FSRC Memorial Scholarship
The Rick O'Donnell 5.22 Mile Trail Run and Ultra-Challenge was started in 2013 in memory of Rick O'Donnell, Steeplechaser member, friend, devoted husband and father who lost his battle with Bile Duct cancer in the spring of 2013.
In 2015, we lost Larry Key, another friend and beloved Steeplechaser. Larry died of a heart attack while out on a run.
Rick and Larry embodied the true spirit of what it means to be a runner and a friend.
In 2016, the FSRC Memorial Scholarship Fund was initiated, dedicated to their memory. Net proceeds from the annual Rick's Run are used to fund the scholarship, awarded to Frederick-area high school seniors who, like Rick and Larry, have made a difference in the running community.
FSRC Memorial Scholarship Awards
Since 2016, the Frederick Steeplechasers have awarded scholarships to 24 local students, totaling $36,500. For the full history of scholarship recipients and more information about the scholarship program, see the FSRC Memorial Scholarship Page on the Steeplechasers' website.
Click here for the article published in the Frederick News Post on August 12, 2016.
To understand Rick a little better, and to inspire you to run this race with perseverence and heart, we invite you to read the following:
Why the Rocks?
Rick and I met by happenstance at the FMH cancer center, each receiving our chemotherapy cocktails. Sitting next to each other we spent time speaking about family, friends and of course running. It was then I told Rick about the “Rock Pile”
The “Rock Pile”, located at the intersection of the Catoctin (Blue Trail) and Stoner Road near my home was started as my way to maintain hope while going through Cancer treatment. Each time I passed, a single white quartz rock would be added. Rick liked the idea and asked if he could join in on a run to place his own rock.
On one particular run, Rick showed up coming directly from treatment. “How far do you want to run?” I asked. “Something around six miles”, was the response.
As we started Rick looked a little unsteady and sure enough he tripped and fell within the first mile. It wasn't a bad fall, but enough to bring blood to a knee and scratches on a hand. “We can cut it short”, I announced as Rick stood, brushing himself off. Yet Rick was undeterred, voicing his desire to run the full six.
Passing the Rock Pile that afternoon two new white quartz rocks were added.
The second fall was the one that I thought would “Do Rick In”. This time both knees were bloodied along with a hand. “Cut the run short?” “Nope!”
Good Lord, a third fall with a mile left to go, “Brenda (Rick's Wife) will never let Rick come out and play again”, I thought. Rick could have waited for me to run home to get a car but instead choose to finish our run.
As time passed, Rick’s chemo quit working. Rick grew weaker… runs turned to jogs… jogs to walks and finally he could no longer make it out to join me on the trail. I decided with each run I would add a stone for him. Each time do, I remember Rick, knees bloodied, no quit …..... And I am inspired.
By Mike O’Grady
Anyone who was fortunate enough to have known Larry knew how much he loved running and what he gave back to the running community. If he wasn't participating in a race, he served in supporting roles crewing, pacing or working an aid station. Through Larry's efforts, many individuals were encouraged to take up the sport, compete and to excel.