by Tim O’Keefe

If you haven’t tried one of the Steeplechasers Breakfast Runs, you are missing one of the fun perks offered by the club. Where else can you have someone else plan your route, have miles fly by as you enjoy conversing with the group, and then a hot and delicious feast waiting for you at the end? During the first breakfast run of the year, one of the ongoing discussions dealt with goals for the new year. First marathon or half marathon race, a Boston qualifier, getting back to race shape, and avoiding injuries were some of the topics brought up. Another goal for some of you might be to up your racing a notch. If that interests you, then the Steeplechasers Racing Team may be that carrot dangled in front of you to set that as a goal. 

Steeplechasers Racing Team

The racing team has been around for several years but the name doesn’t give the whole picture. There are no team practices, there is no team bus, there are no special places to sit at races, and there isn’t a strict schedule of races to run. Steeplechasers members qualify for the team by running at least two races with an age grading of 70% or higher.

You may have noticed the age-grading column in race results published by the Steeplechasers. In its simplest form, some really smart person put together a table that compares your race time to that of the fastest runners your age for the same distance. 70% is pretty fast, 80% is winning local and statewide races, and 90% are the ones that make you shake your head in disbelief and wonder how does one do that? (They are here in Frederick! Claire Heasman,  Pete Wergin, and Scott Wallace to name a few).

The 70% range is doable for many. If you are curious what kind of a time result this means for you, check out our Competition tab > Racing Team section. You can put in your age and distance into the table provided to find out the time needed to qualify. Now you have your goal! 18 runners from the club have reached that level, including the two newest members from the fall, Taylor Ludman Hallock and Joe Marks. 

Racing Team Perks

Once a team member, you are given a singlet or short sleeve shirt with the Steeplechasers logo and race team emblazoned on it, plus a ¼ zip shirt or jacket. In addition, the club will reimburse you for one of your races. There is a minimum number of races you are asked to run as a team member in addition to those races you enjoy running. There is a volunteering component, which all club members should consider, whether they are on the Racing Team or not.

Racing Team Leadership

Michael Kearney is the current Racing Team chair and does a great job of letting team members know of races that offer a team competition and organizing those teams. He will be moving on and Heidi Novak will take his spot at the end of January. 

If this sounds like the kind of goal you are looking for this new year, check out the Racing Team page, or contact Michael, Heidi, or any team member to find out more. Nothing makes you prouder than finishing a race with the Steeplechasers Racing Team name on your singlet!