One fine day, the King was reveling in what his mighty army had accomplished over the past year. The battles in Frederick & Baltimore were complete and the King was contemplating the next conquest. He walked out on his castle veranda to take in the beauty of his vast domain and to smell the sweet nectars of his Royal Garden.

The Garden was filled with wonderful fruit trees and florals spread over acres and acres. This time of year, the Black-Eyed Susan were in full bloom. The King was especially fond of these black and gold blossoms as they were the state flower of his Kingdom.

As he stood on the balcony of his castle taking in the sights and smells of all that he commanded, he felt a harsh prick on his hand. He immediately felt woozy and began to stumble. Clutching his chest he fell to the ground and began to swell like the Stay Puff Marshmallow Man. It did not take long and the King breathed His last breath right there that day.

No one knew that The King was allergic to bee stings. The King was the master of his domain but the bees were the rulers of the vast gardens of Black Eyed Susans behind the castle. It was not a malicious attack. The King had accidently placed his hand near a flower that was being pollinated at that exact moment. The bee only did what Mother Nature had taught him.

(This challenge replaces the King Crab Challenge beginning in 2024.)

RIP  TO THE KING!  LONG LIVE THE BLACK EYED SUSAN CHALLENGE!  The Black Eyed Susan Challenge will honor the King and his reign over the kingdom for the past ten years.  We hope that you join us in celebrating the dawn of a new era!  Take on the Black Eyed Susan Challenge in 2025.

Members of the community who finish the Frederick Running Festival  , the Baltimore 10-Miler and the Baltimore Running Festival  will take home a honey pot of goodies! Runners can complete the challenge by running the 3 required races virtually OR live (or a mix!) in the same calendar year At the Frederick Running Festival, challengers must take on the half or a higher distance (nut job challenge) at the 10 miler they must take on the full 10 miles and at the Baltimore running Festival, challengers must take on the half or a high distance (including the Baltimoron-a-thon challenge or full marathon).

What is it?

The Black Eyed Susan Challenge presented by Smirnoff Smash is a test of stamina and perseverance over long distances and an extended time period. Runners must complete the half marathon at the Frederick Running Festival, the Baltimore 10-Miler and the full or half marathon at the Baltimore Running Festival.

Who is eligible?

Anyone who thinks they can withstand the challenges that come along with running three long distance races across the entire year.

What do I get?

Runners who complete the three tasks will earn a large 6″ medal with an interactive bee as well as a Maryland Themed medal rack to display your wares. After each race, they will be invited to a VIP Tent where they will receive complementary Smirnoff Smash to toast their accomplishments

How do I sign up?

Those wishing to take the challenge should sign up for the bundle from the Frederick Running Festival registration page. Here you can sign up for all 3 race distances with 1 transaction. To link separate registrations together, please fill out the form that is linked below.


FOUR MEDALS (or more!)

Those who register for the Black Eyed Susan Challenge will receive a medal at the Baltimore 10-Miler in addition to medals earned from each of the two running festivals as well as the new Black Eyed Susan Medal- to proudly display. (The Black Eyed Susan medal as well as the medal rack will be awarded at the Baltimore Running Festival.)  Those who do the Nut Job Challenge and the Baltimoron-A-Thon can earn as many as 8 medals during the challenge.


Those who complete the Black Eyed Susan Challenge are some of our most loyal runners.  We will honor that commitment at each race with a special VIP tent for those in the challenges.  Here you will enjoy complementary Smirnoff Ice Smash beverages as well as have the opportunity to celebrate (and commiserate) with other like minded runners who are also completing the challenge!  Our way of saying THANK YOU!


you will receive exclusive deals on other CSE races, official merchandise as well as other special savings from race partners and sponsors. These will come throughout the year  and like a bee sting, when you least expect it!

The deadline to join the battle is Aug 1, 2024 – If you registered separately and would like to link your entries and be eligible, please fill out the form linked above. If you have questions or concerns, please email [email protected].