We continue our story series about our streakers, the Steeps who run a half marathon every month for the sheer fun of it. Here’s how the idea started: 

Back in fall 2020, HMT program coaches Amanda Berry and Michele Newton put together a series of socially distanced group runs with the intention of training for Freedom’s Half in Shepherdstown, West Virginia. When that race was cancelled due to COVID-19, they decided to have their own “unofficial” event to celebrate the accomplishments of the training group members, many of whom would be running their first-ever half marathon. 

On October 3, 2020, about 25 Steeps finished the course (planned by Michele) that started and ended at Utica District Park in Frederick. Everyone recorded their own “race” times, and Amanda and her husband Chris even handed out medals at the finish.

This experience prompted some group members to start thinking: We really enjoyed the training, we met lots of great people, and we’d all like to keep running. It wasn’t that hard to pick a date and have our own “half marathon” — even if there wasn’t a formal race on the calendar. Better yet — what if we did it once a month? The rest, as they say, is history. 

Caroline (Cari) James started her streak in January 2021 and has been running a half marathon at least once a month since then. She says her favorite “official” race was “probably Freedom’s Half in October 2021, simply because it was the only race that year that actually happened as planned!” Her favorite “unofficial” race was at Kure Beach, running solo, in June 2021.

And while she doesn’t enjoy cold, lonely runs, Cari says keeping up the streak has been well worth it.

“A short-term goal has helped keep me consistently in shape in three ways,” she says. “Physically, I keep up with my long runs, averaging 10 miles with some shorter weekday runs and cross training. Financially, I pay for a few of my races each year—but I’ve learned how to make-up my own routes to keep the streak alive without breaking the bank. Socially, I’ve made some great friends over the miles, enjoyed wonderful conversations, and seen most of Frederick County!

Keep up the great work, Cari!

–Compiled by Caree Vander Linden