I started running cross country & track in high school at Hillsborough High in New Jersey. However, back then I was a lacrosse player who ran during the off season.

After graduating high school, I enrolled at Hood College to pursue a degree in business and also enjoy D3 athletics. At Hood, I ran cross country and track under Coach Ayer, a former Steeps President. While running at Hood, I was recognized with all-conference honors and set the men’s cross country school record for 8K.

Immediately after graduating from Hood in 2014, I cycled across the country from Baltimore to San Diego with a group of about 25 others. We raised funds and awareness for the Ulman Foundation, an organization that creates a community of support for young adults impacted by cancer. We covered about 4,300 miles in 70 days.

When I returned, my running took a backseat as I followed career opportunities in Washington, D.C. While living in Silver Spring in 2017, I started to build running into my regular routine again. It was May 2017 when I ran the Frederick 13.1 and won for the first time. My result from that race kickstarted my interest in competitive road racing. Over the following couple of years Gretchen Whitesell and I were both running and racing the local scene there.

Going into 2020, life was good. I had just started a running streak on January 10, setting a minimum of one mile a day. However, it was shortly after that the COVID-19 pandemic took over and changed life as we knew it. Like many others, Gretchen and I had plans to run the Boston Marathon that were inevitably cancelled.

As disappointed as we were, we continued to run and make the most of the situation. I found excitement in chasing Strava segments; it turned a lot of runs into a fartlek-type effort.

During the pandemic, I was fortunate to be able to work remotely and Gretchen already worked in Frederick. We saw opportunity to move to downtown Frederick and we jumped at it.

We were excited to join the Steeplechasers in May 2021. Over the last year, we’ve met some incredible people and have enjoyed some really wonderful races and runs.


The ultimate cap to my 2021 was being awarded the Steeplechaser’s Rising Star Award. What an honor!

Dan (left) and his fellow Frederick Steeplechasers Racing Team members.

So far this year, 2022, I’ve been really happy with my results. I’ve been able to set some big personal bests (PB’s) and turn in good results. In November ’21 I finished 9th in the Rock’n’Roll Half in 1:13:20; this was the first time I dipped under 74 minutes in the half. A few months later, in April, I finished 53rd overall at the Cherry Blossom 10-Miler in 52:10; I was super stoked with this result. I set a bunch of PB’s on the way to 10 miles, which I took as a clear sign that I can push harder. Then in May 2022, I was very happy with my result from the Frederick Half. I was able to win the race in a time of 1:11:59 – unbelievably stoked to be under 72 minutes.

Dan Jacobs and Claire Heasman

As of today, my running streak is at 851 days, and I don’t plan on stopping!

I’m inspired by all of the other Steeplechaser streakers out there!


Streaking (not that streaking) is, no doubt, a challenge. The weather doesn’t always cooperate, nor does your body. Some days are good, and some are not, like life itself, right? As tough as some days might be, what gets me out the door and running is the opportunity to push my streak at least one more day.

While I might run every day, I don’t run fast every day. I think it’s important to note that pace during training efforts doesn’t carry a lot of weight. Running slow or at whatever pace you feel comfortable is the best way to get the most out of yourself as a distance runner. Active minutes are crucial for growth as a runner.

I am of the belief that no matter the intensity, the more active minutes you accumulate, the better off you’ll be. So, if you’re feeling out of gas and don’t want to run, maybe ride a bike, or go for a swim, or do anything that moves your body.

I spend a lot of time riding my road bike all over Frederick County and beyond. I can attest to the value and benefit road cycling has had on my running output and efficiency. I’d like to emphasize that I believe climbing hills on my bike has helped my running tremendously.

Frederick has some excellent cycling opportunities. Looking for a cross training challenge? Try riding (or running) up Hamburg Road, that is intense.

Looking at the rest of this year and beyond, I am excited to keep things rolling as they are. I’m on the hunt for faster times and better results. Next month, I am competing at the Eagleman 70.3 Ironman in Cambridge, MD. I’d like to be as competitive as possible in my age group. Beyond triathlons, I plan on racing and volunteering at many of the Steeplechasers races and events.

Currently, I don’t have a major fall race picked or planned, but I have an itch to get after the marathon distance. I’m looking forward to meeting more Steeps and sharing some miles with y’all! Happy Steeping!

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