GRAND PRIX OVERALL WINNERS
- Jennifer Hallberg
- Jamie Wisz
- Connie Pritchard
- Shannon Matthews
- Katharine Warehime
- Lance Dockery
- Louis Schiavone
- Charles Bowles
- Lokesh Meena
- Michael Geisler (13)
GRAND PRIX AGE-GROUP WINNERS
- Ameenah Noor
- Sophie Geernaert
- Lizaeileen Montenegro
- Kerry McHugh
- Maxann Keller
- Rylee Schwee
- Stacy Rosenber
- Katie Malone
- Crystal Tressler
- Erica Mccann
- Crystal Achuo
- Gwyneth Whieldon
- Ruth Taylor
- Jill Cameron
- Pamela Geernaert
- Karen Young
- Oksana Lightfield
- Beverly Black (14)
- Keary Johnston
- Kimberly Whalen
- Dinny Bedard
- Marjette Stark
- Harriet Langlois
- Loretta Fahy
- Margo Smith
- Pam Burke
- Michele Hansen
- Jeanette Novak
- Peggy Waxter
- Allie Young
- no qualifiers
- Matthew Rydzik
- Patrick Orgler
- Jason Scaroni
- Andrew Daniels
- Robert Zaal
- Dustin Campion
- Evan Machusak
- Chris VanSant
- Billy Clem
- Karsten Brown
- Jason Stevens
- Joshua Roane
- Bill Duke
- John Way
- Bill Stahr
- Lou King
- Carl Pritchard
- Ronald Black* (13)
- James Moreland
- Tim O’Keefe
- Timothy Morgan
- Bruce Attavain
- Arthur Gregory
- Richard Potter
- John Clarke
GRAND PRIX QUALIFIERS
- Allison Young, Amanda Berry, Angela Papillo, Anne Shubert, Azhar Ibrahim, Barb Meely, Billy Shumaker, Brady Malone, Brenda Jacobs, Caree Vander Linden, Carolyn DiMaria, Carrie Horton, Casii Dodd, Christine Mosher, Christine Stafford, Dana Defibaugh, Dana Leaman, Daniel Cardenas, David Miller, Domingo Gascon, Dwight Mikulis, Fred Schumacher, Heidi Novak, Herman Smith, Jack Lillard, Jacqueline Messner, James Goetschius, James Wolfe, Janet Burgenson, Janet Quick, Javier Montenegro, Jeffrey Jones, Jennifer Van de Griek, Jessica Sniffen, Joe Basford, John Duffy, Jonathan Gilmer, Judy Trentini, Kara Pokras, Karyn Spertzel, Kelli Swift, Laurie Luck, Lindsey Weaver, Marianna McReal, Marie Burnett, Mark Gaffigan, Marti Grib-Kachman, MaryKay Morgan, Maxann Davis, Meaghan Vance, Meredith Crow, Michael Lane, Michele Newton, Michelle Jones, Michelle Mitchell, Nancy Kavanaugh, Nikki Martin, Qassim Abdullah, Rachel Ridgway, Regina Clark, Richard Morgan, Rick Albee, Robert Hall, Robin McConaughey, Ron Roff, Sarah Wilson, Stacy DiFranco, Stacy Lakin, Stacy Rosenberg, Susan Jensen, Susan Wolfe, Syble Roane, Tammie Shumaker, Tina Cole, Vaughn Temple, Wendy Conley, Wendy Rollison, Zainab Abdullah
- Ruth Taylor
- Caree Vander Linden
- Laurie Luck
- Arthur Gregory
- Dana Defibaugh
- Tim O’Keefe
- Beverly Black
- Ruth Taylor
- Harriet Langlois
- Arthur Gregory
- Ronald Black
- Timothy Morgan
See Decathlon Tributes – 2017 for the detailed tributes
1. Bev Black
2. Ruth Taylor
3. Meaghan Vance
3. Pam Geernaert
5. Brenda Jacobs
6. Jeanette Novak
- Ron Black
- Tim O’Keefe
- Art Gregory
- Joe Basford
- Tim Morgan
- John Way
- Mike Geisler
- Lou King
- Chad Merrill
- Matt Rydzic
I see your 2017 Female Rising Star everywhere. If she’s not spending a weekend tearing up the streets with her blazing speed, she’s at a finish line or on a race course volunteering and cheering for her fellow runners. And if she’s not doing that, she’s still probably encouraging and inspiring her friends and family by spreading positive vibes online. Her tremendous drive and constant desire to improve makes this hard-working mother-of-four a true force to be reckoned with.
Your 2017 Female Rising Star has been a Steeplechaser since 2016, but she began getting much more involved with the club early last year. She’s become a regular fixture at many club events and posted some respectable times in the spring – most notably finishing the Frederick Half in a time of 1:49:16. However, her insatiable hunger for improvement led to a remarkable fall racing season where she really started making a splash.
On a mission to qualify for Boston, this runner increased the intensity and focus of her training over the summer, and it quickly paid off big time. In September, she began noticing that she was setting PRs during some of her ordinary training runs. Then, in October, your Rising Star set three PRs across three different distances in three consecutive weeks! She ran a 1:19:07 (a 2 minute PR) at the Army 10 Miler, then clocked a 1:40:27 (a 5 minute PR) at the Hershey Half Marathon the next week, and then notched a PR 21:29 the following week at the Apple Trample 5K! She didn’t stop there, though. She won the Wattle Waddle 5 Miler in November with a PR 35:52, and also set a PR at the Christmas Cash Dash 10K – finishing in a time of 46:08. But perhaps her most exciting accomplishment was her beautifully-executed 3:35:49 finish at the OBX Marathon, which earned her that coveted Boston Qualifying time by over 4 minutes!
2017 was just the start for this incredible runner, and I have no doubt that she will continue to improve even more in years to come. Congratulations, Erica McCann.
I couldn’t be more excited to present the award for your 2017 Male Rising Star. This runner joined the club at the end of 2016 and immediately began making a name for himself, both with his blazing speed and with his contagious positive attitude. He’s a regular at many of the Steeps’ training runs, and his consistently bright and encouraging spirit truly exemplifies what it means to be a Steeplechaser. Oh, and did I mention he’s wicked fast?!
I had the pleasure of being able to accompany this runner on many runs this past year, and I’ve gotten to witness firsthand his incredible progression of speed throughout 2017. He started off the year with an impressive 64:59 at the cold and hilly Lewis 10 Miler in January, but then quickly bested that with a new 10 mile PR of 61:39 at the Club Challenge in February. He wasn’t finished with the 10 mile distance yet, though – in June, he then sped through the hot and hilly Baltimore 10 Miler in an unprecedented 59:16 to finish 10th out of 3900 runners. Guys, that’s a 5:56 pace for TEN MILES!!
Our Male Rising Star also dominated in shorter distances, too. A 29-minute finish at the Summer Solstice 8K earned him a 6th place finish, and he was the first Steeplechaser to cross the line at the Market Street Mile in a PR 4:53. In addition, he notched a PR 17:36 and 2nd place finish at the Independence 5000 in July, then dropped his 5K PR down to 16:51 to finish 6th overall at the Way Station Turkey Trot 5K in November. Our Male Rising Star is no stranger to the podium, with other notable finishes including 2nd place at the Lucky Leprechaun “5K,” 2nd at the Makin’ Hay 10K, 2nd at the Run for Recovery 5K, 1st at the brutally hot Run for the Pie “10K,” and 1st at the Musical 5K trail run (which he STILL won even though he made a wrong turn and ran an extra half mile!).
On a personal note, I and a few others have this particular runner to thank for helping us to hit some of our own racing goals in 2017, as our Rising Star was only too happy to pace us during many of our hard workouts (which – let’s be honest – weren’t actually all that hard for him). He also gave up his Frederick Half Marathon last year to pace me as I was trying to hit a certain goal time – a selfless act that I know I’ll never forget.
I’ll close with a quote from a famed local orator (Carl Pritchard) that I think sums up our Rising Star quite nicely: “When Louis runs, he runs so fast that he doesn’t feel a wind chill. In fact, when Louis runs, the wind feels a Louis chill.”
Congratulations to our 2017 Male Rising Star, Louis Schiavone.
Improvement in running isn’t always about running faster. Sometimes it is about pushing your boundaries of distance. This is definitely the case for this year’s Most Improved Award.
On Dec 31st, 2016, this runner came to a run with the Trail Steeps at Sugarloaf Mountain for what I told the group would be a 7-mile flat-ish run around the base. For the record, by road standards, it’s not flat. Not even close. And even though we bungled the entire parking situation, and the conversation centered around topics your mother would never discuss at the dinner table, she headed out into the woods with us anyway.
Prior to this run, this runner only run trails once. She was a little quiet but seemed to be having a good time. The conversation naturally rolled around to the North Face 50K that many of us had just started training for. That peaked her interest a bit so she said something like, “I’ve never run more than a half marathon. Maybe I’ll sign up for the North Face marathon.” Rachel Ridgway told her, “If you’re going to run the marathon, you might as well run the 50K with us….it’s only a few more miles.”
Trails seemed to suit her well, and I think she found her calling. Because by the time she got to the starting line of the North Face 50K, she had already signed up for her first 50-miler.
By December this runner had run 1 Ragnar Trail, 4 50K’s, an 8-hour race, and 2 50 milers. That first 50-miler, started at 7pm. She chose to run her first 50-miler in the dark. Her second 50-miler, Stone Mill, came just 6 days after the particularly brutal Fire on the Mountain 50K!
So over 80 miles of trail racing in one week, on trail, with elevation, from a runner that one year earlier had never raced more than a half marathon and never really run trail. That’s pretty impressive. I can’t think of a more deserving winner of the Most Improved Award – Lindsey Weaver.
This years most improved ran his first race in March of this year. He completed the Shamrock 5k in Ocean City in 34 minutes, and was instantly hooked. He continued to improve on his 5k, PRing several times, including a 26:30 at the inaugural Frederick Steeplechasers Independence 5000. At this point he was also increasing distance, training with the Steeps half marathon training group with the target of Bachman’s Half Marathon. He finished this hilly race strong, in just over 2 hours. Next up, getting that sub 2 at the Baltimore Half Marathon, and yet another 5k PR, a 24:41 at the Way Station Turkey Trot. That’s right, in under a year he shaved ten minutes off his 5k time! He is currently training for his first marathon this Spring. This Steeps enthusiasm for running and willingness to work hard and train smart are sure to result in more PR’s in the years to come. This years Most Improved Runner is awarded to John Duffy.
If you’ve ever run with the trail group, you know there is one runner that pulls us together as a group, welcomes new runners into the fold, but, honestly, at the end of the day, flat out outruns all of us. Just a runner with endless energy.
When we head out for runs this runner always takes the lead, running out ahead to make sure the trail is safe – free from squirrels, deer, mountain bikers, whatever. Then doubles back to check on everyone down the line, then back out in front again. And back-and-forth, back-and-forth. So that at the end of a 20-mile run, this runner has done 24 or 25 miles.
If you’ve run with us, you know we’re a casual group and like to walk our hills and take lots of “fueling” breaks. This runner runs every hill and after begging us to share our goldfish and waffles, this runner is the first to remind us we are supposed to be running, not standing around in the woods having a picnic.
We think this runner may actually be the Energizer Bunny in disguise, because he has legs that are like 4 inches long, weighs maybe 10 pounds, and even in the middle of summer runs in a fur coat.
So, without further ado, I’d like to present the Iron Pup award to our beloved Trail Steeps mascot, Mosley Ridgway. I had a chat with Mosely and, unfortunately, he can’t be here tonight, something about his human chauffeur having tickets to Hamilton. He’s also not into trophies, so we got him his own squeaky chipmunk, so he can finally have a chance to catch one.
There are ultrarunners who dabble. There are ultrarunners who are serious. And then there are ultrarunners that go all-in. This year’s Iron Woman recipient is in that all-in category, and proves that you don’t have to be fast to be awe-inspiring.
This year’s Iron Woman has skills, for not only running a crazy number of miles and races, but convincing her running besties that this is a good idea and they should join her. I fully admit there were runs during the year when I considered staging an UltraSignUp intervention.
She began her year with a goal to run her first 100-mile trail race and run 2017 miles. In the lead up training for her 100-miler, she raced one trail Ragnar, one 10-miler, one 15K, one 20-miler, four marathons, six 50Ks, one 8-hour race, one 12-hour race, and two 50-milers, and probably a few more she was hesitant to admit. Think about that…. that’s a race, marathon distance or longer, every 3-4 weeks.
With that sort of lead up, you can probably guess, she crushed her 100-miler and got that shiny buckle. Her 4th marathon of the year….was her 70th marathon in her lifetime. In 2017 she met her goal, she ran just over 2017 miles!!!!
This year’s Iron Woman is not only awe-inspiring for her running, but also for the sheer number of poop stories she can tell – Rachel Ridgway.
This year’s Ironman and I have been at some of the same ultra races, but he’s either finished and headed home before I even make it to the half-way point, or he’s flying by me as he laps me.
But he’s definitely made a name for himself in the trail running community this year. Some of his notable achievements…In August he completed one of the toughest 100 milers in the country – the infamous Eastern States 100, which has something like 20,000 feet of climbing.
A month later he finished 3rd overall at the Rick O’Donnell 8-hour challenge, after winning the first loop by more than 2 minutes over his next competitor. He crushed the Stone Mill 50 Miler in a time of 7:44:23, good enough for 2nd place overall.
With training weeks of over 80 miles per week, he is a force to be reckoned with on the roads as well. He finished 2nd at the Byron 10-Miler, and PR’d the Gar Williams Half Marathon in a time of 1:22:50, earning him a spot on the Steeplechasers Racing Team.
He has big plans for 2018 including the Hashawha Hills 50K, Massanutten Mountain Trails (MMT) 100, and a repeat of Eastern States 100. Our 2017 Iron Man is Dustin Campion.
This award recognizes a member who has positively influenced the club with an encouraging attitude and a willingness to help in whatever capacity necessary. There is no one who embodies the spirit of this award more than this year’s recipient. Our unsung hero has received many running awards over the years, but tonight we recognize her dedication to the club. She is always one to lend a helping hand. She assists with the half and full marathon training programs, and helped maintain the Tuesday night group runs and Saturday morning runs in between training programs. She takes her free time to tabulate Steeps race results, updates portions of the website, and volunteers at races, all while juggling a new and very time consuming job this year! She encourages new and advanced runners alike, whether it be by cheering them on as she is running (and often winning) a race, taking pictures, or sending get well cards to runners under the weather. Her smile, positive attitude, and willingness to volunteer has made her an inspiration to countless Steeplechasers. We are grateful for all the ways she has made a difference in the club and the Frederick community. Let’s give a hearty Steeps thank you to our Unsung Hero, Jenny Hallberg.
When you think of an inspirational person you may consider someone you would like to emulate, maybe someone to model after or look up to…or someone that makes you smile each time you see them. Our winner of the Inspiration Award fulfills each of those categories and more. Marti has been running in the Frederick area for a long time – in fact when I think of the early days of the Summer Decathlon, it is Marti that I see out there smiling and dominating the track. Her enthusiasm and joy of running was there from the start and is still here today. Back in her time, Marti dominated the roads and track with amazing times but even back then, she was more about how everyone else was doing rather than her victories. Time went by and Marti was confounded by a series of bad injuries and a lot of life obstacles. Though her place on the winner’s podium gathered cobwebs, her enthusiasm and love of the sport never left. She was a training partner that made sure there was never a dull moment during a run and celebrated all the baby steps back to healthy running. Healthy or not, every year I was looking for race directors for the summer decathlon, Marti was always there begging me to let her direct an event (not many beg me to take over a race!). She would show up loaded with goodies and treats for everyone. She has gained a reputation for being the Fairy God Mother in the WDF and helping those in the back of the race enjoy it a bit more. At Spook Hill she is one of the Witches chasing the end runners through the vineyard and orchard. When Marti is at a race, the level of excitement goes up a notch. After years of working hard only to end up recovering from an injury, Marti finally had her year this past year. Her pride and joy was her 5:03 half CAT where she was the 6th female. She was 3rd in her age group for Rick’s Run with a 1:02 and 4th AG at Makin’ Hay 10 k with a 59:59. Her focus this year was on the Half Marathon and what a year she had. She was 6th in her age group at the hilly Bachman Valley Half with a 2:41. She ran the Frederick Half in 2:15 and her pride and joy was the Woodrow Wilson Half in a spectacular time of 2:11.
So, take your pick. You can be inspired by her work and dedication to running over several decades. Maybe it is the great races and impressive times she ran this year. But for anyone who knows Marti my bet is that it’s the level of enthusiasm she brings to every race and if you are lucky enough, one of her patented hugs. Most runners would have given up running long ago when faced with the adversity Marti has gone through. Not Marti…our 2017 Inspirational Runner of the Year has earned our respect and admiration for staying positive and happy no matter what the obstacles. She’s a true inspiration for us all.
While most 14 year olds are at home and working towards the next level of a video game or spending hours on Instagram, Ameenah Noor is not most teenagers and spends her time out running as well as helping others. If you haven’t had the chance to meet and talk with Ameenah, you are missing a lot. This quiet young lady is an amazing runner and her shy personality belays all that she does. I had seen her picture in the newspaper for volunteer work she had done with a group called Kids These Days. I was racking my brain trying to remember specifically what she did but this was in the fall and I have trouble remembering what I did yesterday. Well, lo and behold, in Tuesday’s paper, there is Ameenah again, this time filling food bags for needy students in Frederick schools. Her charity work is also seen at Steep events. When she is not racing, often times she can be seen at and aid station or the finish line. At this year’s JFK aid station, Ameenah was one of many Steeps helping the runners at mile 19. On the roads and track Ameenah’s running prowess can be seen. She did two loops of Rick’s Run and her 63 minute first loop time put her at first 20 and under male or female. She ran the hill Forest of Needwood 5 miler in 47:16, good for 1st AG. She won her age group at Spook Hill and was 8th female overall. Her times and places enabled her to win the 13 and under age group in the Grand Prix with a perfect 50 points. In the Market Street Mile she went under 7 minutes with a 6:53. Her 24:22 in the Turkey Trot 5 k was a season’s best and earned her 2nd place. At the Hero for Arts 5k she won her age group with a 28:28 and was 9th woman overall. Not one to stick with the shorter distances, Ameenah ran the Pie Run 10 in 70 minutes and for those of you out at the crazy hilly Lewis 10 miler last week, that was Ameenah cruising in at 1:33 – the only male or female 20 and under and 12th overall for the women.
If you didn’t know Ameenah before, now you do and if you keep your eyes open, you’ll see her in the paper for her contributions to the community as well as up on the awards stand. It won’t be long until our Junior Star is up here garnering even bigger awards.
Our female grandmaster of the year didn’t do much running in 2016. But has come back strong in 2017, running over 9 races with steadily improving times from the beginning of the year to the end. She starting with the Forest of Needwood with a time of 1:01:38, the Mission 10 miler in a time of 2:02:34, a difficult, hilly Making Hay 10k with a time of 1:19:10, and progressing in distance to the Frederick Half Marathon with a time of 2:48:54. She hit her stride in the summer running the Germantown 5 miler, Summer Solstice 8k, and the Indy 500m. She finished the year strong running the Spook Hill 4 miler and the Way Station 5K in a time of 34:05, an age grade of almost 60! For her strong comeback year, our female grandmaster of the year is Margo Smith!
In the last year, our grand master achieved something that many of us can only dream of. An 80% age grade is an incredible achievement. But in 2016, he did it three times in 5k’s. But even more remarkable in 2017, he achieved over 79% AG not only in a 5K but the Frederick Half marathon at an age of 79! His time was 1:55:01 which is a pace of 8:47 per mile! John Clarke is a remarkable runner and indeed our super, grandmaster of 2017!
Our female master runner of the year has been a strong runner for many years. She has been active with the Steeps for over 20 years, serving on the board as secretary in the 1990’s. She has flown under the radar for all her running accomplishments in the past two decades with the Steeps. But this this past year, we are able to acknowledge her amazing results.
She has shown progressive improvements with her half marathons in the past year- starting the year with the Frederick Half marathon with a time of 1:46:30, AG 71.3, and improving to a season’s best at the Bird in the Hand 1/2 marathon with a time of 1:38:59, 1st for her age group with an amazing AG of 76.7! She finished her ½ marathon series at the difficult, hilly Freedom’s run ½ marathon with a time of 1:40:25, good enough for a 1st age group place, AG 75.5. Her winnings continued at multiple distances with 5TH place overall finish/ 2nd masters with an AG of 74.3. She also ran as time-qualifier participant at the NYC marathon with a time of 3:43:02. She finished off the year with a quick 10k at the Christmas Cash Dash with a time of 45:06 placing 1st master’s with age grade of 77.8! Congratulations on an overdue honor – Linda Boring is our female master runner of the year!
Our male master runner of the year has been an active member of the club for many years. In addition to his running accomplishments, he co-founded our new low-key race the Indy 500M this past summer- a successful undertaking with over 100 participants. Our male master is also a skilled pacer- pacing the last several years at the Mission 10 miler and helping to coordinate the pace groups.
Our male master is a talented runner at all distances. But this year, has demonstrated his prowess at the track in the Decathlon series. His impressive series of races include the 200M with a time of 28 seconds, AG 78.6, the 800M with a time of 2:09, AG 78.9, 1 mile with a time of 4:43, AG 78.9, and 2 miles with a time of 10:36, AG 74.7. Additionally, he branched out to sprint triathlons this year- placing 3rd in his age group at the Fort Ritchie Spring triathlon. Congratulations go to Victor Cretella- our male master runner of the year!
Our female runner of the year had an amazing year! Although always competitive in the Decathlon track series, she made great improvements in her longer runs this year- with no less than 5 races over 70% this year! Good enough to join the Steeps racing team in June. Also good enough for 2nd overall place in the Steeplechaser’s Grand Prix series. She demonstrated great prowess in the 5K distance including the Race against Poverty with a time of 20:23, AG 72.4, the Indy 500M with a time of 20:44, AG 71.2, and culminating with the Way Station Turkey Trot at the end of the year with a time of 19:33 and an amazing AG of 75.5! Other impressive race times include the Gary Brown 5 miler, with a time of 34:27, AG 70.25 and the Market St. mile with a time of 5:52, AG 71.6. In addition to her impressive running achievements, she is an accomplished triathlete- qualifying for National trials in the Olympic triathlon distance! Needless to say, our female runner of the year has upped her game! Congratulations to Jamie Wisz – our female runner of the year!
For a young runner, our male runner of the year has been an active club member for many years. Our winner won the Rising Star award in 2011. And this past year, he proved that the award was no fluke! He finished 1st overall in the Steeps Grand Prix series. He joined the racing team at the beginning of the year and made an immediate impact- running the hilly RRCA 10 mile club challenge in a time of 59:26- best in the club! Not to be limited by any category, our runner of the year has proved speedy at all distances from 5k to 50k and from road races to tough, technical trail races. His race times include a 1st place finish at the Indy 5000m in a time of 17:31, AG 74.2, and an icy, hilly Celtic Solstice 5 miler with a time of 27:52, AG 76..5- finishing 10th overall in a field of over 2300 runners! Mid-distance races also proved successful for this runner- finishing 3rd place overall at the Sneaks come out at night 15k, and 2 fast ½ marathons at the Frederick ½ marathon. 1:24:19 and the Hersey half marathon, 1:24:27. Unlike many fast runners. He is not limited to road races only. He placed 2nd at the Little River Patuxent River Run, 6th place at the Catoctin 50k, and 3rd place at the Boulder Field 50k. For these and many other running accomplishments this year, congratulations go to Lance Dockery- our 2017 male runner of the year!
The Waxter Award is named for George and Peggy Waxter, who have generously and graciously given time and support to not only this club, but the entire Frederick running community.
This award is given each year to a member who provides inspiration to others through participation and volunteerism.
This year’s winner is helping out all over the place, though a lot of us don’t quite know how much she does.
She helps at finish lines, coordinates training programs, offers individual training advice. (A lot of us offer training advice, I know, but hers is really good.)
She orders shirts, designs logos, writes web copy, coordinates board meetings, plans runs, gives shoe and gear advice, introduces folks to trail running, and serves as the current club secretary.
She’s generally pretty quiet about everything that she does, but if you spend enough time running with her in the woods somewhere, it starts to come into focus just how much she does for this club.
More importantly, though, if you spend enough time running with other people who run with her, you’ll quickly realize how supportive, inspirational, and encouraging she has been to so many members—myself included.
I couldn’t be happier to present this year’s Waxter Award to Nicole Davis.
The amount of time and effort this Waxter Award recipient has put into the club the last few years has been unsurpassed. She has been the club treasurer since 2014, a job that is time consuming and of utmost importance to the welfare of our club and everyday operations.
On top of her labor intensive job as treasurer, our award winner is also the Race Director of the Frederick Women’s Distance Festival 5k. Her attention to details and dedication to creating a quality event, has made this a must do race in Frederick. Little touches, that are far from unnoticed, even include home made awards, made by the Race Director herself. She truly is multi talented! Under her leadership the race had 540 registered runners in 2017, a new record. She organized 75 race day volunteers, and helped collect donations and sponsorships from 80 businesses and individuals. Those donations enabled the Steeplechasers to give a significant donation of over $16,000 to the Woman’s Giving Circle.
While the Women’s Distance Festival is her “main event”, this recipient also spends countless hours assisting and training new directors for other Steeplechaser races, such as the Market Street Mile and Summer Solstice 8k.
This Waxter Award winner never asks for recognition, but is extremely deserving. She works hard on a daily basis to make our club something great. Her contributions are a big reason we continue to grow as a club. It is our honor to recognize Harriet Langlois as a winner of the Waxter Award.
(presented by Jill Cameron)
I feel privileged to be recognizing Lee and Anne Zumbach for this year’s president award.
The FSRC President’s Award was established in 2010 as an award “Given to a person (or in this case persons) whose contribution to running may have transcended the boundaries of the club by having made an exceptional contribution through the years to the running community at large,” and Lee and Anne Zumbach are well deserving of this award.
Anne was born and raised in Frederick county. In high school, girls had two options for sports, field hockey and basketball; cross country and track and field were not an option. Anne played field hockey and her mother coached both. Her mother modeled how to be a teacher, a coach, and raise a family. Growing up, this was the norm for Anne, and she followed in her mother’s footsteps.
Lee was born and raised in Scranton PA. He played basketball and tennis in highschool and Jr. College. He transferred to Bethel University which is where his running career began. One day he had gone to visit his dentist when they started talking about running. Lee’s dentist told him about Dr. Cooper’s book, Aerobics. After his appointment, Lee went downstairs where there was a bookstore and bought Dr. Cooper’s book. He read the book, became inspired, bought himself a stopwatch, and began running. There was a cotton field outside of his college. He measured one mile along the cotton field and timed himself using his stopwatch to see how fast he could run the mile. He continued to run trying to improve his time. This is how his running career began! After college, he moved to Frederick and rented a basement apartment on Kline, yes, on the Kline loop!
Anne and Lee married in 1973. Many of their first runs were down on the canal near Shepherdstown. They quickly signed up for the National Pike which had a variety of distances offered but they opted for the 10k and ran it every year until it ended around 1988. They started their family in 1989 and joined the Steeplechasers and participated in events such as the decathlon series. In 1983, the Steeplechasers decided to start a grand prix race series. Anne and Lee wanted to start their own race, Forest of Needwood. The Steeplechasers worked with the Zumbach’s to add the Forest of Needwood to the grand prix races, and it is the longest standing grand prix race in the series, and will continue on the grand prix series for 2018, making this its 36th year and the 2nd oldest road race in Frederick County. The Forest of Needwood honors an American Hero, Jennifer Shafer Odom. In 1999, Jennifer lost her life while serving in the United States Army. She was a Brunswick High School graduate and West Point graduate. The Forest of Needwood race supports a scholarship fund in her honor.
Anne and Lee have been running for years, but one of their earliest runs was the JFK 50 miler in 1979. They ran this “together,” well at least for a few miles. You know how that goes. I will run with you, and then someone (Lee) takes off. Anne’s mother was their aid station, before aid stations were a thing. She provided them fuel along the way, but once Anne was running on her own, most of the aid went to her. After JFK, Lee decided to run his first marathon. He completed the Maryland marathon in Baltimore with a time of 3 hours and 35 minutes.
While Lee and Anne were runners, their passion and commitment was coaching. In 1970, Lee began coaching tennis which he continues today. He is on his 48th year of coaching tennis. While coaching tennis, some of his students tried to convince him to coach cross-country. At first he was hesitant, but after a trip to Virginia where he ran with a group of high school cross country students, he decided to take on the challenge. So, while coaching both tennis and basketball, he decided to add cross country to his coaching duties. He had approximately six runners that first year.
Anne coached softball for one year and was also the Linganore assistant track coach for one year, and then she transferred to Brunswick where she coached gymnastics for two years and was also the assistant track coach. In 1982, she started indoor track at Brunswick. She piled her athletes into her car and traveled to places such as the Baltimore 5th regiment armory for meets.
Anne and Lee started coaching indoor running together in 1984. Throughout the years, their number of cross country athletes has increased. Girl’s cross country began at Brunswick in 1981, and the Zumbach’s took the girls cross country to the state championships in 1982, 83, and 85. They have also coached 8 state championship cross country teams at Brunswick HS, 6 girls and 2 boys and 4 girl’s finalist teams. This year the girls were regional champions and state finalist in cross country.
Along with coaching high school cross country and track and field, they also coach for the Potomac Valley Youth Association which was started by Bill Martin in the 1970s with track and basketball. Lee and Anne have taken youth runners to the National Youth Running Championships all over the nation, giving youth the opportunity to run and to learn about our nation at the same time. Of course, one of the biggest hits was the trip to Orlando where they added a visit to Disney World to their agenda!
While Lee and Anne have been coaching for years, they also contribute to their community in other ways. Anne has been a scout master for 15 years and Lee is on the board of directors for the revitalization of Brunswick’s Main Street, the board of directors for Potomac Valley Youth Association, and on the Brunswick area recreation council board.
While Lee has been retired from teaching for several years, Anne continues to teach math at Brunswick High School. They don’t see themselves handing over the reigns anytime soon. They love being busy and can’t imagine doing anything else right now.
I met Lee and Anne at The Little Red Barn in Jefferson. They used their gift card to buy us soup and ice-cream. While at the Little Red Barn, Lee and Anne knew the student behind the counter whom they had coached, and were greeted by several students who entered the restaurant during our visit. The students all had smiles on their faces when they saw Lee and Anne and were thrilled to see the two of them. It is evident that they are loved by their student athletes. They have truly made an impact on the Frederick County running community!