Preparations Underway For 16th Frederick Running Festival

It will be Rachel Ridgway’s last year as Race Director for the event.


Frederick, Md (KM). More than 7,000 people will be in Frederick this weekend for the 16th annual Running Festival. Corrigan Sports Enterprises, which is putting on the event, says these visitors come from 35 states, Washington DC,  and the nations of Canada and Afghanistan.

During a news conference on Thursday at City Hall, Richard Griffin, Director of Economic Development for Frederick, says this event has an economic impact on  the city of between $3.5-million and $3.7-million dollars. But he says the Running Festival is a way for citizens to show their civic pride. “A number of 6:00 AM front yard parties increases every year and community pride and place making matters about increasing public interest in people wanting to purchase homes in this community and invest and build businesses in this community,” he says.

Melissa Muntz, Director of Marketing and Communications for Visit Frederick, says this event has  a positive impact on the city.. “The race brings so many visitors to Frederick that may never have come otherwise,”: she says. “Runners and their families discover our area and they come back. They eat at our restaurants,  they stay in our hotels, they shop on our Main Streets. The economic impact of this race is tremendous and we’re thrilled to support it.”

The Frederick Running Festival is a two-day event at the Great Frederick Fairgrounds. On Saturday, May 5th, there’s a Health and Fitness Expo from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM. The Visit Frederick Celebration Village will be open from 4:00 PM until 8:00 PM. The kids 5K Fun Run starts at 5:00 PM, with the 5K starting at 6:00 PM. There will be a 5K Awards Ceremony at 7:00 PM.

On Sunday, the Half Marathon starts at 7:00 AM in front of the Fairgrounds on East Patrick Street. The finish line is in front of the Grandstand. The Visit Frederick Celebration Village will be open from 8:00 AM until 12:00 noon. The awards ceremony will begin at 9:15 AM.

In  his comments during the news conference, Mayor Michael O’Connor said “we’re trying to be as diverse and all encompassing as we can with the events that we run,” he said. “Whether it’s an event like this, or anything related to bicycles, or anything related to tourism, or anything related to breweries, wineries and distilleries, or anything related to a whole variety of thing,  we want to be a community that can appeal to a lot of different people.”

For the past several years, Rachel Ridgway has been the city’s Race Director. But this year will be her last in that capacity. During the news conference, Ridgway was presented with a plaque for years of service, and the trophy bestowed on the winner of the  5K will be named in her honor.

Ridgway started out as a runner in 2003 when the race was called the Frederick Marathon. She volunteered to work on bettering the race in 2004, and the next year, she was made the director. “I don’t why I got involved other than it was out of sense of commitment to the community. I ran the first year. I go to races all over the country. I know that Frederick can do better. So instead of griping about it, I decided to do something about it,” she says.

Ridgway says she will continue to be involved in the Running Festival in some capacity in the future.

The course for the Half-Marathon will start in front of the Fairgrounds on East Patrick Street. The runners  will head down to East Street, and get on New Design Road, pass  Harry Grove Stadium. Then they’ll head to the downtown on Market Street, and turn on 6th and Bentz Streets, travel through Baker Park and past Frederick High School, Hood College and Frederick Memorial Hospital. They will race through the northern part of the city, down Schifferstadt Boulevard and Monocacy Boulevard, ending up at the finish line in front of the Grandstand. It’s a total of 13.1-miles


By Kevin McManus