Award Winners – 2022



  1. Claire Heasman
  2. Lindsey Weaver
  3. Johanna Homon
  4. Taylor Ludman
  5. Gretchen Whitesell


  1. Daniel Jacobs
  2. Jesse Magolon
  3. Andrew Spangenberg
  4. Jacob Sisler
  5. Louis Schiavone




  1. Cheyenne Norwood


  1. Ashley Fortress
  2. Megan Putman
  3. Sophie Krahnke
  4. Rachel Keylon
  5. Mary Donahue


  1. Farrah Douglas
  2. Heidi Novak
  3. Oksana Lightfield
  4. Michele Jacoby
  5. Cari James


  1. Ruth Taylor
  2. Kelly Dworak
  3. Caren Clark
  4. Michele Newton
  5. Caree Vander Linden


  1. Kathy Cea
  2. Harriet Langlois
  3. Robin McConaughey
  4. Tee Dockery
  5. Beverly Black

70 & up

  1. Allie Young
  2. Jeanette Novak



  1. Matthew Fox
  2. John Hallock


  1. Jesse Henderson
  2. Gregory Wall
  3. Ryan Fields


  1. Carey Ahr
  2. Abdi Russi
  3. Paul Lively


  1. Pete Wergin
  2. Mark Leahy
  3. John Way
  4. Billy Clem
  5. Dana Defibaugh


  1. Michael Kearney
  2. Stephan Dobson
  3. Wilfred Plumley
  4. Tim O’Keefe
  5. George Ladue


  1. Bruce Attavian
  2. Richard Potter
  3. Jeff Jones
  4. Tim Sanders
  5. Charles Gentry


Ainsley Cain, Amanda Berry, Andrea Thompson, Anne Shubert, Arthur Gregory, Beth Case, Betsy Arthur, Brenda Dorman, Brigitte Farrell, Cindy Burdette, Dana Defibaugh, David Frick, Dawn Ennis, Dwayne Whiten Sr., Edward DiGiovanna, Erin Gresh, Genice Rill, Janice Tipton, John Clarke, John Duffy, Joyce Smith, Julie Harris, Julie Henderson, Kathryn Whitmore, Katie Davis, Kimberly Whalen, Kristin Holzschuh, Lynette Whiten, Madeline Catalano, Marie Burnett, Martha Bush, Mary Snyder, Maxann L Davis, Melissa Sites, Michelle Edwards, Michelle Mitchell, Rachel Ridgway, Robert Kelley, Roxanne Kircher, Stacy Sanders, Susan Searcy, Yvonne Smith, Zainab Abdullah



  1. Claire Heasman
  2. Kathy Cea
  3. Ruth Taylor


  1. Pete Wergin
  2. Daniel Jacobs
  3. Andrew Spangenberg


See Decathlon Tributes – 2022 for the detailed tributes


  1. Kathy Cea
  2. Claire Heasman
  3. Ruth Taylor
  4. Johanna Homon
  5. Gretchen Whitesell
  6. Taylor Ludman
  7. Beth Fulcher
  8. Jeanette Novak
  9. Alice Heasman


  1. Joe Basford
  2. Dan Jacobs
  3. John Way
  4. Pete Wergin
  5. Scott Harmon
  6. Jesse Magolon
  7. Scott Wallace
  8. Kam Yee
  9. Paul Christiansen
  10. Tim O’Keefe


Rising Star Women – Johanna Homon

The Rising Star is described as someone young or new to the club in recognition of their efforts in their first year (think “Rookie of the Year”). This could be for their performance either as a runner or as an outstanding volunteer.
 Our female Rising Star joined the Steeps in September 2021 and made an impact immediately. In her first race as a Steeplechaser, she ran the Market Street Mile in 6:20. In the course of a year, she took off 40 seconds to improve her time to 5:42 in this year’s Market Street Mile. Other highlights of our Rising Star include a 3rd place age group at the Frederick Half Marathon with a blazing time of 1:38, and a 7th place finish at the Women’s Distance Festival 5k in 21:25. Our Rising Star also made an impression in the Summer Decathlon Series, where she showed impressive track speed in all the distances that she ran, placing 4th overall. In addition, our Rising Star achieved a Boston Qualifying time this year, running 3 hrs and 29 minutes at the Steamtown Marathon. In addition to her many running accomplishments, our award recipient has made an impact as a volunteer for the club, specifically as a volunteer coordinator for the Summer Solstice 8K. We are happy to present our Rising Star Award to Johanna Homon!

Rising Star Men – Jake Sisler

Let’s rewind to last year’s Banquet when I shared with this member that he’d be getting an award the following year. Looks like my prediction was correct, as he received several nominations for this prestigious award. While I’d like to say that my prediction played a role in our 2022 Rising Star receiving this award, his hard work, dedication, and commitment are what resulted in him being nominated and selected for this award. 

After joining the club in May of 2021, our Rising Star participated in five Grand Prix races. He almost doubled this number in 2022, by participating in nine Grand Prix races. In addition to running more races, he secured 4th place overall male in the Grand Prix Series. This is quite an accomplishment, considering the other four males are all members of the FSRC Racing Team. 

Our Rising Star made some great improvements with his times from 2021 to 2022. Let’s look at a few of his races.

  • Frederick Half Marathon -2021 (1:44:38), 2022 (1:33:17). That’s an 11:21 improvement!!
  • Spook Hill Cider & Wine 4 Mile Run – 2021 (27:26), 2022 (26:40)
  • Frederick Turkey Trot 5k – 2021 (19:47), 2022 (19:02)

In addition to some fast times on the road, our Rising Star dabbled with some trail running. He kicked it off by running the Half Cat in July 2022, and finished 10th overall and 5th male in a time of 3:14:36. In October, he hit the trails at Greenbrier for one loop at Rick’s Run. He finished 3rd in a time of 41:49.

In between running races, our Rising Star found time to volunteer. He stepped up to be the Assistant Race Director for one of our Signature Races. Planning has already started and our Rising Star has moved up from Assistant Race Director to Race Director for our shortest Signature Race. He has also joined the DEI Committee, as well as becoming more involved with other aspects of the club.

If you know me, you know that fashion plays a big role in my running. Well, I have some tough competition with our Rising Star. I have definitely made my fair share of questionable race day outfits, however, our Rising Star’s Lewis Run outfit definitely had people wondering, “What was he thinking?”. In all seriousness, not many people can pull off jorts and a singlet like this guy.

If you haven’t already figured it out, the 2022 Rising Star is Jake Sisler!!

Most Improved Women – Taylor Ludman Hallock

This year’s Most Improved Runner has dropped her race times significantly at distances from the 5K to the Half Marathon from 2021 to 2022, and continued to improve throughout 2022.  A regular competitor at this summer’s Decathlon series, she showed her speed at those short track distances and used those events to sharpen her speed for the fall racing season.  While she frequently won her age group at 2021 races, she often placed as one of the top 5 overall females at local races in the summer and fall of 2022.

In 2021, she ran the Frederick Summer Solstice 8K in 39:49, an 8:01 pace, and placed first in her age group.  In 2022, she ran the same race in 34:51, a 7:01 pace – that’s one minute per mile faster and a 12.5% improvement, good enough to place 3rd Overall Female.

She ran the Frederick Women’s Distance Festival 5K in 2021 in a time of 24:13, a 7:48 pace and placed 1st in her age group.  In 2022 she ran this race in 20:56, a 6:44 pace, and finished 5th Overall in a large and competitive field.  This is a 13.6% improvement at the same race and more than one minute per mile faster.

In 2021 she ran a couple of half marathons in times of 1:53:06 and 1:51:15.  In the first half of 2022 she ran the Frederick Running Festival Half Marathon in a time of 1:40:29.  That’s a really big improvement, and yet she ran an even better time in December at the Rehoboth Half Marathon – a really impressive 1:32:02! This is an overall half marathon improvement of 18.6%.

Adding to her 2022 accomplishments and awards, she ran the Freedom’s Run 10K in 42:14 and was the Overall Female winner.  She then went on to run the Bay Bridge 10K in 40:06, which is an age grade of 75.64%.  And at the huge Frederick Turkey Trot 5K, she ran a time of 19:42 (a 6:20 pace) and finished as the 4th overall female out of a very large field of 1499 females.  This is an age grade of 75.0% and an overall improvement in her 5K times from 2021 to 2022 of 18.6%.

This runner has a quiet and unassuming demeanor and when you talk to her you might not realize how accomplished she is.  But when we look at her race results we can see that she has gone from being a good runner in 2021 to a top local runner in 2022.  We are pleased to announce that this year’s Most Improved Runner is Taylor Ludman Hallock.

Most Improved Men – George LaDue

I remember meeting George LaDue during the 2021 Summer Decathlon when the first half of the series was held in local parks. George was at Middletown Park with his daughter and granddaughter and while his daughter was racing, he was helping out at the finish line. He didn’t run but we did have a chance to chat a bit. I would see him in local races from time time…this time running…always happy and with a smile on his face. He enjoyed being out there with everyone. Skip forward to 2022 and I began bumping into George quite a bit more. He was still smiling and enjoying himself but he had this glimmer in his eye. Rightly so …George is in my age group and he was no longer merrily jogging in the back of the pack, he was hot on my heels and getting closer every race. We began chatting a bit more intently and I was curious to know what had changed. Again with a smile he said “I retired and now I actually have time to train!” NOT what I wanted to hear from someone in my age group! When George’s name was brought up in the awards committee…people were curious…then when everyone saw how much George had improved, they were wowed! George ran the Headless Horseman 5k in 2021 in 34:18…a year later it was 28:14…a 6 minute improvement. The Market Street Mile was a 9:53 in 21…last year a minute and half time drop put him at 8:15. He PR’d at the Turkey Trot this year in a 27:35 for the 5k. George had actually started running back in high school as a member of the cross country team. Family and work moved up in priority and running was put on hold until 2014 when a local 5k got him running again. And run he did! 2021 saw a Rick’s Run of 1:23.29..2022 was a jaw dropping 1:04.27…a 19 minute improvement. He was not only running faster but was now making appearances in the awards ceremonies. His 29:48 at the Indy 5000 last year was second for age 65-69. A 1:13.15 Pie Run put at #1 age 65-69. Though he is crushing his race times, George has a bucket list goal of running an Ultramarathon. To that end, next month he will travel to Arizona to participate in the Red Rocks of Sedona Trail Running Camp. He’ll end up running 45 miles over the 5 days and will kick start his Ultra training. Retirement is good! 2022 will have been a good base year with a 14 minute drop in time in the Summer Solstice 8k from 1:01.37 down to 47:36 and a Spook Hill 4 miler of 48:12 to 39:43. That 8 ½ minute improvement earned him 3rd place in the 65-69 age group. A lot more of you will be seeing a lot more of George both in races as well as in training groups. He’ll find the wisdom and camaraderie of Billy Clem and the trail training group to be invaluable in his quest for the Ultra. In the meantime, congratulations to George LaDue on being the Steeplechasers Most Improved Runner!

Iron Woman – Farrah Douglas

Our Iron Woman for 2022 proved she was virtually indestructible. An overview of her year includes 2 50Ks, a 3rd place overall female at the Mid Maryland 50K with a time of 5:24 and a 5:44 at the Night Train 50K.

At the Dam Yeti 50-miler, she ran an incredible time of 8:21:31 which, at the time, landed her at number 34 on Ultra Running Magazines list of top female 50 mile finishers for 2022.  

Throughout the year she mixed in 8 marathons with the highlight being a Boston Qualifier at Boston, finishing the course in 3:46. She went to Chicago and despite a nasty fall in which she got up, dusted herself off and, with blood running down her leg and a bruised hip, finished the marathon in 3:58. And I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Blister in the Sun. In case you haven’t heard, it’s a lovely marathon…it’s in August…in eastern Tennessee… it’s 5 loops… very little shade…honestly, you have to be insane to run it…I ran it… At Blister, our Iron Woman moved into the top female position early in the race and never relinquished it, finishing second overall and she nearly ran down the eventual winner.  Let’s just say, he was nervous.

She demonstrated the very essence of what she’s made of when, after pacing her friend Lindsey Weaver for the last 20 miles of Lindsey’s C&O Canal 100-mile finish and finishing in the wee hours of the morning, she then drove to the start of the Frederick ½ marathon where she slept in her car for all of about 10 minutes before starting the race. She then managed to finish the ½ marathon in under 2 hours.

She completed 9 Grand Prix Series races winning her age group at Makin Hay 10K, Independence 5000, and Spook Hill 4 Miler. She finished out the Grand Prix series by running a 22:15 PR at the Frederick Turkey Trot 5K. Her overall performance earned her a 6th place finish overall and an age group win in the series.

She attempted her first 100 miler at the Pine Creek Challenge in a performance that can only be described as gutsy. She dominated early in the race as she built a substantial lead over the second-place woman. But as we all know in running, just like life, things don’t always go as planned (or maybe she’s just human after all?). During the latter part of the race things started to go wrong for her. She had been fighting off nauseousness and bouts of vomiting when finally, at mile 84, she made the difficult decision to drop. While she very well could have slogged her way to the finish and may still have been top female, that’s just not her style as she proclaimed, “I’m not here to walk!”. There is no doubt she will be back, and she will come out victoriously.  Her total mileage for the year exceeded 2400 miles and she maintained a running streak throughout the year which is now over 1250 days. Your Iron woman for 2022 is Farrah Douglas.

Iron Man – Darrel Dorsey, Jr.

This year’s ironman has been a pretty low-key club member for a couple of years, flying under the radar while doing some amazing things.  He caught my attention in 2021 when he did a 24 hour backyard 100 miler. A 4 mile loop every hour for 24 hours.  And not just any 4 mile route, one that has 600 ft of elevation gain, 24 times.  It’s a route that I know and I couldn’t comprehend why someone would run that 24 times in a day.  So I asked, “What is going on here?”  Well, this was just a training run for the main event 3 weeks later when he came in 8th place in the Capital Backyard Last Man Standing Ultra completing 141 miles.

But that was last year.  What has been going on in 2022?

He took 2nd place at the Algonquin 50k in February.
In March he ran Dark side ultra, finishing 1st running 44 miles
In May while on a training run, he ran his best half marathon, 20k, 15k, and 10k. When he ran the Great Allegheny marathon later that month and got a result he wasn’t happy with, he had a redo race 2 weeks later at the Jackson River Marathon.  He came away with a PR and a BQ at 2:55, 6th place.
In June, 2 weeks later, he ran Highlands Sky 40 miler, finishing 7th place.
In July he ran 80 miles at the Tahoe Rim 100, everyone has their bad days.
In August he took on the Twisted Branch 100k.
He won Freedom’s Marathon in October, another 1st place!
At the JFK 50 miler in November he came in 30th out of 1,082 at 6 hours, 50 minutes, a pace of 8:10.  Not too bad considering the national level competition at this iconic race.
Ultra signup has him age grade ranked at 87.63%

Averaging 60 miles per week all year, he’s wrapped up the year with 2 back-to-back 100 mile weeks. 

This year’s ironman of the year and my favorite Strava stalk, Darrel Dorsey Jr.!

Unsung Hero – Natasha Keough

The definition of the Unsung Hero award is as follows: This award recognizes a member who has positively influenced the club with an encouraging attitude and a willingness to help in whatever capacity necessary.

As I reflect on this definition and the member who was selected to receive the 2022 Unsung Hero award, it is evident that she is more than deserving of this award. While she is often recognized for her volunteering by other members in the club, she is pretty quiet about the role she plays in keeping things going with the club. I am honored to be able to recognize her for all of her contributions to the club and present her with this award.

As part of the Finance Committee, much of the work done by our Unsung Hero isn’t seen by other members in the club. Her work includes invoicing for Race Services and Signature Race sponsors. This behind the scenes work is greatly appreciated by the Board and makes our Treasurer’s job a lot easier. 

The big part of our Unsung Hero’s volunteering takes place on Saturday or Sunday mornings, when the club provides finish line services for local races. She’s there well before the race begins to help the Race Services Chair, Mark Lawrence, mark the course, get the finish line set up, and then help clean things up. And let’s not forget a trip to the Steeplechasers storage unit the night before to load up all of the cones and equipment, then another trip after the race to unpack everything and make sure it is organized for the next event. 

Despite those early mornings, unpredictable weather, and technical difficulties with the equipment, our Unsung Hero does it all with a smile on her face and a happy disposition. What stands out the most about our Unsung Hero is how humble she is about her contributions to the club. She’s not doing this for the recognition or an award, but rather her commitment and dedication to the club. Oh, and I am sure that spending time with her special guy makes getting up early easier.

Please join me in congratulating our 2022 Unsung Hero, Natasha Keogh!!

Inspiration – Risa Clem & Kim Whalen

Risa Clem

This next category, the inspiration award, is truly one of the most challenging to decide whose story is most motivational and inspiring.  This year’s competition was so fierce, we had to choose 2 highly deserving individuals since we could not in good conscious not recognize both of these runners’ amazing accomplishments and inspirational stories.

Here is one of our winners that I and many other club members know well.  This runner has been struggling with multiple injuries over the last 6 years.  In that time, she has had 5 surgeries including both hip replacements and major shoulder surgery.

2022 was supposed to be her comeback year since her four hip surgeries.  This runner has always been a lover of ultras and trail races- with her 1st race of the year being a 50k trail race.  Unfortunately, she had the bad luck to fall at mile 6 (out of 34 miles)! She sat up thinking after her fall that her shoulder was broken, but  as she sat up the dislocation popped back into place.  Now, most people would have called it a day and picked the pieces of the trail from their hands and knees and gone back home to console themselves.  But she is not your typical runner, she picked herself up off the ground and finished the additional 28 miles to complete the race! As it later turned out, she had torn her rotator cuff tendon off the bone and torn her biceps tendon and labrum.  She then had to have major shoulder surgery and a lengthy rehab process afterwards! Incredibly during the time awaiting the surgery, she completed the incredibly challenging, hilly Catoctin 25K and the Run for the Pie 10k.  Following her lengthy rehab process, she was also able to run the Turkey Trot 5k at the end of the year with her entire family! To me and many others, Risa Clem is truly inspirational!

Kim Whalen

It is my honor and privilege to speak to you tonight about my dear friend Kim.  Kim is the mother of four grown children, and began running when her sons were little and would not tolerate the daycare at her gym.  She began rising at o-dark thirty to run 5 to 6 miles before starting her day.

Kim lived with her family in Vermont before her husband Steve was transferred to Maryland in 2016.  She knew she would miss her running friends terribly, so she researched running clubs and joined the Steeplechasers BEFORE her move to Maryland.   Her first run with the group was the Lewis Memorial Run, and despite that experience, she continued to run with us.

I first met Kim when she organized a group run near our homes in New Market.  She posted the run on social media, met up with three complete strangers, led the pack in the dark on a cold winter night and at the end, turned to us and said, “Same time tomorrow?”

In 2019, Kim was diagnosed with stage 4 Non-hodgkins lymphoma.  I was teaching preschool in New Market at the time, and I remember unloading the car with my assistant one day when Kim ran by us in a blur wearing her chemo cap.  I turned to my assistant and said, “That’s my buddy Kim.  Yes, she’s undergoing chemo.  She just ran about a mile and half over here to take a Yoga class and then she’ll run all the way home.  Isn’t she amazing?”

In September 2021 Kim received a bone marrow transplant.  Her daughter Megan donated the cells to keep her powerhouse mother going strong.  While recovering, Kim reached out to all of her friends to go on daily walks until she could run and bike again.

This past May, I was fortunate enough to transition from part-time to full-time employment, and wondered how this would impact my running schedule.  I was NOT an early morning runner, and would avoid getting up early at all costs.  But working til 5 every day and running kids to activities made evening runs complicated.  Kim made sure to inform me that she would be meeting me in my driveway at 6 a.m. several mornings a week.  Not only that, but she recruited other people to join us as well.  Kim doesn’t drive to my house, she runs about a mile there and a mile back.   If Kim is out of town, I struggle to rise early and sometimes, I sleep in.   But on the days we run, I lace up my shoes and thank God for my friends.   I would not have kept up my weekly milage if it wasn’t for Kim.  And I must confess I have a very satisfying walk to work on Carroll Creek afterwards.  I watch the firefighters run and think, “I did that already today.”   Kim gets all the credit.

Right before New Years Eve this year, Kim’s brand-new immune system was fighting off pneumonia.  She was 4 miles shy of 1,500 for the year and wanted to hit the goal.   Her husband Steve gave her some strange looks and colorful words, but ultimately drove her to Baker Park to get those last few miles done with her friends, and stayed on hand just in case.   (A word about Steve: he’s not a runner, but has attended many races as a volunteer, coat holder and photographer.  Maybe having such a great partner has helped Kim be the encourager she is).

Kim Whalen is a warrior, a survivor, a big-hearted friend and the best candidate I can think of for the 2022 Inspiration Award.  Congratulations Kim!

Junior Runner of the Year – Caroline Matthews

Beside the enjoyment I have being involved with the Steeplechasers, one of my other areas of interest is being a high school official for track and cross country. That gives me a chance to see close up some amazing performances by some amazing high school students. That’s where I have had the opportunity to watch Caroline Matthews grow and mature as top area runner. Caroline started running at the age of 6 with the Middletown Knight Striders and continued through her 8th grade year. Along the way she also became a LaCrosse player each spring. Her high school introduction to running was a mixed up year as Washington County tried to incorporate some sports into a tenuous COVID 2021. This meant Cross Country moved to spring with a short schedule and no State Meet. But Caroline got the running bug, ditched LaCrosse, and ramped up training during the summer of 2021. That paid huge dividends as she had a breakout sophomore fall of cross country running. She ended up second in states with a 20:51 on a very hilly course and a winter like day. That strength gained from a good cross country season propelled her to become a strong mile and two mile runner during the 2022 indoor track season. She capped off a great season with 5:34.86 in the mile for 2nd place…only 4/10 behind the winner. She then dominated the 2 mile running a 12:08 which put her 49 seconds ahead of 2nd place…nearly lapping the entire field. The 2 mile outdoor is a grueling 8 laps. Indoor it is a bear with 16 laps in warm dry air. Indoor led right into a great outdoor season where she took 3rd at states in the mile with a 5:08 and then once again blistered the field with an 11:24…15 seconds ahead of the rest of the field that represented the best runners in division 1A. Not content to ride on her laurels Caroline upped her mileage over the summer with a test race in the Gary Brown 5 miler where she ran a 30:52…a blistering 6:08 pace. Cross Country should have been awesome but for some unknown reason her results were very mixed…not what she expected. Then to throw a monkey wrench into the mix, she came down with COVID. Some investigation by her doctors led them to a disorder that has symptoms of high heart rate, dizziness, and fainting. Not the kinds of things any runner would want to deal with. Caroline picked up some ways to deal with the disorder and began her training anew. She managed a 19:07 5k at regionals which qualified her for states. Back to the hilly states course where she managed a 5th place despite passing out 100 yards from the finish and getting back up for a 21:30. Back to my role as official…I’ve had a chance to see Caroline in action on the indoor track and this month she has been spectacular. I’ve seen her win by taking the lead and hammering to the finish…by laying back on a competitor’s shoulder and then unleashing a wicked kick…and I’ve seen her break from a pack for the final chase. At the beginning of January she came off of winter break and ran a 11;28 where she and the leader nearly lapped everyone else. 2 weeks ago she ran the mile in 5:34 and then came back and destroyed the field of the 2 mile with an 11:33. Last week was the County Championships and Caroline ran an indoor PR of 11:18 for first and a 22 second victory over the field.

Congratulations to Caroline on her incredible accomplishments and  for a future of many more good things to come.

Junior Runner of the Year – William Heasman

I first noticed William Heasman on the track at last year’s Summer Decathlon. Even from as far away as I was from him, I marveled at how smooth his running style was and how he appeared to be running effortlessly and others were just coming back to him. Running fast and effortlessly are hallmarks of great runners!

William first started taking part in fun runs at the age of 3 and by age 7 joined the Spires youth running team for cross country and track. The team was a good fit for William as he is a happy and joyful runner and the Spires excel in those areas. He does well with his cross country running but especially enjoys the shorter distances on the track. To that end he has run the 100 meters in 14.76 seconds, 200 meters in 32.28 seconds, 400 meters in 77 seconds, and the 800 meters in 2:55.4…quite a range with great times for each. His club meets got him ready for the Frederick County Elementary School track championships where he was 4th in the 800 with a 2:57 and ran as part of the 4X400 relay that won the race overall. Not stopping there, school was barely over when William was back on the track participating in the Summer Decathlon series. He opened with a 2 mile in 14:44 and then a 600 meters in 2:03. Summer camp and a vacation to see the World Masters Championships knocked out most of the summer races including his favorites…the 400 and 200 meters. Back from all that he ran a 3:02 for 800 meters and finished the series with a 7:07 mile run. At age 11, William was in the 11-12 age group for Fall cross country running with the Catoctin Youth Athletics club. He opened the season running 3000 meters in 15:31. William showed that his hard work and training during the season paid off as he ran the same course 6 weeks later in 13:45 seconds. Again in a show of strength and endurance his final meet of the year at Carroll Manor was a fantastic 12: 43…nearly 3 minutes faster than when he began the season. His cross country prowess carried over into the FCPS Cross country championship where he placed 3rd out of all the county sixth  graders. Additionally he ran the Market Street Mile in a blistering 6:33…good enough for 3rd in the youth heat. The Headless Horseman 5k was his next conquest as he was 1st 13 and under with a 22:45.

As with any true runner, William has his goals set for this year. First is to run an indoor meet. Check that off the list…he did that last week and ran a 400 meters in 76 seconds and an 800 meters in 2:58. As the year progresses he is looking for a PR in both the mile and 100 meters.

Congratulations to William on a great start to his running career with a lot more enjoyable  running experiences ahead!

Super Grand Master Runner of the Year – John Clarke

It is my pleasure to present the first Super Grand Master Runner of the Year award. Previously, our award categories went from Jr. Runner of the Year, which is for members who are 18 years and younger, to Grand Master Runner of the Year, which is for members who are between 60 and 70.

As we were reviewing all of the nominations for different categories, we decided that there were many members who are deserving of the Grand Master Runner of the Year award, but unfortunately we can’t award them all. So, the perfect solution was to create a new category. And this is how the Super Grand Master Runner of the Year award came to be.

So, now let’s get to this year’s award winner.

Our Super Grand Master Runner of the Year has been a member of the club since 2008. During this time, he has participated in many races and several half marathon training groups. I know that I am not the only one who has been running in a race and had this speedster zip past them. I’m so impressed with his consistency, dedication, and can always count on him for a friendly wave or a hello during a group run or race.

In addition to participating in the half marathon training group, our Super Grand Master Runner of the Year is part of the Sunday group that meets at Frederick High School to get in some miles. This group started before we had routetility, so there were no fancy maps, or turn-by-directions. However, they did have plenty of routes to choose from as they made their way around Frederick. The group had about a dozen members at one time, however, over the years it has dwindled down. Past President and organizer of the summer Decathlon Series, Tim O’Keefe, and Rich Potter are a few of the members who continue to meet our Super Grand Master Runner of the Year on Sunday mornings to get in a run.

During 2022, our Super Grand Master of the Year ran four Grand Prix races. At the Forest of Needwood 5 Miler, which was a 5k due to weather, he ran a 29:23, which is an age grade of 78.6%. At the Frederick Half, he ran a 2:26:40, which is an age grade of 70.7%. Up next was Spook Hill Cider & Wine 4 Mile Run, where he finished in 40:39, which is an age grade of 76.9%. He wrapped up the year at the Frederick Turkey Trot 5k, where he finished in 28:07, which is an age grade of 84.8%. Wow, as the new Racing Team Chair, I might need to recruit this member for the team. 

The 2022 Super Grand Master Runner of the Year is none other than John Clarke!!

Grand Master Runner of the Year Women – Lori Shulman

Our female grandmaster runner of the year is a long-time member of the club and although not a prolific racer, she has had strong showings in all the races she has competed in.  This past year, she has raced in distances from the 5k to the ½ marathon.  In 6 out of the 7 races, she completed this year, she placed in the top 3 for her age group! She has particularly done well age grade and age group placing for the longer distances of 10 miles and ½ marathons.

Highlights from her racing year include:

Starting the year strong 3rd place AG at Crest Best Run Fest 10 miler in a time of 1:32:30, age graded at 71.82

1st place AG at Gettysburg Half marathon in a time of 2:03:27 in April

2nd place AG at Frederick Half marathon in an impressive time of 1:59:33 and an outstanding age-grade of 73.45 in May

2nd place AG in the highly competitive Frederick WDF 5k in 27:11, age graded 70.8 in August

And finishing the year strong at the

Frederick Turkey Trot in a time of 27:18 for a 2nd place AG award, age graded at 71.5%

Lori Schulman for all the above racing accomplishments and more is our female grandmaster runner of the year!

Grand Master Runner of the Year Men – Mike Kearney

This runner has raced prolifically and successfully this year with impressive times over a variety of distances.  He kicked off his great year with the hilly, challenging, and very competitive RRCA Club Challenge 10 miler in a time of 1:12:49, age graded to 78.4%.  It’s tough for most of us to get a 70% AG but this runner makes a habit of it and then some. He went on to do:

The Forest of Needwood 5k in 21:43, 77.4% AG

Boston Marathon in 3:39- 72.7% AG

Antietam Brewery 5k in 20:22, with a very impressive 82.5% AG!

Germantown 5 miler in 35:09, 78.7% AG

Nick Adenhart 5k, 20:53, 80.3% AG

Summer Solstice 8K in 34:11 with 80.5% AG

From there on out his 5k’s were nothing less than amazing with 4 more of them with AG’s over 80%!  With his top 5k time being the Krumpe’s Donut Rally 5K in a time of 20:04,a pace of 6:28 a mile, age graded to an amazing 83.7%!

But that’s not all:

He has had great longer distance races to finish the year including:

Riley Rumble ½ marathon- a hot, and very hilly summer race in a time of 1:43:12

And CCR 20 miler in 2:36:57 with a 75.9% AG!

To add to all of this, he has consistently placed 1st in his AG in almost all of this races this past year!

He has also been the leader of the Steeps racing team for the last few years. He exemplifies who and what the racing team is: he puts on his Steeps racing team shirt and we know that we will put out an amazing effort!  Mike Kearney is the Grandmaster runner of the year, a great guy, and a great Steeplechaser!

Master Runner of the Year Women – Kelly Dworak

Our female master runner of the year is a new member of the club but a seasoned one.  Hailing from PA, she has shown herself a force to be reckoned with not just competitive in her age group but for runners of all ages! She was the only 60+ year-old runner to place in the top 10 of the grand prix series- placing 7th OA and 2nd the 50-59 age group as a 59 year-old!

Our female master started the year with a bang with 2nd OA placing at the Lewis Memorial 10 miler and 3rd OA at the Forest of Needwood 5k.  

 She has demonstrated depth of speed in multiple distances from the 5k to the ½ marathon distance with multiple age grades above 75% and a few above 80%.  Racing highlights include:

The hilly and highly competitive RRCA Club Challenge 10 miler in a time of 1:17:47 and an amazing age-grade of 80.9%

          The Frederick ½ marathon in a time of 1:47:04, age-graded at 77.6%

          Frederick WDF 5k in a time of 24:13, age-graded at 76.5%

The extremely hilly, summer race we hate to race but love the pie!

Our only Run for the Pie 10k in a time of 51:29, age graded at an impressive 76.5%

          And finishing the year racing strong  in the 

PA Snacktown ½ marathon (now as a 60 y.o.) in a incredible time of 1:46, age graded at 77.7%

Kelly Dvorak for all the above racing accomplishments and more is our female grandmaster runner of the year!

Master Runner of the Year Men – Carey Ahr

Our male master runner for 2022 put on quite a show last year. He showed his versatility by running everything from track to trail; from 800 meters to 100 hundred miles and he ran them all well.  He ran two marathons last year, in the spring he finished the Gettysburg marathon in 4:14. He improved his marathon time by over 30 minutes in the fall when he finished the Marine Corp marathon in 3:42.

He ran 11 of the Steeplechaser’s Grand Prix races last year, collecting three first place age group wins, the first at the Makin’ Hay 10K followed by the Independence 5000, where he finished top 10 overall, and the Spook Hill 4 Miler. He also earned a second-place age group win at the Summer Solstice 8K. During the GP series, he showed he was no slouch on the track by running 2:50 in the 800-meter Summer Decathlon event. That works out to a 5:43 pace. His performance in the GP series earned him an age group win for the series, finishing 18 points in front of his closest competitor.

You will usually see him at most of the Wednesday and Thursday night pub runs. What many may not know is that he usually runs the 2 to 3 miles from his house to the start of the pub run, does the pub run, enjoys the after run libations and then runs home. This training proved to be invaluable at Antietam where he participated in the Antietam brewery beer mile, finishing 6th place overall. For those who are unfamiliar with the concept of a beer mile, you drink a beer as fast as you can before you start to run. You then stop and drink one beer every ¼ mile for a total of 4 beers. However, there is a penalty added to your finishing time for, how should I put it, losing beer along the way.

And, as if performing well on both road and track wasn’t good enough, he smoked the trails as well. He was a top 10 finisher at both the Night Train 50K where he finished in 5:18 and at Rick’s Run. In addition to that he danced on the rocks at the CAT25K and had a strong 11-hour 10-minute finish at the Stone Mill 50 miler. But the highlight of his year came at the Pine Creek Challenge 100 Miler where he finished 5th overall with a staggering time of 22 hours 5 minutes and 43 seconds.

He finished out the year with a top ten finish at the Freight Train 100K. His combined times from this race and the Night Train 50K that he had ran earlier in the year, both races being held in High Bridge State Park in Virginia, was good enough for a third-place finish overall in the High Bridge Challenge.  Your male masters runner of the year is Carey Ahr!!

Runner of the Year Women – Claire Heasman

Our Runner of the Year for 2022, needs no introduction as she has been crushing it for the Steeps for many years now. After being out on injury and recovery for most of 2021, Claire Heasman returned to racing and had a phenomenal 2022.  She has many very impressive accomplishments; so we’ll just list some of her many highlights:

  • In the Summer Decathlon 6 out of 7 races were over 82% age grade.  At all of her 7 decathlon races she had the highest age grade of all women.
  • 1st Overall Female in the Grand Prix Series, with all 12 of her races achieving an age grade over 80%.   
  • 1st Female in the Equalizer Series
  • Frederick Running Festival Half Marathon, 3rd Overall Female and 1st Masters Female, 1:24:10, age grade 85.08%
  • Frederick Summer Solstice 8K, 1st Overall Female, 30:33, age grade 85.67%
  • FSRC Independence 5000, 1st Overall Female, 18:57, age grade 85.34%
  • At the Frederick Women’s Distance Festival 5K, Claire started behind all the runners as the OrangeTheory Orange woman (for charity).  In a field of over 400 runners she passed all but 3, and still managed to finish with the fastest net (chip) time of 19:17.
  • Spook Hill Cider & Wine 4-Miler, 1st Overall Female, 25:15, age grade 83.46%
  • Frederick Turkey Trot, 1st Overall Female out of 1,499 females in  18:05. This was also a 5K PR for Claire. When interviewed by the Frederick News post on the win, Claire was quoted as saying, “Not bad for a mum of two is it?” Nope, not bad at all!

On top of all her amazing running accomplishments and raising 2 incredible younger Steeplechasers, Alice and William, she is willing to step up wherever she is needed in the club. She completes the Grand Prix and Equalizer series scoring almost as fast as she races and has also stepped up to help recognize our volunteers. We are grateful for all she does and can’t wait to see what she accomplishes in 2023. Congratulations to Runner of the Year, Clair Heasman!

Runner of the Year Men – Dan Jacobs

This year’s Runner of the Year is no stranger to the podium. He was actually recognized last year with a major award. However, rather than giving it away by saying the name of the award, let’s hear all about his great year of running.

Our Runner of the Year participated in eight Grand Prix Races in 2022. He was the top overall male in the Grand Prix Series and 2nd male in the Equalizer Series. Let’s take a look at his races and results.

  • RRCA 10 Mile Challenge – 55:10 – AG 79.8%
  • Lewis Memorial 10 Miler – 58:25 – AG 75.3%
  • Makin’ Hay 10k – 34.14 – AG 78 % 
  • Frederick Half Marathon – 1:11:59 – AG 81.1% – He was the overall winner.
  • Independence 5000 – 15:43 – AG 82.9%
  • Run for the Pie 10k – 36:25 – AG 73.4%
  • Spook Hill Cider & Wine 4 Mile Run – 22:23 – AG 75.6%
  • Frederick Turkey Trot 5k – 15:05 – AG 86.3%

In addition to the Grand Prix races, our Runner of the Year participated in other events, including placing 9th in his age group at the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler in a time of 52:10. He was 2nd overall at the MCM 10k in a time of 32:58, and completed an Ironman over the summer with an age grade of 79.1%.

While he is newer to the club, our Runner of the Year has certainly made a name for himself in the club. He’s a member of the Racing Team, and is often seen running around Downtown Frederick. Our Runner of the Year is known for his fabulous hair. While his hair is usually up, he had it down for Makin’ Hay 10k and was the envy of many female Steeplechasers. Hmm, maybe we need to add a Best Hair During a Race category to the awards?

In addition to running, he is an avid cyclist. I’m certain that cross training has contributed to his success as a runner. He recently celebrated his 3-year running streak and shows no signs of stopping.

Please join me in congratulating the 2022 Runner of the Year, Dan Jacobs!!

Waxter Award – Michele Jacoby

The Waxter Award is Named for George and Peggy Waxter who have generously and graciously given time and support to the club and community. This award is given to the member who provided inspiration through participation and exceptional volunteerism.

This year’s recipient was nominated multiple times in various categories by many different members of the club. The overlying theme was her awesomeness and positivity. It became clear from reading testimonials from other members, that she was the perfect selection for the 2022 Waxter Award. Most significantly, our Waxter Award winner stepped in at the last minute to continue the Fall Spires Youth Running Program as Head Coach. Michele’s energetic and enthusiastic personality, along with her skill at being encouraging and supportive made her the perfect person to continue the program. In addition to her Spires duties, Michele can be found supporting trail runs, pub runs, and crewing for other members. Not to mention she has stepped up once again, this time to race direct a refurbished Lil B trail race in 2023, The Wild Trail 5k/10k. Look out for more information on that one!

Here are a just a few of things members had to say about this years Waxter Award Winner:

-She’s a beacon of positivity and she’s just awesome! 

-Michele’s enthusiasm for all forms of running is infectious, and she is always out to help her fellow runners. Michele has recently been coaching me, in addition to coaching the Spires, volunteering for the club, and pacing at Pine Creek. She was also one of a few steeplechasers messaging me encouraging words during my marathon.

– I would picture Michele already being on the recognition list for taking on the Spires and knocking that out of the park, but she’s encouraging and boosting people up at every single run, not just when she’s wearing the coach title.  From gifting Katie replacement shoes to remembering what’s going on in people’s lives to sending people into races with an extra hit of support and confidence, she lifts everyone up.

We are so thankful for all you do, Michele Jacoby! Congratulations on being the Waxter Award winner for 2022.

President’s Award – Leah Perry

I have to say that one of my favorite parts of being President has been selecting someone to receive the President’s Award. While the recipient is ultimately my choice, I reached out to a few of the Directors and Past Presidents with my ideas. Their thoughtful feedback gave me a lot to consider. There were many deserving candidates to choose from, however, what stood out to me the most about the candidate I selected was the impact she has made on young girls in the running community. As a teacher, I stress the importance of educating the whole child, which includes academics, as well as physical, emotional, and social development. Our President’s Award recipient has focused on these same values as she has worked on helping young girls become more active, confident, and self-aware. 

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”. I am honored to be presenting the President’s Award to Leah Perry. As you listen to stories about Leah’s life from her friends, you will learn how deserving Leah is of this award.

Like many of us, Leah got into running as a way to get healthy and lose some weight. She actually started walking, but that wasn’t what she wanted, so she started running. After finding out that her husband Rob had been going to a gym for six months, he asks her one day, “Where are we going to run on Saturday morning?” This was the beginning of their running adventures.

Leah started off running roads and thought that she had arrived when she would run a marathon in the spring and another marathon in the fall. After training for a marathon with Rob, six months later they ran JFK 50. She went on to run JFK 50 four years in a row. Leah has finished more than 30 ultras over the years, including several 50ks, 100ks, and one of the hardest 100 milers on the east coast, Jim Treece’s CAT 100. As Bill Susa, Race Director and Owner of WF Running, LLC shared, “You can often catch her dancing on the rocks and roots up in the ‘Shed in her beloved running sandals with Pixel, the wonder dog”. Anne Shubert met Leah in 2018 when she signed up to be a Girls on the Run Solemate. Anne shared that she was new-ish to trail running, and in true Leah fashion, she gave Anne great advice and suggestions for some races. Anne shared that, “Leah is a true representative of the trail and ultra community; her giving spirit inspires others to do the same. She’s someone I look up to and am always happy to see out on the trails!”. 

Leah’s love of running is what inspired her to start Girls on the Run in Frederick County. In 2010, after seeing an ad in Runner’s World about Girls on the Run, Leah and Renata Sheyner worked together for about a year and a half to get things started. In the spring of 2012, they launched four teams in Frederick with 46 girls and coaches. This doubled the next year and continued to grow. In 2017, they merged with Washington County and have now expanded to Garrett and Allegany counties. 

For those of you unfamiliar with Girls on the Run, it was established in 1996 in Charlotte, North Carolina. They started with a team of 13 girls. The following season grew to 26 girls, then 75, and the program continued to grow. In 2000, Girls on the Run International, a 501(c)(3) organization, was established. They now have programs in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The Girls on the Run curriculum is designed for girls in grades 3rd through 8th. It is a scripted curriculum and focuses on healthy areas in a young girl’s life. The lessons focus on the whole girl, which includes academics, physical, and mental health. The program is non-competitive, as the only person you are competing with is yourself. The lessons focus on changing negative self-talk to positive self talk.

As I put together my speech, I reached out to several individuals who have worked with Leah during her time as council Director for Girls on the Run Mid & Western Maryland. Renata Sheyner, co-Founder of Girls on the Run Frederick, spoke highly of Leah’s dedication and determination to get the program started, as well as continuing to advocate for young women in Frederick and beyond. Lori Rypka, long-time Girls on the Run Mid & Western Maryland Board Member has known Leah for about ten years. She shared that, “Leah’s commitment to elevating the lives of girls through the program is unmatched. She paired her love for the sport of running with her love for serving the young girls in our area. Everything that Leah does shows just how big her heart is.” 

Rae Gallagher, current Executive Director of Girls on the Run Mid & Western Maryland talked about Leah’s energy, enthusiasm, and passion for the program. As she shared, “At every event, at every moment, she exudes such warmth and energy – this extends to everyone around her. She always made sure that every girl who needed or wanted access to GOTR would get access”.

In 2020 when COVID hit, the impacts were seen in the Girls on the Run programs. They missed the spring season and summer camp, but returned for the fall season with COVID plans in place. As a Director, Leah would visit different teams during their practices. As she ran with them she would ask them questions about the program. Despite all of the changes due to COVID, the one thing that they always commented on was getting to be with their friends, even if they were socially distant and had to wear masks. During one practice, Leah was running with two 10-year old girls. She asked them what their favorite thing about Girls on the Run was this season. One girl shared that, “It’s about whole health, like, all of me. Especially the health of my mind. My mental health.” Leah looked over at the other girl who was nodding in affirmation. The first girl then continued, “I have had some very dark times these past months. It has been hard and I can go to very dark places. But with Girls on the Run, I’m able to see my friends, make new friends, be with my coaches, and I get to be part of something that’s fun and encouraging. I know I’m supported by them and I get to support them as well.”

As an educator, this story had a huge impact on me, and I am sure that many of you are having the same feelings. It’s amazing that young girls not only are able to verbalize these feelings, but are also able to have a program that helps them to be able to not only work on their physical development, but their social and emotional development. Thanks to Leah and all the wonderful coaches and volunteers, this program has continued to grow.

Speaking of coaches, Jana Fridrichová, former Girls on the Run coach in Washington County, met Leah many years ago after learning from Bill Susa that Leah lived in her neighborhood. After meeting Leah, Jana knew immediately that Leah was someone she definitely wanted to work with. As Jana shared, “Leah is one of those generous people who live to give”. Jana was involved with Girls on the Run for 10 years and witnessed Leah organizing 5k events for hundreds or maybe even thousands of girls and their families. Jana was over the moon when she learned that Leah would be receiving this award and had a few words to share. “Leah is one in a million. I’m fortunate our paths crossed. The world needs more passionate and giving heroes like Leah. Her energy and smile are infectious”. Saleena DeVore, started coaching in 2014 when her daughter started 3rd grade. She spoke of Leah’s energy and spirit that hasn’t changed since she met her, as well as her commitment to the program. Saleena shared that, “Leah is a pillar in the community and sets an example herself with her mad running skills. She will be missed as an everyday fixture in the GOTR world”. 

In addition to all she did for Girls on the Run, as well as her own training, she always found time to give back to the community by volunteering. Bill Susa credits her for helping get several races off the ground, including the now-retired Run for the Bathroom, the Spook Hill Cider & Wine 4-Mile Run, Makin’ Hay, and Rick’s Run. He also shared that she hasn’t missed volunteering for one of his events since 2008. If you have run the Frederick Half Marathon, you probably remember Leah at the mile 11 water stop cheering and encouraging runners to finish those last few miles. 

Bill Susa had many wonderful things to say about Leah, however, the following words truly capture the impact that Leah has had on the running community. “Through her vision, she’s helped touch the lives of thousands of young girls in the community. Part of my love of the program comes from the feeling that if a 3rd/5th-grade girl is empowered to run a 5k, or multiple ones, by the time she’s left elementary school, she will have the confidence to ignore those who tell her later on “oh, you can’t do that because you’re a girl” or any other number of confidence-defeating statements uttered by their siblings, peers, and even adults”.

Over the years, Leah has worked with many families and young girls. While I could have reached out to many of them, I selected one family to share their Girls on the Run experience with me. In 2017, Mia Clem, daughter of Billy and Risa Clem, participated in Girls on Run. Billy shared that, “Girls on the Run was a wonderful experience for Mia that gave her confidence, pride, and great friendships. It really is about so much more than running, it’s directly showing the girls they are capable and strong”. Mia is still running and wrapped up the fall season with the Spires in November 2022.

After her first grandson was born in 2022, Leah told the Board that she wanted to retire, so she could spend time with him. While Rae Gallagher has taken over, Leah has been a part of the transition. Leah plans on continuing to volunteer with Girls on the Run, as well as at other running events. Leah is still running 4-6 days a week, as well as supporting Rob, who is now the crazy runner.

I am honored to present Leah Perry with this one–of-a-kind award made by the talented Chase Leahy. The award highlights many of Leah’s accomplishments to the running community. You can check out Chase’s awesome work on Facebook at Mistress Arts, as well as on her website, 

Please join me in congratulating Leah Perry as the recipient of the 2022 President’s Award.