2020 was a challenging year for me, as it was for many people. I was newly single, with an infant, in the middle of a pandemic, 10 hours away from any member of my family.

In September, I finally realized, I needed to find a healthy way to deal with the stress and anxiety I was feeling, so I started casually running with my daughter in a jogging stroller.

I had previously run a few 5Ks and half marathons, but I never ran consistently or trained for anything. I only managed to run 92 miles in 2020, but it sparked something in me.

I decided my New Year’s resolution would be to run 10 miles a week for all of 2021.


I moved to Frederick in February and joined the Steeps soon after.

I was excited when I saw that there were free training programs available to members, and I decided to join the marathon training group and run my first marathon in the fall. I also, very impulsively, signed up for the JFK 50-miler, even though I had never run more than 13.1 miles at one time.

I ran my first marathon on October 4, then six weeks later, I ran JFK.

Ainsley at the finish line of JFK 50.

It was the best experience ever, and I don’t think I would have even made it to the starting line, had I not had the marathon training group to keep me accountable. I ended up with 944 miles last year and more happiness than I thought possible for myself.

Running has given me strength, positivity, purpose, and joy. I am so grateful to be a member of the Steeps, and I can’t wait to get started in my new role as the Community Outreach Chairperson!

Have an idea or a person to highlight in our Member Spotlight series? Contact Barb at barb.meely@staging.steeplechasers.org!