Invited List & Bios for 41st Freihofer’s Run for Women on June 1

Wide Open Field Set to Contest 41st Freihofer’s Run for Women On Saturday, June 1 In Albany, N.Y.

Jenn Rhines, Melody Fairchild Set to Tussle for Masters (Over 40) Field

2019 Boston Marathon Weekend – Freihofer’s Invited Athlete Elaina Tabb to the right
Boston, Ma April 12-15, 2019
Photo: Victah Sailer@PhotoRun

ALBANY, NY (May 22, 2019) — Choosing a winner at this year’s Freihofer’s Run for Women 5K is going to be a challenging assignment.

Unlike in previous editions where a clear-cut favorite has headlined this prestigious all-women’s road race, the 2018 open division features a collection of talented American distance runners who have never previously tasted victory in New York’s Capital City.

“This year’s open division field is completely wide open,” said Elite Athlete Recruiter John Tope. “Anyone could run off with the title if they have a great run!”

Scheduled to toe the line and vie for the $10,000 first place prize are:

  • Elaina Tabb (Watertown, Mass.), 27, a William & Mary graduate currently competing with Team B.A.A.  Her recent accomplishments include 5th 2019 BAA 5K, 11th 2019 Houston Half Marathon (PR 1:10:44), 11th 2019 USATF XC Championships and 8th 2018 USATF Half Marathon Championships.
  • Maddie Van Beek (Perham, Minn.), 27, the 7th woman in North Dakota State University (NDSU) track & field history to garner an Academic All-America distinction at the Division 1 level. The NDSU volunteer assistant coach comes to Albany having recently earned a 1st place finish at the 2019 Drake Relays 5000m and 7th place finish at the 2019 USATF 25K Championship.
  • Meghan Peyton (Bloomington, Minn.), 34, a Team USA Minnesota runner, who is looking to elevate her placing in Albany having finished 8th here in 2017 (16:31), 6th in 2016 (16:27) and 9th in 2011 (16:13).
  • Kaylee Flanagan (Roselle, Ill.), 24, a 2017 graduate of the University of Washington where she ran track and cross country and was a PAC-12 Conference All-Academic honorable mention in her senior year. She is the sister of Lindsay Flanagan, who has run Freihofer’s numerous times and finished 7th in 2018 (16:28).
  • Katie Matthews (Brighton, MA), 28, a Boston University graduate and Team B.A.A.  athlete, who finished 5th at the 2017 FRW in a time of 16:19. Other notable results include: 5th 2018 Gasparilla Classic Half Marathon, 11th 2018 Cooper Bridge Run 10K, 8th 2017 Cooper River Bridge Run 10K and 1st 2017 Greater Boston Track Club Invitational 2M.
  • Lindsey Scherf (Scarsdale, N.Y.), 32, a former three-time NCAA Division I All-American at Harvard University and the event’s 2017 third place finisher (16:10).
  • Kelsey Chmiel (Greenfield Center, N.Y.), a Saratoga High graduate who finished 10th here in 2018 (16:43) and 9th here in 2017 (16:42).  Chmiel, who will run cross country and track at North Carolina State this fall, led Team USA’s junior team to the 4K title at this year’s Great Edinburgh Cross Country Challenge. Her numerous accolades include 1st place at the 2018 New Balance Indoor Grand Prix mile, runner up at the 2018 Nike Cross Nationals and 2nd place at the 2018 New York Federations.

In the masters (over 40) division, Jen Rhines (San Diego, Calif.), 44, a member of the U.S. Olympic team in Sydney in 2000 (10,000 meters), Athens in 2004 (marathon) and Beijing in 2008 (5,000 meters), is favored to regain her crown. A standout at Liverpool, N.Y. High School and Villanova University where she won five individual NCAA Division I national titles, Rhines was the 1st Master at the 2019 Crescent City Classic 5K.

Rhines’ strongest contender will be Melody Fairchild, 45, (Boulder, Colo.), a former University of Oregon standout, who romped to victory here in 2015 in a time of 17:34, taking 21st place overall. One of eight invited athletes scheduled to take part in the event’s School Visitation Program prior to the race, Fairchild was the 1st Master at the 2018 Steamboat Springs 10K, as well as the 3rd Overall Female at the 2018 “World’s Toughest” XC Race in Aarhus, Denmark.

“Up until now, Jen and Melody have never had a chance to compete against one another in Albany,” added Tope. “This will be a very exciting battle to watch unfold.”

Other masters threats will come from: Marisa Sutera Strange (Pleasant Valley, N.Y.), 55, overall winner at the 2019 XC Masters Championships and 2016 FRW masters champion (17:41); Cassandra Henkiel (Austin, Texas), 49, a consistent national medalist on the masters road circuit who was 3rd at the 2017 USATF Master 5K Championships; Christy Peterson, (Chicago, Ill.), 44,
3rd Master (18:27) at the 2018 Freihofer’s Run for Women 5K; and, Carmen Ayala-Troncoso, (Austin, TX), 60, the event’s 2010 masters champion, who was the 1stMaster at the 2019 Austin Marathon Manzano Mile and 1st Master 2018 Portland Festival of Races.

For more information about the 41st annual Freihofer’s® Run for Women, 32nd annual Kids’ Run and 9th annual Freihofer’s® Junior 3K Run, visit From the home page, you can also link to the event’s Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube pages.

Event sponsors include the Charles Freihofer Baking Company, Price Chopper Supermarkets and The City of Albany. Media partners include 99.5 The River and the Times Union.

Click here to view all invited athletes.


Freihofer’s®, a leading baker of delicious products, is committed to fostering the growth and recognition of women in sports and inspiring all generations of women to experience the benefits of exercise and nutritious eating. Freihofer’s continues to set the pace by sponsoring the annual Freihofer’s Run for Women 5K. Now in its 41st year, the event is home to the Masters World Best & U.S. All-Comers record of 15:48 set in 2004 by Colleen DeReuck and features thousands of women from recreational joggers to Olympians who challenge themselves on the picturesque 3.1-mile course. For more information, visit

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