Women's Distance Festival offers a twist

On Saturday, August 10, the overall winner of a 5K race will be a woman — most likely.

The Women's Distance Festival 5K is coming to Frederick for the 24th year, with the race starting at 8 a.m. This is a race for women, administered by women, and for the benefit of women. This year's race, however, has a twist.

For $5, men can buy a chance to run with the women. One man's name will be drawn, and that man can run with the women. He's not likely to win an award, however, unless he finishes in the top three overall or is the top master.

The race will be on the campus of Frederick Community College, as it has been for the past several years. The nearly flat course consists of two loops around the college, on paved roads and sidewalks. The race is for runners and walkers of all ages and abilities.

It's part of the Maryland's Women's Distance Festival Grand Prix Series, sponsored by the Maryland Road Runners Club of America. The 12-race series began in April in Havre de Grace, and concludes Aug. 24 in College Park. There are awards for participating in multiple races. For information on the series, go to mdrrca.org.

Runners need not take part in the series to run in the local race, however, or win an award. Awards go not only to top and age group winners, but to first mother-daughter, sister-sister, aunt-niece, grandmother-granddaughter and to corporate teams. There will be no duplication of prizes.

Sponsors have been generous, according to race organizer Peggy Waxter. Last year's race generated $9,000 for the Women's Giving Circle, and organizers hope to get at least that for this year.

A committee of women stage the race, getting the T-shirts, food donations, door prize donations and soliciting lots of corporate sponsorships. Karlys Kline, who founded the Women's Giving Circle in 2006, is on the committee. All proceeds go to help women and children alleviate struggles and obstacles that come up during a difficult period in their lives. A woman may need financial help while battling a disease, or may need help with food, clothing, transportation or shelter.

Post race food will include Starbuck's coffee, Dairy Maid chocolate milk, Panera bagels, and other snacks from Wegman's. Kip Jawish is donating 500 bottles of water.

Door prizes include massages, manicures, coupons for hair salons and other desirable prizes.

Last year, 420 women ran the race, and registrations are a little ahead of last year, Waxter said. Race fees through Aug. 2 are $25 for adults, $20 for under 18. Fees go up $5 after that, and Active.com will no longer be taking registrations.

Registration and other information is at steeplechasers.org/wdf/, or active.com/event_detail.cfm?event_id=2085341. To learn more, check the Women's Distance Festival 5K Frederick MD Facebook page. To volunteer, call Peggy Waxter at 301-663-8082 or email her at pwaxter@comcast.net.

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If you're in the Brunswick area, or want to test your swimming skills in a race, the Brunswick Area Recreation Council's annual Swim/Run Biathlon is Aug. 10. Registration starts at 8 a.m. and the race begins at 9 a.m. at the Brunswick City Pool. The swim is two or four lengths, depending on age group. Participants will then run a half-mile or a mile, depending on age group, on the Brunswick High School cross country course.

The event will take place rain or shine. Entrance fees are $8 for youths 8-13, $10 for teens 14-19, and $15 for adults. To learn more, go to barcmd.com or call event director Lee Zumbach at 301-834-8045.

Participants will get T-shirts and there will be refreshments and awards after the race.

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