“I ran my first organized race in 1995, the Garrett 5K, in downtown Frederick. It was soon after that that I became a Steeplechaser.

By 1997, I had run numerous 5K races and thought I was ready to try a marathon. I figured, I better do it soon because I was coming up on 30 years old and thought it was my only opportunity before I got old.

I ran the Marine Corp Marathon and I was hooked on the longer distances.


A year later, in 1998, I decided to try giving trail running a try and began doing short runs in the Frederick Watershed.

One day, out on the trail, three “little old ladies” run by and asked if I was training for the Catoctin 50K. I was in shock. No way people could run 31 miles on this type of trail.

If the three “little old ladies” could do it, then so could I and I immediately started training.


In 2000, the Catoctin 50K became my first ultra marathon. At around mile 28, the three “little old ladies” came running by me like I was standing still.

Ultra trail running had become my passion and still is after 26 years. My current lifelong goal is to run a 100-miler in every state. I’m at 15 different states so I will probably be in my early 70s, if I ever finish. But if I don’t, I will still have had many adventures traveling to wonderous locations.

Why do I love long trail runs?

  1. Exploring new trails. I can’t pass a trail junction without wondering where that trail goes. Always take the unknown trail.
  2. Great friends and great beer. A log solo run is great, but nothing beats having a beer with friends after hours on the trail. FYI, Real Trail Runners drink IPA.
  3. Long weekend trail runs are the secret to a long marriage (wife needs her alone time)
  4. I like to tell long and, what some might call, boring stories. On a trail run, I have a captive audience.
  5. I love a challenge.

My advice to anyone nervous about trying a difficult race or a challenge is “go for it”.


I have probably failed at things more often than people have tried. You can get advice from people or read stories about events, but nothing beats learning from experience.”

If you know of someone that you think we should hear more about, please reach out to Barb Meely at barb.meely@staging.steeplechasers.org.