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 2023 season and hope this is the stepping stone for many more years of fast times.
Elite Men’s Team
I started running in 2004 while in high school. My favorite distances to race are XC 5k and 10 miles and half marathon on the roads. I used to be really good at 5ks before I got older. My bucket list race is the London Marathon. I have found that I get the most out of myself when I am running for a team. I am happy to be running for the Steeps. I hope that one day we will have more team races and maybe even a XC team!
My running story begins during fall 2010 when I had occasionally gone out for a run to work on building fitness since I had none. Never being the athletic-type, this was quite a feat – I still vividly remember lying on the ground after jogging that first tenth of a mile being completely out of breath and tasting blood. But with some great summer 2011 long run companionship I had managed to lumber across the finish line of the 2011 Harrisburg Half Marathon in 526th place at 2:24:34.26. Walking away with a knee injury (due to undertraining by cheating on the plan and only running the weekend long runs) I decided to step away from running for years – occasionally going out for a run but primarily focusing on my career and the accompanying stress eating. Years later summer 2019 arrived and I decided to get back into running again to improve my health and signed up for a destination event – Triple Threat Half Marathon in Gloucester, MA which I completed in 402nd place at 2:35:33. This race resurrected the running bug and since then I have been mostly consistent – I was still getting injured but managed to avoid anything serious as I learned to improve my form over time. By the end of 2019 I was able to go sub-2 in the half and sub-25 in my first 5K so was making steady progress.
2020 came along and with it the ability to telework which further aided me to get out and run although I didn’t really get serious until the birth of my daughter in July having mostly recovered from another leg injury. With no races to plan/train for I ran aimlessly through summer 2021 when the Frederick Half Marathon came around – I had an absolute blast running in this awesome community! I managed to go sub-1:40 showing that my fitness was improving and in the fall went back to the Harrisburg Half and just missed sub-1:30. 2022 saw me back in Frederick again for the HM and I had another great race lowering HM PR to sub-1:25. I then focused on the marathon distance and completed two in under 3 hours securing a BQ for both 2023 and 2024 (planning to run 2023). After marathon season ended, I then turned to improving speed and managed to run two 5Ks above 73% AG allowing me to apply for the racing team.
I reside in Carlisle, PA but have been following the Steeps after my tours of Frederick and seeing what a stellar organization it is with amazing folks, I felt compelled to join and apply for the racing team. My goals for 2023 are to time qualify for the 2024 NYC Marathon, continue to post above 73% AG times, and improve on PRs across all distances from the mile to the marathon with emphasis on the shorter distances. Since my age/genetic barriers are catching up like no one’s business, it’s been exhilarating to keep shaving off those seconds as I attempt to run back into youth! I enjoy listening to stories about running while I’m running and just about all of them embrace the team concept and I’m appreciative of this opportunity. As far as racing is concerned, I believe Christopher McDougall said it best: “The reason we race isn’t so much to beat each other but to be with each other.” I’m thrilled to be a part of this team and club and look forward to a great 2023 racing season!
Elite Women’s Team
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.
I have been a runner for most of my life. I started running competitively when I joined my middle school cross country team. I continued to run competitively for almost a decade, but ultimately decided I wanted a break from racing in my early twenties, after struggling with injuries. During this time, I tried to run a couple of times a week just for wellness. Now in my early thirties, I have caught the running bug again and have returned to racing.
Right now I would say 8k-10k are my sweet spots, in terms of my favorite distances to race. I also have a love-hate relationship with both the 5k and half marathon.
While I don’t have a specific race on my bucket list, I think it would be fun to race abroad.
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!
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.
I am a writer/equestrian/runner from Jefferson, MD, currently finishing up my MFA in Creative Writing with a concentration in Fiction. I didn’t discover my passion for running until my sophomore year of undergrad, and enjoyed it so much I joined the cross country team the next year. I joined the Steeps the year after graduation when I realized how much I missed running competitively, and applied for the racing team not long after!
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 included completing the MD Grand Prix RRCA race series (placing 1st in the past 2 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. Of my 28 marathons, over 80% have been Boston marathon qualifiers. To date, I’ve run 28 marathons in 14 states . My favorites include the Abbott world major marathons, Berlin and 3 with time-qualifier entries for New York, Boston (5x), and Chicago (2x). I have competed in the National Senior games in 2022 and 2019- placing 1st in my age group in the 5k and 2nd in my age group for the 10k in 2022. I’m an active volunteer for the Frederick Steeplechasers including co-chairing the competition committee for 7 years.
Developmental Men’s Team
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.
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.
Louis, 30, 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 has been involved with the Steeplechasers since 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 few of his highlights and PRs are a 2:58:15 marathon at the 2018 Wineglass Marathon in upstate 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 was hoping to run the Boston Marathon in 2020 but the COVID-19 pandemic forced him to settle for the virtual version that year. Fortunately, he re-BQ’d with a 2:58:30 at the 2022 Erie Marathon and plans to *finally* run Boston 127. You can usually find Louis running around the Ballenger Creek area, typically wearing either Asics or Hoka shoes—and always shorts no matter the weather!
Developmental Women’s Team
Oksana didn’t start her running career until she was in her late 30s. She started running as a getaway from everyday stress and as a means to get healthy. Seven marathons later, five 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 in 2022 and grateful for her resilient body and mind.