They may no longer live in Frederick, but Stewart and Stephanie Reich are becoming the most familiar — and successful — running couple in the area.
The husband-wife tandem moved to Columbia two months ago, where both are employed. Both said they intend to stay active in the local running scene.
In keeping with that promise, they returned, and they repeated their respective titles on Thursday at the 15th annual Way Station of Frederick County’s Turkey Trot at Baker Park.
“This is a fun race,” Stewart Reich, who set a course record on Thursday (14 minutes, 57.21 seconds), said. “It gives me a chance to test myself.”
Less than two minutes later, Stephanie Reich crossed the finish line for her third straight women’s crown (17:18.2) in the 5-kilometer race. She was 13th overall in the race.
“Yeah, go Steph … woo-hoo!” Stewart Reich shouted as she crossed the finish line.
“I can’t let him win without me winning,” Stephanie Reich chuckled, referring to her husband. “But, boy is it cold out here.”
It’s the second local win for the Reichs in a little over two months. The pair swept the Market Street Mile titles in September during Frederick’s annual In the Street celebration.
Last May, Stephanie Reich repeated her women’s title at the Frederick Half-Marathon.
Temperatures were below 30 degrees at the start of Thursday’s race, which drew more than 4,000 runners at the start, according to race officials. The right preparations went a long way for the Reichs when it came to winning the race.
“It was the same conditions for everyone,” Stewart Reich said. “I did a few quick warmup sprints just before the start of the race, get my legs ready for it so it’s not such a big shock to them so early in the morning.”
Stephanie Reich found the cold air somewhat challenging to her lungs.
“It was a little harder to breath this morning,” she said. “I just needed to relax my breathing. My goal, of course, was to win.”
The Reichs, members of the Georgetown Running Club, were easily recognizable at the starting line on Thursday in their light blue running attire. The pair made a few warmup sprints off the starting line, then jogged back to the start.
The Reichs didn’t leave much doubt as to who was going to win this race. Less than a mile into the event, Stewart Reich was well ahead of the overall field. Stephanie Reich put significant distance between herself and the rest of the women’s field at about the same time as her husband.
“It was cold, but there was no wind to contend with,” Stewart Reich said. “That made things much easier today. The sun was out, it was fine.”
Frederick’s Louis Levine was second in the race (15:22.15), Olney’s Collin Crilley finished third (15:33.45), Austin Hayslett (Mount Airy) took fourth (16:04.99), and Frederick’s Riley McDermott placed fifth (16:48.2).
Stephanie Reich had a bit of an off period in her running, so she wasn’t planning on defending her women’s title at the Army Ten-Miler in Washington D.C. last month.
Reich changed her mind at the last minute and entered the Ten-Miler but did not win it.
“I got into the race and ran with some of my friends [to] get a little workout in,” Stephanie Reich said.
Up next for the Reich is cross-country nationals next month, then on to indoor track club running over the winter months. Stephanie Reich intends on defending her Frederick Half-Marathon women’s crown next May.
Recent Middletown High graduate Reilly Caldwell was second in the women’s division (18:26.69), and Frederick’s Claire Heasman was third (18:50.25).