Award Winners – 2016



  1. Jennifer Hallberg
  2. Katelin Knepley
  3. Crystal Achuo
  4. Shannon Matthews
  5. Ruth Taylor (15)


  1. Victor Cretella
  2. Mike Geisler
  3. Chris VanSant
  4. Perry Washington
  5. Javier Montenegro



Under 13

  1. Sophie Geernaert
  2. Sofia Driver


  1. Maxann Keller
  2. Kerry McHugh
  3. Genna Vegh
  4. Lizaeileen Montenegro
  5. Kirsten Benedict


  1. Meaghan Vance
  2. Katie Malone
  3. Gwyneth Whieldon
  4. Kate Kynvin
  5. Crystal Tressler


  1. Pamela Geernaert
  2. Conny Pritchard
  3. Heidi Novak
  4. Sarah Wilson
  5. Kimberly Whalen


  1. Keary Johnston
  2. Lorraine Sullivan
  3. Linda Boring
  4. Michelle Mitchell
  5. Dee Gager


  1. Harriet Langlois
  2. Anne Light
  3. Jane Gates


  • no qualifiers


Under 13

  • no qualifiers


  • no qualifiers


  1. Jason Scaroni
  2. Jason Lawrence
  3. Evan Machusak
  4. Joseph Basford
  5. Joshua Roane


  1. Chris Beers Arthur
  2. Billy Clem
  3. Karsten Brown
  4. Brady Malone
  5. Matt Feltenstein


  1. John Way
  2. Bill Duke
  3. Stephan Dobson
  4. Bill Stahr
  5. Mark Gaffigan


  1. Malcolm Senior
  2. Tim O’Keefe
  3. Timothy Morgan
  4. Bruce Attavian
  5. Michael O’Grady


  1. Art Gregory (13)
  2. John Clarke


  • Amy Weed, Anne Shubert, Azhar Ibrahim, Brenda Jacobs, Carla Piorkowski, Carolyn DiMaria, Casii Dodd, Christine Stafford, Cindy Sentelle, Crista Leonard, David Miller, Dinny Bedard, Effie Nomicos, Eric Eller, Ernie Foster, Garry Vom Lehn, Heidi Fisher, Heidi Poulson, James Moreland, Janadel Harris, Jeffrey Jones, John Godinet, Jon Willoughby, Judy Trentini, Karyn Spertzel, Katie Zitrick, Kelli Swift, Kristen McKinley, Lib Rood, Lori Mensh, Luanne Houck, Marianna McReal, Matt Beckwith, Meredith Crow, Michele Newton, Michelle Driver, Nikki Martin, Paul Headland, Qassim Abdullah, Richard Potter, Rick Albee, Risa Clem, Robbie Blaylock, Robert Hall, Robin McConaughey, Shawn Burns, Stacy DiFranco, Stacy Rosenberg, Susan Errickson, Syble Roane, Tina Cole, Wendy Conley



  1. Ruth Taylor
  2. Katelin Knepley
  3. Jennifer Hallberg


  1. Malcolm Senior
  2. Arthur Gregory
  3. Timothy Morgan


See Decathlon Tributes – 2016 for the detailed tributes


  1. Ruth Taylor
  2. Michelle Mitchell
  3. Harriet Langlois
  4. Crystal Achuo
  5. MaxAnn Keller
  6. Meaghan Vance
  7. Pam Geernaert
  8. Lib Rood
  9. Brenda Jacobs
  10. Sophie Geernaert


  1. Art Gregory
  2. Mike Geisler
  3. Tim Morgan
  4. Tim O’Keefe
  5. John Way
  6. James Lowrie
  7. James Moreland
  8. Jeff Jones
  9. Joe Basford
  10. Bill Duke


Rising Star Women – Crystal Achuo

Our 2016 Female Rising Star has had an incredible year. Starting the year off with a PR at the Frederick Half, she then hit the trails to train for Catoctin 50k. Her training paid off with an almost 40 minute PR. She did not hesitate to get back at it, racing the next week’s decathlon and the Run for the Pie 10k, where she finished 3rd. Her 4th place finish in the decathlon and top 10 finish at the Women’s Distance Festival showed she is skilled at shorter distances as well as endurance events. Our Rising Star showed off her trail speed once again at Rick’s Run, where she finished 4th in the first 5.22 mile loop, and then continued to run 6 more loops for a total of 36 miles and a 2nd place finish in the ultra. Not even 2 weeks after this, she raced a rainy and very muddy Freedom’s Run in 3:24, a whopping 24 minute PR and a 2nd place finish.

Perhaps this Rising Star’s greatest running accomplishment came at her first 50 mile race, where she finished 3rd in 9:02, less than 5 minutes from the first place finisher! She then stuck around to cheer on her fellow Steeplechasers, and provided more support the following weekend at the JFK 50.

Our female rising star has a joy of running that is contagious and inspiring. She spreads this joy with her work with GOTR and by supporting local races. She has been a great asset to the Steeplechasers this year, and we can’t wait to see what she will accomplish in 2017. Your Female Rising Star is Crystal Achuo.

Rising Star Men – Jason Scaroni

Our Male Rising Star of the year started to get more involved in the Steeplechasers this past year, and has made an immediate impact. He is consistently one of the top males to cross the finish line in distances from the mile up to 50 miles, winning the competitive 30-39 age group in the Grand Prix Series. Notable results include a 21:15 at the Parkway Panda and a 5:45 at the Market Street Mile. While there is no doubt our rising star is fast on the road, he has excelled on the trails this year. In September he ran a 43:30 on the first loop of Rick’s Run, winning his age division. He then went on to complete his first ultra, running an additional 5 loops for a total of over 31 miles. On a whim, our rising star decided to sign up for the Stone Mill 50 miler. This proved to be a good decision as he ran the fastest time of any male Steeplechaser that day, coming in well under 10 hours. Whether our rising star decides to focus on shorter distances or run more ultras, we are sure to see more success from him in the years to come. Congratulations to our Male Rising Star, Jason Scaroni.

Most Improved Women – Meaghan Vance

Our Female Most Improved has been with the club for the past several years and has had dramatic improvements every year. This year has most certainly been a breakthrough year for her. She PR’d in all distances from 200m on up to the marathon, and ran the Northface Endurance Challenge 50k.

Anyone that has run a few decathlon events can speak for this runners improvement. She started out as a mid pack runner and moved up to the last heats where she runs neck and neck with the other top females. She tied for 5th in this years decathlon, completing all 10 events. She is 30 for 30 in participation in the last 3 years. To show just how much she has improved, in 2014 she ran the mile in 8:21, brought it down to 7:09 in 2015, and 6:23 in 2016. Her improvement shows no signs of stopping.

Other top races for this year were the Jack Barr Memorial Run for Freedom in Williamsport, where she crushed her 5k PR to finish in 21:48 and 3rd overall, the Frederick Half Marathon where she finished in 1:52, and her first sub 4 marathon at Steamtown where she finished in 3:49, shaving 21 minutes off her previous marathon time. Our Most Improved runner has become quite competitive in her age group, finishing first in the 30-39 age group in 2016’s Grand Prix series. A job well done to our 2016 most improved, Meaghan Vance.

Most Improved Men – Evan Machusak

It is hard to believe our Most Improved Male Runner has only been running a couple of years. His dedication to the sport and willingness to push himself has resulted in impressive PR’s in a short amount of time. In 2014, he ran a 28 minute 5k at the Frederick Way Station Turkey Trot. This past year he raced a 21:27 at the Parkway Panda in May, and then PR’d again in November with a 20:48 at the Carroll Manor Roaring Lion 5k. In December 2015, he ran the Byron 10 mile in 1:21, a month later he ran Lewis in 1:20, and a month after that he took off another 4 minutes to finish the RRCA 10 miler in 1:16. In the Fall, this runner was able to PR again at the Army 10 Miler with a 1:14. He also managed a 25 minute PR at the Frederick Half to finish in 1:44, a mere 2 weeks after his second marathon, the Gettysburg North-South Marathon. His finishing time of 3:46 at Gettysburg, was in fact a 21 minute PR from his first marathon only 6 months prior. Our most improved is a frequent participant of group runs, often running with faster Steeplechasers and looking for ways to improve. With his competitive spirit and determination, we are sure to see more PR’s in years to come from our Most Improved Male Runner, Evan Machusak.

Iron Woman – Jan Harris

This speech is for the Iron Girl Award.  I know the speeches are usually written such that there is a “big reveal “ at the end who the award winner is , but given that this award winner is not here live tonight I’m just going to reveal first and then talk about her accomplishments

So The 2016 Iron Girl of the Year award goes to Janadel Harris . (who by the way is sorely missed)

I met Jan in 2013  . It was the first of the marathon training programs and it was led but Chad Ahalt.  Chad had placed us in a group with based on speed and named after running shoes. Billy, Jan, Lorraine, Joanne and myself and we in this group and were named Team Asics.  But we ran together and became fast friends. That wasn’t a speed reference!  

To adequately prepare to speak of her accomplishments in the Ultra world I searched her results on Ultra Sign up.  What I didn’t realize that all but 2 of the 12 ultra races that Janadel has run in her ultra career which started in 2013 were races that we have run together or attend together!  

Her first Ultra that I talked her into was a CAT 50   – a race that specifically says on the sign up page “do not do this as your first ultra – you will regret it”.  Well we ran that entire race together, and while there were moments of ‘what did I get myself into” we finished with her challenging me to a sprint through the parking lot at the end (thankfully that’s only about 40 ft of the race!)

From there Jan was hooked.  She ran 5 ultra-including Stone Mill 50 Miler and JFK 50 miler leading up to her races in 2016

2016 was her year to prefect her ultra racing and she made great strides in doing so . In the Maryland Heat 50K she ran a 7:41 in 2015 and ran a 6:17 taking first place women in 2016

And never letting that CAT 50 get the best of her she went from 8 hours in 2015 to 7:37 in 2016

For me (and hopefully for her) the highlight of 2016 was the Javalina Jundred , a 100 mile “Party in the dessert”.  Jan was itching for her first 100K but due to some logistics (um ya that’s what we’ll call them) she ended up signing up for the 100 miler so we could run together  .  And so she did.  While our schedules and her eventual move never really allowed us to train together, we met up in Scottsdale Arizona on Oct 28th and got ready to tackle 100 miles in the desert.   

With 8 crew for 2 runners.  (yep perhaps a bit excessive, but it wasn’t hard to convince people to spend a weekend in the resort as winter started to approach right Lorraine and Gary2.  (albeit great for the crew but the temperature ranged from 93 at Javalina Jeadquarters where are crew were to a sizzling 102 at the midway point of the course).  And wearing some of the cutest costumes we could make (that didn’t chafe).  Dressed like a snowman and lined up next to Jan dressed as a penguin team 30 below headed out on the course.   We signed up for the costume contest and we also signed up as a competing team or pair for the race.  In the descriptor box of our relationship it gave examples such as (husband/wife, brother/sister etc.  ) I typed in “best friends  – or at least we were at the start of the race.”  

Well as many of you can imagine running 100 miles with someone could be challenging as you both go through highs and lows during the day and the night, um and part of the next day.  Jan assumed we would just run together and I was a bit more worried that things would get ugly.  And I was right, but in the best way possible.  While Jan struggled with the heat and socks and blisters the first 40 miles I enjoyed myself.  And while she was craving sunset and cooler temperatures I was dreading running in the dark.  But we ran together.  And when it got dark we got our pacer and continued on.  Happy as clams.  Until I feel asleep.  Somewhere between mile 80-84 I got profoundly sleepy and while my Garmin had died I had no idea just how slow I was moving.  I made it to the aid station at mile 84 and hit the porta potty.  While in there I hear Jan say to our pacer “If Pam doesn’t start moving her butt we aren’t going to finish this race and I didn’t come out here to quit’.  Well that was my alarm clock.  I threw open the porta potty door. Said “Hey are you trash talking me? Do you know how long I’ve waited at aid stations while you buggered around with socks and shoes and shirts etc.  You can’t talk to me like this–  Game on — let’s do this ? And we did.   And the sun came up and we ran faster.  And then this happened.  We crossed the finish line in 28 hours and 17 minutes later, hand in hand.  Oh ya and then Jan noticed her watch was at 99.88 so we walked around the staging area (Mikes hard lemonade in hand) until it reached 100.  Shortly after this, during a photo op, Jan passes out and has to get carried to the medical tent for dehydration.  But she was fine.  Our pacers shoes, well let’s just say , not so much so.   

Running with Jan is a joy. She is talkative, helpful, full of good strong advice and can effortlessly get snot rockets launched far away from her shoes and mine.  I will miss running with her dearly and am already looking for ultras out west to join her with.  She is strong, and tough and beautiful and my Best Running Bestie.  Congrats Janadel on your accomplishments

Iron Man – Bill Stahr

The Ironman Award recognizes exceptional levels of mileage or quantity of events raced. Our recipient this year truly is extraordinary in that regard. In 2016, he ran at least 212 races, more than any other Steeplechaser member. He completed 9 decathlon events and 9 Grand Prix events, as well as races all over the Mid Atlantic region. That was a light race load compared to the prior year, however. In 2015, he ran at least 371 races, including 1 Grand Prix and 6 Summer decathlon. With all these races, one might wonder if he is sacrificing quality for quantity, but that is not the case for our 2016 Ironman. He placed 4th in the 50-59 age division of the Grand Prix Series and routinely runs age grade factors in the high 60’s. In one particular weekend he ran a 5k in Leesburg in 22:13, and then a few hours later raced to a 22:38 at the Headless Horseman 5k here in Frederick. The next day he ran a 5k and 10k in Fredericksburg, to finish times of 23:28 and 48:28. He also has many half marathons to his credit, including the Frederick Half Marathon (1:41) and Freedom’s Run (1:47). He is on his way to racing just as many events this year, with 6 completed in the first two weeks of January. Our 2016 Ironman Award goes to Bill Stahr.

Unsung Hero – Becky Boughn

Our Unsung Hero is a familiar and friendly face at Frederick area races. Whether she is running or providing race support for the Steeplechasers, you can usually expect to see her at most local 5k’s. Over the last 3 years she has been a gold level volunteer, participating in as many as 12 finish lines a year. She marks courses, pulls tags, tabulates results, and helps first time volunteers with her expertise. She has also helped with the Market Street Mile, and assisted on Women’s Distance Festival 5k training runs. Last Summer, she was a course marshal for the Run for the Pie 10k providing cheers and taking pictures.

This past year our Unsung Hero helped start a Sunday morning walking group to provide friendship and encouragement, and keep Frederick residents moving. Week after week, in all weather conditions, she meets at Baker Park so that no one has to exercise alone. There was even a holiday themed walk where she made a nice looking Santa! We are happy to present our first Unsung Hero award to a Steeplechaser who is always willing to offer a helping hand, Becky Boughn.

Unsung Hero – Syble Roane

Our next Unsung Hero used to hate running. She kept at it though, and has grown into one of the Steeplechasers greatest cheerleaders and inspirations. Last February, she joined the Frederick Half training group, unsure of herself and wondering what she had gotten herself into. She went all in though, facing her fears. She was diligent and dedicated, attending every scheduled training run and also cross training. Her hard work paid off when she completed her first half marathon, surrounded by new running partners and friends. In the past year she has run her first 10k, 10 Miler, Half Marathon, and 25k, and went on to run and PR the difficult Freedom’s Run Half Marathon in the Fall. While accomplishing these achievements, she has shared her story along the way, and it has resonated with and inspired many. She gives positive feedback to others through personal contact and social media, and even helped start a Sunday walking group to encourage people to get out and on their feet. Her sassy attitude always lights up a crowd and keeps people smiling whenever she is involved. She volunteers at races, and has stepped up to co-chair the Happy Hour committee. We are thankful our Unsung Hero, decided to give running a try, and stepped up into a leadership role with in the club. Our Unsung Hero is Syble Roane.

Inspiration – John Godinet

At some time during our lives, whether it is at school, work, or play, we fondly remember ONE special person who inspired us. One person who shines a bit brighter than the rest, who is quirky and stands out, who has an infectious sparkle in their eye, and one who generates good will. Today we honor a unique Steeplechaser who positively impacts and profoundly inspires Steeps as well as random strangers he “finds along the route”, anywhere, any time.

If we listed all instances when and how this member inspires runners, walkers, and hikers, we would be here til midnight. Ask anyone who knows him and you will quickly recognize there are many common themes:

  • Encouragement
  • Selfless
  • Passion
  • Laughing
  • Fun
  • No stress
  • “Yes you can”
  • “Nope… I am NOT leaving you behind”
  • Sharing
  • “I didn’t do anything, it was all YOU”
  • “Just a short run, I promise….”
  • Positive
  • Motivating
  • Cheerleader

Over time, once you get to interact with him, other common themes also become apparent:

  • “Did you bring ice for the cooler?”
  • “Driving to a running event ON TIME or under 100 MPH is unacceptable”
  • “I need ketchup”
  • “Your first race? WE are going to have so much fun!”
  • “It’s not about how fast your run, but how GOOD you look crossing the finish line”
  • “Don’t think about it, just do it!”
  • “If you can run a 5k, you can run a half marathon”
  • “Shut up and just keep moving”

It is MOST fitting to allow those who have been inspired by John Godinet speak for themselves:

  • It’s not about the time it takes to finish; it’s about enjoying the experience.  Everyone gets a medal at the end.  Why not enjoy the journey?
  • John not only encourages runners but helps hikers, also.  When I could no longer run I began hiking.  I was tired of some of the trails at Gambrill and wanted some new places to hike on a daily basis.  John was kind enough to take me and my hiking buddies out and show us some great trails in the watershed.  He truly inspired me to “go long” on my hikes.  My hiking friends call me Dora the Explorer because I have learned to navigate the watershed because of John.  I give a big shout out of THANKS to him.
  • I have so many, but one would be “when doing a race make sure when you see a camera, you are running not walking”. My best memory is when he trained me for the full MCM, and we had only been training for 2 or 3 months, and one day we had been running for hours through the watershed, and he turned to me and said “we’ve done 30 miles today, you got this”.  And I believed him.
  • John and I have run a lot together. He selflessly helps people learning to run, even strangers. He taught me to have fun and run my own race! He ran my first Frederick half with me and my first MCM. It was my privilege this pass year, 2016, to walk/run the FULL MCM with him as he was laughing, socializing and being positive the entire time. You are my hero! Love you John!
  • When I first started running with John, he always told me to run my own race and have fun. You get the same medal as the runner who came in first.
  • John helped me through my first half marathon- he truly is one of the most motivating people, more concerned with helping others reach their goals than his own PR. His passion for running is contagious and he has touched so many lives and encouraged so many people to overcome their fears, challenges and pursue running… he is the true “running man!” I’m proud to be one of Johnny’s Angels… Love you, John boy!
  • At the Baltimore 10 miler, John told me: “oh honey …run your own race and don’t worry so much about others, we are all getting the same medal”. Since then, I run with that in my head EVERY SINGLE TIME…Love me some john!!!
  • While employed at Fitness First, a bunch of us gathered on Sundays to drink coffee at Starbucks. John was one of the “running crowd” and I would listen to him and the runners with incredible envy, because I was told I could not run. BUT, I vowed once day I would run. Over time, I started with 5Ks then 10Ks, eventually John mentored me (and others) to complete our first HALF. Well, John laughed at me every time I would say I would never do a FULL.  Fast forward 7 years, John mentored me to completing the FULL MCM. Two years in a row. I will always remember his calm “persuasive” demeanor in helping me overcome my mental roadblock and embrace running. Go Team Snail!
  • The first time I met John, he was teaching a step class. I wanted to leave after 10 minutes, but I did my best to keep up.
  • The second time I met John, it was at coffee at Starbucks on 40 near the gym. I could not figure him out.
  • Then the third time I met John was at the snack table during my first Baltimore Half – I fell in love. John doesn’t have to try be positive, he just is. He does not have to try be encouraging, he just is. He does not have to practice not judging people or putting them down-he just doesn’t.
  • His heart is so pure, and his joy is so big, that you just want to be close to him. I always pray that just a little of it rubs off on me.
  • In November, I finished the Across the Bay 10K in tears because I added 2 minutes (to my already excruciatingly slow time) from last year, John reminded me that it is not about the time-just to enjoy the journey.
  • One day, I was running 30 miles alone along the fire road.  1/2 way through my first lap I notice John’s car parked. I quickly messaged him to join me.  He responded that he finished his run but that I could stop by his truck and help myself to his cooler.  I finished my first lap and head out for lap 2. I heard a vehicle behind me and got a bit nervous as it’s moving very slowly.  SURPRISE! It is John pulling up to me with his “mobile” feast.  He stops and we sit on his tailgate. I drank a beer-Rita and then headed on my way! Best movable aid station ever. (And it wasn’t the first time he’d driven by me on a run with aid)

It gives me extreme pleasure to award The Frederick Steeplechasers 2016 Inspiration Award to John Godinet.

Grand Master Runner of the Year Women – Harriet Langlois

This year’s grand masters runner of the year is no stranger to awards here. She has recently graduated into a new award group, and it looks like her strong performances will continue there.

Her first race this year was a marathon, and I expect she was disappointed with her result of 4:32 giving her “only” a 65% age grade. Undaunted, at her next race six weeks later, a 10 miler, she ran 1:31, just shy of 70%. Highlighting her 21 race year were Frederick Half Marathon 1:59 (71%), five of her decathlon races 1500m – 3000m (71 – 75%) (by the way she ran all 10 races and came in 3rd), Paws and Claws and Roaring Lion 5Ks 25:39 and 25:23 (72% and 74%) respectively. She came in 1st in her age group in the grand prix, earning a perfect 50 points.

Oh and her final marathon of the year was a 4:01:55 (73%) at the St. George Marathon in Utah, just a minute shy of the PR she ran in Boston 2013.

Congratulations, Grand Masters Runner of the Year, Harriet Langlois

Grand Master Runner of the Year Men – Art Gregory

Our Grand Master of the year has won this award before, and still manages to top himself every year. 2016 was no exception. He started off the year winning his age group at the RRCA Club Challenge. In the Spring, he had strong showings and won his age group at Pikes Peak 10k and the Frederick Half Marathon. He also placed 2nd in his age group at the Boston Athletic Association 5k.

As the weather got warmer, our grand master started training at Gambrill, keeping up with runners half his age on the technical trails.  At 72 he was oldest finisher of the Cactoctin 50k, before he had completed his first marathon! In the midst of all this trail training, he managed to run 9 out of 10 decathlon events. He once again dominated the Frederick High School track, winning the decathlon series by consistently running age graded percentages in the 70’s.

Next up for our Grandmaster was his first marathon, where he ran a sub 4 hour at Chicago and took 4th in his age group amongst a large field. He was back running shorter distances almost immediately. Finishing the Roaring Lion 5k in 22:59, for a first place age group finish and a 77.93% age grade. He capped off the year with another age group win at the Fairfax 4 miler.

Our Grand Master of the Year for 2016 is Art Gregory.

Master Runner of the Year Women – Conny Pritchard

The Steeplechaser 2016 Women’s Master Runner of the Year winner has shown consistent performance in all of the races that she entered this past year.  In all four of her Grand Prix races she finished first in her division and first in the age adjusted scoring for the entire club. She ran a 1:33 at the Frederick Half Marathon for an age grade of 79.55%, and a 20:34 at the Parkway Panda for an age grade of 80.34%. She also ran the Army 10 miler in 1:11, for another 78% age graded performance.

Our Master has focused primarily on marathon training, and uses other races as training events for her big annual running of the Boston Marathon.  She took up running just five years ago and within one year qualified for Boston at her 2nd marathon, the Hamburg marathon.  She has run Boston every year since. Recently she qualified for, and ran, the Berlin Marathon which has faster qualifying standards than Boston. She ran Berlin in an impressive 3:15. Virtually every marathon she runs is a new PR. There is no telling how fast she will be as she gets younger and faster every year.  We would like to congratulate our 2016 Women’s Master Winner…Conny Pritchard.

Masters Runner of the Year Men – Perry Washington

A runner for more than 25 years, and working in the fitness industry for the past 20, our Master Runner of the Year is an accomplished athlete. He is always willing to give helpful advice to anyone wanting to learn more about training and running.

Locally and regionally he proves time and time again he is a top Masters runner.  He ran a 1:34 at the Frederick 1/2 Marathon, placing 2nd in his age group. That was followed up by age group wins at the Parkway Panda 5k and the Summer Solstice 8K, where he ran 20:11 and 33:57, for respective age grade factors of 77.2 and 74.7% He topped his age group again at Spook Hill where he ran an impressive 27:17, an age grade of 74.8%. He has completed more than 40 marathons, most recently Kiawah Island where he finished in 3:30 and placed 2nd in his age group.

Our Masters Runner of the Year dominated not only his own age group in this year’s Grand Prix, he placed 4th overall at age 58! Congratulations to our Masters Runner of the Year, Perry Washington.

Runner of the Year Women – Jenny Hallberg

Our female runner of the year was nominated in almost every category this year. Most Improved, Unsung Hero, Inspiration, and of course, Runner of the Year, her positive attitude and service to the club is greatly appreciated.

Our Runner of the Year puts in countless hours to the club keeping racing team, grand prix, and decathlon scores up to date. She also pitches in with calendar updates and adding new photos, many she has taken herself after finishing her own speedy race. She helps lead Tempo Tuesdays, posting weekly invitations for runners to come out and participate at any pace. She has helped at many finish lines this year, and assisted at aid stations at Catoctin and the JFK 50. She is well known in the running community for her encouragement to other runners and her infectious smile.

The 2016 Runner of the Year finished first in the Grand Prix Series with a perfect score, and 3rd in the Equalizer series with no age graded assistance. She set PR’s in every distance attempted this year, setting a half PR in a blazing time of 1:31, and bringing her 5k PR down to a 19:19 as the top female finisher of the Roaring Lion 5k. She then went on to take another second off that 5k PR less than 2 weeks later. She capped off her amazing year of running with a 1:08 at the Goodloe Byron 10 mile race. This was a 5 minute PR and an 8 minute improvement from her Byron performance in 2015. Our female runner of the year is making a big name for herself in the Frederick and surrounding areas with first place overall finishes at multiple races including Forest of Needwood,  Last Path to Boston Half Marathon, Linda Kronias 5k, Goodloe Byron 10 miler, and age group wins at the Frederick Solstice 8k among others. Her tremendous training dedication in 2016 resulted in exceptional race results, and we can’t wait to see how much further she will test her limits.

Congratulations to our 2016 Runner of the Year, Jenny Hallberg.

Runner of the Year Men – Mike Geisler

Our Male Runner of the Year is one of our most versatile Steeplechasers, racing roads and trails, 5k’s and ultras.

Excelling in short distances, he finished 2nd in this year’s decathlon, participating in 9 out of 10 races. His age grade factors for the events 400m up to the 3k were well into the 70’s. He ran the 800m in 2:27 for a 74.76% age grade, and the 400m in 61 seconds for a 76.2% age grade, and the second fastest time of the night.

He finished 2nd in the 2016 Grand Prix series, one of the top finishers in all 12 of the races he competed in. He was the top male Steep at Forest of Needwood 5 miler, the 3rd place overall finisher in the Rick O’ Donnell 5.22 mile trail run, and the 2nd Steeplechaser to finish the Freedom’s Run half marathon. Our Runner of the year finished the year off with impressive races at the Spook Hill 4 miler placing 2nd in his age group, and at the Carroll Manor 5k, finishing 1st in his age group with a 19:49, 71.2% age grade. Other key races for the year include a 41:34 at Pike’s Peak 10k, and a 2nd overall finish at The Heat is On 5k in Middletown.

Last, but not least, our runner of the year is a 2 time Catoctin 50k finisher, completing the brutal course and hot conditions in 7:41. He may, however, be more well known for his race recaps of the event.

Congratulations to our Runner of the Year, Mike Geisler.

Waxter Award – Billy Clem

The Waxter Award is given to a member who provides inspiration through participation and exceptional volunteerism. In a club that had over 200 members volunteer last year, there are quite a few that stand out for their dedication to the club. The volunteer we are recognizing tonight is known for his charisma and commitment to the Steeplechasers. One of the clubs most enthusiastic cheerleaders, he is constantly promoting the club through social media and by word of mouth. His passion for running and the club has helped boost membership to an all-time high.

As a RRCA certified coach he led our two largest training programs, the Spring half marathon and Fall marathon groups. He has taken the programs to new levels, providing handbooks and introduction sessions. He puts in time and energy, creating training routes and giving well thought out race advice. He is constantly seeking out runners, finding out where they are in their training, remembering it and encouraging them. His group runs are filled with conversation and laughter, motivation and support. Through his leadership and coaching, he helps his trainees believe in themselves and meet their goals, having fun along the way.

It is our pleasure to present the 2016 Waxter Award to Billy Clem.

Waxter Award – Crista Horn

This individual works quietly and behind the scenes, all while managing her job, her kids, her husband and her own running.  She maintains a passion for helping the club throughout the year; she places her time and energy into helping in so many capacities; spreading the name of the Steeplechasers throughout the community and ensuing our efforts go towards bettering the lives of others. This individual is on the Summer Solstice 8k planning committee, sits on the Larry Key Memorial Scholarship Committee, and shares the title of Race Director for Rick’s Run. To say the least she is a busy but organized woman! When you pass her on the roads she is always smiling or laughing and her enthusiasm is nothing short of contagious. A friendly face and always willing to offer a helping hand. The club genuinely appreciates your hard work and dedication.

It is an honor to present the 2016 Waxter Award to Crista Horn.

President’s Award – Jack Griffin

(presented by Lou King)

The FSRC President’s Award was established in 2010 as an award “Given to a person whose contribution to running may have transcended the boundaries of the club by having made an exceptional contribution through the years to the running community at large”, in other words, it is a lifetime achievement award.

As the sitting president I am given the distinct honor and privilege of choosing a recipient for this year’s President’s Award.

In terms of “lifetime achievement” Jack Griffin certainly fits the bill.

When Coach Griffin was just “Jack”, he studied Physical Education and Biology at NYU. He was a member of the basketball, swimming and track and field teams and graduated in 1953.

Not being the fastest runner but able to throw a ball really well, Jack was asked by former Olympic Coach Emil Von Elling to throw the javelin. A lot of Jack’s coaching knowledge came from Coach Von and his teachings.

In 1957, Coach Griffin started the Frederick Track Club, bringing track and field to girls in Frederick County who previously only had field ball, basketball and softball.

Two of the early athletes coached by Coach Griffin were Debbie Thompson and Tammie Davis. Debbie Thompson held the national record for 50 yard dash for girls under 17, at 15 in 1963 broke the world record for 60 yards, and later broke the 100 yard dash world record. In 1964 Debbie became the only Frederick native to ever participate in the olympics. Tammy Davis, at 15, set the national record for 50 yard hurdles, and smashed the world record a year later.

Thanks to the effort of Jack and the Frederick Track Club, Frederick had the honor of being home to [1]

  • 1966 National Track and Field Championships for Women,
  • 1968 Women’s National Cross Country Championships,
  • 1970 Women’s World Cross Country Championships,
  • and the 1972 Women’s Track and Field Olympic Trials [9]

Coach Griffin had numerous coaching positions in Frederick County: Frederick Community College (1967-1973), Frederick High School (1967-1984 and 1999-2002), Hood College (2008-2015).

In 1975 Frederick County Schools added girls’ track and field teams. Under Coach Griffin’s coaching FHS won indoor state team titles each year 1980-1983, and outdoor state team titles 1979-1983 — all as a volunteer!

At Frederick High School, including the team titles won by the girl’s and boy’s teams under Coach  Griffin, the total number of team titles won were thirteen in just sixteen years. Truly amazing!

After Coach Griffin retired from Hood College as an official coach in 2015, he still worked as an events coach with several of the Hood athletes.

Coach Griffin’s impact wasn’t just local. In 1966 Jack Griffin, along with Brooke Johnson and Bill Thomson founded the Eastern Girls Track League which, until Title IX opened the door for track and field for girls in 1972, was probably the most significant development in USA Women’s track and field east of the Mississippi.

Coach Griffin was a member of the US Olympic Committee from 1972 to 1976 and had numerous international USA coaching positions from 1964 to 1989 including at the Olympic games in 1964, 1976 and 1984.

This year’s President’s Award is just the most recent of many. To name a few, the USATF gave him awards for outstanding contributions to Women’s Track and Field in US and for outstanding contributions to sport of Women’s Cross Country, and Coach Griffin is in multiple Halls of Fame.

And finally, we, as members of the Frederick Steeplechasers Running Club, owe Jack Griffin and a few of his colleagues a huge debt of gratitude for bringing running events to Frederick and having the vision to found this club in 1975.

I talked with Coach Griffin on the phone in September, and he was very honored to know he’d be receiving this award. I was also happy to be able to visit with him a couple of weeks ago to reminisce about the early days.

Unfortunately, Coach Griffin’s health would not allow him to come here tonight. His good friend, Coach Dwight Scott, will be accepting the award on his behalf.