lot more enjoyable. After a dozen 50k’s I decided to do a 50 miler when I turned 50. So in 2003 I did the JFK 50 miler. I was not happy with my 10:10 time so I signed up for Bull Run in 2004. I was happier with my 9:30 fifty mile time but decided I wasn’t a fan of starting a race at sun up and running until the sun sets.
Along the way of my running I became more involved with the Steeplechasers as secretary of the club and eventually a term as the club’s president. For 10 years I was director of a 4th of July race that raised thousands of dollars for the Cancer Society. I created the Summer Decathlon series that has been running for the past 25+ years. I’m on the FSRC Board of Directors and try to volunteer at events whenever I can. I’m also a road race course certifier and have certified a lot of the race courses in the area.
As for that whole notion about the Steeplechasers doing these races jumping over barriers, in 1998 Brent Ayer showed me how to do this 3000 meter race over barriers and with water jumps. We qualified for the USATF Eastern Regional Championships in Maine where I got 2nd in my age group with a time that earned me All American status.

Ken Spore

John Way

Developmental Women’s Team

Catherine Badger

I started running as an adult in 2011 to mix things up from a steady diet of cycling. I ran track in high school and loved it – I am stoked to have re-kindled my long lost affair with running! I have toggled back and forth between trail and road running and would like to venture into the world of masters track competition. I have run many local 5k’s, a few 10k’s, the Freedom’s Run half marathon and the Market Street Mile a number of times. I am still an avid cyclist to keep my world in balance and thoroughly enjoy mentoring new athletes in both disciplines. My goal is to run smarter, faster and stay strong into my dotage as a member of the race team and perhaps collect a few PRs along the way. As a member of the Steeplechasers since 2012, I couldn’t ask for a more diverse, friendly and motivating force to accomplish these goals. I still have much to learn from the experienced members and embrace the challenge of being exposed to a more competitive environment through the Steeplechaser’s racing team. Onward…

Jamie Wisz

Hi, my name is Jamie Wisz. I grew up in Frederick and it will always be my hometown even though I now live over two mountains. I was a swimmer before I was a runner. I swam on FAST at a young age. Then started running at the age of sixteen in high school. During that the same year in 2006, our girls’ XC team won states. I ran cross country and track for three years in High school, two years at HCC, and half a year of track at Hood College. In 2012, I became a student assistant coach for XC at HCC while training for my first marathon and first ultra relay race. I was involved in two running clubs at two different colleges in 2013 and 2016. I started doing triathlons in 2014. Then in 2015, I became a FSRC member.

In 2017, I started coaching track at MSD while training for and finishing my first Boston Marathon. Later that year, I competed at the USA Triathlon Age Group National Championship and finished my first Olympic distance in a very hard age group. Finally in November, I PR’d in my 5K time.

I am blessed to have this opportunity to be a part of a great community by volunteering, competing, and cheering other great runners on! Go Runners!