GRAND PRIX OVERALL WINNERS
- Claire Heasman
- Jamie Wisz
- Erica Mccann
- Jennifer Hallberg
- Kristin Leahy
- Dustin Campion
- Chris VanSant
- Rick Kern
- Andrew Daniels
- Michael Geisler
GRAND PRIX AGE-GROUP WINNERS
Up to 13
- Ameenah Noor
- Sophie Geenaert
- Carolyn West
- Lizaeileen Montenegro
- Katie Warehime
- Lindsey Weaver
- Zainab Abdullah
- Katie Malone
- Katie Marple
- Ruth Taylor
- Oksana Lightfield
- Karen Young
- Heidi Novak
- Patrei Ningen
- Pamela Geernaert
- Lorraine Sullivan
- Dee Gager
- Linda Boring
- Connie Morris
- Harriet Langlois
- Michelle Mitchell
- Loretta Fahy
- Margo Smith
- Michele Hansen
70 & up
- Jeanette Novak
- Allie Young
- Louis Schiavone
- Timothy Gacquin
- Arthur Leathers
- Evan Machusak
- Javier Montenegro
- Chris Dutton
- Scott Wallace
- Jason Scaroni
- Eric Cameron
- Mark Leahy
- Josh Henson
- Jason Stevens
- Craig Combs
- John Way
- Adam Kiely
- John Duffy
- Dana Defibaugh
- John Gardner
- Mike Kearney
- Ron Black
- Tim O’Keefe
- Timothy Morgan
- Lou King
- Arthur Gregory
- Richard Potter
- John Clarke
- Jeffrey Jones
- Fred Schumaker
GRAND PRIX QUALIFIERS
Amanda Berry, Amy Weed, Andrea Thompson, Azhar Ibrahim, Bev Black, Bruce Attavian, Caree Vander Linden, Carolyn Toledo, Daniel Cardenas, Dinny Bedard, Domingo Gascon, Edwin Marroquin, Elizabeth Liotta, Gwyneth Whieldon, James Wolfe, Janet Burgenson, Jason Lawrence, Jennifer Van de Griek, Jolene Miller, Joyce Smith, Justine Freimanis, Karen Young, Kelly Schultz, Kerry McHugh, Kibby Powell, Kimberly Whalen, Kristin Holzschuh, Laurie Luck, Lynette Whiten, Marianna McReal, Marie Burnett, Mark Gaffigan, Marti Grib-Kachman, Matthew Rydzik, Maxann Davis, Megan Putman, Melissa Sites, Meredith Crow, Michele Newton, Michelle Jones, Mike O’Grady, Nicole Davis, Phil Pinti, Qassim Abdullah, Rachel Fisher, Regina Clark, Robin McConaughey, Staci McCole, Stacy DiFranco, Stacy Rosenberg, Susan Jensen, Susan Pierce-Richards, Susan Wolfe, Tara Flores, Tee Dockery, Tina Garland, Vaughn Temple, Yvonne Linger
- Ruth Taylor
- Linda Boring
- Dee Gager
- Tim Morgan
- Art Gregory
- Tim O’Keefe
- Ruth Taylor
- Harriet Langlois
- Jamie Wisz
- Rick Kern
- John Clark
- Art Gregory
For this year’s Rising Star, we should look a little further back at the fall of 2017. After a strong training year that showed many signs of the successes to come, this Star rocked the Marine Corps Marathon by shaving over 28 minutes of her previous best. It was a brutally hot day, and in spite of the heat and lack of water for the last five miles of the course, she posted a more than respectable 3:53:25. She continued to gain momentum with a personal record at the Waystation Turkey Trot, and as the new year approached, she got set to make 2018 her “year of sport”.
The first real hint of her power in the year to come was during the dreaded Lewis 10-Miler race, where our Rising Star predicted her finish at 1:29:00. Needless to say, she did not win the prediction race, instead she arrived over 10 minutes ahead of her prediction with a time of 1:18:40. She went on to break this PR several times across the year, including taking down a blazing 1:16:51 at the Army 10-Miler.
Perhaps the best illustration of this runner’s focus and intense dedication to training is to note her plummeting Waystation Turkey Trot times, going from 26:53 in 2014, to a 24:41 in 2016, 22:21 in 2017, and all the way to 21:59 in 2018. That last time, it’s worth noting, possibly was after at least one pre-race hot toddy.
While you might see this zippy runner anywhere in Frederick — breakfast runs, pub runs, trail runs, hash runs, decathlons, Ragnars, and races at just about any distance — it’s her infectious energy and raw joy in the sport that makes her such a great running partner, competitor and friend. Our new Rising Star is one of the many members of our club that brighten the entire Frederick running scene, and we look forward to a new year of sharing the roads and trails with this year’s award winner, Kristin Leahy.
This year’s Rising Star is a newer member of the club who made an immediate impact at this Summer’s Decathlon- placing 1st overall among some very tough age-graded competition.
His age grades at the decathlon were almost all in the 75-80% range, with his best race being the most competitive decathlon race of the year- the 800m. His time of 2:12 age-graded to 80%. His 600m race was a close second, in a time of 1:35, age-graded to 79%.
But our Rising Star’s running prowess did not end at the track, he racked up some impressive races in the Grand Prix series. In September, he ran the Market Street Mile in a time of 4:50, age-graded 80%, coming 1st in the 30-39 Age Group. He raced to a 3rd Age Group finish in the competitive Way Station Turkey Trot 5k with a time of 17:29,
Our Most Improved award for 2018 goes to a Steeplechaser that fell in love with running as an adult. When she realized her potential, she focused on training with speed and endurance runs, while increasing her cross training. She is a frequent participant in road and trail training runs and her joy for running is contagious to those around her.
She ran her first marathon in October 2017, finishing in 4:01, and then topped that this past Spring with a 3:44 at Gettysburg, coming first in her division. She also picked up age group wins at Forest of Needwood, Makin’ Hay 10K, and Freedom’s Run ½ Marathon. Most recently, she had a 4 minute improvement over her 2017 Byron 10 Mile Run and finished top female overall.
It has been exciting to see how far she has come in the last couple years and we can’t wait to see what 2019 has in store for our Most Improved, Oksana Lightfield.
Every year it is exciting to see upward trends of Steeps members. There are so many that have steady improvements year after year, and often you see runners with absolute breakout years. This years Most Improved has put in the miles and the work for a 3 year improvement trend of over 10%.
It may be hard to realize just how exceptional this is unless I list a few of his results. In 2017, he ran the Frederick ½ Marathon in 1:41, and this year he bettered that time by over 10 minutes to run a time of 1:31. In 2018, he also ran the RRCA 10 miler. He ran a 15 minute improvement to complete the hilly race in an impressive 1:10. His most significant gains though, came in the Marathon distance. In the Spring of 2017, he ran a 4:27 at the Gettysburg Marathon. He improved upon his time at the 2017 Marine Corp Marathon, where he ran a 3:53. This year at the Erie Marathon he destroyed his PR yet again, by over 40 minutes, and got a Boston Qualifying time of 3:13.
This years Most Improved has quickly become a top age group runner in Frederick, winning his age division at the Summer Solstice 8K and the Spook Hill 4 Miler. He also was a Top Grand Prix finisher for 2018, finishing 4th in the Overall category. Congratulations to our 2018 Most Improved, Andrew Daniels.
Thanks to Nicole Davis for letting me borrow her words of wisdom for this nomination!
Our Iron Woman has continued to build on her remarkable 2017. Firstly, she hit her goal of running 2018+ miles for the year! Among her accomplishments- To say she had bad weather at OSS was an understatement. It was pouring rain and lightning all night long! Hashawha – almost the entire course was above the ankle muddy. Stone Mill – again large parts of the course over the ankle muddy. Devil Dog, again rain and mud. This was a terrible year for trail running for the average ultra mileage bloke – so much shoe sucking mud. To put in the miles she did under the trail conditions we had is even more impressive. She also did the following:
RAM (Run Across Maryland on the Appalachian Trail), Hashawa Hills 50k, Dam Yeti 50k, OSS CIA 50 miler (night start with miserable weather) where she finished 1st Woman, CAT50K, 45 miles at the Labor Pain 12 hour event, Yeti 100 Miler (her first 100
And I know it’s not an ultra marathon, but she can be fast on the road as well! I carried her 1st AG award in Art’s truck from the competitive Waynesboro Firecracker 5k for half the year!
She’s had an amazing year and has not only completed many races throughout the year, but she’s steadily improved despite hitting her highest yearly mileage. She’s encouraged others along the way as well. For all these reasons and more, our Ironwoman is Lindsey Weaver.
Our 2018 Iron Man is well known in the club for being an awesome and inspiring coach. Starting with his first run of the Catoctin 50K in 2016, he has also proved himself to be a kick ass trail runner. In 2018, he not only took it up a notch, he may have broken the dial. He was planning on running his first 100 miler in the Fall at Yeti, but on a whim and fueled by the encouragement of John Godinet, he completed his goal of finishing a 100 miler 6 months early at the C&O Canal 100. Our Iron Man then went on to complete the Yeti 100 in September surrounded by a large group of Steeplechasers who also ran the 100 or the 50. During 2018, he also completed: Hashawha Hills 50K, Greenbrier 50 Mile Midnight Ultra, the Damn Yeti 50K, CAT50K, and the Stone Mill 50 Miler.
While training for this impressive list of ultras, our Iron Man has still made time to be a valuable resource to our new half marathon and marathon coaches, organize trail and pub runs, and along with his amazing wife Risa, hosted the first breakfast run of the year. Our 2018 Iron Man, is Billy Clem.
The Unsung Hero is defined as a member who has positively influenced the club with an encouraging attitude and a willingness to help in whatever capacity necessary. Our 2018 Award Winner immediately came to mind because of the amount of time she has given to the club over the past several years. In 2018, she stepped up in every way. She coached the half marathon and marathon training groups, ran the social committee, organized and recruited volunteers, and encouraged others to reach their training goals. As a coach, she spent a great deal of time organizing runs, posting topics, and offering advice. As the Social Committee chair, she coordinated monthly happy hours and activities, including the Summer Picnic, and the Annual Banquet. Our Unsung Hero, did all this while starting a new job and training for her own marathon, often sacrificing her own racing goals to help the Steeps. As if this wasn’t enough, she has even stepped up to be the upcoming FSRC Secretary!
Congratulations to Heidi Novak. Thanks for giving your heart, soul, and positive energy to the Steeps!
We are thrilled to present the 2018 Inspiration award. We have had the privilege to know this runner since he joined the Steeplechasers, and have accompanied him on many training runs. While this runner didn’t start running until later in life, he’s completed 20 half marathons in the five years he’s been running, with 11 of those being in one year. That was the year he wanted to qualify for the Half Fanatics. It’s safe to say that he became a member with all of those races. In 2016, he was selected as the State Delegate representing Maryland at the Pittsburgh Bi-Centennial Celebration during the Pittsburgh Marathon & Half Marathon.
While this runner started off on the roads, he quickly found that his passion was on the trails. During 2018 he completed his first ultra when he completed the North Face DC 50K and ran a three-day trail race through national parks (lucky guy!). He also earned his RCAA Level 1 coaching certification.
This runner also started a new Co-Ed training program for new runners, for which I (Michele Newton) am personally grateful, since my husband Scott got his official start as a Steeplechaser because of that new 5K program. This award winner is a Marine Corps veteran and a very humble runner. One evening we met for a run in good old Walkersville, and he told me that he used to be very introverted and shy, and that only a few years ago he smoked a pack of cigarettes a day and was much heavier. He shared that he decided to change his life and commit to a healthy lifestyle and a running program. Having only known him as amazing runner, and someone who always has something funny to say and who makes everyone smile, it was hard to believe all that he had overcome. I went home and told my husband, “Hey, there’s this running friend of mine who I think you can relate to. He says he wants to start a 5K Co-Ed training program.”
Robert, knowing your story makes all that you’ve accomplished even more remarkable. As someone who has coached you, on behalf of us seasoned runners, and for new runners too, thank you for inspiring us to dream big. Congratulations Robert Hall.
First, I’d like to acknowledge Pam Geernaert for her words of wisdom for this nomination!
Our Junior Runner of the Year had many amazing accomplishments this year including:
-8th overall female in the Summer Decathlon, and served as race director of one of the events
-She won the 14-29 Age Group in the Grand Prix
-She trained for and completed the Endless Summer 6-hour Challenge- running over 27 miles, and has set her sights on her first ultra. She will be training through the Winter to run Mid Maryland in February.
She is also one of the biggest cheerleaders at events. Recently at the Women’s Distance Festival a child ran faster than her mom and was all alone. The mom said she spotted her daughter ahead, but when she saw she was with our Junior Runner of the Year, she wasn’t worried anymore.
She has set up aid stations at her house for the Frederick Half Marathon training runs, and is always cheering on runners whether she is on the course or on the sidelines.
She crewed her mom, Pamela, at the C&O 100 and ran with her for 10 of the
She has developed a keen love of running and has been part of the Steeplechasers since she was 7 years old, running with Self Propel. She is incredibly deserving of this award. Our Junior Runner of the Year is none other than Sophie Geernaert!
I am proudly presenting the 2018 Female Grandmaster Award to my SISTA. Sassy, Inspiring, Strong, Tough, Amazing. Actually, we joke and say she should have been my twin, instead of my actual twin. In 2018 she was more than amazing and the following is why I nominated her and she is deserving of receiving this award.
She received 1st Age Group at the 2018 Forest of Needwood, 3rd Age Group at the Makin’ Hay 10K, 2nd & 4th Age Group running the Nut Job at the Frederick Running Festival, 1st Age Group at the Frederick Summer Solstice, 1st Age Group at the Frederick Women’s Distance Festival, 2nd Age Group at the Bachman Valley Half Marathon, 3rd Age Group at the Freedom’s Run Marathon, and 1st Age Group at the Schaeffer Half Marathon. She also won 2nd in the Grand Prix and finished 2nd overall at the Summer Decathlon.
In the years I’ve been running with Michelle, she just gets better. She has inspired me and is mentoring me on the trails, and somehow talked me into running the ½ CAT, not once, but twice! I’m so proud that she represents the Steeps and she is my SISTA!
Our Grandmaster Runner of the year won the tough 60 + age group in the Grand Prix with age group wins in the Frederick Summer Solstice, Germantown 5 Miler, Market Street Mile, Run For The Pie 10K, Independence 5000, and the competitive Way Station Turkey Trot 5K.
New to the Racing Team he truly had a great year! His wins were not limited to short races but included distances from 1 mile to 20 miles. He ran his first marathon this year (MCM) and ran a 3:47:53!! He truly dominated his age group and is a credit to Steeplechasers and our Racing Team. Besides his running ability, he is described by members as “dependable, on time, friendly and not only willing to help but seeks out ways to help in any capacity. ” This Steep stepped up not only by assisting at
Congratulations to our Grand Master Runner of the Year, Mike Kearney.
Our 2018 Masters Runner of the Year stands out with some of the highest age graded averages in the entire club, averaging 75%. Not only that, but at 58, she is still improving! This Frederick Steeplechaser and Montgomery County Road runner can be found at races almost every weekend, taking home an age group award. Some of her notable local races for 2018 include the Kentlands 5K where she ran a sub 8 minute pace to win her age group. She improved on this time at the Way Station Turkey Trot, finishing 2nd in her age group, and again improved at the College Park Run in December where she ran a 23:33. This 77% age graded time not only won her age division, but was also the 2nd place overall female time of the day!
Congratulations to Kathy Cea for being the 2018 Frederick Steeplechasers Master runner of the Year. Her running success is an inspiration to all of us master runners looking for improvements.
Our Master Runner of the Year had an amazing year. His Grand Prix races had results many of us can only dream of. With age group wins and times above 72% age graded in all his Grand Prix events, he is proving to be a tough competitor. He had age group wins in: Lewis Run at 72.65% age grade, RRCA Club Challenge 10 Mile Race at 74.46% age grade, The Forest of Needwood 5 Mile Race at 76.33% age grade, Market Street Mile at 76.53% age grade, Run for The Pie 10k at 76.84% age grade, Spook Hill 8k at 76.19% age grade, Independence 5,000 at 78.91% age grade, and the Summer Decathlon 800 Meter race at 73.96% age grade, leading to an Overall 3rd place finish in the Grand Prix, and 1st place in the Equalizer series.
Rick Kern truly deserves to be Master Runner of the year we are happy to have him on the Racing Team and a Steeplechaser.
While some of the decisions of the competition committee were hard, this choice was the easiest one. Our female runner of the year, although qualifying as a master’s runner, was the fastest female in our club. Joining the club mid-way in the year, she made an immediate impact as a member of the Steeps racing team. Running just 6 of the grand-
About 4 years ago I met our 2018 Runner of the Year at a youth cross country practice. Like most avid runners, within the first five minutes he asked about upcoming races, PR’s, and running shoe preferences. At the time he was fast, with an 18 minute 5K time and a half time in the low 1:30’s. In the last couple years, however, he has become FAST, in bold, italics, and all caps.
2018 has definitely been an impressive year for this member of the Frederick Steeplechasers Racing Team. He started the year with a half marathon PR at the Rock & Roll Half in DC with a speedy 1:17:42. This was followed by a marathon PR and his first sub 3 marathon at Boston, in less than desirable weather. Our Runner of the Year went on to win the Frederick Summer Solstice 8K, and placed in the top 3 at the Firecracker 5K and the Rockville Twilighter. He continued an incredible year of racing by winning Top Masters in the Market Street Mile with a blazing time of 4:44, and winning 2nd in his age group at the highly competitive Army 10 Miler. To put it in perspective, he was top 100 at the Army 10 Miler in a field of almost 25,000 runners, and 2nd in his age group of 2,000. Our runner capped off the year with two insanely fast 5K’s, including a PR and 3rd place finish at the Frederick Turkey Trot for his time of 16:21.
Our Runner of the Year trains alongside his racing team friends, putting in 60 mile weeks, while juggling a career with long and inconsistent hours and spending time with his family. Congratulations to this year’s Runner of the Year, Bobby Zaal. We are not sure how much faster he will get, but it will sure be fun to watch.
The Waxter Award is given to a member who provides inspiration through participation and exceptional volunteerism. While there are many that donate their time to the success of the Frederick Steeplechasers, this individual is in a league of their own. While he can be found pitching in at almost all FSRC events, he also spends countless hours per week behind the scenes on less visible projects benefiting both the Steeplechasers and the Road Runners Club of America. Affectionately known as the “Chief Technology Dude”, his technical contributions have significantly eased the workload of our generous, but busy, volunteers. The automation provided by Scoretility, Routetility and now Contractility used for managing our race services business has saved countless hours of manual work.
In addition to the development and maintenance of these major tools and the club website, this individual made several significant contributions over the past year. He successfully transitioned club membership and race registration to RunSignUp providing valuable new features compared to our previous system. He also introduced the use of Chromebook “kiosks” for handling race registrations at packet pickup and on race day thus eliminating the need for error-prone and time-consuming paper registrations. He selflessly stepped up to be the Race Director after an unforeseen Market Street Mile leadership vacancy. Under his direction, this event had the highest number of participants and funds raised for charity in the history of the race.
In addition to taking the lead as a race director for one of four signature races, he also co-chaired the FSRC 2018 nominating committee which developed the slate for the next term of Executive Officers and served as an active participant on the Summer Solstice 8k committee. Furthermore, he led the charge for the city of Frederick being recognized by the RRCA as a Runner Friendly Community in 2017. As one of the key FSRC Community Liaison, this leader represents the club at the Frederick County Commissioners Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee meetings to communicate our support for runner priorities related to the Capital Improvement Plan.
This individual currently serves on the Board of Directors and was the Frederick Steeplechasers Club President from 2015 to 2017 where he was recognized as the 2016 RRCA Outstanding President of the Year. During his tenure, he modernized club operations through the application of technology and process improvement. He represented the Steeplechasers at the 60th Annual RRCA convention in Washington D.C. where he delivered a well-received workshop on the use of technology for club management.
In addition to his commitment to the Steeplechasers, he was recently hand-picked to be the Maryland State Representative for the RRCA where he will continue to pass on his knowledge and expertise. It is our pleasure to present the 2018 Waxter Award to Lou King.
I feel privileged to be recognizing David Shafer for this year’s president award.
The FSRC President’s Award was established in 2010 as an award “Given to a person 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 David Shafer is well deserving of this award.
David Shafer began his running career in middle school. He was encouraged to join the intramural team by his coach and mentor, Don Mauer. After a strong middle school running career, he continued running in high school. He ran cross-country and track from 9th – 12th grade. He was surrounded by good people who encouraged him to continue running. David was a three-time state cross-country champion with Middletown High School where he was also awarded a running scholarship. While he loved running, he truly appreciated his running scholarship because he was unsure how he would have afforded college any other way.
David attended Marshal University where he met and ran with a group of great runners, but not such a great coach. He served as captain of the Marshall University-Southern Conference cross-country championship team. His college experience motivated him to continue to run. Despite his coaches’ discouragement, David ran the Maryland Marathon in 1979 where, at the age of 23, placed 42nd with a time of 2:35:39. After college, in the early 70s, he and his running team were sponsored by various shoe stores including Allen’s Locker Room in Hagerstown, Converse, Adidas, and Brookes. Many of the members of his competitive running team qualified for the Olympic Trials. At this time, David also spent time back at his high school where he supported and encouraged the high school team. He ran the Maryland marathon again in 1981 at the age of 25 placing 10th overall with a time of 2:28:55. Again in 1983 placing 2nd with a time of 2:24:48, and in 1984 David was training another runner for the Maryland Marathon. When the runner became injured, David decided to run the marathon, but this time he won with a time of 2:20:08. He was the first Marylander to win the Maryland Marathon.
In 1982 he placed 100th at the Boston marathon and then placed 53rd at Boston in 1983. This was the year David qualified for the Olympic Trials. The trials took place in Buffalo, NY. Although David didn’t make the Olympics, and there were several runners who quit when they knew they weren’t going to make it, he pressed on, finishing the marathon in 2:39:38. David often tells this story to his students at Middle Town Elementary where he has been a counselor since 1991. He shares his stories to teach students about the importance of grit and not giving up. He shares his running stories to encourage camaraderie and perseverance amongst his students. He even shares the time he was running Boston when he was in 7th place… He couldn’t believe that he was going to be in the top 10 in Boston, and then he cramped up and finished in 66th place. These stories are meant to motivate and inspire his students which he does every day.
In his 30s, David stopped running with Adidas but helped out with the Knight Striders Youth Running Program. Later in life, he connected with the Baltimore Washington Athletic Club joining the Masters Team where they placed 3rd at the National Cross Country Meet. David shared with me that they were disappointed the following year because they placed 7th; there was some serious competition. David has also directed small races throughout the years at his elementary school to help raise funds for a playground at his school promoting running and outdoor fun!
David’s wife, Paula, shared with me that running for David is not the main thing in his life, but he is so very thankful that he can do it. After two knee replacements, he continues to run! David shared that God has blessed him by allowing him to run then, and run now, and he thanks God every day that he is able to run.
Although most may never make it to the Olympic Trials, David teaches his students both at school and at Sunday school, that there are many life lessons to be learned from running. In competition, you have to learn to encourage others, even if they beat you… because that’s what makes a strong individual, and whatever you decide to do in life, whether it is running or something else, do it with tremendous commitment. Whatever you choose to do, do it well.
Thank you, David, for your commitment to our youth and your inspiration to our running community. I am pleased to award you with this year’s president’s award.