In August, the 32nd annual Frederick Women’s Distance Festival, hosted by the Frederick Steeplechasers Running Club, was back at Frederick Community College. There were 597 runners and walkers this year, including 91 who opted for the virtual variant of the event. The run/walk is a favorite in Frederick, demonstrating support for women’s running, health, and fitness, and raising money for the Women’s Giving Circle of Frederick County.
“It was wonderful to see our runners, walkers and volunteers back at FCC this year,” race director Harriet Langlois said. “The energy and support of this all-female event are unique and empowering.”
The 2021 race raised $23,194 for the Giving Circle’s grant program, supporting local nonprofits that help women in the Frederick community. In addition to race registration fees, more than 230 businesses and individuals made donations or funded sponsorships to support the race and the Women’s Giving Circle. Since 2010, the event has generated more than $181,000 for the Giving Circle.
“The Frederick Steeplechasers Running Club, via the Women’s Distance Festival, remains our largest single donor,” said Linda Roth, chair of the Women’s Giving Circle. “With the COVID-19 crisis continuing this year, the nonprofits that we support need our help more than ever, and we are just so grateful for the support of this community.”
Jamie Wisz, a member of the Frederick Steeplechasers racing team, won this year’s race in 21 minutes, 22 seconds. Catherine Scott, another Steeplechaser member, placed second at 21 minutes, 41 seconds.
In 1979, the Road Runners Club of America started the Women’s Distance Festival in response to the lack of distance running events in the Olympic Games for women. While women’s participation in distance running currently matches or surpasses that of men, the Women’s Distance Festival continues to serve as a celebration of the determination and dedication of women runners across the country.
The new Premier Sponsor of the event is McLaughlin Family Chiropractic. Dr. Mimi McLaughlin is a member of the Women’s Giving Circle of Frederick County and competed in the race this year.
The Frederick Steeplechasers Running Club has been supporting the local running community since 1975. The four signature races hosted by the Steeplechasers typically raise over $70,000 for the wider Frederick community, reflecting the club’s commitment to making Frederick a better place for all its residents. See steeplechasers.org for more information about the Steeplechasers and frederickwdf.com for details of the race, which will be held in 2022 on Aug. 6.