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 2022 season and hope this is the stepping stone for many more years of fast times.

Elite Men’s Team

Jesse Henderson 

Rick Kern 

Arthur Leathers 

Jesse Magolon

Andrew Spangenberg 

Dan Jacobs

John Way

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 career and family. I got back to it in 1996 at age 40 and started seriously going after the marathon distance in 2005. I try to aim for two to three marathons per year and have completed 38 marathons (28 states) as of March 2020. I love that the Steeplechasers have pushed me to do more racing. My PRs are likely behind me, but I am focused now on maintaining and improving age-grade results. When I’m not training or racing, I help to coordinate the Steeplechaser races, including Race Director of the Frederick Women’s Distance Festival and the Summer Solstice 8K.

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 and completed his first marathon in fall 2018. Mike also joined the Racing Team in 2018. In October, 2021 he ran his first Boston Marathon, and his second in April, 2022.  Mike currently serves as the Racing Team Administrator.

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.

Developmental Women’s Team

Oksana Lightfield

Oksana didn’t start her running career until she was in her late 30-s. She started running as a getaway from everyday stress and as a means to get healthy. Six marathons later, three of which were Boston Qualifiers, and one trip to Boston, Oksana is still happily running and training. With the marathon being her favorite distance so far, Oksana has run multiple half-marathons, 10Ks, 5Ks, and other races of varying distances, primarily on the road. While she is happiest on the trail, Oksana is currently working on honing in her road marathon pacing and improving her marathon and 5K times. She is excited to join the Steeps’ Racing Team this year and grateful for her resilient body and mind.

Erin Snyder